Simple Little Words

What You Say Can Change a Life

Christian - Biblical Counseling
240 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” is not a true statement.

As the shortest person in my class I was often the brunt of short jokes. While as an adult I know they were not meant to be cruel, as a child they hurt. We often do not realize that our word hurt someone unintentionally.

True anecdotes tell the tale in Simple Little Words. A scripture precedes each story. Readers are reminded to watch their words. Words can make a difference in a life. Too often, we unthinkingly use words and cause pain. Without meaning too, we deeply wound others. Simple phrases like clumsy as an ox, blind as a bat, and beanpole bring pain and lessen self-esteem. In the same light, sincere praise elevates self-esteem. A passing comment on talents and attributes lifts spirits and can make a difference in someone’s life. Simple Little Words would make a great gift. I highly recommend Simple Little Words.

Kathy C. Willis

I've always said that the playground lyrics, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" has it all wrong. Physical wounds heal, but being wounded by words can wound for life. Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference in the lives of others are simple words of affirmation. Authors Michelle Cox and John Perrodin have rounded up experiences from familiar names such as: novelist Karen Kingsbury, Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, and Focus on the Family CEO Jim Daly, to name a few. Each story reflects on the power of encouraging words. Simple Little Words is jam-packed with over 40 true stories--from Christian writers, educators, songwriters, executives, Hollywood producers, and others. Just like I guessed on the playground as a child, little words can make a big difference!

The book shows that it is often what is said spontaneously, on an ordinary day that creates a life transformation needed for the hearer. Michelle shares a story from her childhood. "As a child from a dysfunctional home situation, I had no self-esteem and no self-confidence. On a class field trip one day, a classmate's mom said, `You have the most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen.' To her they were ten simple little words, but to a child who needed to hear there was something of beauty about her, they were life changing. This book is a beautiful reminder that our words are powerful tools."

John explained the takeaway value of the book when he said, "I hope the reader sees that our time on this spinning orb is short. We don't know how many more opportunities we'll have to look a loved one in the eye and say `I'm sorry.' That's the beauty of Simple Little Words. We're not asking anyone to make fancy speeches or write eloquent tomes. All we're asking is that they take the time to speak life, hope, and love to those around them."

I highly recommend this book. In fact, buy several copies because you will want one copy to keep and others to give away to others. It has caused me to want to get in touch with those whose "simple little words" impacted my life in a big way. Some are no longer here on earth, so the only way I can express my gratitude is to pay it forward by sharing simple little words with others.


Simple Little Words was a book that I did not want to put down, but needed to. A book that I couldn't get enough of, but longed to savor and treasure. Story by story. Page by page. Word for word.

I read stories beginning with hurt and ending with forgiveness, illustrations of confusion flowing into certainty, and pictures of worthlessness transformed into treasures. I wept, laughed, and at moments paused and took a deep breath. In each story I found a piece of myself, parts of me that I could never understand before. Powerful revelations of my past, present, and where I want to be tomorrow.

Thank you John and Michelle for allowing God to minister to my heart and the hearts of others through this book. Thank you to all who shared their precious memories and the simple little words that changed their lives.
I sincerely recommend this book to everyone and encourage you to not only read this book but to follow the study guide that has been so wonderfully put together by John and Michelle. Savor each story as I did and allow these simple little words to touch your heart and soul.

C.J. Darlington

Think back to a time when someone's encouraging words had a strong impact on your life. Was it a trusted teacher saying you were going to do great things someday? A parent telling you they loved you? A boss' "job well done"? Positive words reach into our very souls and can be remembered years down the road.

Simple Little Words is a collection of insightful stories by the likes of Karen Kingsbury, Brandon Heath, Mary E. DeMuth, Ron DiCianni and Ken Wales (40 in all). Through these vignettes Perrodin & Cox bring home the Biblical truth of word power. What we say to others makes an impact, often in life-changing ways. And we need to choose our words wisely, because even without saying so, Simple Little Words reminds us that negative words can impact us forever, too.

It's not often a book makes me tear up, but you'd have to be a mannequin not to be moved by these examples of Christianity in action. Michelle Cox's "You Look Like A Princess" is particularly poignant, the story of how one woman's act of kindness to a child changed the girl's life in ways the woman could have never known at the time.

Other stories bring home the fact that sometimes adverse situations can be exactly God's plan. For example, speaker and author Edna Ellison's story of her daughter's almost disastrous wedding led her down a path which gave purpose to a lonely old man. Hollywood producer Ken Wales (Amazing Grace) shares words of advice he never forgot from actor Glenn Ford. "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, you're fired."

The vignettes are categorized by subjects like Joy, Marriage, Grace, Divorce, Dreams, and Children, a way to know going in what sort of take-away to expect. Ranging from several pages to a few paragraphs, all are easily readable. The whole book could be consumed in one sitting but is better in small chunks so you can digest the individual messages. Each story concludes with a short prayer and quote to further bring things home for readers.

Simple Little Words is indeed a simple little book with a big message--our words are powerful. As James shares in the New Testament, the tongue is like a rudder. Small and seemingly insignificant, yet able to change the course of our world. What you say truly can change a life. That's a statement every person would do well to assimilate. As best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins advises in the book's Foreword, "Be the one who speaks those simple little words."

Dena Dyer

What a great read! When I picked it up, I planned on reading a few entries--and then I couldn't put it down. Each author whose tale is included in SLW dug deep and let us see a little bit of their heart. I loved hearing about small moments that had a huge impact, and I look forward to reading future books in the series.

W. Stephens

The stories shared in this book are touching and a wonderful reminder of the importance of building people up and not tearing them down with our words. People from different walks of life told their stories and it is amazing to read how they were encouraged by others and the impact that had on their lives. I will recommend this book to my friends and give it as a gift.

T. Suzanne Eller

Do words matter? Of course they do. Words start wars. Words divide relationships. Words scar. They also lift up, encourage, build, heal, and so much more. My favorite story in this book? Dennis Hensley, a university professor, who says a few "simple little words" to a struggling student. He had no idea that this young man had been searching for affirmation from a father figure his whole life, or that the student had never heard his father say "good job" or anything else positive. The simple little words had a "pay-it-forward" affect. Sean, the student, changed his career direction, ending up in a inner-city school working with fatherless boys who needed "a few simple words" of encouragement. Powerful book and a great gift for Christmas.