- The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
- Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
- The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Managerial Accounting by Garrison, Noreen & Brewer
- Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
- House Rules by Jodi Picoult
- Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton
- Operations Management for MBAs by Meredith & Shafer
- A Topography of the Soul by Phil Dillingham
- Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield & Jordan
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
- Messenger by Lois Lowry
- Son by Lois Lowry
- Bringing Innovation to School by Suzie Boss
- #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education by Grant Lichtman
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level by Don Wettrick
- Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization by Michael Hitt, Duane Ireland, and Robert Hoskisson
- I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This! By Bob Newhart
- Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy by Karen James
- Redemption by Bryan Clay
- Destiny’s Dwellers by DC Daugherty
- HBR’s 10 Must Reads: On Communication
- For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
- Life in the Turn Lane by Jim Patton
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
- The Death Cure by James Dashner
- The Kill Order by James Dashner
- Tales From Another Mother Runner by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
- Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer
- Thank You Power by Deborah Norville
- Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- The Four Agreements by Manuel Ruiz
- Trafficked by Sophie Hayes
- Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
- Holy Bible/The Message by Eugene Peterson
Holy Bible/The Message by Eugene Peterson
Yes, this book will always be at the top of my reading list. This marks year five of reading through the entire thing, and I never get tired of it. In fact, the more I read it, the more I desire to read more. It’s a wonderful circle. I continue to be challenged, rebuked, and encouraged, and I hope I always will.
I have been reading a different translation of the Bible the past few years, and this year I read The Message once I got to the New Testament. It is a contemporary paraphrase, and I really didn’t like it. I found myself reverting back to the verbiage of the NIV in many places where I found the wording particularly weird. I know some people really like The Message, but I’m not one of them.
Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level by Don Wettrick
Innovation, design thinking, and 21st Century skills are the buzz words du jour in academia these days. And all for a good reason. As we move toward a flatter world (more global society), our students need to learn skills for jobs that probably don’t even exist today. In his book, Wettrick offers educators an inside view into designing an Innovations Class along with the pros and cons.
I first met Wettrick at Microsoft’s Innovative Educators Forum in 2011, and we served on the same collaborative team. Wettrick already was a rock-star teacher and is even more so now. I recommend this book to any educator or administrator who needs to know how to bring innovation into the classroom in a real-world, authentic, and meaningful way.
Thank You Power by Deborah Norville
Norville cites anecdotal and scientific, peer reviewed research regarding how having a positive attitude can make all facets of life better, easier, etc. Evidence across the ages points to “an attitude of gratitude” leading to better health, greater optimism, resilience in difficult times, and just living a plain old happier life.
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer
The subtitle is “tools for talking when the stake are high,” and that sums it up. This book is filled with common sense (when we’re not in a crucial conversation) and incredibly simple (in theory) strategies to help us communicate when we’re in a tough situation: emotions are high, stakes are high, confusion is high, etc. In these moments when human nature tends to react as poorly as possible, we can retrain ourselves to step back, ask questions, listen better, and create safety and clarity to get meaningful dialogue flowing again. This book is recommended for anyone who interacts with anyone else on the planet.
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Hatmaker is one of my favorite authors. She is as wise for her years as she is wickedly humorous and witty. So what is this book about? The tagline sums it up nicely: fighting for grade in a world of impossible standards.
Bringing Innovation to School by Suzie Boss
Charged with being more innovative in the classroom this year, this book was the choice as our school-wide summer reading. It was surprisingly interesting, and it generated several curriculum ideas for the classes I teach as well as an idea for a new class in the 2017 school year.
#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education by Grant Lichtman
Another required summer reading book for my work, this book was similar to the one by Suzie Boss. In fact, they quoted many of the same authors, interviewed many of the same educators, and visited many of the same schools. The middle section, chapters 6-10, in particular, offered several useful ideas I hope to adopt in my classroom in the coming years.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni is quickly becoming my favorite business/leadership author. I’ve read several of his books for my MBA work, and the ones I haven’t read for that, I’ll soon be reading for my own pleasure. Lencioni is able to weave a short, apt narrative brimming with important—and usually ridiculously simple—leadership principles. His storytelling manner is quite effective, not just to hold the reader’s attention, but to get his point across. This is a short easy read, and a definite recommendation for anyone in a leadership position or who works in a team setting in any profession.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
This autobiography details Malala’s life as a normal Pakistani little girl up to a being an activist teenager speaking against the Taliban and advocating for girls/women’s right to receive an education. Her boldness, the support of her family—particularly her father—are inspiring. This was a good reminder of how blessed we are in Western societies with our freedoms and rights, many of which we not just take for granted but complain wildly about when we don’t get our way.
