My favorite reads of 2015
My annual booklists are admittedly strange.
They’re usually written before the review year–sometimes much before. The list is spread across a wide spectrum of sporadic themes. Usually, it’s where my own soul happens to be at the time. For example, this year’s contains leadership development, historical fiction, theology, and even secular philosophy. They are varying degrees of comprehension.
In other words, for some reason, the books I read are all over the place. I’m not sure why, but I think two parts of the reason is that
- I need a wide spectrum to hold my attention. And…
- They are usually what I need in that particular season.
This year, I read a book a week for the year. (see all of Chris Lazo’s books read in 2015). Below, you will find my five favorites and the reasons I liked them so much. Starting with #5….
A Brief History of Thought is an introduction to philosophy. More than that, it is a narrative about how the biggest ideas in history have all attempted to prove their idea of “salvation,” either building on one another or tearing each other down. Of most interest to me, was the author’s treatment of Christianity. Luc Ferry, though a secular humanist, is sympathetic towards Christianity.
My favorite snippet: listening to Ferry describes how the juggernaut of Greek thought, after reigning for a thousand years, was quickly displaced by Christianity’s message of love and the afterlife.
Who should read it: If you want to a quick introduction to philosophy, or want to see how powerful the movement Jesus started originally was, this is a good one.
Simon Sinek’s first book, was based on a Ted Talk he gave, which argued that people do not want what you do, so much as they want why you are doing it. Leaders Eat Last is the follow up to suggest how that concept plays out in teams. His argument is that leaders must create environments of trust and sacrificial service if they want their teams to move from good to great.
My favorite snippet: when Sinek explains the biological origins of “trust.” His major point is that trust is a chemical reaction–you cannot force it, you can only create an environment for it to develop.
Who should read it: If you lead anybody, even your dog, you need this book.
After our church went through the Sermon on the Mount, and afterwards, a series on character and spiritual maturity, this was one of the books that lit the fire (besides Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart which I read in 2014). Character is not the type of This book is a primer but also a persuader about why you need to long for good character.
Favorite snippet: Wright’s story about a pilot, illustrating how it takes thousands of repeated behaviors to eventually do right what needs to be done right in the moment it is needed most.
Who should read it: you.
#2 – Sitting At The Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. By Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg.
Lois Tverberg is a wonderful researcher and writer. I love her appreciation for the ancient Jewish roots of the New Testament, and her books have made my faith, and reading of the Bible, come alive.
My favorite snippet: her explanation of the Messianic significance of the tassels on Jewish garments.
Who should read it: if you have trouble relating to the Bible when you read it (perhaps it feels outdated or removed from your contemporary experience); if you want to grow in your understanding of the Scriptures, Biblical culture, and the world that Jesus inhabited; or if you simply want to deepen and enrich your faith…this is the book for you.
I don’t even know where to start on this one, so I guess with a short description. Set in WWII, this Pulitzer Prize winner waltz around the separate stories of a blind french girl with a love for seashells and a young german boy with a love for radios. As the girl is swept into the arms of the resistance, and the boy’s talent for electronics brings him invariably to the Hitler Youth, the centripetal force of their combined stories, tragedies, and hopes work to bring them together. I have not read a book this gripping and beautiful in prose since The Great Gatsby.
Who: readers of historical fiction, WWII themes, or magical writing.