Here are seven books I recommend from what I finished reading in April. Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s.
7 Books I Recommend
1. Deep Work
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport
Can you focus for long periods of time without getting distracted? If not, Deep Work might be a book for you. The author stresses that we’re losing our prolonged abilities to concentrate, and the world is suffering by that lack.
It’s not the most ground-breaking book I’ve read, but because it gives many tips and steps, it’s worth reading.
2. Grace Behind Bars
An Unexpected Path to True Freedom
by Dudley Mitchell
An inspiring real life story. This excellently-told narrative is by Bo Mitchell, businessman and chaplain for the Denver Nuggets, who ends up in federal prison for a white collar crime he was unaware he committed. His wife, Gari, also shares her perspective sprinkled throughout the book.
The book will encourage you in your Christian faith, and also make you more appreciative of your freedom. I first heard Bo and Gary on a Focus on the Family podcast here. I recommend both the book and the podcast, in either order.
3. Democracy in Black
How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
This book will enlighten you on both the history and the present of black lives and politics in America. Author Eddie Glaude made me think of things I hadn’t considered, and challenged me to go forward in more productive ways.
4. Invisible Influence
The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior
by Jonah Berger
A very intriguing and well-written book. If we think we make only rational, independent decisions about our lives, we’re wrong.
We’re influenced by more factors than we’re conscious of (and it’s more than just which news channel we watch). This book reveals many of these influences. Awareness is powerful.
My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble
by Dan Lyons
I started this book because it was funny. I laughed out loud over and over at this true story. Dan Lyons was a top writer in his early fifties when he was suddenly laid off from Newsweek. The next job he can get is at the tech start-up, HubSpot. (If you saw The Intern with Robert De Niro, you realize how funny this scenario can be, an older man working with all younger people.) Except this time it’s not fiction.
As the story progresses, it turns a little dark. But it provides interesting insights on both age discrimination and young companies.
6. Practicing the Power
Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life
by Sam Storms
Are the gifts of the Spirit still active today? Sam Storms says yes. He uses this book to show how the Spirit can work in a church and other settings. Another thought-provoking book. And one to pray about for action.
7. The Naked Now
Learning to See as the Mystics See
by Richard Rohr
I already know I need to read this again. It’s too much to get in one reading. Rohr explores what it means to live in the present and to let go of dualistic thinking.
2 Novels I Don’t Recommend
The Good Father
by Noah Hawley
The premise is good: a father’s son is accused of assassinating a presidential candidate, and the father goes on a quest to acquit him. But it didn’t progress enough for me. It’s okay, but I like Hawley’s novel Before the Fall much better.
Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
The topic of teen suicide definitely needs to be talked about. But I didn’t like the “let’s-blame-everybody-else” approach that the main character uses in this book, especially blaming other teenagers who are struggling, too. The tone of the book just rubbed me wrong. I’ll skip the Netflix series since I didn’t like the book (and since I don’t have Netflix).
- A More Beautiful Question
The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger
- When Everything Changed
The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
by Gail Collins
- The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
- The Versions of Us
by Laura Barnett
* * *
What good book have you read lately? Please share here.
- Democracy in Black – Is Race Enslaving Our Souls?
- A Real Presence – Pope Francis’s TED Talk