I like watching videos but there’s nothing like reading a good book. Reading is harder than watching. I have to engage my imagination more and intentionally enter into the world of the text. But the reward is great. That’s why I aim to read at least one book per month. And about this time of year I normally recommend for the coming year a few books that have helped me. So here is my offering for the year ahead. I hope you find something here to inspire.
1) Eric Metaxas’ ‘Seven Men’
Having read Metaxas’ excellent and accessible biography of Bonhoeffer in 2010 I was pleased to discover this easy-read mini-biography of seven men who changed the world by their selfless serving. Hear the stories of Washington, Wilberforce, Liddell, Bonhoeffer, Robinson, John Paul II and Colson. Your life will be made richer.
2) Patrick Lencioni’s ‘The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team’
This book has helped many team-leaders from worlds as diverse as business, politics, education and church discover how and why teams thrive or struggle. It’s cleverly written in the form of a story and so is interesting and revealing. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and gain new insights into the teams in which you’re involved.
3) Rolland & Heidi Baker’s ‘Reckless Devotion’
This is a selection of Baker’s writings put into 365 daily readings. The Baker’s live extraordinary lives, based on a deep intimacy and dependency on Jesus Christ. This has been a very helpful book for me over the last year.
4) Edoardo Albert’s ‘Edwin – High King of Britain’
Albert has pieced together as many historical fragments that he can find about Edwin and presented them in a lovely historical novel about this great man who helped form Britain some 1,400 years ago. Read of the often violent and brutal culture of the day, of Edwin’s slow conversion to Christ, of the important role of Bishop Paulinus and how York became significant in the spiritual future of the region and nation. This is the first of a trilogy of books by Albert called The Northumbrian Thrones.
5) Mason Curry’s ‘Daily Rituals’
I can’t think of another book like this! It’s all about the daily habits of famous people from every sphere of life – architects, scientists, writers, composers and more. Unearth how they spend an average day. Fascinating!
6) Danny Silk’s ‘The Culture of Honor’
Silk is one of the leaders of Bethel Church in Redding, California. He gives the biblical foundations for the faith-filled culture that is so present at Bethel. This book will challenge, encourage and help you analyse the culture of the organisations in which you reside – including your family, church and workplace.
7) A N Wilson’s ‘The Potters Hand’
This is a fairly long but nevertheless interesting historical novel of Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of Wedgwood China. With family connections in the pottery industry I read it with interest. It’s not a biography, as Wilson has taken some artistic liberties by filling in various gaps in the story, but it would make a good film!
8) Bill & Beni Johnson’s ‘Spiritual Java’
If you want a selection of encouraging writing from the Bethel stable, this is a good place to start. With short chapters taken from writings of various leaders (Vallotton, Silk, Johnson, Leibscher) this book will motivate you to think differently, pray expectantly and live more faithfully.
9) Bill Hybels ‘Simple.’
This is brilliant. Clear. Wise. And very practical. Anyone who reads and puts into practice the advice distilled in this book will live a better, more healthy life. I thoroughly recommend it.
10) ‘The Bible’
I will end again with this book. The Book of books. I continue to read a little every day and I am not disappointed. There is no book like it. So if you read just one book in 2015, chose this one.