Brian on Books: 2019 Recap

Dear Christian Radio…

It’s 2020…another year in the books.

I wanted to begin the New Year by sharing what I read in 2019. There were some really good reads, and some not so good. In total, I read 47 books and reviewed 36 of them. Some of the books on my list were rereads of favorites, some are now new favorites, and others…meh. I even took time to read my own book Leadership Endurance. That was surreal. Anyway, let’s start some quick thoughts on the books that made my Top 10 for 2019:

#10. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
I love to learn and be challenged; this book accomplished both. This is a great read and Tyson simplifies the complicated and makes it very readable.

#9. Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level (Leander Kahney)
This book is a must read for any leader, especially a leader who is taking the baton from a founder. True insights on how to move forward with a legacy and powerful myth on your shoulders.

#8. The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln (Alex Ayres)
I’m a sucker for a book on Lincoln. This one was exceptional. It was a compilation of curated stories all in one place. Superb reading!

#7. The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians (David M. Rubenstein)
The excellence of this book was a shock to my system. Be prepared, it’s written in an interview style. Even so you’ll quickly be caught up in the stories and details of how leaders and presidents made decisions and avoided responsibility.

#6. Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom (G.K. Beale)
God is holy and loving. Beale does a heroic job of reminding readers of both of these truths. God reverses the destruction that sin causes and brings redemption and newness. Thanks to Jesus, we are not eternally ruined. This book brings truth and joy to any weary heart.

#5. Abraham Lincoln: A Biography (Benjamin P. Thomas)
This is a classic Lincoln biography by a noted scholar. It is well worth your time!

#4. Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America (Jared Cohen)
Fascinating. Riveting. Dripping with leadership principles. I wish I could inspire every person in leadership to read this book. If I could, there would be an increase in the quality of leadership across the board.

#3. On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Karen Swallow Prior)
Books shape and inform us. Books have a message and a purpose. I loved this book. How much did I love it? Well, I have the author coming to speak to the PAR Team at our 2020 Vision Week. Understanding how the author wants to impact us allows us to unpack a book’s message and broaden our own understanding. READ THIS BOOK.

#2. Stillness is the Key (Ryan Holiday)
We live in a busy world. Usually, we choose a fast-paced life on purpose. Holiday’s book is both a warning and water for parched souls. Slow down. Be purposeful. Look for meaning. Quiet the mind. This is such a helpful book.

#1. Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation (Whitney Capps)
Change. That’s what this book did…it changed me. I’m often sick of me. Actually, it’s most of the time. I’m not the answer for me, Jesus is. Capps is masterful in sharing her own story and then weaving in the Gospel. The books message helps to heal those weary hearts who try to do everything by their own efforts. Put this book on your list…as you can see, it’s my pick of the year!

There were three books that disappointed me in 2019. They are:

  • Lincoln and the Irish: The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union (Niall O’Dowd)
    There is very little Lincoln in this book. It was such a disappointment.
  • Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing and How We Can Revive Them (Jonathan Merritt)
    Merritt is a great writer. The book starts off hopeful, but ends up a mess. Words matter. God’s words matter even more. We can’t simply change the words that God spoke because they make us uncomfortable.
  • The Eccentric Mr. Churchill: Little-Known Facts about the Greatest Briton (Jacob F. Field)
    Meh. Skip it.

Here’s a full list of all the book I read in 2019…

  1. Winning (Jack Welch)
  2. This is Marketing: You Can’t be Seen Until you Learn to See (Seth Godin)
  3. The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany (Michael Beschloss)
  4. Revolution: Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary (George Barna)
  5. The 10 Commandments: What they Mean, Why they Matter, and Why we Should Obey Them (Kevin DeYoung)
  6. The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected (Nik Ripken)
  7. Abraham Lincoln: A Biography (Benjamin P. Thomas)
  8. From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America (Howard Schultz)
  9. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
  10. Leader Shift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace (John Maxwell)
  11. The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (Thomas J. DiLorenzo)
  12. On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Karen Swallow Prior)
  13. The Soul of a Team: A Modern-Day Fable for Winning Teamwork (Tony Dungy)
  14. Leadership Endurance (Brian Sanders)
  15. Suffering is Never for Nothing (Elisabeth Elliot)
  16. Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine (Barry Strauss)
  17. Lincoln and the Irish: The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union (Niall O’Dowd)
  18. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote To Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)
  19. Night (Elie Wiesel)
  20. The Gift of Struggle: Life Changing Lessons about Leading (Bobby Herrera)
  21. Dawn (Elie Wiesel)
  22. Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America (Jared Cohen)
  23. Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership (Alden Mills)
  24. Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level (Leander Kahney)
  25. Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation (Whitney Capps)
  26. Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing and How We Can Revive Them (Jonathan Merritt)
  27. Mission-Driven Leadership: My Journey as a Radical Capitalist (Mark Bertolini)
  28. Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times (Michael Beschloss)
  29. Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs (Ken Kocienda)
  30. The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln (Alex Ayres)
  31. A Faith Of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars (Jonathan Merritt)
  32. First In Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power (Kate Andersen Brower)
  33. You Can Trust God To Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence (Nancy & Robert Wolgemuth)
  34. Barnum: An American Life (Robert Wilson)
  35. Stillness is the Key (Ryan Holiday)
  36. A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt (John Woolverton & James Bratt)
  37. Be More Vader: Assertive Thinking from the Dark Side (Christian Blauvelt)
  38. Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business (Kevin Kruse)
  39. Leadership In War: Essential Lessons from Those Who Made History (Andrew Roberts)
  40. Love Anyway: An Invitation Beyond a World that’s Scary as Hell (Jeremy Courtney)
  41. Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of our Nation’s Leaders (Brady Carlson)
  42. Inside Steve’s Brain (Leander Kahney)
  43. The Eccentric Mr. Churchill: Little-Known Facts About the Greatest Briton (Jacob F. Field)
  44. Abraham Lincoln: Writings and Reflections (selected, edited and introduced by R. B. Bernstein)
  45. Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom (G.K. Beale)
  46. A Warning (Anonymous)
  47. The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians (David M. Rubenstein)

That’s everything from last year. If you’d like to see my reviews from 2019 and 2018, just click the links. And as always…remember, all leaders are readers. If you want to be a better leader, be a reader.

Brian Sanders
Executive Vice President
Positive Alternative Radio

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