Yes! It’s my favorite time of the year when I get to write my favorite post of the year. Today I share my favorite books I read in 2017. I love seeing book lists from others and usually find a few books to add to my reading list. I hope this post encourages you to do the same.
Every year around this time, I comb through my notes and lists of books read in the past 12 months and recommend some great reads, either for your own personal edification or as a Christmas gift for a loved one. To help me track books read in any given year, I keep a list of books in an Evernote file (i.e., Books Read 2017, Books Read 2016, etc). I type out the name of the book, the author, and the format of reading (hard copy, audiobook, or Kindle). And, I keep a running list of books I want to read in the future. #NerdAlert
Like years past, these books are not necessarily written or published in 2017. Rather, these books make my list if I read it this year. Simple enough. And, I finally convinced the infamous Kristen Kedersha to share a few of her favorites (check out Kristen’s Korner below).
I didn’t read as much in 2017 as prior years since I tried to focus more on book writing than book reading. I still managed to find time to read some outstanding books this year. More than ever I appreciate the hard work required to write a great book, and so I thank God for the hard work these men and women put forth in writing My Favorite Books I Read in 2017.
Like last year, instead of ranking these in order, I’ve awarded each of these favorite books a superlative to help describe why it lands on my list.
My Favorite Books I Read in 2017
My Favorite Book That Makes Me Want to Run Through A Brick Wall! Watermark’s lead pastor, Todd Wagner, wrote Come & See: Everything You Ever Wanted in the One Place You Would Never Look. I see the contents of this book lived out every day at Watermark. Todd’s writing reminds me of why I love being a part of a healthy church staff and body. Come & See inspires me to follow Christ and encourage others to do the same.
My Favorite Marriage Book I Read This Year (and my #1 overall favorite as well). Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage by Gary Thomas. I wrote a review of this book in January, and it’s the marriage book I’m recommending every married couple read. The book inspired me to better love my wife and to serve her in both big and small ways.
My Favorite Male Memoir I Read in 2017. Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson, Jr. His story is powerful, his love of Jesus sincere, and he’s as likable as they come. Johnson has faced some significant challenges in his life, and the way he lives out his faith challenges me. You can read my review here.
My Favorite Female Memoir I Read in 2017. Ugh. This book was so gut-wrenching. Jeannette Wall’s powerful memoir, The Glass Castle: A Memoir, has been on my list for years after it came highly recommended by several friends. I’m so glad I finally read it. I was so challenged by her resilience in the midst of massive family dysfunction.
My Favorite Book I Read Written For Women (but should also be read by men). Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin. Jen is on staff at The Village Church in the Dallas Metroplex. I’m a big fan of all that God is doing at The Village, and Jen plays a big part in much of the good work God is doing. This book challenged me to rethink how I read God’s Word and she provides a helpful process for reading the Scriptures.
My Favorite Book Leadership I Read in 2017 (Bonus – Includes An Abundance of Hip Hop References). Clay Scroggins’ new book, How To Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority. Clay is the lead pastor of North Point Community Church and lives this out well in the way he leads others while under the leadership of Andy Stanley. You can read my review of this book here.
My Favorite Book I Hated (in the best possible way). I’ll share a full review of this book in a few days, but I loved/hated reading The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps For Putting Technology in its Proper Place by Andy Crouch. This book provided a challenging kick in the pants and forced me to evaluate how I think about technology and how we can have a tech-wise family. I don’t use the words lightly, but I do believe every family needs to read this book and evaluate their relationship with technology.
The Book That Most Messed With Me. I’m glad I discovered the blog, books, and teaching of Scott Sauls this year (even though he’s a UNC Tarheel fan). Scott watched several friends in vocational ministry struggle and fall over the past few years and so he wrote the book From Weakness to Strength: 8 Vulnerabilities That Can Bring Out the Best in Your Leadership as a response to patterns he witnessed. This book challenged me to think through areas of weakness where I need to more closely lean on the Lord.
And now, for the first time ever on this site, Kristen Kedersha!
My Favorite Fiction Book I Read in 2017. Wonder– I read this book because two of my boys read it at school and the movie was coming out. Plus, I had heard sooooooo much about it from friends. It did not disappoint! So many good reminders that how we treat others matters. Life will be challenging, but we can rise to the occasion.
My Favorite Parenting Read in 2017. Fearless Parenting: How to Raise Faithful Kids in a Secular Culture by George Barna/Jimmy Myers. I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s practical, biblical, research-based, and real. It challenged me to parent with faith and not fear and reminded me the way we raise our children will ultimately determine the future of our world. If we parent in a politically-correct way, we’re most likely headed away from the biblically correct way of parenting our kids.
My Favorite Biography I Read in 2017. I loved reading Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love, the story of Katherine and Jay Wolf. It may be the physical therapist in me, but I was inspired to read their story and to see how they continue to use their testimony to minister and serve others. This one will challenge you in how you steward the challenging parts of your life.
- Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better, by Brant Hansen. My friend Kyle encouraged me to read this one, and I’m so thankful I did. He encourages the reader to give up their ‘right’ to be angry/offended and to instead choose joy and gratitude. Brant is a radio guy, so he has a great narrator voice if you’re into Audiobooks.
- Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, by Jon Acuff. You can read my full review here. I love Acuff’s practical, humorous communication style. A few years ago, Acuff encouraged me to start writing. In this book, he encouraged me to finish and accomplish some major goals.
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight. Knight started Nike, and I loved reading the origin story of this company. His humility and lessons learned from his failures and mistakes encouraged me.
- The Business of Faith: How to Lead Yourself, Unify Your Team and Create a Remarkable Organization, by Matt Levy and Jeff Ward. I’m so encouraged by the great job my friends did with this book. Both guys go to Watermark and I work with Jeff. I’d recommend this book for any follower of Christ who leads a team in the workplace. The book is unapologetically Christian, but even if the reader doesn’t follow Christ, they would still benefit from the excellent principles found throughout the book.
- The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness, by Barrett Johnson. I read this book with my 13-year old twins and it sparked some great discussions about women, dating, and puberty. You can read my review here.
- Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines, by David Mathis. Really good read on the spiritual disciplines. You can read my review here.
Note to readers: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I get a very small kickback on any purchases you make through these links (at no extra cost to you). I need some way to recoup a small percentage of the money I spend on this blog every year and any purchases you make help keep this writing ministry going.
- What did you read this year you recommend to others? What should I read?
- As you think about books and reading, what makes a book stand out to you?