Archive for the 'Book Reviews' Category

2010 Reading List

Last week I posted an update to my 2009 reading list.  Here’s my initial reading list for 2010.  I call it an initial list, because it’s a list of books that I plan on reading, but as you can tell from my 2009 list there will probably be some additions and subtractions to the list throughout the year:

  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  • What the Dog Saw – Malcom Gladwell
  • Uprising – Erwin McManus
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins
  • How the Mighty Fall – Jim Collins
  • Superfreakonomics – Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
  • Fired Up or Burned Out – Michael Lee Stallard
  • The Meaning of the Pentateuch – John H. Sailhamer
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
  • Mavericks at Work – William Taylor & Polly Lebarre
  • The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber
  • The Reason for God – Tim Keller
  • Prodigal God – Tim Keller
  • Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller
  • The Six Fundamental Laws of Success – Stuart Levine
  • The Back of the Napkin – Dan Roam
  • Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels
  • Axiom – Bill Hybels
  • Mentor Like Jesus – Regi Campbell
  • Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands – Nancy Ortberg
  • Walking with God – John Eldredge
  • Think Orange – Reggie Joiner
  • The Starbucks Experience – Joseph Michelli
  • The Experience Economy – Joseph Pine & James Gilmore
  • The Principle of the Path – Andy Stanley
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • What Jesus Demands from the World – John Piper
  • Derailed – Tim Irwin

That’s what I have so far.  As I said above, I’m sure there will be some changes as the year progresses.  Any other suggestions?

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Reading Update

At the beginning of the year I posted my 2009 reading list.  I thought I’d give an update on how I’m doing (as much for myself as for anyone else).  It looks like right now that I’ll read 22 books by the end of the year, which is shy of my goal (at least 24 books) – so next year I need to get in a better rhythm or pick up the pace a little.

Here’s my reading list for 2009:

  • The Back of the Napkin – Dan Roam
  • Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels
  • Axiom – Bill Hybels
  • Be Our Guest – The Disney Institute
  • Walking with God – John Eldredge
  • Sex:God – Rob Bell
  • First Impressions – Mark Waltz
  • The Deity Formerly Known as God – Jarret Stevens
  • Mavericks at Work – William Taylor & Polly Lebarre
  • The Truth About You – Marcus Buckingham
  • Why Work Sucks & How to Fix It – Cari Ressler & Jody Thompson
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, updated edition – John C Maxwell
  • Communicating for a Change – Andy Stanley & Lane Jones
  • Tribes – Seth Godin
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
  • Uprising – Erwin McManus
  • Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands – Nancy Ortberg
  • I am not but I know I AM – Louie Giglio
  • Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Creating Community – Andy Stanley & Bill Willits
  • Fired Up or Burned Out – Michael Lee Stallard
  • The Encore Effect – Mark Sanborn
  • The Purple Cow – Seth Godin
  • Killing Cockroaches – Tony Morgan
  • Letters from a Nut – Ted L. Nancy
  • The Go Giver – Bob Burg & John David Mann
  • Leadership & Self Deception – The Arbinger Institute
  • Chasing Daylight – Eugene O’Kelly
  • Cirque Du Soleil: The Spark – John U. Bacon & Lyn Heward
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
  • Primal – Mark Batterson
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller

If you’re interested, here’s a list of books that I read in 2008.  In a few days I’ll post my initial book list for 2010.

Review – Primal

Primal is the third book that I’ve read by Mark Batterson, and just like In a Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase, his latest book does not disappoint.  This book has a different voice than his previous two works, although there are still plenty of challenges.  Primal is about “rediscovering the lost soul of Christianity.”  It’s about stripping away all the things that have gotten in the way over the years and going back to the things of first importance.  Batterson not only challenges the reader with new concepts, but he also challenges the reader to take action.

Batterson says that as Christians we’re often “not that great at the Great Commandment.” He “re-imagines the four primal elements detailed by Jesus in the Great Commandment:”

The heart of Christianity is primal compassion
The soul of Christianity is primal wonder
The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity
The strength of Christianity is primal energy – p. 7

Here are just a few quotes/ideas that caught my attention:

  • If you are in Christ and Christ is in you cannot be okay with suffering or injustice or starvation.  Why?  Because His heart is in you.  And His heart beats for the suffering, the victim, the poor, and the needy.  p. 20
  • Meditating on it [Scripture] turns one-dimensional knowledge into two-dimensional understanding.  Living it out turns two-dimensional understanding into three-dimensional obedience.  p. 72
  • The church ought to be the most curious place on the planet.  We ought to be a safe place where people can ask dangerous questions, but all too often we’re guilty of answering questions that no on else even asking.  We ought to be challenging the status quo, but all too often we’re guilty of defending it.  p. 97
  • Energy may be the least appreciated dimension of love because it’s the least sentimental.  But it’s the most practical.  And how we invest our energy revels our true priorities.  p. 134

I think this is a great book and one I’ll come back to in coming months.  If you haven’t already finalized your reading list for next year, it’s worth adding Primal.  You can go here to find out more about purchasing a copy

This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah

The Truth About You

The Truth About You is the latest strengths based leadership book from Marcus Buckingham.  It was an easier read, but it had a lot of great practical application.  The book comes with a DVD, which has a short movie about strengths, and a “Re-memo” pad for capturing both strengths and weaknesses.  This interactive experience involves more nuts-and-bolts practical application, which distinguishes it from many leadership books on the shelves today.  Lots of books dump a mount of information on you, but don’t encourage you to do anything with it.

