We are 75% through 2019 by now. In Oregon, that means the beauty of Fall is all around us and the weather has a chill to it. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and a good opportunity to check in on the books I’ve read so far. I’m feeling good about being 9 books ahead of my goal of reading 60 total this year.
Here are the books Iâ€™ve read since January with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.
In addition to this list, you might also check out:
- my reading lists from previous years
- recommendations on how to become a better reader
- my top 15 theology books
- the 2 books Iâ€™ve personally written
- my goodreads account
Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it.
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (4). A heartbreaking look at one lawyerâ€™s experience in defending those unjustly accused because of a system of racism. Every American should read this book.
- The Captain Class by Sam Walker (3.5). A fascinating look at the leadership engine behind the greatest sports teams in history. Shows the impact a captain can make on the rest of a team.
- Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen (4). Looks at the biases of American history textbooks and all of the things they get wrong about history. Has fascinating implications not only on history, but on how we teach others.
- The State of Affairs by Esther Perel (3.5). A therapist tells the lessons sheâ€™s learned about marriage and infidelity. While it certainly isnâ€™t from a Christian point of view, I found many of her observations profound.
- The Introvertâ€™s Edge by Matthew Pollard (3). This is focused primarily on developing your salesmanship, but I appreciated many of his insights into leveraging introversion.
- The Great World House by Hak Joon Lee (1). I read this for a seminary class. The content is solid but it is a very dry academic read.
- Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (4). A classic written decades ago that frames the narrative of Jesus into those who are oppressed in our country today.
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards (4.5). This was extremely thought-provoking and challenged a number of my views on passages from Scripture. A great way to challenge your biases.
- Whoâ€™s In Charge Here? by Jay Link (2.5). A great little primer on the concept of stewardship. Could be used for group discussions too.
- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (4). A fascinating look into the art of negotiating from one of the FBIâ€™s lead hostage negotiators.
- Better Together by Jim Tomberlin (4). A great study on the concept of church mergers and how churches can often be better together through joining in a multisite model.
- Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport (5). Newport strikes again. A brilliant look at the effects of our online use today and compelling suggestions at how to change your habits for the good.
- Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi (3). A gripping story that puts you into the shoes of a refugee stuck in a civil war in Yemen and trying to find a way out.
- Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley (4). This was my second time through this and I think I liked it better. Stanley is so loaded with a practical heartbeat for what the church needs to be.
- The Pastor by Eugene Peterson (3.5). This was my second time through this one as well (Iâ€™m doing that more these days) and I continue to be challenged by Petersonâ€™s simple, yet profound understanding of the role of a pastor.
- Wild Bill by Tom Clavin (3). I suppose Iâ€™ve always had a soft spot for the Wild West since Iâ€™m from Arizona. This story was an interesting look into a life that was far more engaging than fiction might imply.
- Do You Talk Funny by David Nihill (2). A look at how to communicate with humor. Felt a little basic and didnâ€™t live up to my hopes for it. The audiobook is worth it for his accent though.
- Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls (3). The first half of the book was great but it felt like it lost steam on the second half. Does a good job at looking at polarizing issues of Christianity.
- Irresistible by Andy Stanley (5). Stunning. I normally go to Andy for leadership or preaching wisdom, but this book drips theology in a profound way. Shows how the church must change to be relevant in the future.
- What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg (3). An older classic that was recommended by an author I admire. Shows an insightful look at unfiltered ambition, but it didnâ€™t connect with me on a deeper level.
- The Fourth Age by Byron Reese (3.5). A great look at how technology will shape our future. Provides an optimistic look at what might be ahead as artificial intelligence enters the scene in a big way.
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday (4). I like Holidayâ€™s style and this book was like a good pep talk. Encourages you to see issues in your life as opportunities.
- Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely (4.5). I really enjoyed this book and the numerous stories and analogies Ariely uses to make his points. An enjoyable book on money and why we get weird with it.
- White Awake by Daniel Hill (3). This is a good primer on beginning to recognize the way being a white person shapes your view of the world.
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (4.5). This book surprised me with how much I enjoyed reading it. Foer does a fantastic job showing the role memory plays in our life.
