(Photo: Hachette Book Group)
The latest book by megachurch pastor Joel Osteen continues selling millions of copies even though a book tour promoting it ended at Cincinnati's Joseph-Beth Booksellers store Thursday night.
Every Day a Friday: How to be Happier 7 Days a Week debuted in September to strong sales. The book shares Osteen's secrets for enjoying every day as it comes and living one's life to the fullest. It debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times' advice, how-to and miscellaneous bestsellers list for hard covers, and currently stands at No. 2.
It marks the third successful book for the popular pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church – America’s largest church. Osteen made his publishing debut in 2004 with Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential before following it with 2007's Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. Both works also landed on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Penny Alder-Jusko, a long-time Osteen reader who attended his Cincinnati book signing event last night, said such success isn't surprising given the pastor's positivity. She said his mix of inspirational testimony and sunny demeanor makes him a natural fit for mainstream success.
"Joel is very genuine," Alder-Jusko said. "He could be my neighbor. I think this is the best book he's written."
Diane Reed, another attendee of the Cincinnati book signing event, said she originally encountered Osteen through his television broadcasts. Every Day a Friday was the first Osteen book she has read, and it helped her with her bipolar disorder, she shared to The Christian Post. Only five chapters deep, she said she was hooked.
"Once I started one chapter, I couldn't stop myself," Reed said. "I realize now I can look at every day differently than what I have been. Each one is a superb blessing. It has made an immediate difference."
Osteen also visited bookstores in New York, New Jersey, Albuquerque, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Birmingham and D.C. before stopping in Cincinnati. He'll appear again in Cincinnati tonight, making a stop on his "Night of Hope" tour at the city's U.S. Bank Arena. The tour is a monthly event that mixes Osteen's ministry with praise music at arenas all across America.
Reed and Alder-Jusko each said they're attending tonight's tour stop. Both women said Osteen’s work had profoundly changed the way they approached their everyday lives.
"I have learned a lot from Joel," Alder-Jusko said. "I work so hard to make sure everyone is OK but I need to focus on God instead. That's what matters."
"Good things happen to me every day but I haven't always appreciated them," Reed added. "Faith can carry you through no matter the circumstances. This book is a true blessing from God."
But not everyone views Osteen's feel-good, think-positive message as a God-send. In his Oct. 26 opinion piece, "Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Not Care?" evangelical cultural commentator Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., criticized Osteen for his secularism and biblically questionable teaching.
"Joel, of course, is proof positive that you can build a crowd without building a church," he wrote. "By now, it is clear Joel Osteen's carelessness is deliberate and calculated. He is not inclined much to deal in theological conviction."
Alder-Jusko, for her part, said that Osteen's themes of kindness and positivity help a world often full of hardship and heartache.
"Joel talks a lot in his new book about how infectious smiling is," she said. "It's true. I'm happy that he wrote a happy book as everyone needs that right now."