Book Recommendations – June 2017

As we move toward mid-June many people are creating or actively revising their summer reading lists.  Wherever you may be in your planning (even if your plan is not to plan at all), I encourage you to consider picking up some of my recent reads.

The Witness of ReligionThe following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best.

  • (5+) The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear by Michael Kinnamon (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017)
  • (5+) Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Dey Street Books, 2017)
  • (5) Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Books, 2017)
  • (4.5) Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School or How to Become an Expert in Almost Anything by Ulrich Boser (Rodale, 2017)Everybody Lies
  • (4.5) Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church by Carol Howard Merritt (HarperOne, 2017)
  • (4.5) The Captain Class: The Hidden Force that Creates the World’s Best Teams by Sam Walker (Random House, 2017)
  • (4) Organizing Church: Grassroots Practices for Embodying Change in Your Congregation, Your Community, and Our World by Tim Conder and Daniel Rhodes (Chalice Press, 2017)
  • (4) What is the Bible?  How an Ancient Library of  Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell (Harper Collins, 2017)
  • (4) Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Random House, 2017)
  • (3.5) Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young (Atria Books, 2017)

So What?

As we near mid-year, the top three books I have read in alphabetical order by the author’s last name are

  • BorDays of Awe and Wonderg, Marcus.  Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century.  Borg contributed greatly to progressive Christianity.  This volume, published posthumously, includes selections from his writing and speaking spanning thirty years. To learn more, check out my review.
  • Kinnamon, Michael. The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear. Our world is increasingly a place where fear dominates.  Drawing from his own Christian tradition as well as other religions, Kinnamon proposes an important role for religion in modeling life without fear and shaping a larger cultural shift away from fear.
  • Stephens-Davidowitz, Seth. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.  Stephens-Davidowitz is something of a new Renaissance man earning his undergrad degree in philosophy and his doctoral degree in economics while working in roles that include data scientist for Google and op-ed writer for the New York Times.  He uses this book to challenge commonly held assumptions, ask new questions, and model how big data can and should be used to improve what is known of human behavior.

With so many good books being published each year and so little time dedicated to reading them, we all benefit by sharing what we learn as well as what volumes we recommend others explore for themselves.

  • Make a recommendation.  Share a book that you found especially insightful, and would recommend that others read.
  • Add your thoughts. If you have read one or more of the books mentioned in this post, then I invite you take a few moments and share a few takeaways.

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