My 5 Favorite Books of the Year

I am not very proud of my reading accomplishments this year. It was a year of transitions, mobility and scrambling, so I struggled to read for long hours. It is one of my goals to do better in 2011. But I did manage to read some essentials, and here are my five favorites:

5. The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.

The author of the 4 Hour Work Week compiles one of the most useful and practical guides to fitness and health that I’ve read. The non-scientist gets the science just right. He is not wedded to one approach, like many other diet books, but draws on the best approaches and best science for an innovative and holistic perspective.

4. Decision Points by George W. Bush

My readers know that I’m not the biggest fan of the policies of the Bush Administration, but I always enjoy presidential autobiographies that explain presidential decisions from the president’s perspective. This autobiography is more riveting, better organized and better written than most, and readers come away with a fuller understanding of the man George W. Bush and the issues that his presidency faced.

3. The Existential Jesus by James Carroll .

A nonbeliever finds the Jesus of the Gospel of Mark compelling, and his reading of the text through postmodern eyes is compelling. While I do not agree with every assumption or conclusion, I have a hunch that this telling of the Jesus story is exactly the one that nonbelievers can hear in this age.

2. The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey

The son of Stephen Covey writes a convincing and groundbreaking book on how trust facilitates business and personal relationships, and he has the hard evidence to prove it.

1. To Change the World by James Davison Hunter

This book has become my magnum opus when it comes to the topic of Christianity and culture. UVA’s Hunter offers a theologically and sociologically sophisticated analysis of the place of Christianity in American culture and offers some constructive suggestions for how faith might recover from its foibles and become a faithful presence in the modern age.

Honorable Mention: Common Prayer, edited by Shane Claiborne, et al.

This book is exactly what I’ve been looking for: a version of the Book of Common Prayer organized around dates of the year with daily Scripture readings, prayers, readings from Christian classics and a song to sing. It already is my daily devotion book, and I suspect it will remain with me throughout the year.

I also enjoyed: The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan, The Power of the Actor by Ivanna Chubbuck, Rework by Seth Godin and The Tao of Show Business by Dallas Travers.

What is still on my list to read: Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

2 Responses to “My 5 Favorite Books of the Year”
  1. Ty Lovell says:

    Todd- Love your writing. I also love Timothy Ferriss. Thanks for the healthy eating tips. I have recently begun to change my “eating patterns” and your advice is helpful. Blessings on you today. Ty

  2. toddbouldin says:

    Ty, you are very kind. Thanks for reading. I’m very honored. I hope you are well and love to see you some time.

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