Summer Reading 2015
I have had an excellent summer connecting with many great churches and leaders across the country. It's an honor for me and my family to serve alongside so many of you. I wanted to share a snapshot of the books I read and listened to this summer. With so much travel time I had opportunities to get a few books in so here is my list from Summer 2015 (in no particular order). Stiff by Mary Roach. This book describes what happens to the bodies of dead people. It is a curiously morbid, and honest, look at society's dealings with courses. Fascinating and respectful; Roach speaks frankly and humorously about a taboo subject.
The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman. Here we have an account of America's most prized spy of the Cold War. Full of tension, daring, and intrigue, this book captures so many emotions from a dramatic chapter in U.S.-Russia relations. This is a history that reads more like a novel.
Simplify by Bill Hybles. This is a great read for anyone looking to "unclutter their soul." Practical and applicable, this book perscribes simple ways to make drastic changes to the patterns of your life. It is a survey of personal organization and spiritual living. What it lacks in depth it makes up for in big picture life-balance.
Cultivate by Jeff Myers. This book is a modern guide to developing and managing mentoring relationships. It is practical, prescriptive, and well organized. I found it to be a good check-list of mentoring do's and don't's. Nothing here blew my mind but Myers does a good job structuring his thoughts here. Its a good read for someone looking to develop more intentional mentoring relationships.
Adult Learning by Merriam and Bierema. We take a look at adult learning, otherwise referred to as andragogy. If that sounds a bit academic that is because it is. This is more of a text book that focuses on enabling independent and self guided learners. It is a relatively new theory of education and one that is rising in many teaching environments. Its a good book but definitely for a niche audience.
Influence by Robert Cialdini. I read the fifth edition of this seminar work on the "psychology of compliance." It may be better titled "Manipulation." Neither good or bad, Cialdini describes the methods used to get people to do stuff. There are some good takeaways here but I felt like it was a handbook for exploitation.
First Steps Out by Christy McFerren. This book describes one woman's struggle with homosexuality and how she transitioned back toward a Biblical view of sexuality. It is billed as a guide for Christians who are struggling to relate to gay loved ones. Written from the perspective of one person I found this book to be transparent, sincere, but a bit limited in application. I think this is a good read for those starting to form a Christian response to alternate views of sexuality today.
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. This is a biography of the ever ambitious Elon Musk. This book chronicles his life from childhood and focuses on the foundation of Tesla, SpaceX, and other "moon shot" ideas from the eccentric billionaire. Often billed as the real world Tony Stark, Musk has a propensity for the profound. I was not, however, a big fan of the book. The author put too much of herself in it and tainted the narrative with an overwhelming sense of subjectivity and sympathy.
Restless Giant by James Patterson. This is the most current installment in the Oxford History of the United States which describes the people and events from "Watergate to Bush v. Gore." It is an epic tale of an epic time. It was strange to read "history" that I could remember as a young adult. The Oxford series has been a highlight for me over the past few years I can would recommend it without hesitation.
The Frontiers Saga by Ryk Brown. This is actually three books lumped into one free kindle download. It is a classic syfi tale of space exploration and combat. How classic? "Jump drive" classic. It is fun and what amounts to the freshman episodes of a super-senior series. It was simple, it was fun and I would definitely recommend it.
From Colony to Superpower by George Herring. This book is epic. It describes the foreign policy of the United States from 1776 and is full of insight and global intrigue. I have found this book so helpful in understanding my own country and it's relationship with other countries around the world. Americans can develop tunnel vision when it comes to world events but reading a book like this definitely helps open up to the international nature of our countries history.
Angels of Attack by Marko Kloos. Here we have another fun science fiction action novel. If you are down with giant aliens, space marines, and tough-guy-future-grit then this book is for you. It is really fun read and Kloos is a master at pacing in his novels. He is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. I re-read this book over the summer. It is quick, to the point, and full of insight. This book does a great job to highlight some of the tension felt in the Christian world today. There are many Jesus followers who are discontent with the state of "Christianity" in America. Lyons address some of these tensions and prescribes a path forward for the future of the Church.
Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne. I kicked off my summer with this read and it compliments Lyon's "The Next Christians" well. Osborne is a gifted writer and thinker. He describes a way of thinking and behaving for Christians who find themselves living in an adversarial world. He pulls from the Biblical story of Daniel who found himself living in similar conditions. It is worth your time and a great step toward reconciling a Christian worldview in a post-Christianity culture.