We are halfway through 2019 by now. It’s a good time to reflect on how the year has gone so far and what you might want to do differently to finish it out more intentionally. It’s also a time for me to take stock of my reading so far this year.
Here are the books I’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 I’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 lawyer’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 she’s learned about marriage and infidelity. While it certainly isn’t from a Christian point of view, I found many of her observations profound.
- The Introvert’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.
- Who’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 FBI’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 (I’m doing that more these days) and I continue to be challenged by Peterson’s simple, yet profound understanding of the role of a pastor.
- Wild Bill by Tom Clavin (3). I suppose I’ve always had a soft spot for the Wild West since I’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 didn’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 didn’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 Holiday’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 isn’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. It’s from a very secular perspective but is loaded with ideas that will make you think in unique ways.