Looking over the books I read in 2014 (not necessarily published in 2014 because I usually wait for the library copy so I read for free), these ten or so books were either the most informative, entertaining, or motivating.
1. Being Wrong
Adventures in the Margin of Error
by Kathryn Schulz
This one was the most fascinating by far! Most of us want to always be right, but this book showed how often we are wrong, about what things, and why. It also addressed what to do about it and how to make peace with it. My review here.
2. Daring Greatly
How the Courage to Be Vulernable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown
Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher who discovered in her own life and through 12 years of research how to live wholeheartedly. This message encourages us to more meaningful connect with others and with ourselves despite the risks involved. My review here.
3. Everything Belongs
The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
by Richard Rohr
Have you read any books yet by Richard Rohr? If you like being challenged to take your spirituality to deeper levels, this is a great book to take you there. Rohr wants you to see yourself and your connection to God in new and more truthful ways. (I wish I’d done a book review on this one, but I could never wrap my head around it all. Maybe later.)
4. Nickel and Dimed
On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Is it possible to live the American dream on minimum wage? Author Barbara Ehrenreich went undercover to find out. She took low-paying jobs, lived in cheap lodging, and discovered how difficult it is to be one of the working poor. This book shifted again my already-changing views on how we middle-class Americans are too hard and judgmental on those struggling to get by.
5. Vanishing Grace
What Ever Happened to the Good News?
by Philip Yancey
This book hurts. But also gives hope. In our culture, the church is more likely to be judged negatively than positively. Yancey attributes part of that to the church’s underwhelming show of grace, and he gives many examples of how we can change that. My review here.
6. A Captain’s Duty
Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty
This was the most riveting book I read. Even after seeing the movie (twice!), the real-life story in the book still captivated me. Phillips doesn’t wax philosophical too often in the retelling, but he does give insights periodically into what he was thinking when he was being held hostage by Somali pirates at sea. “The thing I saw the clearest was the lesson I learned on the lifeboat: we are stronger than we think we are.”
How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
by Chip and Dan Heath
I believe God used this book to help me make a “yes” decision to go to Guatemala last September. So of course I love it because it was a fantastic trip. But I continue to return to principles taught here using the WRAP process. (Not to mention that I love all books so far written by Chip and Dan Heath.) My review here.
8. The Four Agreements
by Miguel Ruiz
Because of this short book, I have these four statements on my bedroom mirror: 1–Be true to yourself. 2–Don’t take it personally. 3–Don’t assume. 4–Always do your best. Luiz’s lessons on #2 and #3 in particular are helping me me not make as many mountains out of molehills.
The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
Much like the book Being Wrong, this book helps you make peace with another part of being human: forgetting things. We’re not designed to remember everything. Many things are best forgotten. This book does a great job in exploring how valuable is our ability to forget. My review here.
10. The Power of Now
A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle
This book fascinated me so much when I read my borrowed copy, that I’ve since bought the book and will spent 2015 rereading it much slower. Overall it contains a simple message: live more in the present than in the past or future. But it’s easier said than done for me. I can’t wait to start this book (and process) again. My review here.
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But stop at 10 favorites? That’s too hard! Here are some bonus picks that I also truly enjoyed.
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini
- The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- Does Jesus Really Love Me? by Jeff Chu
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
- Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
- A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
- Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren
- Apprenticeship with Jesus by Gary Moon
- Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Made for Goodness by Desmond Tutu
- The Shack Revisited by Baxter Kruger
- Unfollowers by Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper
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What is a favorite book you read in 2014? I’d love to hear!
- 7 lessons from one word: Compassion
- A scroll of compassion