Top 10 Books of 2012

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Top Ten Books of 2012

Read lots of books, write lots of reviews, discuss your favorites: challenge accepted.

I read over 60 books this year and have been excited to share my top ten with you. I resolved to read a book a week and write a review of these books online. I am proud to say that I have meet my goal with 52 book reviews being posted brentcolby.com in 2012 (check out last years list here). It was no small feat and I am excited to report that I did it! Dont believe me? Click the REVIEWS tab and check them out! It has been a great journey and

It ias been a great year of reading with many highs and lows. I set out to read a little bit of everything. This list consists of different genres, and years of publication. There are simply the books that interested me this past year. Lets get to it: I present my top ten books of 2012.

Ghost in the Wires10. Ghost in the Wires

Kicking off the list is a fun piece of non-fiction. The geek reader will be hard pressed to find a more interesting read based out on real world events.

Kevin Mitnick may be the worlds most notorious hacker. His book, Ghost in the Wires, provides a first hand account of his social exploitation and digital infiltration of the most powerful technology companies of the world. His illegal activities quickly promoted him to number one on the F.B.I.'s most wanted list. Ghost in the Wires recalls each step of the chase as Kevin attempts a life outside the law.

 

 

 

Outliers

9. Outliers

Some more non-fiction camps out at number nine this year. Gladwell is a provocative author setting out on his next disruptive social commentary.

What separates star athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs from the rest of us? What sort of stuff are self made millionaires made of? Malcolm Gladwell tackles the stereotype of the independently successful in his book Outliers. From rags to riches, or riches to rags, each of us are profoundly influenced by our environment. Gladwell argues that there is no such thing as the self made man and that your future is more inherited than earned. His focus is on environmental factors such as date of birth, geography and family heritage. Want to know the best month to be born to become a famous NHL hockey player? What about the right year to become a technology mogul? Gladwell highlights a series of markers that will exert the greatest amount of influence over ones future successes or failures.

 

 

toxiccharity

8. Toxic Charity

 The ocho is held by an extremely influential commentary on the power of helping and hurting through social intervention. This book forced me to question many assumptions I had made about charity and how I interacted with those in need.

Do the charitable acts of your local church do more harm than good? Robert D. Lupton brings up this assuming question in his book Toxic Charity. It is difficult to see how helping people can do them harm. We cringe at words like enabling when showing people love on behalf of Jesus. And it would break our heart to think that our short term missions trips may actually cause harm to the ministries they go to help. Lupton outlines many of the areas where helping can become toxic for those on the receiving end. His arguments are well thought out and quite compelling.

 

art of manliness7. The Art of Manliness

This book has earned a spot on the list due to its resonating influence on my personal life. This was my first read of 2012 and it has stuck with me in a big way. In addition to the safety razor that occupies my bathroom counter, The Art of Manliness provoked my thoughts towards masculinity in today's culture. 

Woah, woah... dont let the title fool you. The Art of Manliness is much more than a collection of macho manisims. Brett and Kay McKay aim to paint a picture of the modern day gentleman. Subjects incude gutting a fish, changing a diaper, landing a plane and delivering a baby: everything you need to know to operate as a true man (see: gentleman). I was surprised by the tone that Brett and Kay took towards the end of the book as they progressed through the superficial qualities of manliness and began to take a closer look at heart matters. I got the feeling that the authors suckered me in with fisticuffs and hit me with paternal advice. It was good! This book lacks any spiritual insight regarding masculinity but still offers a fun look into the life of a modern day gentleman. It was a fun read and I would recommend it for anyone interested in some casual, and sometimes challenging, fun.

Christian Formation6. Christian Formation

This book is a great example of clear and compelling writing. The authors of Christian Formation do a great job at framing the world of spiritual growth. It has been a great help to me and serves as one of the most clear expressions of christian / spiritual / formation / education.

The book titled Christian Formation is a modern look at the intersection between theology and human development. James R. Estep and Johnathan H. Kim stand of the shoulders Piaget, Fowler, and Kohlberg to describe the process by which people become more like Christ. They aim to host a deep and wide discussion around the topic of Christian formation.

 

 

 

The Last Lion Volume 15. The Last Lion: Volume 1

Wow. This book blew me away. The life and times of Winston Spencer Churchill are so incredibly interesting. The momentous shift that took place between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sheds light on our modern day in a unique way.

Winston Churchill may be one of the most influential characters of the 20th Century. His influence over the United Kingdom and the events of World War were historic in their own time.  The Last Lion, Volume 1, documents the life of Winston Churchill from 1874-1932. We walk with the Churchill family from the birth of young Winston, the events of The Great War,  his tumultuous rise in politics and the unfolding of events that would push Great Brittan, and the world, to the brink of defeat.

 

 

Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage4. Endurance

Endurance take the number four spot because of its ability to express the unbelievable experiences of a captain and his crew. This classic man vs nature story is extraordinary and true. I was inspired by the bravery of Shackelton's crew chapter by chapter.

It was the golden age if Arctic exploration and Ernest Shackleton was determined to be the first man to cross the worlds most hostile continent. He spent years preparing for the trip of a lifetime. Elaborate planing and exhaustive fund raising allowed Captain Shackleton cast off British shores on August 8th, 1914. The Endurance was an Arctic exploration vessel buit to withstand the icy conditions of the Arctic circle. The doomed voyage met disaster before setting foot on the Arctic continent. The Endurance found herself frozen and crushed by drifting masses of ice. What ensues is a high tale of adventure and survival.

 

 

Freedom from Fear3. Freedom from Fear

Anchoring the top three is a book about American History before, and during, World War II. It is an eye opening tale that helps me understand a generation of men and women who are quickly disappearing from our society today. I know a little bit more about what made the Greatest Generation.

Freedom from Fear is David M. Kennedy's tale of American life between the years of 1929 and 1945. Kennedy chronicles the transformation that took place during the Great Depression and World War II. Through the historic terms of Presidents Hoover and F. D. Roosevelt we see the lives of farmers, politicians,  soldiers, and immigrants. Kennedy represents the tensions that existed around ideas of political isolation, economic recovery and racial equality. Readers experience the highs and lows of these formative years in the formation of American economic, social and political culture.

War of Art2. The War of Art

Runner up for my best reads of 2012 is an inspiring piece of work by Steven Presfield. It is as eccentric as it is provocative  Nothing made me want to get up and do something as much as this book. It is strange and practical and well worth your time.

Creativity dosent come easy. The War of Art is Steven Pressfield's attempt to explain why the creative process can be so difficult. He provides insight into the challenges and obstacles we face when trying to break through into that higher level of productivity. Pressfield was an established writer of fiction before taking on the work that lead to the publication of The War of Art. He uses his own experience as an example of the forces that are constantly trying to keep us from realizing our full potential.

 

 

enders game1. Ender's Game

Ender's Game is my top read of 2012. Orson Scott Card's classic science fiction thriller didn't disappoint. This was one of the best reviewed books I took home this year. I am always skeptical of fan favorites. But Ender's Game is worth of the praise it has received over the past few decades. This was, simply, my favorite read of the year.

Earth has been saved from the brutal attack of an alien race. The genius of Mazer Rackham suddenly and mysteriously repelled the invading armies of buggers. More than seventy years have passed and the countries of earth are preparing for the third invasion. National alliances hang in the balance as fleets of ships are built and deployed across space. Andrew Wiggin is just a boy but possesses an advanced intellect and a gift for strategic warfare. His friends call him Ender but the military strategists call him the last hope for humanity.

There it is. What do you think? What were some of your favorite reads of 2012?

Brent Colby1 Comment