It’s that time to post my top books read in 2017. These are the best of the books I read in terms of the value I gained from them and the contribution they make to a person’s development in key areas of life. Every year I read in a wide range of areas, but I always try to read a few parenting/marriage/family books since that’s our life stage.
Before starting – my best book read in 2017 was The Cubs Way by Tom Verducci because it was a journey of 2016 Cubs World Series afterglow. In the same vein, Teammate by David Ross brought a lot of the same feel-good vibes. But since these are niche books, I’m leaving them off the official list.
Here’s the list from the past year, whittled down from about 40 books total this year…
1. The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma – A great primer on the current and historical landscape of racism and systemic injustice that aims to help majority culture white Americans enter into the national dialogue and reality more deeply.
2. Negotiating the Nonnegotiable by Daniel Shapiro – One of the best of all the negotiation books I’ve read because of its attention to identity, communication, forgiveness, and reconciliation in addition to typical training on integrative bargaining.
3. Self to Lose Self to Find by Marilyn Vancil – This was a helpful book on the spiritual formation assessment tool known as the Enneagram. This was a treatment though that was grounded deeply in a teaching of the Spirit-filled life and theology of personal transformation in Christ. There were great prayers for each “profile”/number of the Enneagram. This has been helpful for me in some of my own spiritual development.
4. The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan – One of the most important books for me in 2017 because of it’s depth and skill to unpack a theology of Sabbath and rest with reflection on all the ways we choose less than God’s best. This helped bring some healing and restoration in a weary season.
5. Families Where Grace Is In Place by Jeff VanVonderan – Maybe the best parenting/family book I’ve come across to date with its focus on grace and the heart of the gospel for the journey and task of parenting. I also highly recommend Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfect Parenting via audiobook.
6. Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch – A great resource related to the causes and results of shame with a Biblical foundation for seeing identity renewed and transformed through Christ. Welch unpacks psychological or identity-based shame really well and in very helpful ways for personal growth, counseling, and leadership that is coming alongside the hurting.
7. The Art of Virtue-Based Transformational Leadership by Mark McCloskey and Jim Lewesma – This is a book introducing the 4-R model of transformational leadership, which is the framework I was trained in at Bethel Seminary and that my organization has used for a couple decades. I waited awhile for this book, but I really enjoyed this accessible summary of the model integrated with the case study of Nehemiah and several contemporary leaders.
8. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – This was a powerful and poetic reflection of the history of oppression and racism in America and its impact on identity and behavior. It’s written or delivered to the author’s teen son so it brings a personal dimension that makes the reflections all the more powerful and visceral.
Factoring in the two Cubs books at the beginning – that makes 10 books! If you read any of the above and enjoy them – let me know. If you want to see my best from 2016 or later you can visit this link.
If you have read some great books this year, leave me a note in the comments and if you are on goodreads, look me up!