Books I Read in 2016

Love Does by Bob Goff
This was the first book I read in 2016 and the second time I’ve read this. Bob Goff is one of my heroes and I want to be like him when I grow up. The way he loves his family and his neighbors and the world is eye opening. You wouldn’t think any of this would be possible, but he’s done it. He’s a lawyer fighting for human rights. His mantra is whimsy and childlike wonder. As we get older, we tend to put aside whimsy, childlike wonderment and joy for fear of looking silly. I want to look silly, love and change the world in the process. If it sounds silly and impossible, read this book.

Scary Close by Donald Miller
Donald Miller has such an easy writing style. I read his book a Million Miles in a Thousand Year when I was traveling through Oregon. It was extremely timely. This book was about his journey through learning how to have a marriage relationship. I’m not there yet, but the wisdom is spot on no matter the season.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I started working at the Alamo Drafthouse in Omaha in May to save some money and have some fun. There was a decent amount of down time on slow nights so I started reading some of my favorite fantasy series. Bonus the audio books for the Harry Potter series is incredible and can be found on YouTube every so often. I listened to a couple of the books and read the others. Such fun reads no matter how old you are, and I didn’t pick these up until after college.

The Chronicles of Narnia Series – Except for Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
To continue my fantasy series, I bought the Chronicles of Narnia and started re-reading them. My dad reads the series to his 5th graders every year, and I don’t think I’ve read them since middle school. I didn’t read the last one, I will in 2017 though. The last one, The Last Battle, I remember making a real, deep impact on me when I was younger, so I’m a bit hesitant to pick it up again. Will it hurt to read again or will it have the same impact? These are also the books that made me want to tell stories.

Traction by Gino Wickman
My boss asked me to read this book and assist with the implementation of this organizational structure. Overall was pretty good even with the few buzzword terminologies I could have done without. The system hasn’t been implemented yet, but it will be helpful with some clear leadership and vision in place. I should probably pick it up again and add it to my business books this year.

The 5 Most Important Questions You’ll Ask About Your Organization – Peter Drucker
I decided to pick this one up after reading Traction. I think it was mentioned in that book as well. I had never read any Drucker before, but his business and organizational principles have seemed to stand as times have changed. It was a quick read and I remember enjoying it. I gave it to Shawn Hartley to read and he gave me one of his to read which I haven’t yet and I haven’t seen my copy yet. I remember it being good. Maybe I’ll get a chance to implement some of the ideas in 2017.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t – Steven Pressfield
Now this was a fun book to read. Pressfield is well known for War of Art which I started in 2016 and was just about finished, but never quite got there, so it will have to wait until 2017. I love Pressfield’s writing style. It’s short, digestible chunks of information. He started out as a copywriter which is part of my current job and he moved to screenplays and novels which is a direction I’d like to go. It’s no fuss, no mess book. And it didn’t take me long. The book along with the War of Art and The Story Grid were given to me at the Story Conference. I never realized how much I was needing to read books about writing. Now if I just get my act together and write something.

The Bible – 66 Books if we want to get technical. Actually it was 67, because the reading plan has you read through Psalms twice.
This was my third time reading through the entire Bible in my 30 years of existence. I’ve been raised with this book since I was born and as much as I know the stories, I learn something new about God’s character each time. The beginning and middle of 2016 were more difficult than I like to admit. Omaha and current circumstances wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was doubting a lot of what I was taught about God growing up. American Christianity isn’t what the first church knew and experienced, and I was questioning if we were interpreting what God intended correctly. Does He really love like we make it seem? If you read the Old Testament and listen to American Christianity, they don’t really seem to line up. How does he feel about the issues we are facing in America and how divided we are? How can we have so many different perspectives if there’s one God? Shouldn’t there be a right and wrong? He disciplines, but He created and loves us. A lot of our issues would be fixed if we understood that there is a relationship to be had with Him. At the end of 2016, as I finished reading through the Bible, I don’t feel like I had any more clarity, but definitely more peace and that I don’t have to have all of the answers. Both the end of the Old Testament and the New Testament end with prophecy, some of the prophecy points to Jesus’s birth and other points to things that have yet to be, but there’s such a sense of God’s control in all of it. When the world looks crazy, when the world hurts and doesn’t make sense, He’s God and He knows, and I think He grants mercy and gives us what we need. He delays the end of the world for the love of wanting more of us to come to know Him. These issues that receive so much attention in the news, are surface level issues. The bigger issues, the mortal truths are things we can’t see or going on beneath the surface. A tug of our hearts to the eternal. We numb that quiet tug with more entertainment, more distractions, picking fights, magnifying our flaws, noise in general. This is the reason I love story. Sometimes our stories see that truth and put it in a way we can understand.

There may have been one or two more in this list, but I can’t remember what they are right now.


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