Well, it’s that time of year again. Every year I like to keep track of the books I read and then take a look back at what shaped me and what stood out most. First, the list – then I’ll give you some thoughts on some of my favorites.
- The Barbarian Way – McManus
- The Bourne Identity – Ludlum
- Things Fall Apart – Achebe
- Notes from Underground – Dostoevsky
- The Bourne Supremacy – Ludlum
- The New Rules of Love, Sex and Dating – Stanley
- The Bourne Ultimatum – Ludlum
- Vanishing Grace – Yancey
- Let Your Life Speak – Parker
- Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good – Wright
- Good Leaders Ask Great Questions – Maxwell
- Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff – Moore
- Scary Close – Miller
- Leadership Pain – Chand
- The Silver Chair – C.S. Lewis
- Inside the Box: A proven system of creativity for breakthrough results – Boyd, Goldenberg
- Procrastinate on Purpose – Vaden
- The ABCs of Financial Freedom – Cameron
- The Key to Everything – Keller
- H3 Leadership: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle – Lomenick
- Love, Live, Lead – Brian Houston
- Millones Cajones – Bell
- Leading with the Heart – Krzyzewski
- Coaching 101 – Logan
I started the year with an old favorite, The Barbarian Way by Pastor Erwin McManus. Years ago that book gave me a fresh look at faith that caused me to begin to dream crazy dreams and it was good to dip back in to that.
Five of the next six books I read were fiction, and nine total on the year – which has to be some kind of record for me, at least since college. And of course, that’s if you count The Bourne trilogy as actual books. They were incredibly fun to read and hard to put down. I probably didn’t learn much from them but I do know several ways to turn everyday objects into weapons if need be. So there’s that.
I read Things Fall Apart and Notes from Underground on the recommendation of a friend. I get it. Classic literature isn’t always about entertainment. In this case, they were both kind of laborious, but if I’m honest – they have stuck with me in ways other books haven’t. They disturbed me and weren’t necessarily “fun” reads, but probably important nonetheless. (You’re welcome Jared.)
Probably one of my favorite reads this year was “Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff.” The story is told by “Biff” who was apparently the childhood best friend of Jesus. I laughed out loud a lot reading this while on vacation. It’s disturbing at times, and would be deeply offensive to some I’m sure. But in some weird way it made the humanity of Jesus so much more real to me. I loved it. There’s one scene in particular where Jesus’s cousin John is sort of bullying the other kids and won’t stop dunking them under water which basically had me losing it. So good.
On the leadership end, I think Sam Chand’s “Leadership Pain” was so timely for me and one I’ll come back to again and again, while Matt Keller‘s “The Key to Everything” was probably one that resonated deepest with my own leadership values and beliefs. Matt has been a mentor and a friend to me and his voice has been one of the loudest in my life and for that I’m thankful. It has quickly become the must-read book I give to other leaders. I also really loved Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s book “Leading with the Heart.” I’ll admit, I’m a Duke fan so maybe I’m biased. But anytime I get to mix my love of sports with my love of leadership I’m probably going to say it was awesome no matter what.
Well, that’s the quick rundown of the books that shaped me in 2015. What did I miss? What would you recommend I pick up in 2016?