Still Points North, Leigh Newman. The subtitle reads “one Alaskan childhood, one grown-up world, one long journey home.” A memoir that is hard to put down, Leigh tells her own story in the disjointed way she experienced it. Pieced together, the lens of the present calls up the memories of the past, sometimes explaining, sometimes, not, the curious choices she makes. This book made me realize we all long for that place where we know we are loved and welcomed home.
Life of Pi, Yann Martel. Still thinking about it and all the themes raised. Could not put it down.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. This is an interesting topic to me. Much of what you see emerging in brain research coincides with the biblical truths. (I should write a post on that!) So I picked this up and got a third of the way through. His big points are that we have two systems that get activated in our brains. How these two systems react, interact and affect our motivation & memories is fascinating. I got stuck in the middle where some of the research findings get very detailed, but if you’ve got time and interest, this is a good read.
The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford. I really like this book- a testimony of Leighton Ford’s desire to “pay more attention” to God, rather than being on his own agenda. The book is laid out according to “the Benedictine hours.” He includes excerpts from other authors to illustrate each part of the praying day. I’ve read it twice now; seems like there is still more to glean. If you’re wanting to grow in this area, it’s a keeper. recommended.
The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley. I picked this up at the recommendation of a friend. The main character is Flavia DeLuce, who is an 11 year old girl who is a chemistry genius. I enjoyed it!. Flavia’s deductive reasoning and skills of observation are stellar. Her dabblings in chemistry interested me, due to my background in science. A fun summer read.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Kim Edwards. Reading this for a book club, it is the story of two families, whose destinies are based on the effects of a well-intentioned lie. The lie leaves no room for grief; the stifled grief leaves no room for comfort in the relationships. While the medications of choice are predictable, the courageous character embodied by the nurse is admirable. Demonstrates the real value of being fully known and fully accepted.
Faces of Rage, Damico. What I took away from this book was a different perspective on rage. I would tend to think of it as the volatile emotional outburst. His view is that we all have rage, because we have all experienced losses. And depending on the losses we have experienced, we have written our own rules for life in order to be accepted and survive. Growing as a believer in Christ means recognizing & repenting from these self-protective strategies that hide who we really are. Challenging to apply for sure.
The Wisdom of the Enneagram and Understanding the Enneagram. Riso and Hudson. I recently had some exposure to this means of understanding human nature. Their books are easy to read and understand and give a pretty good overall understanding of the enneagram.
Love Does, Bob Goff. I grew up as a young Christian reading things like Ann Kiemel Anderson’s stories of seeing God work in amazing ways because she was willing to step out and do stuff. As I was reading Bob Goff’s stories, I had the same feelings- inspired, motivated by the generosity of his point of view, his willingness to see what will happen if he “does” stuff. If you are new in your faith, or just need a pick me up, encouraging book, this one will make you long for the adventure of walking with Jesus in a way that impacts the world around you.
The End of Leadership, Barbara Kellerman. a documentation of the changes in concepts of leadership and an exploration of the factors that challenge it in the 21st century. Thought-provoking. She takes the leadership development industry to task. Main thought: leaders are only as good as their followers. People who refuse to be led can frustrate the ideas of any leader. I’d like to read her book on Followership.
The Leadership Ellipse: Shaping How We Lead by Who We Are, Robert A. Fryling. an interesting read about the two foci for those who lead organizations with spiritual missions. One focus is around our relationship with God, and the other is around the function and leadership of the organization. Drawing on his experience leading the field for Inter-Varsity, Fryling does a good job describing the tensions that are inherent with this kind of leadership.
The King Saul Syndrome. Jonathan Martin. A study of King Saul and Jonathan, the contrast in their character and in particular their use of power is the focus of this short book. Martin encourages the reader to think seriously about your use of power – for your own kingdom, or to build others up. He moves into a good look at contemporary and cultural views of leadership. Thought provoking. Insightful. challenging. Recommended for anyone in leadership or aspiring to leadership.
Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus. John Ortberg. Wow! I love this book! Ortberg’s research into the realities of Rome at the time of Jesus help you see Him in a fresh way and appreciate the changes He introduced that I personally have taken for granted. Worth reading for the insights into the background only but way more than that. This has to make the list for the best reads of 2013. Highly Recommended.
Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul, Lance Witt. “Godly leadership is always from the inside out,” Witt writes in the introduction. It’s a good summary of the book as well. He writes from experience about what it takes to lead from a healthy place, from a healthy soul. Citing ambition, isolation, and self-deception as a recipe for disaster, he goes on to identify causes and prescriptions for keeping a leader’s soul healthy for ministry. Recommended.
The World Cafe: Shaping our Futures through Conversations that Matter, Juanita Brown with David Isaacs. Interesting book about the use of conversation, the use of good questions and unhurried time to generate new ideas and problem-solving. An application of the Knowledge Cafe idea – very interesting read if you’re looking for alternative ways for dialog and breakthroughs.
Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain. If you are an introvert, or you live with, work with, or are friends with an introvert, this book is worth your time. Full of interesting facts and relevant examples, Susan Cain makes the case for introverts in a world where extraverted behavior is considered the norm, the only acceptable form of sociability and/or leadership. Recommended.
Informed Consent, Sandra Glahn. fiction, a good read -combination of life dramas and medical ethics. I felt for the different characters and the choices that they needed to make.
Healing the Eight Stages of Life, Linns and Fabricant. Got this title from the Scazzeros blog. A quick read, based on Erik Erikson’s life stages, the authors identify key developmental stages and related injuries that thwart growth. Each chapter has spiritual exercises to bring God into those circumstances through healing prayer.
Talk, Inc.: how trusted leaders use conversation to power their organizations, Groysberg & Slind. a refreshing read on creating organizational conversation as opposed to traditional corporate communications. As we are living out shared leadership, the “I’s” (intimacy, inclusion, interactivity) can serve as a guide to designing a good conversation process. Lots of illustrations about different kinds of means to foster communication among leaders.
Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg. very insightful book about habits and research into how we form them. Particularly interesting is the chapter on habits and movements! lessons to learn from the civil rights movement and Saddleback Church. I found it very relevant to our mission. You won’t be able to view Target Store coupons the same way after reading this book- connects marketing with personal habit.
Spiritual Warfare for Women, Leighann McCoy. Written in light of her own journey, the author raises many valuable points. She does limit herself to means of spiritual attack that are true of married women with children whose husbands are pastors. I found myself wishing for some additional chapters that would aim at women in other categories. What I particularly like is at the end of each chapter are key truths to apply with Scriptures.
No Other Gods, Kelly Minter. I just kept reading. The author has a way of getting you to consider ways that idolatry surfaces in your heart by her own story-telling. She makes astute observations about human tendencies. I want to go back to it– there were multiple pages turned down to re-read.
Wrecked, by Jeff Goins. A call to get out of your comfort zone whether from in front of the TV, or behind a desk, Jeff describes what happens we actually do what the Spirit prompts us to do. We are wrecked for any other kind of life. Honest about the pulls of affluence and the naivete of early enthusiasm, he paints a picture of following hard after Jesus into the places where compassion is most needed. A good read for anyone who wants to live for the line, not the dot.
A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. How’s your prayer life? A friend of mine once said she had the same guilty feeling as when her dental hygienist asked if she flossed. Paul Miller changes the question– what if you had a praying life? I loved this book. He poked through all kinds of rituals and language we have about prayer to really challenge me. As you go through the day, what kinds of things do you never think of praying about because you already think you know the answer? Yes, it was convicting but also refreshing. Made me think more deeply about being child-like in faith. Recommended!
The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning. Thought-provoking as always, Manning reflects on what it means to belong to the Father. I’m going back for a second read and to do the exercises at the end of each chapter.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Schaffer & Barrows. A delightful read, perfect for vacation. Charmingly humorous, the story is told through a series of letters written back and forth between an author and the people who lived through the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. I laughed out loud and couldn’t help reading probably a third of it out loud to my sister. And she laughed, too!
