One of the more common questions I get asked is “do you have a good book recommendation?” I suppose that’s because I read a lot. Therefore, people assume, that I will automatically recommend a book that will stir their souls. Maybe that’s why I stumble over the question. I’m remembering how my favorite books stirred my soul. How they spoke to the deepest parts of my being and encourage me to better understand who I am created to be. So to choose just one for you, I need to focus my search. Here’s what 2022 looked like for me.
In 2022, I read 22 titles, most of them on a Kindle. That means every book that I have resides in my digital library. Not just from last year, but the last 10 years. That means every book with every highlight and every note is at my fingertips, all the time. In 2022, I referenced 163 titles from my library. Each of those is a book that stirred my soul in the past. For me, it’s like smelling Polo cologne. You know, the one in the green bottle with the gold logo? I smell it every time I see it in the department store and am instantly transported back to 13 years old. It’s the same with old books. When I open them, reviewing my highlights and notes, I get another whiff. It’s so good! But that is also what makes the question so difficult. Do you want one of my old favorites or a new one?
Of the 22 books I have listed, I’m summarizing my top five. These do not become my top because they are the most entertaining, or the easiest to read. These are the books that stirred my soul. They are the ones I will go back to and reference again. I’ve attempted to describe how in the summaries.
Quiet Quitting is a term we’ve all become familiar with. Unfortunately, it is more common than you think. There is something in your life that you are not engaging in anymore. But, you haven’t quit either. Did you ever wonder why? There are more reasons than you think and, our failure to identify them holds us back. In this book, Annie Duke outlines the psychology for us. “Success,” she says, “does not lie in sticking to things, it lies in picking the right thing to stick to and quitting the rest.” In other words, we need to learn how to quit.
All of our problems are self-imposed. They are the result of the choices we have made. Those choices, over time, are repeated and become patterns. It’s the same at the organizational level. We call them systems. Unfortunately, our established patterns and systems often derail us. The fifth discipline stipulates that we identify how and why something is not working. But it is not limited to past events. Skillful leaders, according to Seng, also focus on the next set of limitations so that they can be removed before stunting our growth.
When I worry, it’s often about money. But, I’ve never worried about having too much money! Maybe that’s why I like this book. It upsets my thinking patterns and highlights my misthinking. For example, have you ever considered how much you save is linked to how humble you are? I hadn’t. It makes sense. And, it irks me a little bit that I hadn’t picked that up before. That’s just one instance. I filled this book with notes and highlights. No doubt, I will reference it often, and quote it much.
Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be ~ Stephen Pressfield
The title says it all. If you have a dream, or a vision, or think that destiny is waiting for you, you’ll never get there until you put yourself there. Steven Pressfield has a really simple, if not blunt, style for getting me to think clearly about it. Ironically, I read two other books that carry this theme. Overcoming. Your Shadow Mission by John Ortberg and Running Down A Dream by Tim Grahl. Both are excellent.
First and Second Samuel ~ Eugene Peterson
Eugene Peterson says that to be human is to deal with God. I agree with that statement. Unfortunately, much of the time, my method for dealing with God is to avoid him. That’s what I love about the Bible. In it, God is unavoidable. This is nothing new. In reading this commentary of First and Second Samuel we witness God orchestrating events in the lives of his people only to have them turn away. Sound familiar? I see myself in the stories of Saul, David, Hannah, and Samuel. More importantly, I also get to experience the hope, love, and life that they practiced as they journeyed with God and for God.
Here is my full list of books that I read in 2022.