Friday, October 16, 2009

The Search for God and Guinness

The Search for God and Guinness, by Stephen Mansfield, is a very interesting, however brief history of the Guinness beer company and its founding family. It highlights the magnanimity of the founding fathers of Guinness, especially in the ways that they cared for their employees in an era and place where such things were unheard of. It shows how some people with money choose to use it to help their fellow man. It also shows the various things that have sprung from the Guinness brand, including the Guinness book of world records, which was created at first to give pubs and bars as a promotional item. I found especially interesting the history not just of Guinness, but of beer itself, which dates at least to the Sumerians.
The Guinness family has also produced several great ministers, who were as well-known as Charles Spurgeon and others. In several generations the eldest son and heir chose instead to devote himself to the work of God, leaving the family business in the hands of their siblings. This is testament to the piety and devotion of the founder of the company, Arthur Guinness, who created the beer in part to relieve Ireland from the scourge of alcoholism caused by whiskey. It did, and it also elevated the lives of all who worked there; they were given medical care by an on-staff doctor, and also opportunities for education and recreation. Dublin, which was once one of the filthiest cities in Europe, was transformed.
This book reminded me once again of what is truly important in life. That which the Guinness family achieved with their fortune should be an inspiration and example to us all, as should their forward thinking attitude and their striving to always produce the best product possible.In the end, though their beer and factory is large, productive and successful, what is remembered by many about them is their devotion to their faith, their generosity with the wealth they had been given, and how they always strived to better the lives of their employees and their families. This is an interesting book which would be enjoyed by history buffs and also those who love Guinness stout.

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