Book Review: The Billionaire’s Gift

BGI sat down the other night with my Kindle and downloaded a novella, the first offering from author Edward Iwata, The Billionaire’s Gift: A Spiritual Business Parable.

Reading The Billionaire’s Gift, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the modern parables of Peter Rollins (The Orthodox Heretic, Insurrection). Iwata uses vivid imagery to tell the story of an unnamed Billionaire who cares about nothing in life but how to make more money. That he is extremely wealthy goes without saying. Yet his lifestyle is one of frugality such as one would expect from a rather sour and miserly Dickens character. On the other extreme of the spectrum,

The Secretary (also unnamed) is a church-going, down-to-earth daughter of immigrants who cherishes her family, friends and church. The Secretary’s father, in the course of the story, takes ill and the response (actually, the lack of such response) from The Billionaire is nothing short of unempathetic callousness and disregard. I am thinking as I read through this story of the numerous spiritual parallels, of the parables Jesus told: The rich man and Lazarus, The Gracious Vineyard owner, the Prodigal Son, all of which have some elements I see woven into this modern-day parable. The author has a way of telling a story that capitalises on the anonymity of its setting and characters. No names are given. No city is named. No branding or corporate stamp is evident. Yet the scenes unfold with so much personality and creativity that I, without even knowing it, had been drawn into the characters’ stories as if they were my own friends, family and work colleagues. The city is where I live. The Billionaire’s business is familiar to me. Edward Iwata writes in such a relatable way and engaging style. The Billionaire’s Gift isn’t exactly a long read (I got through it in one evening) but it is packed with truth, timeless and placeless lessons which are translatable into any area of life, any culture or any geographical locale. I recommend not only reading this timeless tale, but taking it to heart as one would a parable from the Master of parables. Its truth has the power to change your perspective and your life.Reading The Billionaire’s Gift, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the modern parables of Peter Rollins (The Orthodox Heretic, Insurrection). Edward Iwata uses vivid imagery to tell the story of an unnamed Billionaire who cares about nothing in life but how to make more money. That he is extremely wealthy goes without saying. Yet his lifestyle is one of frugality such as one would expect from a rather sour and miserly Dickens character. On the other extreme of the spectrum, The Secretary (also unnamed) is a church-going, down-to-earth daughter of immigrants who cherishes her family, friends and church. The Secretary’s father, in the course of the story, takes ill and the response (actually, the lack of such response) from The Billionaire is nothing short of unempathetic callousness and disregard. I am thinking as I read through this story of the numerous spiritual parallels, of the parables Jesus told: The rich man and Lazarus, The Gracious Vineyard owner, the Prodigal Son, all of which have some elements I see woven into this modern-day parable. The author has a way of telling a story that capitalises on the anonymity of its setting and characters. No names are given. No city is named. No branding or corporate stamp is evident. Yet the scenes unfold with so much personality and creativity that I, without even knowing it, had been drawn into the characters’ stories as if they were my own friends, family and work colleagues. The city is where I live. The Billionaire’s business is familiar to me. Edward Iwata writes in such a relatable way and engaging style. The Billionaire’s Gift isn’t exactly a long read (I got through it in one evening) but it is packed with truth, timeless and placeless lessons which are translatable into any area of life, any culture or any geographical locale. I recommend not only reading this timeless tale, but taking it to heart as one would a parable from the Master of parables. Its truth has the power to change your perspective and your life.Reading The Billionaire’s Gift, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the modern parables of Peter Rollins (The Orthodox Heretic, Insurrection). Edward Iwata uses vivid imagery to tell the story of an unnamed Billionaire who cares about nothing in life but how to make more money. That he is extremely wealthy goes without saying. Yet his lifestyle is one of frugality such as one would expect from a rather sour and miserly Dickens character. On the other extreme of the spectrum, The Secretary (also unnamed) is a church-going, down-to-earth daughter of immigrants who cherishes her family, friends and church. The Secretary’s father, in the course of the story, takes ill and the response (actually, the lack of such response) from The Billionaire is nothing short of unempathetic callousness and disregard. I am thinking as I read through this story of the numerous spiritual parallels, of the parables Jesus told: The rich man and Lazarus, The Gracious Vineyard owner, the Prodigal Son, all of which have some elements I see woven into this modern-day parable. The author has a way of telling a story that capitalises on the anonymity of its setting and characters. No names are given. No city is named. No branding or corporate stamp is evident. Yet the scenes unfold with so much personality and creativity that I, without even knowing it, had been drawn into the characters’ stories as if they were my own friends, family and work colleagues. The city is where I live. The Billionaire’s business is familiar to me. Edward Iwata writes in such a relatable way and engaging style. The Billionaire’s Gift isn’t exactly a long read (I got through it in one evening) but it is packed with truth, timeless and placeless lessons which are translatable into any area of life, any culture or any geographical locale. I recommend not only reading this timeless tale, but taking it to heart as one would a parable from the Master of parables. Its truth has the power to change your perspective and your life.

The Billionaire’s Gift: A Spiritual Business Parable is available from amazon.com in either paperback or Kindle format.

Follow Edward Iwata on Twitter (@EdwardIwata) or visit his website.

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