How To Be (Un)Successful: An Unlikely Guide to Human Flourishing


By Pete Portal

How to Be (Un)Successful explores humanity’s elusive search for the wrong sort of success, and how Jesus’ life and teachings are the perfect antidote. Success is attainable – not in what we have but in how we live. This book looks at how Jesus invites us to experience a success that truly satisfies our souls.

Over six chapters, Pete Portal explores different facets of Biblical success, unpacking the countercultural ways we can build God’s Kingdom here in our own lives.

Pete Portal is originally from London but has lived in Cape Town since 2009. He left a promising career in children’s television to move to Manenberg, a township community built during apartheid. He is part of leading Tree of Life, a church in Manenberg running ministries among the vulnerable and marginalised, and dedicated to living out Jesus’ love as spiritual community. He is also on the board of 24-7 Prayer South Africa, and spends much of his time growing relationships and networks across racial and socio-economic divides.





“Pete’s own lived faith authenticates and validates the challenging message he brings in this book. His writing stirs, encourages and inspires us in equal measure on our journey with Jesus, and enables us to use different metrics in working out what constitutes a life well lived.”
– Simon Guillebaud, author and founder of Great Lakes Outreach Burundi


“Pete Portal offers a refreshing critique of contemporary notions of success, inviting readers into (un)success “in the world” that is only possible when we embrace as success “not of this world”. He offers a rich alternative vision of Jesus-inspired success, born of years of painful struggle living out the gospel in the heart of the impoverished South African township of Manenberg. Pete’s vision is born out of his location in a setting of poverty, rampant addiction and gang violence, where dimensions of Christian faith cannot remain separated: contemplation inspires action, Holy Spirit revivalism engenders social justice activism, and power joins compassion. This book feeds a growing hunger like few others, threatening to incite a renewal movement deep enough to warm up hearts growing cold, and positively contagious enough to reach and recruit many to join Jesus and choose the kingdom of God as the best alternative now.”
– Bob Ekblad, co-founder and director of Tierra Nueva and The People’s Seminary, and author of Reading the Bible with the Damned


“When the Church loses confidence in its mission, story and central convictions, secular narratives begin to masquerade as kingdom narratives. These are then embraced by the Church, which then inevitably begins to lose it spiritual vibrancy and potency. We desperately need a wake-up call, which is why I love listening to Pete Portal preach and why I love his new book How to Be (Un)successful. Pete has been raised up as a prophet for such a time as this. He offers a diagnosis for the cultural moment we find ourselves in, invites us on a journey of detoxing from the ways of the world that have damaged our souls, and leads us back to the person, example and ministry of Jesus, where a whole new vision for life is presented. This is the kind of book you want to place in the hand of every follower of Jesus disillusioned by the world, or even the Church, but desperate to rediscover the upside-down way of the kingdom.”
– Pete Hughes, Lead Pastor, KXC, London, and author of All Things New: Joining God’s story of re-creation

Additional information

Weight0.252 kg
Dimensions20 × 13 × 1.5 cm