Best Books I Read in 2020

1. The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton. G.K. Chesterton is the greatest writer you’ve never heard of, and if you have never read him you cannot imagine what you are missing. Tagged “The Prince of Paradox,” Chesterton has a way of turning a sentence back on itself while clearly expressing a thought you never thought and you never would have thought to write. Chesterton is at his best in this book, which C.S. Lewis called the best apologetic he had read and which influenced Lewis’s conversion.

2. Beyond Bullet Points, Cliff Atkinson. What, might you ask, does a book about Powerpoint have to do with the kingdom of God? Well, it has to do with work—my work as an attorney—and work has everything to do with the kingdom of God. This book swims against tide, arguing that text on a slide does not a powerful presentation make. In fact, Atkinson argues that text actually divides the reader’s attention between the speaker and the slide, making the communication less effective. His suggested solution is worth the price of the book.

3. The Destruction of Jerusalem, George Holford. Written in 1809 by a British lawyer and member of parliament. This book shows how Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fully realized in 70 A.D. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is one of the most important historical events for Jews and Christians alike. For Jews it marked the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; for Christians it marked the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and puts much of what many Christians worry about as a future event firmly in the past. 

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Book Review: The Power of Habit

The power of habitI just finished reading the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business by Charles Duhigg (Random House 2012).

It is a fascinating study of human behavior and why people do what they do.

Duhigg uses real life examples like a sleep walker who unknowingly murdered his wife, a housewife who gambled away a $1,000,000 inheritance, as well as success stories of Starbucks and Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church to paint a persuasive picture of how the power of habits to determine our destinies.

If the book stopped there it would be interesting but hardly helpful. Instead, Duhigg goes further by dissecting the habit loop so the reader can learn how habits develop and how they can be successfully reprogrammed.

Duhigg even includes a step-by-step example from his own life at the end of the book that shows how he broke a habit by understanding the cue, routine and reward components of a habit loop.

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Book Review: Get Low

get low 2I first met Jack Wisdom when we were both a just a few years out of law school.

The first thing that impressed me about Jack was his humility.

That was twenty years ago, and I can tell you my first impression of Jack was correct.

When I first met Jack he was working at a prestigious law firm. He now has is own growing law firm, has been voted one of the best lawyers in Texas and in America, and is highly respected by his peers, but his most conspicuous characteristic is his humility.

So, when Jack asked me to read one of the last drafts of his book, Get Low, before it was published, I was eager and curious. I was not disappointed.

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What I’m Reading (12/02/12)

I have a goal of reading 50 books each year. Unfortunately, this year I’m a bit behind and playing catch-up.

I enjoy reading, but I also read for a reason.

Leaders are readers, and all Christians are called to be leaders. Leadership in its broadest sense is influence, and all Christians are called to be salt and light in the world. So, I read.

Writers are also readers, or they should be. Reading is essential to good writing.

With that said, here’s what I’ve been reading. You may notice a theme: Continue reading “What I’m Reading (12/02/12)”

Book Review: God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark

If you’ve ever wondered what the Crusades were all about this is the book.

I’ve read many books on the Crusades, including those by the major players like Sir Steven Runciman and Jonathan Riley-Smith, but if I were to recommend one book on the Crusades it would be this one by Rodney Stark.

In God’s Battalions Stark debunks the inaccurate characterizations of the Crusades propagated by biased Enlightenment historians like Gibbon and Voltaire, as well as modern secular historians turned Muslim-apologists. Stark does so, as any good historian should, through the application of logic to fact. The book is also amply footnoted and sourced.

Stark demonstrates the Crusades were a just and necessary response to militant Islamic aggression and Islamic persecution of Christians in the Levant. He is also convincing in his argument that the cultural achievements of Islam have been exaggerated and in any event were largely attributable to the Christians and Persians who were conquered and subjugated in Muslim society.

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