The Bell Curve and Books

I believe most things in life can easily fit into the classic bell shaped curve. For those of you unfamiliar with the bell curve, it is the graph used to depict a normal distribution in statistics. The top of the curve represents the most probable event. All possible occurrences are equally distributed around the most probable event, creating a downward sloping line on each side of the peak.

I think of the bell curve as representing excellent, mediocre, and awful with mediocre being the peak of the curve. Take foods for instance. Most fall into the “good” range, a few are “awful”, and a few are really “excellent.” The same can be said about cars. The majority of cars are nice, a few are awful (also called lemons), and a few are exceptional vehicles (generally priced above the average person’s ability to own).

I believe that books also fall into the bell curve distribution. Whether published by a large publishing house, a small publisher, or an independently published author, most published books fall under the “good” category. These books are good, but for the purposes of today’s rant, I will call them mediocre. There is nothing exceptional about them that stands out and really grabs my attention. Yes, they make a good read, but they don’t necessarily grab me and create an emotional response. A few fall into the “awful” category. These are books that really should never have been published. Then there are the few that fall into the “exceptional” category.

Since I read a lot of books, I read a lot of good, but mediocre books. Every so often, I come across an exceptional book. I love it when this happens.

I just finished reading one of those “exceptional” books. I think what makes this book exceptional is both the subject matter and some of the incredibly profound prose. The book I am speaking of is God’s Healing for Life’s Losses by Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D. Here are a few phrases from the book that really caught my attention.

“Our world is fallen, and it often falls on us.”

“Hurt is normal, and grieving is necessary.”

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Hope hoped for, received, then lost again, makes the heart deathly ill.”

I believe the bell curve is a result of our fallen world. God’s economy should host an exponential curve where things just keep getting better and better. I can’t wait for that.

In the meantime, in this fallen world, I urge you to strive to produce exceptional books that reflect God’s glory. Remember, the books in my bell shaped curve may be distributed differently from those in my neighbor’s. A well-written book, with good editing, a pleasing layout, and a message from the heart of God may not always be exceptional to the masses, but will be for those few who really need to hear the book’s particular message.

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