Books I've Read Recently1
by Ian Kayser
I have read some really great books recently and thought I’d share them with you if you are looking for something to read.
This may be the most helpful book I have read in years. We live in a world that demands more and more in every area of life. Our default setting is to tell ourselves that we need to be all things to all people, we need to pursue more options, we need to react to what is most pressing at that particular moment, and that we need to say “yes” to everything or we’ll be rude. The fruit of this sort of living results in a life that is rushed and unsatisfying. The way of the essentialist is another way forward. Essentialism basically says that we can do less but better, that we should disincline ourselves to pursue less, and that by doing less we can live a life that really matters. I found that much of this book simply “rang true”. There is so much practical advice in the book and I can’t recommend it enough.
I thought that this was a very thoughtful look at how the human heart is wired to worship. Smith shows that the culture we live in, the places we go, the content we consume is all shaping our hearts to love and worship something. This is why Christian worship matters so much. Smith shows that liturgy in corporate worship matters because worship is the ‘imagination station’ that resets, renews, and reforms our loves so that we can worship God.
I thought this book gave a compelling argument for liturgy in the church. It also reminded me of how my personal habits are shaping and forming me each day because I live out a private liturgy.
The youth group Sunday School class is working though apologetics this spring. So we are discussing things like “How can God be good and all powerful and yet there is suffering?”; “Does science disprove Christianity?”; “Where does morality come from?”; and more… All to say I felt that I should read a book that covered at least some of these questions. This book has not been a disappointment. In a winsome and generous style, Keller invites skeptics to investigate Christianity with fresh eyes while showing the truth of the gospel is still relevant.
This is a book about productivity. Gary Keller seeks to show that each of us have believed lies about what it means to get things done. Lies like “everything matters equally”, “you can live a balanced life”, or “multitasking is productive”. The truth about getting things done is based on the 80/20 principle that says “the minority of your effort leads to the majority of your results”. This means that if we give an honest look at what we do each day, 20% of things we do deliver 80% of the results. He encourages readers to identify the 20% that matters and focus on those things for extraordinary results. This was a helpful book that reminded me to do the things that matter, the things that deliver results, to optimize my value at home and at work.
Let me know if you read any of these, or have read them in the past. I would love to know what you think!
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