• The Search for God and Guinness

  • A Biography of the Beer That Changed the World
  • By: Stephen Mansfield
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (261 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The history of Guinness, one of the world's most famous brands, reveals the noble heights and generosity of a great family and an innovative business. It began in Ireland in the mid-1700s. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place devastated civil society. It was a disease-ridden, starvation-plagued, alcoholic age, and Christians like Arthur Guinness - as well as monks and even evangelical churches - brewed beer that provided a healthier alternative to the poisonous waters and liquors of the times. This is where the Guinness tale began. Now, 250 years and over 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand, one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The tale that unfolds during those two and a half centuries has power to thrill audiences today: the generational drama, business adventure, industrial and social reforms, deep-felt faith, and the noble beer itself.

©2014 Stephen Mansfield (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about The Search for God and Guinness

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Quaint little evangelical pamphlet

I love Guinness, I love history, and I love my Irish heritage so this one seemed like it should have been a winner for me, even if the narrator stumbled his way through anecdotal stories of family lore told drunkenly in the pubs around Dublin. That was, unfortunately, too optimistic.

When I first found the audiobook, the most recent review, captioned "God bless Guinness" and continuing on to describe spreading the gospel around the world, gave me pause. I've read a LOT of history books and the reviews for them and this is the first time I've read a review of a supposed biography that started in that vein but hey, I was willing to roll on, despite the concern, because I recognize it's not impossible or even unusual to find a nut in the pretzel bag.

So I buy the book (mistake, hindsight) and jump right in. There were reasons for concern from the start. The author began his introduction (after discussing how his Christian friends can't play nice with people they disagree with) by saying he's never really been into beer. Okay... that's a weird way to start for a book that (I thought) was about beer. The author then spends some time wrestling with and working through the historical justifications as to why having a beer doesn't equate to condemnation in Christianity (if you are really struggling with the anticipated unforgivable eternal ramifications of a beer, it's probably best to just skip it).

After that soul-searching (in a "beer" book), we get to the chapter about the founder of Guinness, Arthur Guinness, which begins with something along the lines "we really don't know anything about his life so there's not much to say..." Ehhh...

And now I'm beginning to wonder what the book *is* actually going to be about (after the book, I learned much more about Arthur Guinness from wikipedia). But I'm still thinking, I'm gonna give the book the benefit of the doubt and see where this little train goes, because it can't just completely go off the rails, right? If the book is actually about company itself -- the way that Guinness has factored into and influence the culture of beer and the impact it has had on Dublin and Ireland -- great, I'm on board! Except... that it's not (in fairness, the book touches on these company contributions but only in the way a rock skips across water - coming in contact but having zero depth or exploration).

So then... that leaves the question of what on earth is this book about?? Turns out it's a lot of vignettes about people with the Guinness name who did Christian stuff. Not that there is anything that could be construed as a narrative or meaningful biography. The ONLY common theme to the little vignettes is using them to justify the existence of a Christian god. There are tales of doing good for the poor, tales of the Guinness Road to Damascus ("I was blind, but now I see"), and a discussion of whether it is less godly to pursue business over the dedication of a life to the sole worship of God (I think the answer is... no?). If these are things you need to help you get your life in order, this is a book that has them, I imagine. My problem is that I wasn't looking for this and didn't realize I had stumbled into the kindle evangelical aisle; I thought I was getting a book about (broadly and in no particular order) beer, Ireland, and the Guinness family. This book was none of those -- at least in any sort of engaging or meaningful way. Lost as I may be in that vast spiritual wilderness of this existence (some may say permanently), I'm in no need of a book that uses carefully cultivated stories to prove the value of worship (I am of the mindframe that any faith, whatever it be, of any significance shouldn't necessitate that one to constantly convince oneself it does in fact exist).

The most tragic part of this book is that any time it actually did delve into anything that was biographical and interesting, it kept stating it was sourcing that information from a singular book "about the Guinness family by...," which indicates that there is a book out there that is actually a biography of the Guinness family... just not the one I bought.

So in the tradition of learning spiritual lessons from the lives of others: don't be me, move on to the next book you were eyeing on your wishlist.


14 people found this helpful

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God Bless Guinness

I have been in many Bible college classes, and never once was the name Aurthur Guinness ever mentioned what this man has done along with his family and business to help spread the Gospel around the world. Thank you for opening my mind to see that God still does work in amazing ways.

7 people found this helpful

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Packed With Knowledge

Excellent narration coupled with an extraordinary tale of faith, economics, business, disaster, marketing, and more.

2 people found this helpful

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Great example of good character and business

While a bit long on the particulars of Guinness history in some parts, overall this book provides an excellent example of the generational impact character, Godly pursuits, and setting a high bar can have. The Guinness story is one every business should know by heart, and their generosity one they should emulate.

2 people found this helpful

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I can recommend this highly!!

This book is great. It has a great recounting of the history of the Guinness family. I t also explains context of the times and where the company is now. The lessons of Arthur Guinness will not soon be forgotten.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional story! Didn't want to put it down!

This book has helped me to think deeply about the moral philosophies I want to someday develop in my own business adventure. The title is provocative, but this was such a great read for the aspiring Christian entrepreneur.

1 person found this helpful

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Historically heavy

Very heavy historical telling about the company and the family through the generations. Not really any business advice or insight. Just a pure history book about Guinness.

1 person found this helpful

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The origin story you never knew

Guinness is much more than beer! Amazing story about great beer and a wonderful family!

1 person found this helpful

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a lot of interesting histort

a good story about the history of beer and how companies give back. it follows the guineas family thru several generations.

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Good book

A good summary of the company and family. Covers a couple hundred years and the values that make the company.

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  • Abiodun O Olowosoyo
  • 06-23-21

Awesome book,

I really enjoyed this book, it's helped not my understanding of the Guinness stout, but also the life and family of Arthur Guinness which was actually my original intention.

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  • Koskinen
  • 09-15-17

Christian conservative sermon

Barely a book about Guinness. If you leave out the parts about some not-beer-related preacher Guinness, it's about as deep study of Guinness as you get from a tour in the Storehouse in Dublin. And you get a pint there.