Known: Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World Review

Updated on August 22, 2019
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Ms. Dora loves to share poetry, creative writing, quotes, and reflections and has been writing online for over eight years.

“I’m connected to several dozen people through Facebook and Twitter. I just don’t know how to start a conversation,” said one university student to Dick Foth, co-author of Known: Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World.

Foth portrays a world in which people have friends, but not conversation; share information but not themselves; compete for attention with phone calls and text messages; miss out on tone of voice, inflection, gesture and emotion which comprise the real index to knowing each other. Nowadays, he points out, we spend much time looking down at laptops and other media devices, meanwhile losing focus on the purpose for which we are designed--real human relationships.

The Book and Its Authors

Format: Paperback
Category: Religion / Relationships
Vendor: WaterBrook
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)
ISBN: 0735289751
ISBN-13: 9780735289758
Number of Pages: 224

Dick Foth, former president of Bethany College holds a master’s degree from Wheaton College Graduate School and a doctorate from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He is considered an expert in storytelling and on building successful relationships. His wife, Ruth is a graduate in English from Bethany College. They have been married for 50 years.

Their book contains 22 easy-to read short chapters written by him. Often, at the end of the chapters, Ruth's Thoughts appear. She writes a poem, tells a story, or records her reflections which contributes to the theme of the chapter.

Themes in the Book

In Foth's effort to help restore authenticity in friendships, he teaches the following:

  • benefits of relationships built through natural chemistry, over time or under pressure; necessity of conversation to help us talk through our feelings, and develop understanding and respect for each other;
  • the value of story telling in sharing who we are, where we came from, and discovering the many similarities between us and our friends; examples of good story telling in the stories Jesus told;
  • the power of affirming our friends through prayer; how talking to God about them invokes His strength on their behalf and places value on them even in negative circumstances;
  • the meaning of covenant--a Bible concept, which is basically a pledge of friendship to be nurtured with investment of time, tenacity and truth telling; covenant conversations in which friends express the truth about what they know, what they think, what they feel;
  • the kind of trust which allows us to love, to share our dreams, to really know our friends and be known by them.

Plus Features of the Book

It is obvious that the seventy-year old Dick Foth is familiar with the media habits of younger people. His insights will positively affect all members of the family -- from the children begging for attention to the adults who bring their phones to the dinner table.

He is an expert story-teller. Throughout the book, he tells stories from his own experiences, from the experiences of others, including the life of Jesus. He does not preach the Bible stories. He makes smooth transitions from Bible times to our day in his practical applications.

Not only are Ruth's offerings effective in adding content. The synchronization between her work and her husband's demonstrates the deep intimacy they share and write about. They illustrate the title of their book.


Reading the book together as a family can be an interesting, relationship-building activity. Children and parents, even grandparents will gain understanding of the motivations which cause the differences in their communication methods.

For individuals who have many "friends" but still feel lonely, this book is recommended as a guide to meaningful conversations and story-telling. Foth teaches the right questions to ask, the kinds of stories to tell, how to develop friendships that allow both closeness and space to grow. In addition, he encourages those in search of deep friendships not to expect from friends, the friendship satisfaction which only God can give.

Adults who are interested in mentoring will learn the importance of storytelling in reaching the individuals who look to them for guidance in building friendships.


I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books ( The opinions I have expressed are my own.

© 2017 Dora Weithers


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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Shauna, I wonder they still read books. What will it take to make them shift their focus? Perhaps having them enjoy good old-fashioned relationships. Thanks for your input.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Sounds like an amazing book, Dora. Today's kids could learn a thing or two from it as well as many adults who rely far too much on technology to get them through life.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Tamara, this book appeals to me, too. We really do not need may friends, but a few deep friendships can make a world of difference. Thanks for your input.

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      3 years ago

      Yes, this is a very good idea to have deeper friendships in this world that can be so shallow. I'd rather have only a few very good, trustworthy friends, than to have lots of friends who do not mean well, and might even possibly harm us. Thank you for sharing this book with us!

      Big Hugs,


    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Audrey, glad to introduce you. I'm impressed with him too. Thanks for your feedback.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thank you for this great introduction to an author I'm grateful to meet. Excellent book review.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mona, good to hear from you. Thanks for your affirmation on the value of connectedness. I appreciate your input.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      I think this is a wonderful book review. It certainly pertains to the times today. There is nothing that can replace a true, connected friendship that values face to face meetings on a regular basis

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Patty, thanks for sharing your knowledgeable insights on this topic. You raise some very real issues. It makes sense that the hurt and pain of loss is a possible reason for unfriendliness in the aging. Some of the anger among the children may have been imitations of attitudes and actions they see on those video games, as well as the absence of adult input in their interactions with each other. We are in trouble unless we intentionally address these challenges. Hopefully, books like this one will raise awareness and desire to help. I sense your appeal.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      3 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I tend to agree with Bill, having seen books published in 1970 about the American throwaway society, when "Greening of America" meant the growth of Big Business's money.

      At a few churches in my town, there are fellowship groups for singles age 40+ and although the members try to be friends, few friendships actually emerge. One church ended their senior groups after only nine months.

      Lack of senior friendships, as is known, often comes from growing isolation as friends/family die; but a lot of seniors I've met/ministered with/to are still very much hurting, sad, and angry over their divorces and spouses lost to death, even years later. This (and maybe something else) interferes with new friendships - sometimes they are downright rude to newcomers.

      At the same time, I find that competition is strong among these particular senior groups, just as it has become stronger and almost violent in the rest of some parts of American society.

