Best Books of 2018


Just in time for the holidays!

Best Books is an annual tradition. Each year I read quite a few books and while I don’t recommend everything I read, I thought there were some that might interest you. I offer to you, in no particular order, a list of books that I found the most interesting, challenging, helpful, and/or inspiring.

Give and Take
by Adam Grant

Reading Give and Take was my first exposure to Adam Grant. Now I’m a fan and will read all of his stuff for the rest of my life. It should come as no surprise to you, there are two kinds of people - Givers and Takers. What you might be surprised to find out is that Givers are squarely in at the bottom AND the top of their organizations while Takers often find themselves somewhere in the middle. Want to succeed in the workplace, then become a Giver.

Courageous Creative
by Jenny Randle

Jenny has outdone herself with this 31-day devotional. Courageous Creative an interactive experience intended to guide you through well-designed exercises to test your creative capacity and stretch your imagination. As a parent who desires to teach his children to know and love God and others I appreciate how intentional the author is in reinforcing essential truths concerning God’s creative nature and how we can use our creativity to glorify God and serve others.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
by Pete Scazzero

I enjoyed this book so much I read it three times this year. No other book in recent years has so deeply changed how I practice my faith than this one. You might think that based on the title the content is soft or too touch feely for you, and you’d be wrong. This book is anything but soft. This book addresses some of the deepest obstacles getting in the way between you and God. The subtitle says it all - it’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.

Never Split the Difference
by Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference is a fantastic book! It’s written by a former lead FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, who shares everything he’s learned in 30+ years of negotiation. It’s an excellent book I probably need to read again because there is just so much incredible insight into the psychology and relational dynamics of effective negotiation. 

Permission to Screw Up
by Kristen Hadeed

There’s a phrase in the music industry called "polishing the poo.” It’s what happens to a music recording near the final stages of the post-production process where a sound engineer gets rid of all the sounds that may distract a listener. Kristen does not polish the poo in her book. In fact, she does the complete opposite. She draws attention to her many mistakes and invites the reader to learn from her experiences. I absolutely loved this refreshingly narrative-driven book that teaches leadership lessons as the author tells her story of starting a new company.

Move Your Bus
by Ron Clark

The author, Ron Clark, has an amazing story of teaching in the inner city to founding a model school in Atlanta, GA, where tens of thousands of teachers and administrators visit his school to learn from the best. Move Your Bus is an excellent leadership book. Without giving too much away Ron argues that there are different types of people within your organization akin to riders on a bus. There’s the bus driver, who’s in charge, but the riders on the bus are the fuel and engine of the bus that make it move. Ron says there are Riders, Walkers, Joggers, and Runners. Runners are the most important to an organization and leaders should spend most of their time investing in their Runners. Read this book. It’s really good.


“If you were going to burn out how would you do it?” This is such a profound and in-your-face kind of question, but it’s a necessary one for every leader to ask themselves. The reality is, many leaders are on a path leading to burnout. It’s not a matter of if, but when. If you want to have an impact where you are, then this e-book is for you. Alan says that before you can have impact you must be healthy. Health leads to impact; not the other way around. Health always leads to impact. Health always steers clear of burning out. BONUS: This e-book is the perfect price - just $5!


If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram, it’s possible you’ve been living under a rock. I was under I discovered this terrific book by Ian Morgan Cron. As a pastor I’ve been put through a battery of personality assessments, but in my humble opinion, there is none better than the Enneagram. Cron methodically and practically walks the reader through each of the 9 personality types. This is a great introduction to how the Enneagram can help you better understand yourself and the personalities of those to whom you are closest.

What books have you read that have had the greatest impact on you?