Over the next 2 blog posts i'm just going to list the books i read this year and write a few thoughts about each of them. Maybe a recommendation of the book (or not). Maybe you'll want to pick up a couple and read them?
i also give them a 1-5 star rating after the author's name (5 stars being the best, of course).
(I'm just posting the books here in the order that i read them during the year. the most recent 25 i read coming up in the next post.)
Believing in the Future – David J. Bosch ***
The 1st book I read this year and it was a brilliant way to kick off a new decade. Bosch wrote this last decade before his early death and really predicted the post modern shifts that are continuing to happen and he told us what the church should be ready to do about it.
Crazy Love (re-read) – Francis Chan ****
I read this last year and took a bunch of notes on it, but had to re-read it after I lost my notes. This is classic PASSIONATE Francis Chan. Very raw and authentic. This will always be a good read no matter how many times I’ve read it. It renews my sense of awe in a BIG God and kicks me into gear to live a radical life following Him.
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell ****
I don’t think Malcolm is able to write a book that isn’t amazingly brilliant. He never ceases to amaze me. This book is all about the split second decisions we have to make with no info. It explores our prejudices we don’t believe we have and the world of predictions, snap judgments, and how our brain works.
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin ****
A classic from the father of missional theology for western society. This guy basically laid the foundational theology for what is today the emerging & emergent church… or really any church seeking to be missional in western culture. This was a really great book with so so many great chapters and concepts. Plus he is from Newcastle upon Tyne… home of the Magpies :)
The Humanity of God - Karl Barth *
You can start to see my commitment to read more dead guys. Barth is one of the most famous German theologians since Martin Luther, not to mention the main name you think of when you hear “modern theology.” Honestly this book was just OK though.
Kite Runner – Khaled Housseni *****
The best fiction I’ve read besides Harry Potter in a really long time. Maybe it’s even just as good as Harry… just different. An amazing story of childhood friendship, betrayal, redemption. It’s a very emotional story and a book that you literally cannot put down. I stayed up all night one night to read it.
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a’ Kempis *
Another dead guy. This one must not have been so great because I really can’t remember much about it. I’ll have to look back at my notes.
Good to Great (re-read) – Jim Collins *****
Another one I lost my notes on so I had to re-read it and take notes again. It is a simply awesome book! It was in my top 5 in 2009. EVERY leader needs to read this book. I would recommend reading it twice like I did.
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Doestoevsky **
I was trying this classic work of fiction and it was LONG. Like 1,200 pages. REALLY really long. And it was a complicated story to follow at times with so many characters with unfamiliar names, etc… They would go into these long dialogues off subject and totally lose me. I guess it was a good story but could have been told in less than half the pages.
The Gospel According to Lost - Chris Seay ***
Now this was a FUN book. If you’re a LOST fan and a follower of Jesus then this is a must read. Seriously. It is amazing to see into the brains of the writers of the show and how they worked in endless theology, biblical imagery, and philosophy. The classic battle between good and evil + determinism and free will rage on in this show and this book makes sure you don’t miss any of the hidden meanings.
Religion Saves: And 9 Other Misconceptions – Mark Driscoll ***
I love Mark Driscoll. He is awesome and entertaining. Although on other days I dislike Mark Driscoll very much. If you can appreciate that kind of tension then you’ll love this book. It’s basically his 10 week sermon series based on the top 10 questions peeps in his church asked. He’ll make you laugh and tick you off back to back. 1 guarantee is that you will NOT get bored reading this book.
Don’t Waste Your Life (re-read) – John Piper ****
Most of you know I love John Piper. I read this one a few years ago and the same great stuff was still there this time. I won’t lose my notes on it this time. You gotta read this to make sure you’re not going to waste your life! It’s too important to waste it. And if you’re just going along with the flow of culture then I can pretty much guarantee you’re wasting it.
The Dip – Seth Godin ***
“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” – Vince Lombardi. * “Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.” Great little book. I think I read it in an hour. Basically the advice is either GO FOR IT and see it all the way through after having counted the cost or just quit now and don’t waste all that initial effort.
A Long Way Gone – Ishmael Beah ***
The subtitle accurately describes this book = “Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”. It is a heart breaking book. Don’t read this book lightly. I would read it at night as I fell asleep and I would wake up in the morning depressed from what I read. There was a heavy, horrible feeling suppressing me. This book is full of sadness and no hope is really offered (Other than the kid is rescued… against his will that point). I would still read it again because of the eye-opening bluntness of the power of rebel wars in Africa and the atrocity that is the recruiting of child soldiers. It is real and it should not exist in our world. What are we gonna do about it?
The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber **
This book is all about entrepreneurs. About entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs. A lot about how to start successful companies and orgainizations. It’s very helpful and very practical. It is honestly kind of boringly written, but still a huge best seller if that tells you how helpful it is.
Developing the Leader Within You (re-read) – John Maxwell *****
I think this is Maxwell’s best book ever. It is an extremely helpful book for me continuously trying to improve as a leader. There are so many great ideas, principles, and practical tips to help us all develop as better leaders.
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis **
Another classic. Maybe one of the most famous Christian books of the last century or 2? The 1st part was pretty good. It was a classic apologetic argument for God and Christianity (which is questionable as to whether that is effective at all for a postmodern generation). But the rest of the book, for me, was struggling. I found myself counting down how long til the book was finished. Just sayin…
Killing Cockroaches – Tony Morgan ***
This was probably the 2nd best “pot book” I’ve ever read. It’s the perfect layout – short little 1-2 page articles on leadership and ministry. And there were a LOT of great, practical articles. Good leadership stuff from Tony.
Satisfaction: The Art of Female Orgasm – Kim Cattrall and Mark Levinson ***
Really valuable practical advice! Really important stuff. Shoots straight with you. I would guess that everybody needs to read this.
The Money Answer Book – Dave Ramsey ***
Another great “pot book” I read this year. All of Dave Ramsey’s wisdom condensed down into a tiny little book. If you don’t follow Dave’s financial advice, but are scared of reading a big long book then just start with this one! You should retire as a multi-millionaire and shouldn’t have any money stress if you follow Dave’s advice.
The Forgotten God – Francis Chan ***
I listened to this audiobook and was definitely convicted several times. We’ve basically forgotten the Holy Spirit.
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer ***
This was my grandmother’s book, so it was special to read this copy of the book that she once read even all these years after she has been gone. Tozer is a good author and says a lot of good stuff in this book. Louie recommended it to me too.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Kama Sutra – Ron Louis ***
This was way better and easier to read than the real/original Kama Sutra! I guess that’s why they call it the idiot’s guide. Really simple and practical.
The Poor Will Be Glad – Peter Greer and Phil Smith ****
Introducing (to many of us) the world of micro-finance and micro-enterprise that will change the world for Good. Just $100 will radically change a family’s life and lift them out of poverty forever by empowering them to start a small business! This is something I want to be a part of for the rest of my life.
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell ****This book is so fascinating – as are all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. This one is all about Success and what makes people successful/how they become successful. And it’s NOT what you think! A lot of it has nothing to do with what they can do. It’s factors that they have no control over that make them successful. BUT, some of us will be in positions to manipulate these factors for the common good and to make it possible for more and more people to be successful.
**There you have it.
have you read any of these books? how many stars would you give them? Are there any of these you've been thinking about reading?