Review: 58: Fast Living

Extreme poverty often feels like an established rule in the universe: The earth revolves around the sun and thousands of African children die every day of preventable diseases. We shrug our shoulders, feel depressed, and never do anything else about it.

In his book, 58: Fast Living, Scott Todd calls Christians to reexamine their assumptions about poverty. Todd sounds the call not only to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. He also believes there is evidence that we could eradicate extreme poverty. Since 2003, Todd has worked for Compassion International—an organization that ministers to those in the poorest areas of the world. His background in medical research, also helps provide him with a unique perspective on extreme poverty.

58: Fast Living contains is an intelligent work on the current state of poverty. Todd forgoes the usual guilt trips so often associated with literature of this nature; choosing instead encouragement. He believes that progress has been made to end poverty, and that ordinary people can not only continue that work, but end poverty itself.

The book contains plenty of biblical illustrations, personal anecdotes from his time on the ground with Compassion International, and some surprising statistics on the decline of poverty and disease in the developing world. Through these, Todd wears down the layers of “it can’t be done,” “it’s not my responsibility,” and “I can’t,” until finally we are left with nothing but “why aren’t we?”

Todd reminds us of God’s heart for the poor and hungry. At times, he communicates like a speaker at a youth rally, but his realistic optimism is infectious. By the end of the book, you might even be considering ways to help end poverty by the next generation—Todd’s mission.