I love a good reading list, and I put one together at the beginning of every year. I never stick to my plan! Friends recommend books, I go to conferences and hear interesting speakers and just have to buy the book, I read recommendations from Facebook groups and blogging colleagues.
This year I read a fairly eclectic mix of books on ministry, leadership, faith and family. Some written by well known authors who I know I love, some by authors who were unknown to me until now, and even a couple that were written by friends who I know.
I hope you find something that interests you enough to add to your reading list this year. There are others that I read, and some that I started without finishing, but this is my recommended reading list! In no particular order…
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by Ann Lamott
I spend way too much time on Pinterest, and occasionally it pays off. I found a random blog post listing five books that writers need to read, and this little gem was on the top of the list. I fell in love almost immediately. It is beautifully written, and it pulls on the full spectrum of emotions known to writers. It’s pretty short, funny, quirky and inspiring.
by Sheryl Sandburg
Sheryl is a super smart corporate woman who has written an insightful book about what it means to be a woman in the workforce. She uses research to highlight the subtleties of gender bias in our workplaces and the cultural structures that make it difficult for women to reach their potential.
This was not a fun book for me to read. In many ways, it made me sad as I recognised previously invisible obstacles. This book prompted the group of women I work with to have important conversations about the policies and practices that widen the gender gap in our workplace. Any woman who has a corporate ambition, or has a daughter, should read this book.
by Sarah Bessey
This book reminded me not to judge a book by its cover. Jesus Feminist would never have been on my reading list, but it was chosen by the group and I decided to suck up my personal feelings and get on board. I'm so glad I did! This book is not about man-bashing, it is not about militant women's rights, it is about honouring men and following Jesus. Don't be put off by the title. I recommend this book to any woman, or man, involved in ministry.
4. The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it
by Dr Henry Cloud
Henry Cloud has been one of my favourite authors for a very long time. His work with John Townsend in books like Boundaries and How to Raise Great Kids has impacted so much of my life. This book about the difference relationships make in our lives and ability to achieve incredible things is brilliant. We truly are better together. Learning how to ask for help and work collaboratively and recognising the importance of encouragement and cheering each other on is life changing!
by Lara Casey
This is an easy book to read. Lara uses little anecdotes from her garden to weave in her personal story of hope. This is an honest book about the journey that real life takes, the highs and the lows, and coming out the other side. It’s a story of the faithfulness of God through the everyday struggles of family life and motherhood.
by Lisa TerKeurst
This is the first time I have read Lisa TerKeurst, and, it was also my very first audiobook! This is one of those books that didn't really give me any earth-shattering new revelations but was a wonderful reminder of so much wisdom that I still easily forget in the momentum of work, ministry and family life. Lisa reminds us that every time you say yes to someone’s request, you are automatically saying no to something else, and often it is our family relationships and personal self-care that get the rough deal.
by Shauna Niequist
This was one of my favourites for the year. A similar theme to “The Best Yes”, this book is beautifully written. I love the way Shauna uses language. Her descriptive metaphors had me laughing, crying, and underlining quote after quote. Shauna’s journey from high achieving, driven, people pleasing to a slower paced, simpler life resonated with me.
by Angela Duckworth
I saw a videocast of Angela speaking at a leadership conference I attended. She is smart, articulate and engaging. A professor and researcher in psychology and neuroscience, Angela uncovers the secret to success as not being born a genius, but rather a combination of passion and perseverance. There is a lot of research in this book, which was a bit of a challenge for me, but there was great insight into how ordinary people can achieve a high level of success following her formula.
by Jason Elsmore
This book is written by my pastor and friend. Jason is a very Aussie bloke and a gifted communicator of the Gospel. This book is designed for guys to give to their non-Christian friends to introduce them to Jesus. The premise, that most people would like Jesus if they met him, they just haven’t been introduced to him very well. Jason uses humour and personal stories to introduce Jesus in the gospels, and clearly explain our need for a personal relationship with Him.
10. Am I French Yet
by Kate Petersen
I’m a little sketchy on the timing… I may have read this last year, but I wanted to add it to the list anyway. Another book written by a dear friend, Kate takes you on the adventure of bundling up her family and living in France, a dream she had nurtured into reality. This book will make you laugh and cry, and stay up too late at night, but most of all, it will make you want to live your dream in real life and drag your family along for the ride!
That’s my top ten! I hope you have found something that interests you, and you discover some joy, interesting information and challenging thoughts as you read.