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Proverbs 28: The Exact OPPOSITE of the Big Four

Written by: on November 29, 2018

This was a FASCINATING read–The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google [1] by NYU’s Professor Scott Galloway–but what was his main point? Was it, “How not to change the world” or “We sold ourselves to the devil”? Perhaps it was to sound an alarm of pending doom, or maybe it was strategically outlining how to become number 5.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure what the book’s takeaway was. Don’t get me wrong, this was an entertaining read and I enjoyed it, but I scratched my very bald head to figure how we were to respond to his in-depth exposure of what the big four did to all of us to climb to the trillion dollar mark.

I thought I would try to answer this main takeaway question by going to a book review written through the very company Dr. Galloway tried to shake up with a hostile board takeover, The New York Times. Hear now from David Streitfeld, in his NYT article titled “Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats”, 

“Amazon determines how people shop, Google how they acquire knowledge, Facebook how they communicate. Their amount of concentrated authority resembles the divine right of kings, and is sparking a backlash that is gathering force. Sometimes we have regrets, and we are confronting issues we never imagined. Repercussions are many and include loss of privacy, Russian meddling, monopolies, and the proliferation of hate speech.” [2]

Dawn Askham responded brilliantly in the New York Times Comment of the Moment,

Take monopolistic addictive platforms that gather, track, store and analyze the details of everyone–with zero oversight. Add ridiculous sums of money. It’s no wonder the tech giants have started looking less like saviors and more like masters of our dystopian future.” [3]

Sounds like this is a a book full of WARNINGS. I get it. And I appreciate it. While at the same time, it sounds like a book full of RESPECT. Like, here’s what the four did to all of us with our full permission and blessing. We have no one to blame but ourselves for being so gullible.

Full disclosure here: I am typing this Blog on my Apple computer, with Facebook open on my iPad next to me. I have an iPhone two inches away from my heart in my breast pocket most of the day. I shopped on Amazon three times this week (not gonna go into a single store this year to buy Christmas presents), I used Google Scholar to search for Galloway book reviews, Google Flights to check airfare to London, and Google Maps for directions to one of my churches. Say what I want about the four, I am attached at the hip! Like it or not, they are all a significant part of my personal, professional and student life. I am all in whether I like it or not…so complaining about the domination of the four only identifies my own shortcomings.

However, for devotionals this month, I am reading Proverbs one day at a time (31 Proverbs fit nicely into 31 days of the month). Several verses whispered loudly from yesterday’s chapter 28 reading (because God does not have to yell, or compete with the four to get our attention–He has already issued WARNINGS for all of us, we should RESPECT Him for it):

A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. (verse 3)

Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. (verse 6)

Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another who will be kind to the poor. (verse 8)

The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are. (verse 11)

A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign. (verse 16)

A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. (verse 20)

The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. (verse 25)

When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. (verse 28) [4]

I know this book was not intended to be Christian, although the author used many religious tongue-in-cheek highlights. God was referenced a whopping 43 times, including this ouch, “You are also less likely to believe in God if you have a high IQ” [5]. Jesus was mentioned 6 times, especially when referring to Steve Jobs [6]. The word religion was coupled often when describing Google [7]. Professor Galloway either must have a faith background, or God is currently pursuing him mightily.

I close with this perplexing quote from Galloway, one that would directly contradict an earlier author we read, Chris Lowney in Heroic Leadership, who challenged us to find our passion and follow it all the way to our daily profession. Galloway confuses by saying,

“Don’t follow your passion, follow your talent. Determine what you are good at (early), and commit to becoming great at it. You don’t have to love it, just don’t hate it. If practice takes you from good to great, the recognition and compensation you will command will make you start to love it”. [8]

Not sure I can pick up what Dr. Galloway is laying down here…

 

[1] Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. London: Corgi Books, 2018.

[2] Streitfeld, David. “Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats.” New York Times, October 12, 2017.

[3]Askham, Dawn. “Comment of the Moment.” nytimes.com. October 13, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2018. http://nytimes.com/.

[4] Barker, Kenneth L. Zondervan NIV Study Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.

[5] Galloway. 125.

[6] Ibid. 73.

[7] Ibid. 124.

[8] Ibid. 234.

About the Author

mm

Jay Forseth

Superintendent of the Western Conference of the Evangelical Church. Blessed with 28 years as the husband of my amazing wife who I can't make it without. Now three of four in our family are attending University, but both my children are way smarter than me.

15 responses to “Proverbs 28: The Exact OPPOSITE of the Big Four”

  1. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    Jay,
    Man you hit the nail on the head. As I read our book this week, I felt dirty. Not because of what Galloway had written, but because I have never considered his propositions. We have indeed given the four the authority to be everything to our lives. So much so, that we don’t even recognize it. Thanks for the reminder in Proverbs. Be well brother.

    Jason

  2. mm M Webb says:

    Jay,
    Great introduction and post. Do you think the four horsemen will be the final precursors before the rapture? When is God’s “enough is enough” I wonder? The Gospel, with the digital age of access and transmission, must have reached most of the unreached and actively engaging the least reached. It is exciting to think, we may be living in the generation to actually “see” Christ’s return. I’m writing this while sitting in the Denver airport, in front of a window looking out over the parking apron full of jets, watching it snow, and wondering if Christ returned now, what would it look like in Denver? Would it become daylight, or would we see bright flashed of light, hear the trumpet, and be beamed into the clouds? Hum…pilots think about those things.
    Galloway did offer a type of paradox between what Good to Great says and what The Four says. Maybe you can do both? I think if we apply Ps. 37:3 then both are possible.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

    • mm Jay Forseth says:

      Mike!