The me i always wanted to be, John Ortberg. Best thought so far: Your relationship with God is not defined by your devotional life. The author helps the reader understand different pathways, strengths and gifts to live a life of worship according to the way each is made.
The God Who Sees You: Look to Him when you feel Discouraged, Forgotten or Invisible, Tammy Maltby & Ann Christian Buchanan. I picked this up as a Kindle deal, because of the title. Perhaps I was feeling discouraged or something (I’m not sure now). What I found was a revisit of the truths about God that sustain us when we hit seasons of discouragement, or feeling like nobody does really know us. The book is refreshing & encouraging. I recommend it.
Leading Across Cultures, James E. Plueddemann. A must read for anybody involved in multi-national or multi-cultural leadership. Plueddemann looks at a number of cultural studies (Hofstede, Globe, etc) and identifies characteristics that affect dynamics in multi-cultural teams. I found myself nodding as I read through it, putting words to some of my experiences, and giving insight into others.
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins. The second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy kept me reading til the end. As with the first, the characters are compelling. The twists in the story keep the reader engaged with what unpredictable situation will surface next.
The Disciplined Life, Calvin Miller. This material is adapted from an earlier book, Into the Depths of God. I have not read the previous material. This one is short, but FULL of challenging thoughts on our appetites, especially our hunger for God. He tackles three competitors – sensuality, materialism and time. Well worth the read. Challenging.
Humilitas: A lost key to life, love, and Leadership, by John Dickson. An intriguing study about the history of the idea of humility being traced back to the crucifixion of Christ– humility always being understood as distinct from humiliation because of Jesus. Short, and full of interesting historical and etymological facts.
Parables of the Christ-life, Lillias Trotter. Miss Trotter looks at the natural process a plant goes through in order to develop a seed pod as a metaphor for fruit-bearing in a Christian. While she describes plants that I am unfamiliar with, and the edition has no pictures, her writing highlights the fact that a plant gives all its energy into developing seeds. All that is left is the dried up plant, but the seeds disperse and the plant is born again.
The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson. a fresh approach to what has been called “prevailing prayer.” Mark Batterson tells his own prayer journey/testimony and encourages the reader to believe God for big things by “praying them through.” An interesting part of the book corroborates what I have read in other works- that which we set our minds upon influences us in our actions. He lays out an argument that what we are praying about primes us to recognize the answers and opportunities when they come. The title is part of the encouragement – draw a chalk circle around yourself and pray for God to bring revival within that circle! I was encouraged and challenged. Looking for chalk now.
Drive, Daniel H. Pink. A study on motivation highlighting the need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose in any of our endeavors to sustain motivation. Worthwhile for leaders to understand that typical reward systems are often over-rated while often under-utilized strategies like giving people the outcomes and letting them work out the how’s are more effective in keeping people engaged in their work. I confess I had some difficulty through the middle of this book. it got a little dry in the middle.
Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. A story well told is difficult to put down. that’s how I felt reading this book. It’s a quick read and will make you think about what is right even in the face of danger to self. I read it for a book club, but I’ll probably read the sequels!
Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin. a fabulous look at Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet, composed of his rivals, hence the title. This book gives an insightful look at Abraham Lincoln’s character, intellect and relational ability, as well as those leaders around him. Highly recommended.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story, Donald Miller. This is probably my favorite of the year so far, because Donald Miller takes a good look at his own life in the context of editing the movie. He’s funny and authentic and makes choices in light of living a better story. Inspirational, good example of the faith steps needed for personal growth.
The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Jerry Bridges. Jerry Bridges emphasizes the power of the Gospel in our daily lives– spends time unpacking the truth of the Gospel and key disciplines that help with life change.
Ultimate Leadership: Winning Execution Strategies for your Situation,
Russell E. Palmer. Mr. Palmer looks at the context of your situation as a basis for selecting the appropriate leader and influence style for great execution.
Becoming a Talent Champion, Corporate Executive Board. very short presentation of research done by the CEB on which talent strategies really work. Helpful if you’re trying to convince executive leaders which talent strategies work- lots of data.