In 2009, I read 62 books, the most ever since I have begun to keep track. How do I read so much? Well, when you receive 4 channels of TV and only a few sports events, it makes it much easier. You can see my complete list here . Out of all the books I read, many do nothing for me. There are some that are exceptional. Here are five that were the best of the year. I would recommend all these. In order, my top 5 of 2009 plus a fiction special, or two.
1. Cross-Cultural Servanthood – Duane Elmer
This was one of those books that was painfully, yet pleasantly convicting. Elmer spent many years working in Africa, which makes his examples all the more impacting. He has such a practical definition of servanthood -not putting distance between you and those you work with. Can you learn from them, receive from them, enjoy life with them? My team in Africa will study this book. Expect to see re-reads of this book on my book list for years to come!
2. Hot, Flat and Crowded – Thomas Friedman
Finally! Someone who can talk about the environment and the green movement in non religious, non political terms. God gave us the Earth – why would we not want to take care of it? And it is not merely the creation of some right or left wing politicians. Enough already! Energy conservation is not only good for the planet but it makes sense; it saves you money!! There are no “trees are people” in this book. Fantastic, sensible read that shows the truly beneficial and amazing sides to this issue
3. Mad Church Disease – Anne Jackson
Comparing symptoms of burn-out with Mad Cow disease, Jackson writes a book everyone who feels pressure to perform needs to read, whether in full time church work or not.
4. The Starfish and the Spider – Brafman & Beckstrom
Using modern business illustrations such as Ebay, this leadership book examines de-centralized leadership and structure as a wave of the future. They think theirs in the only model, which I disagree with, but it is a proven and successful one that has merit.
5. Yes! 50 Ways to be Persuasive – Robert Cialdini
Strategy and studies to show how to “frame” things to influence people. The 50 studies are intriguing and readable in short chapters even if you do not feel the urge to persuade others.
The Winner – David Baldacci
A single mom wins the lottery and it seems like the perfect story. Come to find, it was a plan all along to rig the lottery and make the bad guys rich. How the innocent winner flees for her life from her benefactors. After a long day, my brain no longer holds theology or leadership truths. Fiction is a great way to wind down. Many books are better than TV! This one is the best of the year I read.
The Collectors by David Baldacci. It was a good year for Baldacci!