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann (5). This was my third time through this in as many years. I want to read it 100 times in my life.
- The Art of Invisibility by Kevin D. Mitnick (2.5). Mitnick raised my awareness of the realities of technology today. My goal isnâ€™t to be invisible online, but he definitely caused me to be more intentional.
- 108 Stitches by Ron Darling (2). I love all things baseball and this was a great collection of stories. It feels a bit random in its layout and lack of flow.
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (4.5). This book fascinated me all the way through. Itâ€™s from a very secular perspective but is loaded with ideas that will make you think in unique ways.
- When Women Ruled the World by Kara Cooney (4). A fasinating look at Egyptian Pharoahs who were women and the conditions in which this happened.
- The Last Pirate of New York by Rich Cohen (3). I was expecting this book to be more epic based on itâ€™s premise. Felt like it couldnâ€™t keep up with what it claimed to be. Still an interesting story though.
- Infinite Baseball by Alvin Noe (4). I love baseball and Noe dives deep into the nuances of the game and some connections to life.
- Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (3). Feels weird to rate a book from a skeptic trying to talk Christians out of being Christian. Harrisâ€™ problem is that he focuses on the Bible rather than Jesus.
- Calypso by David Sedaris (3.5). I picked this up on a whim and really enjoyed Sedarisâ€™ writing style. He invites you to reflect on life in a unique way.
- Full Count by David Cone (2.5). I love baseball and I love the Yankees. Cone both played for them and is now an announcer for them. This is his story of playing and the lessons he learned.
- If Itâ€™s Not Funny Itâ€™s Art by Demetri Martin (3). This is sort of a comicbook for adults. Martin shares drawings of interesting aspects of life.
- On Cussing by Catherine Dunn (2). An interesting look at language and the cultural understandings we have with profanity.
- The Church of Us Vs. Them by David Fitch (3). A much needed look on how the church needs to stop viewing everyone as enemies and learn to engage with one another in new ways.
- Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman (3). A fascinating look at the original texts of Scripture and how it has been passed down to us. Getâ€™s a bit too technical at times.
- Darwin Devolves by Michael Behe (3.5). Really interesting premise on some weaknesses in the theory of evolution and argues for the logic of intelligent design.
- How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon by Frank Thomas (3). Thomas does a good job arguing for what makes a powerful sermon and then applies this filter on some of the most profound sermons yet given.
- Empty Planet by Darrell Bricker (5). Was not expecting to be so enthralled by the premise of this book. Bricker argues that in about 30 years the worldâ€™s population will climax and then fall indefinitely. Has profound impact on the decisions we make in the upcoming years.
- The Art of Listening Prayer by Seth Barnes (3). I appreciate this style of a prayer and I find it beneficial to have in the toolbox for Christians.
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (1). This was my second time through this thinking that I must have missed it the first time (13 years ago). Eggers might be a genius but this one isnâ€™t for me.
- The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt (4.5). Loved the argument of this book and I keep thinking about itâ€™s practical implications for all sorts of things. Great for teachers or communicators.
- God Still Speaks by A.W. Tozer (2). A collection of some of his old works. The first two are great but the third was laughably dated.
- Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole (3.5). Cole does a great job looking at how a church or organization can practically do a better job empowering women.
- Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday (4.5). Iâ€™m a huge fan of Holidayâ€™s and this one did not disappoint. Itâ€™s a shot of electricity for anyone who makes things for a living.
- Prayer by Justin McRoberts (1). I love the premise of this book but felt like it way under-delivered.
- Antifragile by Nassim Taleb (3). Much of this book was over my head but I love the premise and the parts I could hang with. Taleb would be a fun guy to have dinner with.
- Educated by Tara Westover (3). She tells her story growing up as a fundamentalist Mormon in Idaho. Shows the way our ideas play out in relationships and over generations.
- The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley (3). Challenges the notion that everything is getting worse and asks what kind of optimism we should have based on the progress we continue to see.
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (5). This is peak Gladwell and the audiobook is the way to go on this one. He makes you think about so many of the interactions we have each day.
- The Intelligence Trap by David Robson (4). A great follow-up to Gladwellâ€™s book. Why do smart people do dumb things?
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