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
Cartoons illustrate this humorous book based on its title. I could relate to just about every single item Inman mentioned. My favorite being how long distance runners begin to invent really creative ways to measure time and distance. It’s a short, easy read, and I’d definitely recommend this for any runner.
Trafficked by Sophie Hayes
Hayes tells her harrowing story of how she was “groomed” for four years by her “best friend” who overnight turned into her pimp to pay off a drug deal. Hayes was an educated, middle class young woman with a decent job. Lured away for a weekend get-away, her world was turned upside down into one of physical and psychological abuse, illness, and prostitution. I was stunned how quickly and easily her trafficker gained full control of her body and mind.
Tales from Another Mother Runner by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
This is a collection of short essays submitted by women—specifically mother—runners from around the country. Each telling her own story, some are serious, some hilarious, all meaningful. Any mother who is a runner will easily relate to many/most of what these women share.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
Brown takes us through her many years of research on Wholehearted Living, as she coins it: being vulnerable as we live in community with one another. Her chapter on shame and guilt resonated with me a lot as this is something I struggle with every day. This is not light reading, and you really need to process what Brown says, but it was enlightening.
Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton
Glennon Doyle Mention shares her life’s story in hilarious fashion in this book. It’s the first thing of hers I’ve read, and I was won over by the end of page one. Her blog, Momastery, is just as riveting, insightful, and entertaining. Much like Jen Hatmaker, she is a new favorite contemporary author and blogger.
Life in the Turn Lane by Jim Patton
Patton describes his “rags to riches” story from being a rejected HVAC repairman to becoming a M&A expert handling international billion dollar transactions. Not only does Patton explain his business dealings a pragmatic sense, he intertwines his faith in Christ throughout his story. A good book for any business man, especially one who follows Christ.
The Maze Runner Trilogy and Prequel #1 by James Dashner
Another series in the genre of post-apocalyptic dystopian societies trying to figure out how to save the human race after a mind-altering virus has been let loose on the world as a means of population control. Having read the Giver Quartet, the Divergent trilogy, and the Hunger Games series, this one held my attention, but I quickly tired of reading fight scene after fight scene of something that sounded like it came from World War Z (or any other human-turned-crazy zombie-like creature movie of your choice.)
The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
A mingling of science fiction and fantasy, the Giver quartet was perhaps the first of the new genre of dystopian teen fiction, long before The Hunger Games or Divergent series. Lowry loosely crafts the four books together, with the first and last most closely tied. It is a world devoid of emotion in one area, devoid of technology in another, but all have young men and women with special “gifts,” when brought together, can create a better world for everyone. If you’re a fan of this genre, these four novels are a quick, easy, interesting read.
Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy by Karen James,
Karen James, the widow of climber Kelly James, details the week-long search and rescue efforts to find her husband and two climbing friends trapped on Mount Hood in the storm of the century. Clear, concise, and well written, Karen also discussed her struggles with being a new widow, and she intertwines her faith and her family’s faith throughout. It’s simultaneously tragic and inspiring.
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
Interrupted details the Hatmaker’s life-changing, God-calling “interruption” on their comfortable lives. Much like Abraham, the family was called to leave all that they knew for something unseen and unknown. Placing their trust in Him, they obeyed and followed.
I’m a huge fan of Jen Hatmaker, and I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Seven, but I could not relate to this book as I can to almost all of the rest of her writing.
A Topography of the Soul by Phil Dillingham
Phil is my pastor so I have the pleasure of learning from him almost every week. He is a wise man, a godly man, a disciplined man, and he has a tremendous gift of teaching. Even the most difficult concepts can be conveyed in simple terms. Philosophy majors and convicts alike enjoy his teachings.
HBR’s 10 Must Reads: On Communications
Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a series of books on different business topics, each featuring the 10 most popular/important contributions in their fields from the past several decades. I had to read a few of the articles during my MBA program, but I was so impressed with them, I went back after I had graduated and finished reading the rest. This series is truly a “must read” for any business professional.
Redemption by Bryan Clay
Clay details the journey of his life beginning as a rebellious young boy constantly in trouble and getting into physical fights at school all the way through winning an Olympic gold in the decathlon in 2008. Clay illustrates lesson after lesson of what it means to really trust God, persevere through doubt during times of trial.