      Birthing pains seem to be intensifying for the return of Christ. My Brother always quoted the Scripture Matthew 22:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” Are we almost at the time when all nations will have heard?

  3. Did the book cause you to question any of your personal choices? You mention that you won’t be shopping in any stores this season. I felt something that could be described as conviction as I read this book, and am still trying to discern what the Lord might be asking of me.

    I do buy books on Amazon and I do have AMazon Prime, but I try to buy local for as much as I can. This is fun and easier to do in France, as I walk everywhere, and pop in and out of stores and markets on a regular basis.

    I’m only on Facebook because that’s how Fox communicates and announces things. Both my kids have left and deleted their accounts. But our whole church uses WhatsApp, and that’s how our team communicated. I own an iPhone and iPad, but don’t use Macs. I’ve been considering other options for my next phone, but I really love my iPhone. It would be hard to give up. How can I have such deep emotions for an inanimate object. Maybe I’d bebetter off as a human if I had a phone that I hated. Or at least one that I didnt love.

    I had already been on the path to distancing myself from the Four for a while, but Galloway has definitely encouraged me to continue.

    • mm Jay Forseth says:

      Jenn,

      You are on to something! How to use the big four for good purposes, but completely stay away from them for others. Easier said than done, but I pray you success as you journey on this!

  4. Greg says:

    you wrote: “Professor Galloway either must have a faith background, or God is currently pursuing him mightily” . That is just the way God works…to begin allowing some concepts to be introduced into the language and the life of people. I use all of these horseman (as well as others). I am not sure where I live and what I do I can get away from some of these totally.

  5. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Jay,

    Yes, this was an interesting but at times confusing read. It was hard to determine what his ultimate point was. His conclusion seems to suggest a bit of jealousy on his part and encouragement for the next generation to find the gap that they can exploit for their personal financial gain. If he is accurate in his idea that ‘The Four’ have taken away the need for traditional religion by fulfilling human needs in different ways then this hedonistic call to live life for your own gain will be attractive. Somehow we have to help people see (young people in particular) that this leads to nowhere and nothing of consequence. Any ideas as to how we communicate that effectively?

    • mm Jay Forseth says:

      Dan,

      The only way that comes to mind to communicate with young people is the book of Ecclesiastes–vanity, vanity. Meaningless meaningless. Like chasing the sun or grabbing a rope of sand. The conclusion Solomon came to was fear of God, and meaningful work…

  6. Shawn Hart says:

    Jay…we shared similar sentiment from this reading. I was scratching my head a lot…though I have a little more hair than you. LOL. I appreciated your last quote, though I also hated it. We are taught a lot of things growing up, but usually those things included following your passion; scripture talks to us about using the talents God gave to us; but this guy, well, he just tells the secret to trying to be #5. I’d be much happier find ways to please God than to please my checkbook; I’ll let Him provide all I need.

  7. Jay,

    I think Galloway was offering a good take on the typical “follow your passion” mantra we have been raised to believe when selecting a career. Rather than passion, follow what you’re good at, follow your talent. Sometimes the two align, but other times not. Galloway gives the example of a tax accountant… no one aspires to do that, but there are some very good tax accountants out there; their passions are more likely to be a hobby or family.

  8. Chris Pritchett says:

    I resonated with this along the way, Jay. I didn’t really get his takeaway nor catch his positive contribution for “a more excellent way” so to speak. He was good at deconstructing, but any nut can tear a building down. But who can build one sustaining and with great beauty? What is Galloway’s construction?

    Also, I wonder what you think of it now after knowing that he is a professing atheist?

  9. mm Jean Ollis says:

    Jay,
    What a wonderful blog and excellent observations about Galloway’s references to God, Jesus, religion. I love how you are questioning if God is chasing him down. Either that or God is working through him? How do we collectively (as a society) become less dependent on technology and more dependent on each other? Do you think the pendulum will swing back to humanness?

  10. Dave Watermulder says:

    Thank you, Jay,
    Nice work tracking down those articles to give further context to this topic and genre of writing. Also, I like that idea of reading the 31 chapters of Proverbs daily for a month (I will do it, too!). I think one of the pieces that left me wondering along with you, was just the scope and scale of what he was describing. Like a “trillion dollar valuation”, at some point, what does that even mean? For me where I live, along with using these same products and services like you were describing, most of our people here also work for these and similar companies. So, it’s good to become more conversant and informed about all of this, especially to serve folks who work in the industry.

  11. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    woah!

    You dropped a bomb on this one. Excellent comparison and a powerful warning for us so we dont get over-hyped and infatuated with these companies.a

  12. mm Trisha Welstad says:

    Hi Jay, I am an addict of the four too. I appreciated your warnings and connection to Proverbs 28 – so good and you are right about Gods’s authority over the four.

    I also wasn’t sure I agreed with the idea of following talent over passion. I guess an argument can be made either way. I kind of think passion will lead to talent (or at least skill), especially for those who are young in their career with less responsibility. What do you think?

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