I am reading way more than I ever have in years. I’ve been reading books, blogs, magazines — I’m reading anything to learn and grow in my character and leadership.

This past year, I set a goal to read 15 books to develop myself — I increased that number from 10 books in 2013. I’m glad to say that I was able to do it! 15 books! A personal milestone.

If someone like me can find time to read between being married, raising two kids, volunteering at church, and engaging in a dynamic 40+ hr/wk career, then you can too! I promise! Here are some tips from last year’s blog post.

Original Photo Courtesy of Loughborough University Library (cc)

Original Photo Courtesy of Loughborough University Library (cc)

Here are my favorites from 2014 and a short blurb of how I will apply them in 2015. The books are as follows (in no specific order):

My Top 10 Book from 2014

1. Rework

by Jason Fried

This book challenges the sacred cows of organizational culture: meetings, workaholics, long-term planning, team management, etc. I’ve eliminated many meetings from my schedule and have also learned how to manage my team remotely. Also, I relearned “work smarter, not harder”.

2. Crush It!

by Gary Vaynerchuck

This book was inspiring. It’s the tale of a young Russian immigrant entrepreneur in the wine business. He crushes the wine industry with a strong work ethic! This book reinforced my passion to work toward my dreams. It also gave me some great tips for utilizing social media. Fun book!

3. Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

This book was strangely exciting. Gladwell takes mundane data and expresses it in story format — which I love. He illustrates that success is not a fluke. It takes work, focus, and perseverance. It has encouraged me to examine my successes in work and life.

4. The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferriss

Ok, Tim Feriss seems like a pompous jerk. I don’t want to be like him, but I do admire the concept of DEAL — definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. These principles have helped me accomplish much more in less time! Balancing two kids, a busy schedule, and a dynamic career just got a tad easier!

5. Essentialism

by Greg McKeown

Wow, this is such a simple concept, but it has reengineered the way I view life, problems, and creativity. The first thing I did was throw away clutter. Everywhere. It was refreshing — it was liberating. Then I started focusing in on what mattered most. Insightful book.

6. The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield

This is a magical little book. I read it three times! I never do that! I don’t jive with the author’s idea of muses and such, but there was something “so right” captured in this book about the struggle of creatives. I feel increased passion to create, write blogs/music, cook, lead, and deliver talks. It’s a beautiful endeavor to create something!

7. Real Life

by James Choung

My colleague and friend, James Choung, has done it again! He has taken the concept of discipleship and made it practical, clear, and profound. The model that he shares at the end of the book is gold. I have used this book several times to train staff and students in discipleship/evangelism.

8. Telling the Gospel Through Story

by Christine Dillon

I enjoyed reading this book. The overall premise of the book was to help us share stories from the Bible in a powerful way. “Storying” is more effective than outdated evangelism tools — I would agree. I have used this book to help students and staff share the Story of God through their own personal stories.

9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by J.K. Rowling

I loved “The Goblet of Fire”. It’s my favorite book so far in the series — haha, but I have said that after each book so far. Rowling is a great story teller. I have heard that the Potter series is one of the most read books of all time after the Bible. It has definitely shaped the generation that is stepping onto campus. Fun book!

10. Pentecostal Gifts and Ministries in the Postmodern Era

by James K. Bridges

It took me over 2 years to get through this book, because theological books are not the easiest for me to read. But this book gives a solid framework for the 16 fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God. There are a few doctrines which I am still processing, but I appreciate the clarity of this book.

“Sneak Peek” for 2015 Book List

Here’s a sneak peek of my 2015 book list. I am trying to read 20 books this year. It’s ambitious, but some of these books I have already started and are already in progress. I’m excited to learn more and apply more to my life and my leadership.

  1. EntreLeader by Dave Ramsey (finished in January)
  2. The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner (finished in January)
  3. Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller (in progress)
  4. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (in progress)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (in progress)
  6. The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright (in progress)
  7. Jesus is Greater than Religion by Jefferson Bethke (in progress)
  8. Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith
  9. Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
  10. Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  11. 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
  12. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
  13. Influencer by Joseph Grenny
  14. Multiplier by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown
  15. Holy Spirit is not For Sale by J. Lee Grady
  16. Beyond Awkward by Beau Crosetto
  17. Closing the Window by Tim Chester
  18. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  19. Mahatma Gandhi: Non-Violent Power in Action by Dennis Dalton
  20. A Call to Conscience: Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson

Make Time to Read this Year!

Along with the above-mentioned books, I read the Bible almost everyday. Reading has made me think about the world differently, challenged my preconceived notions, and made me a better person. Don’t make excuses as you start this year! Make time to read — listen to books while your exercise, drive, or when doing chores around the house. Take action! You are an Everyday World Changer. Start today!

Affiliate Disclosure: All of these book links are affiliate links — which means that your purchases through these Amazon links will help support this blog! Sweet, right? You will NOT have to pay any extra. Thank you in advance for using these links!

Do you have any recommendations for books to read in 2015? Please comment below.