Top Reads of 2017

book review

I love reading. So much. Here are my five favorite books from this year:

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown: Braving the Wilderness is a book all about shame–something we all experience but can’t seem to put into words (or are too ashamed to–see what I did there?). I devoured this in a day, unlike her last book, which took me 10 months to read because it kept kicking my butt. I feel like this book was really influential in my journey this year.

Stand Out 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham: One of the things I’ve most enjoyed this year is taking some time to understand what my strengths are. I’ve often bought into the lie that I need to strengthen my weaknesses, but through the Strengthfinders test and now the Stand Out 2.0 test, I realize that what I need to do instead is to harness all the great things about me and find people to stand in my gaps. I feel like my sense of self-awareness is sharper than ever, and my self-confidence has really improved. PS, this book is actually really short.

Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell: I wasn’t sure about this book, since a grinning old white guy was on the cover. But I heard him speak last year at the Global Leadership Summit, and I put his book on my bedside table for 7 months before I finally picked it up and devoured it. Maxwell talks a lot about owning your story and telling it well–something that obviously interests me. He has a lot of his own personal stories in it, as well as practical activities.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: This year I really wanted to focus on better habits (I might have failed at this). I loved this book, because it was more than self-help; it talked about how habits are formed, and related it not only to our personal habits but even how companies track our habits (which I found equally fascinating and creepy). This book was great for both the self-help geek and the information geek inside of me.

Off Balance by Matthew Kelly: One of the things I’ve been struggling with is how to do ministry, which I love, while also supporting a relationship with a kind man, who I also love. HOW CAN I SPEND ALL MY TIME WITH BOTH?! The great thing this book taught me is that balance is a lie, and the more I put up boundaries, the more chaos I make for myself. So, I quit having so many boundaries, and I feel more balanced than ever. Strange. But it works.

Honorary mentions of what I meant to read but didn’t even though they’ve been on my bedside table all year because I stink but PROMISE I WILL NEXT YEAR OKAY:

  • What is the Bible? By Rob Bell
  • Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
  • Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves
  • Martin Luther by Eric Mextexas (it took me 2 hours to read 70 pages)

What else should I read in 2018?

5 thoughts on “Top Reads of 2017

  1. What is the Bible? – A great read – I’m using it with my HS Small group this year, reading 1-2 chapters together each week. It’s great for conversations. As I go I’m developing a list of questions for each chapter to prompt small group discussion. Email me if you want a copy, it’ll be finished after May :-)

      1. I imagine you could, but it would take some work as the topics and the book are deeper than I know my middle school youth could handle. my email address is if you wanted to chat more about it. In any event, definitely read the book, it’s a page turned filled with really neat information that offers new insights into the historical context in which the texts were written. :-)

  2. I read at least 10 books this year and 9 of them came from one summer. I ended up reading Hunchback of Notre and Oliver Twist as my classics this year and currently reading A Christmas Carol. Also read A Clearing in the Forest, 2 Land of Stories books, Queen of the Tearling, Five Little Pigs, Same Kind of Different as Me, One Hundred Story Home, and 150 Years of Musical Theatre. So I have read a lot this year

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