Just like podcasts, books can shape who you are. When I’m going through hard times I turn to the wise words of authors I trust. I also love to read when I’m traveling for work and hanging out at home. There’s a time and a place for entertaining books as well as books that support and inform me personally, professionally, and spiritually.
We’ve had many Mahogany Workplace followers ask about our favorite books and what we’re reading right now. Here’s what I’ve got for you. (And leave us a comment about your go-to reads; many of you suggested great podcasts last time!)
Scary Close by Donald Miller
Relationships are hard to figure out. I never quite know the right balance between dependency and independence. Scary Close allowed me to see my relational flaws (both with friends and romantically). Authenticity is crucial to experience intimacy, and I’ve learned that I don’t need to be scared of who I am. Instead I need to be confident that deeper, truer relationships form when I am authentic. Donald Miller’s book showed me this and helped me work toward more meaningful relationships.
Love Does by Bob Goff
The title says it all. Love Does showed me that true love involves action. It’s a lighthearted book about author Bob Goff’s experiences trying to make life happen — all in the name of love. I think it’s an inspiring, hopeful book. After reading it, you might find yourself getting out of your comfort zone more than ever before.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
This post-apocalyptic fiction novel is about Hig, a man who survives a flu epidemic that killed his wife and friends. Denver author Peter Heller writes about Hig’s new life in the hangar of an abandoned airport and how he must find a new meaning for his life when modern civilization as he knows it is over. It’s well-written and surprisingly hopeful for an end-of-the-world book.
Love Wins by Rob Bell
Yes, this is a controversial pick. If you google it you’ll figure that out fast. But Love Wins allowed me to question things, it showed me how to love deeper, and taught me to judge less. For that I would recommend sitting down with this quick read.
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
Based on the idea that the best thing the church can offer the world is grace, Philip Yancey explains that most of the time the church instead seems to offer a phrase he coins “ungrace.” I appreciated this book’s honest and raw look at the church and its people. As a Christian it can feel like the church community is quicker to judge than to love. And this book reminded me that grace should always be my reaction.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
This intense novel presents a tough situation for two families living in Amsterdam. Both have a 15-year-old son, and both of their sons committed a terrible crime. Over dinner the parents of these kids must decide what to do and who to protect. It’s suspenseful and involves so many thoughtful topics. You’ll find yourself wondering what you’d do in each of these character’s shoes.
The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
I read this book during a rough patch in my life. The Broken Way opened my eyes to the idea that experiencing brokenness is the only way to become whole. Ann Voskamp asks the questions: What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This book is for people who care a lot but still find themselves suffering through the things life throws at them. It helped me not feel alone and allowed me to find comfort and confidence in my brokenness.
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
“Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary.” – St. Francis of Assisi
We talk a lot about giving. But what does giving actually do for the people we try to serve. In fact, why do we serve at all? This is the story of how a corporate CEO pursued his belief and conviction that Christians can change the world by actively living out their faith. Using his own journey as an example, Stearns explores the hole that exists in our understanding of the Gospel; we have the resources to fight injustice yet we watch fixable poverty happen right before our eyes. For me this book is personal because Generous International was built on the conviction that through our resources we can change the world.
By Ben Higgins with contributions from his crew
What books are you reading? What books changed your life?
Photo by NAZpicture.