TOP 10 BOOKS THAT SHAPED ME THIS YEAR (AND HOW I FOUND MORE TIME TO READ)
I would not call myself an avid reader. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, I could count on one hand how many books I’ve read from cover to cover… Sad. I know! Don’t judge me. Haha.
But I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to read more. Not simply for the sake of knowledge. I wanted to become a better husband, father, son, brother, leader, speaker, writer, and friend, etc. I was determined to make progress. And in many ways I have become a better person through reading!
Here are 10 books that I read (or re-read) this year that have made a difference in my life. I hope you pick some of these books to read in 2014!
Top 10 “Finished Reading”
1. Great By Choice
by Jim Collins
This is a very insightful book! It helped me see how to lead my team during uncertain times. Principles like “20 Mile March”, “Fire Bullets, then Cannonballs”, and “Lead Above the Death Line” are clear and effective.
2. Difficult Conversations
by Douglas Stone
This book helped me see the realities that undergird difficult conversations. It is more than just the facts. It is also about the stories and the emotions behind conflict. Get down to what matters most! This came in handy many times!
by Michael Hyatt
This book has given me insight on everything I do on my blog! From defining my target audience to writing each blog post, this book is extremely helpful. I even learned how to utilize social media to broaden my influence. Read this book!
4. The Great Divorce
by C.S. Lewis
I read this book while discipling one of the guys at my church. We were inspired by this fictional representation of the afterlife. I have a richer view of life on earth and in the Kingdom. Great read!
5. True Story
by James Choung
I read this book while preparing Evangelism Training for the students in my region. This book took my view of the Gospel and expanded it! It also gave me a new method of sharing my faith with others! James is a great friend too!
6. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
by John C. Maxwell
I asked each member of my team to read this book about two years ago. Since then, I have read portions of it again and again. Each of these laws are crystal clear and super practical. It made a difference. I highly recommend it.
by David Platt
8. Walking from East to West
by Ravi Zacharias
Wow. This book spoke to my soul in a profound way. Hearing the autobiographical narrative of Ravi Zacharias’ life brought me joy, tears, and a sense of renewed purpose. It goes by so fast. Read it!
9. In the Name of Jesus
by Henri Nouwen
This book was given to me by my first InterVarsity staff worker, Erin Vogt. I have read this book at least 4 times! I gave it away this year to one of my awesome students. Powerful and amazing book about true leadership!
10. Harry Potter (Books 1-3)
by J.K. Rowling
I know I am late in reading this series! Wow, I devoured the first three books. It has helped me create illustrations for new talks to connect with the current college student. I can’t wait to continue reading!
Top 5 “Not Finished Yet”
Here are a few books that are absolutely worth mentioning. Though I haven’t finished reading them, these books are already making an impact on my life. I hope you check out these books too! (Perhaps they will be good Christmas presents!)
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright
- The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner
- Pentecostal Gifts and Ministries in a Post-Modern Era by James Bridges
How I Found More Time to Read!
So how did I do it? I found more time to read by changing three specific things. I focused myself by creating new and practical disciplines, getting strong and regular accountability, and utilizing technology to make everything easier.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Start a morning ritual where you read the Bible (YouVersion) and various blog posts (Feedly)
- Start using your daily commute to listen to books
- Start an evening ritual where you read a portion of a book before going to sleep
- Ask spiritual mentors to suggest books and hold you accountable to finish the books
- Ask your team (coworkers) to read books as a part of professional development
- Join groups that are reading through specific books so you can stay on track
- Start using something like a Barnes and Noble NOOK to take books with you everywhere
- Join Audible.com and listen to books while exercising and commuting to/from work
- Use your smart phone to listen/read books when you have open time during the day
Make a commitment to read more this year!
Reading has changed my perspective, sparked my creativity, and renewed my spirit. I know it can do the same for you. Don’t make excuses as you start the new year! Start a new discipline of reading. Find people to hold you accountable. Use technology to make it easier for you! You have the potential to be a better person through reading. Take action! You are an Everyday World Changer. Start today!