What I’ve Read This Year

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September 4, 2012 by Will Ray

With two-thirds of the year clicking away last week, and currently laboring through three books (John Adams, Mere Christianity, and Platform – all great reads), I felt like I should take stock of where I stood in my reading goals for the year.

I took the picture above in February, stacking up most of the books that I hoped to read this year.  I’ve read five-and-a-half of these books (among others), including the two huge ones there towards the bottom.

I’m a touch behind on my goals, but here’s how what I’ve read stacked up so far (lol sorry couldn’t resist):

Most Enjoyable Read: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
With the movie coming out this past March and the hype greater than ever, Nancy and I decided to check them out and got completely sucked in!  The plot concept was already very compelling before reading the books, and it did not disappoint throughout.  The books read quickly, and while I’m no literary scholar I enjoyed analyzing the various literary devices Collins employs within each book and throughout the entire series.  The movie was very well done, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the depth and detail of these books.  Recommended for anyone looking for an exciting book that you can’t put down.

Most Challenging Read: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
This past Christmas, my mother gave me this biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian during World War II.  The Nazis executed him at age 39 for his involvement in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  Weighing in at nearly 550 pages, Bonhoeffer is the largest book I’ve read to date.  With the myriad of personalities (most with German or European names), and the swirl of events around WWII, this was certainly my most challenging book thus far.  Recommended for anyone interested in history (especially WWII or church history).

Most Potent for Life Change: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
A good friend and mentor gave me The Compound Effect early in the year, written by Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine.  In the book, Hardy details the principle that anything done, even in baby steps, over an extended period of time can produce massive, massive changes.  He also gives some of the best advice on goal setting and habit forming that I’ve ever heard.  This will probably be back on my reading list in the future.  Recommended for anyone, and particularly anyone looking for new motivation.

Most Challenging to Apply: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
In Linchpin, Seth Godin challenges his readers to become “indispensable” to their organization by doing the tough work “creating art” (a broad definition of “art”) that only they can produce.  In the past, the economy rewarded rule-followers and “factory workers” (again a broad definition of “factory”).  Now the economy rewards “artists” who do the tough emotional labor that’s needed.  Rife with new concepts, Linchpin was a little challenging to apply to my life.  Recommended for anyone looking to add value to their organization.

Most Surprising: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Did you know that Steve Jobs was really into Eastern mysticism and meditation?  Or that he often went on unusual binge diets?  Or that he really deserved to be fired from Apple in the 1990’s?  This biography by Walter Isaacson was full of insights and surprises from Steve Jobs’ life that I hadn’t heard before.  As an Apple aficionado, I appreciated learning the history of the company as much as Jobs’ personal history.  Recommended for Apple fanboys and girls; heads up – profanity.

A New Handbook: Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
I like having a reference guide that I can go back to and revisit, and I can see Entreleadership being just that.  Being in a leadership role at church and helping with Nancy’s business give me no shortage of opportunities to put into practice the advice Dave Ramsey offers.  This book is dense with great advice and funny anecdotes from over 20 years of building a national brand.  Recommended for business leaders, church leaders, community leaders, and anyone wanting to gain more business knowledge.

Question: What’s been your favorite read so far this year?  Have you read any on my list?  What did you think of them?


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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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