2016 Summer Reading List

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2016 Summer Reading List

Every summer I create a list of books I think you should read.  Sometimes the books I include are strictly about small group ministry, discipleship or spiritual formation.  Most times, the books I include may seem pretty far afield (innovation, design, leadership, or strategy).  You’ll just have to trust me.  I wouldn’t include a book I didn’t think would be added to your toolbox and contribute in a trajectory-altering way.

Here’s what’s on my 2016 Summer Reading List:

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business is the latest book by Charles Duhigg. I read The Power of Habit last December after hearing Andy Stanley’s interview with Duhigg and it was easily one of the best reads I’ve discovered in quite a while. James Emery White compares Duhigg to Malcolm Gladwell’s style of “a gathering of good data, studies, stories and ideas to chase a curious writer’s question.” I agree and it makes for a great read. I’m about 30 pages into this one and loving  it.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World is the latest book by Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.  If you attended the 2015 Global Leadership Summit you may remember that name. He gave a fascinating talk on takers, matchers, or givers ran counter to much of what we’ve always assumed about who succeeds. The title of Originals caught my eye and this line from the jacket convinced me to add it to the summer list: “Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger makes my list because of a TED talk I watched last year and found fascinating and deeply relevant to our work. His finding in Why Veterans Miss War help us understand some of the longing all people have for community, brotherhood, and belonging. This is the book that his work as a journalist at an outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley produced.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanaithi sounds like the memoir of the summer (or longer). “At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.” James Emery White noted that When Breath Becomes Air is his story and chronicles his move toward faith in the process. Sounds like it needs to make my summer reading list.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth sounds like something I need to read. Again, I like what Malcolm Gladwell had to say: “Grit is a persuasive and fascinating response to the cult of IQ fundamentalism. Duckworth reminds us that it is character and perseverance that set the successful apart.”

And for fun…

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan makes my list because I just need something a little off beat. I like the reviews I’ve read, particularly this line from The Paris Review Daily: “The kind of book that makes you squirm in your seat on the subway, gaze out the window at work, and Google Map the quickest route to the beach. In other words, it is, like Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, a semi-dangerous book, one that persuades young men…to trade in their office jobs in order to roam the world, to feel the ocean’s power, and chase the waves.”

Image by Andrew Siguenza

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