A good book graces your life like that of a good friend offering wisdom and perspective. And as long as we read with discernment, discarding the proverbial bones, and are not paralyzed by an insatiable quest for data, a good book becomes a wise advisor prompting us to purposefully act.
By the way, do you want to know how to move through 500 words a minute? Find a book that is not worth reading and do not read it!
Now, here are a few of my recommended books in some specific categories. I didn’t list books like commentaries, hobby books, theological research tools, etc. All of these recommendations below are, in my opinion, accessible and helpful. Some of these are recent, but all have something to offer.
RECENT FUN READING
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand’s account of Olympian Louis Zamperini’s life during WW2, his adjustment to civilian life, and his conversion to Christianity is an absolute joy to read. This book is so well written that it will spoil you.
In My Time by Dick Cheney. This was the first book Martha and I ever downloaded via iTunes. We listened to it on a long drive this year and it was excellent. Political history is right up my alley.
Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott. This outstanding book is in its fourth edition. Stott died this past year (2011) at the age of 90 having authored 50 books published in 65 languages. TIME Magazine listed him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Stott was a conservative, British Evangelical scholar.
Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Knowing God has become a classic of the Christian faith. Written by a scholar and yet very readable.
Sticky Church by Larry Osborne. Care for the people you have and stop obsessing over the people you don’t.
Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne. How staffs, boards, and teams can move forward productively.
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. Best book I’ve seen on how to have clear, direct, non-toxic coaching and conflict resolving conversations.
The E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. Great business book on why simple, repeatable systems and check-lists help large organizations and small businesses consistently excel.
If You Want It Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself by Donna Genett. Best book I’ve seen on delegation. Simple, clear & sustainable. The principles in this very short book will serve you well either as the one doing the delegating or as the one receiving the delegation. The section on three levels of authority is profound.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman and Nan Silver. One of the books I recommend for all newlyweds. Practical at any stage of marriage.
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy and Kathy Keller
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller
The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith by J. P. Moreland. This book, and the one listed next, are by the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. I really like the way Moreland writes – he is to the point.
The God Question: An Invitation to a Life of Meaning by J. P. Moreland
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Possibly the 20th century’s most influential Christian writer, C.S. Lewis explained and defended the beliefs that nearly all Christians hold in common. His simple yet deeply profound classic, originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts, is a masterpiece of Christian apologetics and has held the personal key to a life-changing faith for millions of readers.
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
The Life You Always Wanted by John Ortberg
Tracks of a Fellow Struggler by John Claypool
NEED A BIBLE READING PLAN? HERE’S A LINK FOR SEVERAL OPTIONS: http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans/all
DO YOU HAVE A KINDLE ACCOUNT?
I am a fan of electronic reading for several reasons. And one little serendipity is that Amazon periodically offers several free books to kindle readers (and of course your kindle account will sync with your iPad).
I’ve downloaded plenty of free books this past year, read only a few, but here are three top-notch Christian books that I downloaded free:
God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours by Max Lucado
The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul
Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn
MY NEXT READS
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped our Understanding of Early Christianity by Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger.
After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N. T. Wright
Churchill by Paul Johnson
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson