As a new year begins here’s my annual offering of 10 books that have helped, challenged and motivated me over the last 12 months. If there are some you’ve not read, why not pick one up soon and dip in?
1) Alistair McGrath’s ‘CS Lewis – A Life’
Well researched and very readable biography of Lewis. Honest about his weaknesses and vulnerability as well as including an interesting final section on his influence since his death.
2) Mark Batterson’s ‘The Circle Maker’
If you were to read one book on prayer, I’d recommend this one. Batterson tells some of the stories he’s learned from his life and church and inspired me to be persistent and consistent in my praying.
3) Susan Caine’s ‘Quiet’
Caine’s book has been a best-seller in the States and deserves a higher profile in the UK, as she challenges many assumptions we have on what kind of personality makes a great leader. Caine wants us to see the benefits that quieter, more introverted people can bring to the table. Full of stories and fascinating research.
4) James C Humes’ ‘Churchill – The Prophetic Statesman’
I’ve read quite a number of biographies of Winston Churchill. This is short and different. It helped me see the exceptional foresight that often Churchill had – foresight that at times was extraordinarily specific and insightful.
5) Carl Honore’s ‘Slow Fix’
This book takes us on from Honore’s classic In Praise of Slow and helps us see that significant change normally takes time. It’s full of fascinating examples of real people in real situations who have vision, discipline and are intentional about transformation.
6) Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘David and Goliath’
Any book by Gladwell is worth reading. This one explores the idea that big is not necessarily best and that the weak can triumph over the strong.
7) Bill Bryson’s ‘One Summer’
This is a large book that I read whilst struggling with a bad back last autumn. By the end I felt I understood the world of 1927 much better – and that over the last century we haven’t really changed that much!
8) ‘Monocle’ magazine
Every month Monocle consistently produces an interesting, high quality magazine full of information on the world that would probably wouldn’t find elsewhere. Having bought the magazine every month for a while, I finally subscribed this year.
9) Bear Grylls’ ‘To My Sons – Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life’
This is a lovely, simple book that I’ve really appreciated, reminding me not to lose that sense of adventure in life and to pass it on. This is a must-read for a father with sons, and ideally should be read together with them. Oh, and Charley Mackesy’s pictures are great too!
10) ‘The Bible’
Yes, it must be included in this list. I put it last not because it comes in at No10 (as this is not a ‘Top 10’) but because I want to leave this as my last book offering. You see, if you read nothing else this year, read this book. Seriously. Because it truly is the book of books and the story of all stories. And if you don’t know where to start, begin about three-quarters through with one of the accounts of the life of Jesus. Simply begin to read. You will not be disappointed.
So there we have it. Read and expand your vision of the world and let these books hearten you to live life to the full.