      I feel that seniors should not have to be alone in their final years, but why is it so hard to find new friends, even of the same age?

      My county has gone backward in overall behavior since the 1990s, when we found the Number One problem to be violence in grades preschool - 12. The problem became much smaller in my county through the Clinton (second term), Bush, and Obama administrations and then became much worse and seeped into all the adult age cohorts, in 2016 during the political venom spewed everywhere, all the time, all year...and fears of losing healthcare, etc.

      Will older folks, the disabled, and the poor be more thrown-away now than in the past? I hope not.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Peg, a dinner like that is only food; no attention, no companionship. We can do that alone and at home. Yes, we have surely missed out on the things that matter most in our relationships. Thanks for sharing.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      We are truly living in a world where friendships have taken a turn. This book sounds like it addresses the issues of today's easy communication that leaves people feeling disconnected and lost. I enjoyed watching the video and reading your review.

      I remember years ago before social networks took over our attention, sitting in a restaurant with my hubby and watching a couple across from us. They spent the entire hour on their personal devices and never looked at one another once during the meal. I wondered if they were texting each other or who might be more important than the person in front of them.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Michael, "What would Jesus do?" is very appropriate because He was expert at connecting and could always tell a story to make sure that He was understood. That's something we could imitate. Thanks for your contribution.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Flourish, genuine connectedness is what the author is after, and he tells many stories that remind us of the benefit. Thanks for your affirmation.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      AliciaC, your statement summarizes the intent of the book. Thanks for your valuable input.

    • profile image

      Michael Milec 

      3 years ago

      The title says it clearly, '' in a Shallow World" - a world created by weary ourselves. The book is helpful in many areas of our human interactions. Suggesting willingness to learn at very basic how to be sincere in sharing, mainly time. A waluable time for each other: couples spending time together in the kitchen, or playing with a youngster apert of electronics, to get into conversation. The most effective opportunity for developing a friendship is injection something like " what would Jesus do? - opens a whole world of solid foundation for friendship becaus He already done it while on the earth, we copy His action of love in deeds plus where the Christ is mentioned there is the Spirit's leading .

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Toddlers learn to play on the iPad and teens do Snapchat constantly and even old people play internet games and text rather than talk to each other. Social circles are dwindling and people are losing the capacity to truly connect on a verbal and heartfelt level. This type of book is this welcome as a means to help stem the tide.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The book sounds like a good reminder about the value of real friendship and a helpful guide to establishing this friendship. Thanks for sharing the review, Dora.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I enjoy having these books to read, and sharing the review only adds to my joy. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I really like the idea of reading through it as a family. That has ti be time well shared. thanks for the review, Dora, and for bringing this book to light.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Lori, people like you who refuse to surrender themselves to the control of Facebook, Twitter and similar others are to be commended. Now to find people who want to "talk." Thanks for your valuable input.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Your remarks on Foth's views on the communication in our culture in the second paragraph was spot on. I've written on those same thoughts. I would love to read this book, though I think it would be preaching to the choir, but we can all learn from another's perspective even if it is similar to our own.

      I don't use social media hardly at all anymore. Once in awhile I peek in on family. I never ever have cared about the number followers or friends here on HP or FB. I value relationships highly and am disappointed at people's fall into impersonal technological communication. I want to talk to people. People don't want want to.

      Thanks for sharing this book Dora.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Manatita, thanks for the Mothers Day wishes, and for your suggestions. I'm enjoying the day with my grandchildren.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Mary. After reading this book I've decided to tell and listen to more stories think. You're right about the connection it can create.

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 years ago from london

      Well Dee.

      This man has been married for 50 years!! So he is worth listening to and I did.

      I find this quality of listening; of sharing, so important in hospital!! It is actually a great healer, but surprisingly, not all have the gift to use it, even there!

      You seem to have an excellent grasp of the subject matter. Perhaps you can make money that way. Explore this area. Say, Happy Mother's Day!!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 years ago from Brazil

      It sounds like the book is perfect for the times we are living in. Storytelling, I think, is the only way to bring a connection between people back. We get so caught up in our day to day lives that sharing stories seems to be the glue which can keep that connection strong.

      It sounds like an excellent choice for a family read.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Victor, you and the author are on the same page. He also mentions the friendship between David and Jonathan. You would like the book. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, with your expertise on images, you have painted a good one for us with that "depth of wading pool for three year olds." We probably communicate many time at that ages level also. Thanks for your contribution to the topic.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you understand this dilemma perfectly. Too little conversations and these days we really need them. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Lousie, this is the first time I have heard of the author. I selected the book because one reviewer mentioned him as a mentor, and mentoring has my interest; but the book is good for everyone. I'm also big on friendships and I learned much on that subject.

    • newjerusalem profile image


      3 years ago from India

      You have given a good introduction about this book.

      Review of this book is really precise. I too watched the trailer.

      Meaning of the covenant reminds me the friendship that existed between David and Jonathan. In this shallow world, the genuine -- deep friendship is a rare commodity.

      Good work. Keep going.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a fascinating title for a book. Thanks for the review. I do believe we are a throwaway society, and that includes tossing away shallow friendships if they don't suit us. It's far too easy to have a friendship on social media, a friendship that has all the depth of a wading pool for three year olds. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What an interesting area of inquiry and discovery. I am reminded here just how soon we stop relating. Ask a 2nd grader how their school day was; "just fine" "nothing". Thank you for the insight into this book.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      This sounds like an interesting book to read. I watched the trailer and he sounds a lovely human being.


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