It’s that time once again, dear readers: the day when I go all Oprah’s Book Club on you and poke my nose into your bizness and make some suggestions on what should be in your beach bag or on your Kindle this summer. This list represents a few of my favorite reads of the last year.
Since Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of summer, you’re already a couple of days behind. Get crackin’!
Prayer: Experiencing Awe & Intimacy with God. Tim Keller. I just finished this a few weeks ago. Convicting, encouraging, empowering. If you’re like me and struggle with prayer, this one is for you.
Select Letters of John Newton. Ain’t nothing like reading the works of an Anglican hymnwriter to make you feel smartish. Oh, and also like you’ve got about a billion miles to go, spiritually.
Jesus Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You. J.D. Greear. I recognize that many people believe me to be contractually obligated to promote my pastor’s book. Um, yes.
Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion. Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck. I had this one on my shelf for far too long before reading it. It now makes the list as one of my most-recommended books on the subject.
I Am A Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference. Thom Rainer. This short-n-sweet book can be read in one sitting. Rainer gives a concise argument for being a part of the body.
Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards. Michael Levine. The “broken windows theory” has long fascinated me. This is a great book that will remind you to pay attention to the details.
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business. Danny Meyer. Part autobiography, part how-to, this book by famed a New York restauranteur has some real nuggets in it.
7 Tenets of Taxi Terry: How Every Employee Can Create and Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience. Scott McKain. Silly name. But one of the most practical, tangible, immediately-implementable guest services books I’ve ever read.
Adoption & Parenting
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Elyse Fitzpatrick. We had the privilege of hosting Elyse in service a couple of weeks ago. This book will adjust the lens with which you look at your kids.
Hello, I Love You: Adventures in Adoptive Fatherhood. Ted Kluck. Ted’s story of his journey through two Ukranian adoptions is both hilarious and heart-wrenching. If you’re thinking about adoption (or wanting to understand the mind of someone who is), read this.
Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know. John Maxwell. Another compact read, this will help you know how to move forward as you lead those around you.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Simon Sinek. This is Sinek’s second year on my summer reading list. A great book that reminds us that leadership starts with humility.
Judgment on the Front Line: How Smart Companies Win By Trusting Their People. Chris DeRose & Noel Tichy. If you lead volunteers or manage a corporation, you have to be able to empower and equip people to make the right calls at the right time. This book tells you why.
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem. Kevin DeYoung. Another DeYoung book that languished on my shelf for too long, for some reason. Convicting and eye-opening, this turns traditional productivity books upside down.
Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Jocelyn K. Glei, ed. …but if you’re just going to be productive or bust, there are some great tips here!
The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. Nancy Gibbs. This is not your casual beach read. Clocking in at over 600 pages, this work takes a look at the unique relationships of presidents from Truman to Obama. Fascinating. (I noticed last week that this one also made Trevin Wax’s cut.)
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality. Scott Belsky. Belsky argues that we need to stop trying to come up with the next game-changing idea, and instead create the soil for those ideas to happen.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Jonah Berger. In an engaging, story-driven format, Berger walks the reader through the concepts of what makes viral things go viral. Don’t miss the restaurant-inside-a-phone-booth story.
Outliers: the Story of Success. Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve never read a bad Gladwell book. This one is no exception. He points out that the origins of success isn’t always as obvious as we think.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Chip Heath & Dan Heath. Perhaps one of the best and most-often-quoted books I’ve read so far this year. The Heath brothers masterfully weave the triple threat of the will, the emotion, and the environment to bring about real change in our lives, teams, and organizations.
Want more? There are dozens more options over on my ever-growing Reading List.
So what did I miss? What book should be on people’s radar this summer? Comment below.