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remotely from Wisconsin, USA

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© 2019 by Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC


Book Review: Capital Gaines, by Chip Gaines

January 17, 2018

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff 

By: Chip Gaines


Along with his better half, his wife Joanna, Chip Gaines has stared on HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper for five seasons. As one of his many entrepreneurial business pursuits, Chip has been flipping houses in the Waco, TX area since his college days at Baylor University, while Joanna has a keen eye/talent for design. Together, they form an excellent home design team. But, there is much more to their story than what they do. How they do it, and the heart/soul behind their success, are just as important and impressive. 


On the show Chip comes across as a loving husband, devoted father, man of faith, and as an overall jovial guy. In his book, Capital Gaines, Chip’s on-air persona is reinforced as resembling his true self. Through the book, Chip is able to explain some of the life lessons that he learned through experience, and which have helped shape him into the man that he is.


Chip’s love for, and faith in, people shines through on the show and in this book. Many of the stories Chip tells are of times when he has gone the extra mile to try to help another person — often a stranger. There’s the story that his Assistant tells of when Chip brought a homeless man to their shop with the intent to get him a job. Or the time when Chip planned on enrolling in a language emersion program in Mexico, in large part so that he could better understand and connect with the guys on his construction team. Many of Chip’s quotes in the book also reflect his love of/faith in people, such as when he reflects with the question, “How many people’s lives are better because they intersected with mine?”  Another example of Chip’s love of others is when he describes his life’s ambition as wanting to be like a runway — someone who helps others take off/soar in their own lives.


From a faith perspective, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Chip talk so often and openly about his Christian faith. For example, Chip talks about such faith-based topics as God’s will, listening to His voice, working for meaningful purposes, and embracing God’s grace. Who am I to pass judgement on another man’s faith, particularly a man who I have never met, but the faith that Chip speaks of and demonstrates (both on TV and in the book) should play well with a Christian audience. Men of faith, particularly, will enjoy reading this book and learning from Chip’s  experience and perspective. 


For those who have watched his TV show, and have an appreciation for Chip’s silly antics, you will not be disappointed by the book either, as it is full of “Chip-esque” stories. Among other things, Chip tells of the time when he was chased by a bull in Mexico, how he got the scar on his forehead while flying through the air like a superhero in pursuit of his ATV, and of the great lengths that he went to to pull of an amazing surprise birthday party for his wife Joanna.


Chip’s heart shines through in Capital Gaines time and again. There is a section where he talks about two hypothetical obituaries for himself, and from which we get an endearing sense of what his mindset will likely be moving forward in life. It certainly sounds like Chip is fully invested in “building bridges” between people, and in encouraging/facilitating conversation between people of differing backgrounds/viewpoints. Chip also opens up about he and Joanna’s intentions regarding their purchase and restoration of a historic Waco restaurant. And so, while there are the classic “fun” Chip elements to the book, he also gets “real” and “deep” at various points.

(Book cover image and quotes ©Thomas Nelson, Publisher)


Capital Gaines also has quite a few excellent connections to Christian life coaching type of thoughts/perspectives, and Chip offers up some memorable quotes. Some of my favorites include:


“Losing is not an event; it’s a mindset.”


“I’m convinced that seeing the bad in the world and in people isn’t difficult or wise or insightful—it’s lazy. Finding the good in every scenario typically takes a lot more work. But the rewards of peace and joy and hope are so worth the effort.” 


“God’s grace lasts as long as it is required. But when the grace and peace start to go, it’s a good time to evaluate if God is still in what you’re doing.”


“If there’s something stirring in you now, and you know what it is, do that. There’s no need to overthink it. A mistake here and there isn’t going to kill you, so don’t waste time worrying about that. It’s infinitely better to fail with courage than to sit idle with fear, because only one of these gives you the slightest chance to live abundantly. And if you do fail, then the worst-case scenario is that you’ll learn something from it. You’re for sure not going to learn jack squat from sitting still and playing it safe.”


“What’s never going to change? Our values, our priorities, our commitment to each other and our family. But I hope that literally every other part of our lives changes. I hope that every new season and situation of life changes me.” 


“What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What puts a smile on your face, the kind you can’t wipe off if you tried? What fascinates you? Motivates you? Overwhelms you in the very best sense? If you don’t know, I suggest not wasting one more single day until you find out.”


“Perhaps you can’t quit your day job, and I understand that. But never, ever quit your day dream.”


“As for me, all I’ve ever wanted, when you get right down to it, is to change the world. I don’t literally mean the whole wide world. That would be nice, I guess, but what I really care about is changing the world around me. This means pouring into the lives of my wife and my kids, my employees, my friends, and my acquaintances. That’s the ripple effect I’ve always hoped to put into motion.”


“Your goal is too far off to have a straight line of sight to it, but I’m going to need you to keep it firmly fixed in your mind’s eye. The only way this is going to work, the only way that you’re gonna get there, is one foot in front of the other. You have to keep moving forward. And when you think you are about to die—trust me, it’s just a tiny bit further.”


In summary, I highly recommend the book Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines. It is an easy/fun read, and Chip shares many worthwhile lessons with readers. While it doesn’t appear in an individualized chapter, throughout the book Chip also reveals his secret to success; a positive mindset, willingness to “jump” at the right times with an adventurous personality, and an unyielding faith in God. May we reflect on Chip’s homespun words of wisdom, cheer for his continued success, and learn from the life lessons that he shares; without having to experience the “stupid stuff” ourselves.


Thank you for the good read, Chip. God’s continued blessings to you and your family, and on your future endeavors. 


Coach Shane




Coach Shane is a disciple of Jesus Christ, a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur. He is an International Coach Federation (ICF) trained life coach and graduate of the Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) program from the Christian Coach Institute. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) and Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). 


Coach Shane has a heart for helping men, families, and young adults in their earthly walks as they continue to grow and develop into the family, church, business, and community leaders that God is calling them to become. He does not teach about the Bible or religion as a trained Pastor or theologian would, but rather relates Christian principles to the everyday walk of earthly life, doing so from a layman’s perspective. Applying a Christian perspective to real life. For more information visit Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC.



PHONE: (920) 428-1564 


FACEBOOK: Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC



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