You want to have purpose and meaning in your life, and certainly there are lots of people who have advice. How do you tell truth from fiction? How do you know who to believe? Research by Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich found that habitual readers know more than habitual television watchers. But it also showed that readers are better at deciphering misinformation.
As John Maxwell and my pastor, Michael Catt, often say,
“Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”
So, we know that reading helps us decipher misinformation. Hopefully, we all want purpose and meaning in our lives. Great books can do that. I love patrolling the reading lists of people I read, so I thought I'd share some of mine. Here are some of the best books I've read this year (2015)– in no particular order. (I did not include education books. I interview the authors of my favorite education books on Every Classroom Matters!) I'm giving you a brief overview of the book and why I loved it. Please share your faves in the comments!
7 Books to Help Add Meaning and Purpose to Your Life
21 Great Leaders: Learn Their Lessons, Improve Your Influence by Pat Williams
Pat Williams tells a masterful story of many of the great men and women of our time. He relates to the aspects of leadership. But the part I also like is his insight into their weaknesses as well. I am reading this to my homeroom now. Excellent book!
[tweetthis]”I define leadership as the ability to achieve difficult, challenging goals through other people.” @OrlandoMagicPat[/tweetthis]
I finished this book last night and cried as finished the last page. The book is beautiful and so well summarizes the search for meaning in life. Whatever your faith, it will give you so much to consider. As a Christian, it fits.
[tweetthis]Think of the effect your words have on the people around you, especially young people. @orlandomagicpat[/tweetthis]
As I touted my love for Donald Miller's books (see below), some of my friends on Facebook recommended Love Does by Bob Goff. Donald Miller talks about the extravagant, unusual life of Bob Goff. If there is someone who outlandishly loves people, it is this man, Bob. I loved this book because it helps me focus on relationships. It puts in order how I should love people. Awesome book.
[tweetthis]A friend doesn’t just say things; a friend does. @bobgoff [/tweetthis]
Seaside by Terri Blackstock
This short novella was a read on my way to a vacation. A story about a mom and her two daughters who head to the seashore one weekend speaks to me on so many levels. These three “type A” women remember and learn so much about themselves and each other. This is a fantastic read for busy mom's, career women and those who are caught in the rat race. Quick read. Big impact.
“She hoped it wasn't too late to show them that time wasted is not always a waste of time.”
After I finished reading this book, I immediately texted my mentor, Errol St. Clair Smith, and he read it too. The book is full of actionable information about how success works. Shane Snow dispels common myths (i.e. “Serve your time and then your time will come.”) and gives you advice on how to move ahead (sometimes it isn't always in a straight line!)
“The research showed that experts—people who were masters at a trade—vastly preferred negative feedback to positive. It spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.”
Don't Just Stand There, Pray Something by Ron Dunn
The late Ron Dunn wrote my favorite book on prayer. One of my greatest success secrets is my prayer life. I am not equipped nor able to explain how prayer works– but Ron Dunn comes as close as any book I've seen on explaining and helping one learn to pray. The best book I've read on prayer. Ron Dunn may have died in 2001, but his work lives on in this book.
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy, the author of the Great Santini and the Lords of Discipline and more, tells a masterful story of his life. Intertwined is his admiration for his boyhood teacher as well as a fresh glimpse into the author-elite world of writers in the South. I was captured by his words and entranced by his imagery. My Reading Life is one of those books to share with budding authors because Conroy's love of books makes you fall even more in love yourself.
“Books are living things and their task lies in their vows of silence. You touch them as they quiver with a divine pleasure. You read them and they fall asleep to happy dreams for the next ten years. If you do them the favor of understanding them, of taking in their portions of grief and wisdom, then they settle down in contented residence in your heart.”
The One Thing: The Surprising Truth About Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This book has helped me focus more than any book I've read in a long time. We can produce extra-ordinary results but we must focus. But how? How do we focus? How do we know what is most important? This book can give anyone great insight to the age old question, “Why am I on this earth?”
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