Below I’ve listed his main ideas:

  • Performance is always the point:  Don’t expect your organization to know you like you do
    • In most cases the only interest they have in your strengths is whether or not they enhance your performance for the organization.
  • Your strengths aren’t what you’re good at, and your weaknesses aren’t what you’re bad at.
    • Buckingham wants to correct the common misconception that if you’re good at something is must be a strength.
    • His definition of a strength is any activity that makes you fell strong – i.e when you’re done you feel fulfilled, focused, in the zone, and time seems to pass quickly.
  • When it comes to your job, the “What” always trumps the “Why” and the “Who”: So always ask, “What will I be paid to do?”
    • Once you know the “What,” then compare it to your actual strengths before making the decision.
  • You’ll never find a perfect job:  So every week, for the rest of your life, develop a strong week plan.
    • Strong week plan – pick out two things you are going to do to put your strengths into play each week and attempt to implement them.
  • You’ll never turn your weaknesses into strengths:  So fess up to your weaknesses, and neutralize them.
    • Once you’re clear what they are, you’ll have to deal with them.

If you’ve read Buckingham’s books before you’ll probably find the material to be a summary of his strengths teaching and similar to GO! Put Your Strengths To Work.  This book is an ideal introduction to strengths based leadership for those who have never read any of his books before, and also ideal for high school and college students.  I wish someone had exposed me to these concepts much earlier in life.  You can preview the book here, or purchase your own copy here.

Killing Cockroaches

I just finished reading a copy of Tony Morgan‘s new book Killing Cockroaches.  It’s not about killing actual cockroaches, although there are instructions on how to do that in the book.  He says that “killing cockroaches is a euphemism for responding to the urgent stuff in our lives that keeps us from doing the important stuff in our lives.”

As I was reading the book, the format reminded me of something Guy Kawasaki said about his latest book Reality Check in a recent edition of the Catalyst Podcast.  He said his own recent book was more like a desk reference and that at any given time much of the content would not be relevant to your current situation; however, the stuff that isn’t relevant today might be relevant six months for now.  I’m sure I’ll flag my copy, mark it up with lots of notes and keep it handy for future reference.  Below I’ve listed some (by no means all) of the interesting things I came across:

  • Tony’s own formula for killing cockroaches (the metaphorical ones)
  • 48 Simple Strategies for Better Blogging
  • Deal Breakers for Leaders (including:  “Leaders won’t be fulfilled by performing tasks, & Leader’s won’t commit to ambiguity”)
  • Interesting stories about a mustang convertible, giant inflatable blue monkeys, & gunky build up.
  • 10 Easy Ways to Know You’re Not a Leader (including:  You’re waiting on a bigger staff and more money to accomplish your vision, & No one is following you)
  • Great tips on crafting your message to be heard
  • Insights from other leaders about how they avoid killing cockroaches (including: Craig Groeschel, Mark Batterson, Penelope Trunk, & Seth Godin)

There are a lot more helpful insights, interesting stories, and top 10 lists in the book.  I highly recommend picking up a copy.  If you want to know more about the book, you can check out some additional information here, or buy it here.  For more from Tony, check out his blog.

2009 Reading List

A couple of days ago I posted a list of books that I completed in 2008.  Here’s the beginning of my reading list for 2009:

  • The Back of the Napkin – Dan Roam
  • Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels
  • Axiom – Bill Hybels
  • Be Our Guest – The Disney Institute
  • Walking with God – John Eldredge
  • Sex:God – Rob Bell
  • First Impressions – Mark Waltz
  • The Deity Formerly Known as God – Jarret Stevens
  • Mavericks at Work – William Taylor & Polly Lebarre
  • The Truth About You – Marcus Buckingham
  • Why Work Sucks & How to Fix It – Cari Ressler & Jody Thompson
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, updated edition – John C Maxwell
  • Communicating for a Change – Andy Stanley & Lane Jones
  • Tribes – Seth Godin
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
  • Uprising – Erwin McManus
  • Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands – Nancy Ortberg
  • I am not but I know I AM – Louie Giglio
  • Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Creating Community – Andy Stanley & Bill Willits
  • Fired Up or Burned Out – Michael Lee Stallard
  • The Encore Effect – Mark Sanborn

If you have some suggestions to help round out the list, please leave them in the comments section.

2008 Reading List

I try to read a lot.  It allows me to continually push myself to learn more, and “leaders are readers” (at least we’re supposed to be).  It’s one way I try to go further faster – so I get the opportunity to learn from others mistakes as well as my own.  My 2008 list comes in at 20 books, which is a  few books shy of the 27 I read in 2007.  Here’s the list in no particular order:

  • Three Signs of a Miserable Job – Patrick Lencioni
  • Lincoln on Leadership – Donald Phillips
  • The Four Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris
  • Getting Things Done – David Allen
  • The 360 Degree Leader – John Maxwell
  • Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape The Future – Andy Stanley
  • The Dip – Seth Godin
  • Making Vision Stick – Andy Stanley
  • Eat More Chikin – Truett Cathy
  • The Faith of Barack Obama – Stephen Mansfield
  • The Fred Factor – Mark Sanborn
  • Choosing to Cheat – Andy Stanley
  • 7 Practices of Effective Ministry – Stanley, Joiner, & Jones
  • Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
  • To Own a Dragon – Donald Miller
  • Epic – John Eldredge
  • Wild Goose Chase – Mark Batterson
  • Jesus Wants to Save Christians – Rob Bell
  • Fields of Gold – Andy Stanley
  • The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

 Check back in a few days for the beginnings of my 2009 list. 

Are there any books you read this year or are planning to read in 2009 that you think should be on my list?  If so, leave a comment.