This post was originally posted on an old personal blog that has since been deleted. I was inspired by Ryan Holiday to start recording the books I read through the year. I love to track what I read to make sure that I am still growing and pushing myself. Here is my 2016 Reading List. Later this month I’ll share my full reading list for 2017.
Every year I share the list of all the books I’ve read along with the lessons I’ve learned, my favorites quotes, and my top picks. I hope you can find a great book to read on this year’s Reading List.
Why should everyone read books?
Reading great books gives you access to some of the brightest minds and most innovative leaders in a field. This kind of access you most likely will never get in person, especially to the extent of written form.
I’d love to get Andy Stanley’s advice on my preaching.
I’d love to talk with Susan Cain about being introverted.
It would be incredible to talk with Chuck Swindoll about leading a church.
I can’t imagine the amount of wisdom Ryan Holiday has about writing and spreading ideas that matter.
But here’s the problem with that…
The odds of meeting any of those people are slim to none.
And you know what’s even less likely?
Convincing them that they should spend a few hours with me so that they can answer all of life questions.
It’s a selfish request.
Especially because they’ve all written books on those exact topics.
They all have “Leadership at Scale”. James Clear has talked about how writing is his way to lead others in a way that is scalable. He spends several hours writing an article and it gets sent out to his 400,000 email subscribers. Chuck Swindoll writes “Grace Awakening” and millions of people were impacted by it.
A few years ago Susan Cain released the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. It took her several years of researching, writing, and editing until the book was finally published.
It is the greatest work I’ve read on the subject of introversion.
Andy Stanley, one of the best communicators in the church today, co-authored a book on how to change people’s lives through communication.
What’s the common thread here?
These thought leaders—innovative minds and experts in their fields— have spent months or years writing so that they could share their knowledge, strategies, and ideas.
If you’re willing to sit still and read a book, you can learn from the masters and leaders in any industry.
Reading is an opportunity to learn from these leaders.
2016 Reading List: Favorites are linked
- Gray Mountain by John Grisham
- Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields
- Who Needs Theology? By Grenz & Olson
- Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner
- Exploring Christian Theology vol.1 by Holsteen and Svigel
- Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll
- He that is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer
- Survivor by Vince Flynn
- The Guilty by David Baldacci
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
- Postmodernism by White
- Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption by Glenn Kreider
- Christian Theology by Alister McGrath
- Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere
- How to Read the Bible as Literature by Leland Ryken
- Methodical Bible Study by Robert Traina
- Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy B. Zuck
- Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- Inerrancy by Norman Geisler
- Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie
- Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
- The Story of Christianity vol. 1 by Justo Gonzalez
- The Story of Christianity vol. 2 by Justo Gonzalez
- John Calvin: A Biography by T.H.L. Parker
- Exploring Christian Theology vol. 2 by Burns, Holsteen, Svigel
- Theological Anthropology by Patout Burns
- Angels and the New Spirituality by Duane Garrett
- Darkness is My Only Companion by Kathryn Greene-McCreight
- Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
- Doctrine of Humanity by Charles Sherlock
- Not the Way its Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin by Cornelius Plantinga
- Quiet by Susan Cain
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Lesson Learned: A New Understanding of Grace
Grace Awakening, by Chuck Swindoll, is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. Chuck took the simple concept of grace, and opened my eyes to the incredible implications of it.
Chuck’s words about grace are challenging and convicting, but most of all–freeing.
We often forget that God’s grace for us is the grace we must share with others. We look down on people and put unrealistic expectations on them. We expect perfection and righteous behavior at all times.
When you understand God’s grace, you will realize that you had absolutely nothing to do with it.
God saved you. God chose you. He redeemed you.
And it is God who is still working in you today as you mature in your faith.
Without God, no one could even choose to follow Him.
Chuck Swindoll says this: “Once we grasp its [grace for our sin] vertical significance as a free gift from God, much of horizontal grace–our extending it to others–automatically falls into place.”
When I read this, the doctrine of grace finally fell into place. I had grown up in the church, worked a few different churches, and finally, in my first week of seminary after following Christ for 12 years, God used those simple words to convict me of the legalism deeply rooted in my heart.
You see, I loved grace for myself. I was deeply thankful to God for his grace on my life, but struggled to share that same, unconditional grace, with others.
Grasping the vertical grace we have is simply understanding that God’s gift to us is entirely free.
His free, unmerited gift of grace has saved us.
How can we, who have been freely forgiven, not forgive others?
How can we who have been unconditionally loved, not love unconditionally?
9 Quotes from this Year’s Reading
“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” Quiet
“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Quiet
“What if you love knowledge for its own sake, not necessarily as a blueprint to action? What if you wish there were more, not fewer reflective types in the world?” Quiet
“Ponder this: if the Father is satisfied with his Son’s full payment for sin, and we are in his Son by grace through faith, then He is satisfied with you and me. How long must Christians live before we finally believe that?” Grace Awakening
“Grace releases people not only from sin but from shame.” Grace Awakening
“That is why a spiritually sound person disciplines her life by such spiritual exercises as prayer, fasting, confession, worship, and reflective walks through cemeteries.” Not the Way its Supposed to Be
“The end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-perpetuating marketing machine that reaches millions by itself.” Growth Hacker Marketing
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” Outliers
“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.” Outliers
In 2016, 24 of the 33 books I read were for seminary. That workload certainly won’t lessen in 2017. But I am hoping to have a bit more variety in my reading this next year. Here are just a few of the “book goals” I have.
A book that will challenge me in an area that matters most—Marriage book
A book that brings you back to your childhood—Chronicles of Narnia
A book that’s been on your list for quite some time—The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
If you’re looking for a list of great books to read, check out my Reading List. It’s a running list of the books that have changed my life or deeply impacted the way I think. You can read my 100 word summaries before picking one to buy for yourself!