Favourite Books from 2014

I love it when I see a post filled with favourites and recommendations. On social media when people share gems that they’ve come across – whether it be that puppy video to make me coo or a deep and meaningful article to tell me to sort my life out, I’m really not fussy. I’m a big believer in people being generous with the content they come across – articles, websites, book, products, and tools that have been valuable to them.

So on that thread, here are some of my favourite books that I’ve read (or reread) in 2014:

Notes from a Blue Bike

I’ve been reading Tsh Oxenreider’s blogs for a while now, hearing about her tales of travel round the world and her endeavours to live simply, so when she published her first book, I was very excited to get my hands on it. In her words, it’s “part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide.” She tells stories of her life in Texas and Turkey, Kosovo and Oregon and her plight to not just conform to cultures approach, but to live intentionally. I loved Tsh’s exploration of food, work, education, travel and entertainment and her overall message encouraging us that even in the chaos of life, we have the freedom to creatively change life’s little things so that our everyday walk better aligns with our values and passions.

Exponential

My office is completely sick of me referencing this book and talking about some tool or strategy in it. It was my text book when we launched Sandhurst – telling the story and sharing tools of how to grow a church from a handful of people to an entire movement. There’s some really helpful tools in the book and they tell their story in a light hearted and easy way which makes it an easy book to digest.

Leading and Loving it

I cannot tell you how much this book has spoken into my life. It’s written by Brandi and Lori in the US who have formed a ministry for women in leadership and pastor’s wives called Leading and Loving it. There were so many occasions in this book where they managed to express the nuances and particular situations that you find yourself in as a leader and I found myself on many occasions verbally agreeing with them out loud and reading sections to Ben (who looked blank, as he’s not a woman in ministry). Reading this book is like being part of a late night conversation with a group of friends where you’re all snuggled on the sofa, making hilarious confessions and giving hugely profound advice all the at the same time. If you have any kind of leadership role or are married to someone who has, you need to read this book.

Poke the Box

Great books come in small packages too and this is Seth Godin’s mini gem. I’ve written all about this already, you can read that here.

Love Does

Bob Goff is someone who you just want to be friends with and hang out with. He comes across as genuine, unassuming and hugely fun and adventurous. When you read this book, you won’t necessarily come away with tools and concepts that will change your life, but you’ll have been inspired by a person and by his curious and fanciful stories from his life that he shares. Bob has a very simple and real faith but lives in out in an enormously vivid, exuberant and compelling manner.

4 Hour Work Week

Yes I’m very late to the Tim Ferris train but I thought after 6 years or so of it sitting on the shelf, I might actually read it. Now, firstly there’s a lot that I don’t agree with in this book (with a strapline of “Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich”, I didn’t have my hopes too high which I picked it up). That said, I still enjoyed reading it and I think finished it within 72 hours of starting it. There’s a lot in this book and you really have to sift through his ideas – about 25% is completely genius. The part that made the lasting impression was his point that people work to make as much money as possible and to retire but then aren’t really sure what they’d want to do when they get there. Ferris urges you to define for yourself what a rich life would look like (for me, it meant a slower paced life, meaningful work, increased flexibility) and then encourages you to redesign some of those aspects into your life now.

There have been a bunch more that I’ve also read but those are the books that stand out for the time being. How about you? Any recommendations?

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