2017 was a great year of reading. As another year comes to an end here is the best 12 books I read in 2017. Systematic Theology. Political bio. Literary classic. Devotional masterpiece. There’s a little something for everyone.
Frame’s magnum opus is epic in scope and despite its holes, it is a modern-day systematic theology classic. Frame’s giftedness in making profound theological truths easy to understand is on full display here.
11. No Silver Bullets: Daniel Im
Daniel Im is one of the bright young leaders and thinkers on discipleship and ministry and in this new release he doesn’t disappoint. In “No Siver Bullets” Im lays out a comprehensive work on creating discipleship pathways and leadership pipelines in local churches while highlighting 5 small shifts that can radically change the developmental culture in your church. It is the best book on ministry practices released in 2017.
10. Animal Farm: Geroge Orwell
This summer I finally got around to reading this literary classic. This is a deeply moving and thought-provoking parable that offers fresh insights into human nature and the contaminating influence of power. A timely read.
9. The Starfish and the Spider: Brafman and Beckstrom
Decentralization continues to be a hot topic in the world of business leadership and this book manages to cover this topic with a surprisingly high degree of readability. This is a thought-provoking, paradigm-shifting book that is bound to strike up great conversations among fellow leaders.
8. Essentialism: Greg McKeown
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” Quotes like this litter McKeown’s excellent book. Few books in recent memory have caused me to re-examine the way I spend my energy and time like this one. A must read for every leader.
7. The Imperfect Disciple: Jared Wilson
Jared Wilson is one the most readable Christian writers of his time. This may be (The Pastor’s Justification is one of my favorite books on pastoral ministry) his best book yet and is in many ways a summary of his earlier works. It encapsulates key themes that run throughout Wilson’s writing: We are mess ups but Christ loves and changes mess ups.
6. The Vanishing American Adult: Ben Sasse
Nebraska Senator, Ben Sasse has written what must be recognized as one of the most decidedly apolitical books ever written by a sitting United States politician. Part historical recap, part prophetic cultural critique, Mr. Sasse writes with great insight and clear conviction on the looming national crisis that is “perpetual adolescence”. While many of the issues raised in the book are debated and discussed in the modern political arena, Mr. Sasse never asserts that the complex issues we face as a society can be solved by Washington DC. They must be solved in the home. A must read.
5. Counterfeit Gods: Tim Keller
This book cut me to the core only to pour in healing grace. This is classic Keller. “When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping.” It is one of the most convicting, honest, thoughtful, penetrating books on the idolatrous nature of the human heart that I have ever read. Incredible.
4. Why Coolidge Matters: Charles Johnson
Johnson, throughout this book (and particularly in the concluding chapter) has a bit of a political ax to grind, but this work is nevertheless a magnificent, fascinating character study on the leadership and political philosophy of one of the most underrated presidents in history.
3. Humility: Andrew Murray
No book ministered to my soul more than Andrew Murray’s short volume on humility. I read it slowly and savored quotes like this: “It is indeed blessed to be so free of self that whatever is said of us is swallowed up in the thought “Jesus is all”. I plan on re-reading this book with others next year.
2. The Faith of Christopher Hitches: Larry Taunton
No book has gripped me tighter from cover to cover this year. Beautiful, fascinating, perplexing, insightful, tragic and surprisingly touching, Larry Taunton’s (an evangelical) first-hand account of his complex friendship with the late world-renown atheist, Christopher Hitchens, is spellbinding in every sense of the word.
1. 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You: Tony Reinke
The best book of the year. Thoughtful, wise, convicting and above all God-glorifying to its core, Tony Reinke has written one of the most important books for Christians in our time. Quotes like this fill the book: “This means that whatever happens on my smartphone, especially under the guise of anonymity, is the true exposé of my heart, reflected in full-color pixels back into my eyes.” I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Truly a life-changing book.
Teams that Thrive: Hartwig and Bird