Posted by: Tim | March 16, 2010

Books I partly read in 2009

I find that I read quite a few books that for one reason or another I don’t finish, but I’ve read enough of them to make comments.

Many of them I read as research for sermons so I only read what I need. Some just aren’t that good so I move on to something else. And others are good but heavy slugging, and don’t seem to be worth the effort. And a few were course books so I just read what was required at the time and may read the rest later.

So here goes. I’ll try to group them into categories:

Apologetics

1. The End of Reason, by Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias wrote this book in response to new atheist Sam Harris. It follows the same (in my opinion annoying) format of having headings but no chapters, being written sort of like a letter. But in contrast to Harris, Zacharias’ book is good and worth reading. He shows how bankrupt Harris’ position is, pointing out blatant falacies in his logic. I read well over half and I can’t remember why I didn’t finish it. Recommended.

2. The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. I read this book several years ago and re-read portions for the apologetics preaching series. This is an excellent apologetics book, and if you picked only one to read, this would be the one. Highly Recommended.

3. Beyond Opinion, Ravi Zacharias, General Editor. This book is a series of articles written by RZIM associates. I read about 2/3 of it – good stuff! Recommended.

4. Searching for the Original Bible, by Randall Price. Price is a Liberty University Professor who travels around doing historical/archaeological activities looking vaguely like Indiana Jones. This is a very good resource on the origins of Scripture. I read about 30-40% of it. Recommended

5. Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, by James Beverley. Dr. Jim Beverley taught me both Apologetics and World Religions at Tyndale Seminary. He is a leading authority in world religions, and has done a lot of fascinating research in some of the more obscure ones. This book is an excellent resource focusing on major world religions. It is formatted very nicely, with colour pictures and ‘boxed’ asides, making it easy to read and interesting. Highly Recommended.

6. Apologetics for a New Generation, Edited by Sean McDowell. This is a collection of essays about doing apologetics with younger people. I don’t know if I read 25% of this one, and I seem to remember thinking that some chapters were more helpful than others. Recommended, but not as the first one you should run out and buy.

Leadership

7. The BOOK on Leadership, by John MacArthur. I read about a third of this book and never finished it. The first third was good though, following the Apostle Paul on his journey to Rome and pulling out leadership principles he practiced, even though he was a prisoner. I felt the book suffered a bit from having too many individual points about what makes a good leader, but not enough summary/focus that is easily memorable. I don’t think it is MacArthur’s best work, but it is still solid Biblical exposition. Recommended, but maybe not the first book you should get on leadership.

The next four books were all part of my required reading for my first D.Min. course at Denver Seminary with Dr. Sid Buzzell. (sorry no pictures, I want to get this post published soon and it takes too long to dig around for them)

8. The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner.  TLC focuses on five practices of exemplary leadership. I found the assigned reading to be helpful and I plan to review it. Recommended.

9. Primal Leadership, by Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee. I found this book to be particularly interesting as it deals with a part of leadership that other books don’t directly cover. The basic idea is that when you lead you create emotional resonance or dissonance among those you are leading, and you need to take this into account when you lead. I normally do this and I had no idea that it was leadership technique until I read the assigned readings. Recommended.

10. Handbook on Leadership, by Ken Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins. The Handbook on Leadership is a collection of daily devotionals on leadership. It comes in a leather binding and thin paper – like a small New Testament. I thought  it was good but unfortunately I read all the assigned readings one after another in a brief sitting – I think the night before class. This is not the way it is meant to be read. I hope to read it again devotionally as it is designed. Recommended.

11. Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders. This is a classic on spiritual leadership. It is very challenging and makes clear the high calling and responsibility of Christian leaders. Recommended.

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