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
House Rules explores how a family deals with the effects of autism, and how those who communicate differently are challenged by a justice system that will not accommodate them.
This is my first novel by Jodi Picoult, but it was interesting and moved at a good pace despite the 500+ pages. It was a selection for a book club I’m in, and the lady who chose it is a professional career counselor who deals with adult students with disabilities. From her perspective, this was an accurate picture of what it’s like for a family dealing with an autistic child (Asperger’s).
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer tells the story of Joseph Smith and the early history of the Mormon church up through present day with a special focus on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Several times while reading through the book, I had to walk away from it due to its disturbing narratives. I’ve read numerous books on the Jewish and Rwandan holocausts, but there was something markedly different about the atrocities proliferated among the FLDS—the plural marriages, the child brides, marrying off a 12-year-old girl to a man in his 60s, the incest between fathers and daughters, the brainwashing. This was not an easy book to get through, but if you’re looking for an unadulterated history of the Church of Latter Day Saints, this is it.
The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert tells the true story of Eustace Conway, a rare breed in today’s world—one who lives off the land in every regard, from making his own clothing out of buckskins, to farming with horses and mules, to building and living in his own teepee. Gilbert does a masterful job of weaving through Conway’s life and how his childhood influenced who he is today. It’s a fascinating read for anyone who appreciates nature on a deep level—deeper than “it’s pretty outside”—or who fancies himself an outdoorsman. If you are the latter, you will be put to shame.
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
This is Fey’s autobiography/memoir of sorts. It’s funny and a little crude at times, but I appreciated her transparency in writing about how she worked her way to the top with integrity as well as her honesty in talking about the struggles of being a working mom.
Destiny’s Dwellers by DC Daugherty
Full disclosure, I work with the author. That said, this is the third fantasy/sci-fi/young adult novel he’s written, and I’ve enjoyed them all. This is volume 1 (of how many, I’m not sure) and tells the story of Destin and his work among the “Dwellers,” a group of dead kids, ages 5-15, who help others move on to their final resting place. However, evil lurks in the streets of Chicago, and Destin feels called to offer himself as the final sacrifice to end the fear. The redemption/sacrifice theme at the end of the novel was quite moving.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Mango Street is a series of vignettes about Esperanza Corderos, a young Latina girl, growing up in Chicago. Incoming freshmen read this as part of their summer reading every year, and I wanted to read it for that reason. I imagine the boys have a difficult time with the story.
Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch
Malloch highlights various businesses around the globe which have invested in “spiritual capital” and have reaped success and profits from which. I didn’t care for Malloch’s clear denigrating of pretty much any primarily Democratic-created social program in America. He also presented case studies that, while presenting good evidence to support faith-based business acumen, really didn’t have much to do with his chapter or section headings.
I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This! By Bob Newhart
I have always been a fan of Bob Newhart so I was excited to see this book at Dollar Tree for $1. However, it was disappointing. It was not well written, which I fault the editors more than the writer. The stories were choppy, lacking in important detail, and ended abruptly. Sadly, I cannot recommend this to anyone, including diehard fans.
The Four Agreements by Manuel Ruiz
This was recommended by several fellow MBA students in my cohort, so I thought, “can’t wait to read it!” Disappointing is mild. I struggled to stay awake while reading it, and it is one of the few books, besides MBA textbooks (see below) that I resorted to skimming just to say I read the entire thing.
The overarching advice: stay true to your word, try your best, forgive, move on, etc. are all well and good and are things I definitely believe in. However, the manner in which these ideas were presented seemed like they were written by an elementary aged child for other elementary aged children. Read your Bible if you want the same advice.
Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization by Michael Hitt, Duane Ireland, and Robert Hoskisson
Textbook for my last MBA class on strategic management and competitiveness and globalization, just as the name implies. It was a bit redundant from other textbooks I’ve read during this program, and it was incredibly dry. It would take several hours just to get through one 25-page chapter, and I almost always fell asleep while reading.
Operations Management for MBAs by Meredith & Shafer
It was a text book for Operations Management. Normally things like process, flow, and efficiency are right up my alley, but this book was a little dry.
Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield, & Jordan
Advance managerial finance text book. It was a toss-up between this and the accounting text book as to which I disliked more.
Managerial Accounting by Garrison, Noreen, & Brewer
It was an accounting text book. Nothing more to say.