Published: 4 years ago

2014 Top Ten(ish): Books

Everybody and their mama has a top ten book list they’ve read this year. I’m no different…except I’m going for broke and giving you my top fourteen (what a wild and crazy guy). So if you can stomach another one, read on.

In alphabetical order only, these were my favorite reads of the last twelve months:

7 tenets





7 Tenets of Taxi Terry: How Every Employee Can Create and Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience, Scott McKain. Silly title. Excellent book. Perhaps one of the most practical, hey-I-can-use-this-right-now customer service books I’ve ever read.


 The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande. Productivity nerds unite! It’s a book about checklists: why you need ’em and why they make us better at what we do.

Crazy Busy

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem, Kevin DeYoung. I put this one off for as long as possible, because I knew it would hurt. It did. But what a good hurt.


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True InspirationEd Catmull. A fascinating story of the rise of Pixar, with a liberal dose of leadership / teamwork principles thrown in along the way.

Disney U

Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees, Doug Lipp. Sticking with the animation theme, Disney U provides an in-depth look at the cast member training component of the Mouse. 

Hello I Love YOu

 Hello, I Love You: Adventures in Adoptive FatherhoodTed Kluck. Pointed. Poignant. Sometimes painful. Ted Kluck is one of my new favorite authors. This book will help you see why.


Jesus, Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Greater Than Jesus Beside You, J.D. Greear. You’d think a Summit employee would be contractually obligated to put his pastor’s book on a top ten list, but you’d be wrong. It really is good enough to be on anyone’s top ten. 

Killer Angels

Killer Angels: the Classic Novel of the Civil War, Michael Shaara. My first foray into war history, this novel based on real people and real personalities was a can’t-put-down page turner.


Outliers: the Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell. It’s Malcolm Gladwell. ‘Nuff said.


Select Letters of John Newton, John Newton. I need to read more dead theologians. This one more than fit the bill. 


Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, Danny Meyer. A little heavier on autobiography than restaurant hospitality, this is nonetheless a great read with some terrific takeouts (pun intended).

Start With Why

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek. One of our core guest services plumblines is that “the why is more important than the what.” This book helped me hone that a little tighter. 


Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand. You don’t need me to tell you why you should read this book. Everybody has read this book. You should too. 

Why We Love

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized ReligionKevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck. That makes two books each for DeYoung and Kluck on this list, and for great reason. This is one of the better “church is a big deal” books out there.


What wasn’t on my top 14 that should’ve been? Let me know what to read in ’15. Comment below.


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  1. JUSTIN ROUTH says:

    Hey Danny Here is what I my must reads of 2014

    Popular by Tindell Baldwin Anybody working in student ministry should read this book.

    Dispatches From the Front Stories of the Gospel Advancing in the World Difficult Places Tim Keesee

    Serving without sinking John Hindley Great for people serving or have lost a joy that comes from serving in the local church

    Hidden in the Gospel William Farely Preaching the Gospel to yourself daily

    The Heart of Leadership Mark Miller One of the best leadership books read this year

    Captain Phillips Richard Phillips Saw the movie then read the book.

    Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell After seeing the Movie, Had to read the book.

  2. Dennis says:

    Thanks for you list.
    Looking forward to 2015 and hearing from others in the Connect Ministry.

  3. Ken Huth says:

    Thanks for the list Danny. I’ve got a few of those open on Amazon now to check out, particularly the creative/Pixar overlap with business.
    I’ve been recommending ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ to many clients & photog friends lately with social media understanding/101 being is so needed. (

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