Books of 2016

With the coming of the new year I have been trying to plan out what books I want to try to tackle in 2017. Before moving on to that, though, I took a glance back at the books I read in 2016. Here’s a list with a brief synopsis to boot, not necessarily in any order.

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Started this book as a study in leadership as part of my MBA program. As the author claims, this is truly the tale of an American life. I came away from the book having a liking of Franklin more so in his younger days than his latter (mostly due to the fact that I disagree with what he may claim as success [i.e. family matters]). Well written and exhaustive, this book was worth the read and certainly explores the ins and outs of a hyper-interesting founding father.

Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood by Jonathan Parnell and Owen Strachen

In a culture that is so confused by the idea of sexual identity, this short read from Desiring God was pretty refreshing. Written by various authors, the book was a brief introduction to Biblical complementarity and included applications of complementarity to various current issues relating to manhood and womanhood describing the purpose of sexuality, how our identity is shaped, how feminism has shaped our culture, and much more.

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

As with any book by Keller, contained within is deep insight and cutting thoughts. He spends the first half breaking down arguments against the existence of God and then the second half is spent on the plausibility of the beliefs of Christianity. A fantastic read and definitely worth offering to others who may have questions about the faith.

1984 by George Orwell

Honestly, this book was a little scary and depressing, but I think that was the point. Orwell did a great job in analyzing history and government and extrapolated what would happen given man’s base desire for more and more power. Could this world ever come to be? I sure do hope not. Who is to say what the initial steps toward this world look like, though?

The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg

The brain is an amazing organ. After reading The Brain that Changes Itself, I’ve developed an awe for what the brain is capable of which lead me to dive into some of the more practical aspects of it. An entertaining book with some great insights into how habits impact individual lives as well as organizations. Duhigg, being true to his reporter nature, is thorough and well written. Studying the habits in our lives and knowing how to keep some, lose some, or create new ones is invaluable. Remember: cues trigger routines with expectations of reward.

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

Read this book with the MDEQ book club, hadn’t high expectations but it was a genuinely unique book. Follows various intertwining stories of which I favored hearing about the main character’s grandfather. Intersting for sure but with a slightly disappointing ending, I need closure!

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahesi Coates

My dad read this book and suggested it to me, and I couldn’t be more glad that he did. This book offers a profound perspective on the intense feelings of a black father raising a black son in this contemporary climate. It went a long way in opening my eyes to how the African American community has been and continues to be impacted by this culture. Though I can’t buy into some of Coates’ philosophy, I’m looking forward to reading some more of his work.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent, & Ron Hall

This book has been on the list for a long time, and since it’s about to become a movie I figure this was good timing. It was a heart warming story of two very different men crossing paths and changing each others’ lives. Convicting for how we interact with those less fortunate than ourselves. Everyone has a story. All we have to do is listen and our whole world may change.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

This was another book that I was assigned during school (Isaacson’s pretty popular these days). It was a thorough investigation into the drivers of the digital revolution. Fascinating stories as Isaacson dives into the lives of the inventors, technicians, loners, and teams of people who collaborated, worked long hours, and continued to build on the foundation laid before them until the world was changed by what they produced. Devotion to ideas can go a long way.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

A few friends and colleagues recommended this book after talking about the world of real estate. Investing is such a fuzzy subject when it comes to the stock market, but Kiyosaki makes real estate seem almost like a game. It’s a game that requires discipline and adherance to a strict set of principles along with a pretty good gut it would seem. Success can rarely be boiled down to a few simple principles, but this book really got my mind spinning for possibilities.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

I was sad when I found out that I had not read this series since 2012. Truly rereading it was like visiting with an old friend. Tolkien has an astounding capacity for story telling and every time I reread these I appreciate more and more the work that he did on the detail of the books. There is so much depth in this story that it is easy to get lost of this magical world. Why do we enjoy fictional stories so much? I like to think that it’s because fiction allows us to partake in the echoes and dreams of reality.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Simply a classic. This book makes you laugh and agonize at the same time and honestly is so foreign that it’s almost unrelatable but at the same time enjoyable. I’d like to make some kind of comment on the futility of social graces, but honestly I really just liked the book. And plus, I really wish we still talked in old English.

Can’t wait to see what’s to come in the new year.

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