My Favorite Books – Volume 1

As with all of the books that I recommend on my site, these are all books that I have read, enjoyed and found helpful in my pursuit to Thrive at Life.  I do not throw out book ideas that I have not read or that I don’t find worth sharing with you, my Tribe.  That being said, it does not mean that I endorse or love everything about each one.  It just means that there is something worth sharing.

I hope these books help you to Thrive at Life and become some of your favorites too!

**Note:  This list is not in order of importance or significance to me.  Each one is a favorite in and of itself.

1. How to win friends and influence people.

Since its release in 1936, this classic book has sold over 15,000,000 copies (and counting)!  I can’t think of any great leader or influencer who hasn’t read this book.  Make sure that you are leader 15,000,001 who has read it!

2. The ONE Thing:  The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The title says it all.  It is truly surprising, simple, and extraordinary what the power of focusing on – not just a few things – but ONE thing can do in your life, business, or any other area that you are struggling to make progress in or simply want to thrive at.  Incredible book!

3. A Million Miles In a Thousand Years

I saw that Max Lucado wrote that he read it and couldn’t wait to re-read it immediately.  I was impressed by that and gave it a shot.  Max was right!  I wanted to slow it down so that it didn’t end too quickly!  If you want to tell a bigger story with your life – this book is for you!  I can’t wait to re-read it already, myself!

4. Your Body is your Barbell.  No Gym.  Just Gravity.

While I am by no means a muscle-head or gym-junkie, I recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle. However, for those of you not wanting to go to the gym but wanting ideas on how to get fit and do it without an expensive gym membership or equipment – this book is a great resource.  Check it out!

5. Tribes:  We Need You To Lead Us

Everything that Seth Godin writes can help you if you’re wanting to lead better.  (ok, maybe not EVERYTHING – but close to it) Whether that is in your home, your work, your school, etc…this book is an excellent start to help you see that you can lead and that you are needed to lead – just as you are!

6. The Nightingale

The setting is France in the midst of WWII with the threat of Nazi invasion.  However, Vianne does not believe it will happen to them.  It does, however, and she and her daughter must learn to live with the enemy or risk losing everything.  It is powerful, moving, and brilliantly told.  Every book on this list is a favorite of mine for one reason or another.  But I cannot recommend one more than this!

7. Winter Men

I was browsing for a new book and stumbled upon this.  It is now one of My Favorites.  Funny how a good book can surprise you and find you like that!  This story, as many of my favorites are, is set in the middle of WWII in Nazi Germany.  It tells of two brothers who are thrust into the war against their wishes and must live with the insurmountable guilt from the hate and atrocities of Hitler’s agenda that will forever change their lives.  It is moving and very powerful.  A great read!

8. The Girl On the Train

I could not put this book down!  It hooks you quickly and will grip you until the end.  Full of twists and turns, this psychological thriller (which is now a motion picture that I’m sure will not come close to being as good as the book!) will definitely keep your attention and have you guessing all along the way.

9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I am an avid reader.  But it dawned on me that I have not read many of the classics, like this one.  I was so glad I picked it up.  It was a challenge to read it because it is written in a manner that we are not used to reading today.  It is described as “folksy”.  (You’ll see what I mean when you read it.)  But you get into the rhythm of the conversation and it is a classic for a reason.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and the story we all know of but few of us have read or remember.  Well worth it!

10. Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz

Olga Lengyel tells her story of the hell of Auschwitz.  It is gut-wrenching.  Painful to read.  But so important to know, remember, and never forget.  In reading these stories, we do just that.

11. 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid

Tim Elmore’s book should be mandatory reading for parents.  Every parent makes mistakes.  None of us is perfect.  However, there are some mistakes that we make that can (and should) be avoided.  Tim covers 12 of them here and you’ll be glad you read it when you’re done.

12. Date Your Wife

Men have wives because they dated her.  Somehow, after years of marriage, we seem to forget how to do it or just don’t think it’s working like it used to.  In this book, Justin Buzzard helps you to re-learn the art of dating your wife and can help put a plan of action together that will make this vital relationship vibrant again.

13. 1776

What I loved about this book was the way that author and historian, David McCullough, brought the stories of both, the Colonists and and the British, together to give a perspective of how the pivotal year in the history of our great country was won by the people of the meager and fragile colonies and their great leader, George Washington.  I loved this book and it gave me an even greater appreciation of those who fought and sacrificed so much for the liberties we now enjoy and take for granted.

14. Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis

This book is powerful on many levels.  To consider the atrocities by the men who were on trial is one thing. To deal with the ethical and spiritual questions about forgiveness and grace is another.  In this book, the story is told of Lutheran minister, Henry Gerecke, who was recruited as chaplain to oversee and minister to the Nazis on trial.  Are evil men beyond redemption?  This book will challenge you in many ways.

15. Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What that Means for You and Me.

When I read this I remember thinking how important these core principles and conversations were to the world.  Is the Bible really “knowable”?  Is it “necessary”?  What does it mean that is is “enough”?  Whether you are a Christian or simply someone who is seeking the truth to these important questions, I think you’ll be glad you took the time to see what Kevin says.

16. George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution

Reading stories like this one give you an immense appreciation of the way our country was founded and its independence won.  Time and time again we see that victory was ever so close to being an utter defeat.  In this fun and entertaining book, we learn of George Washington’s defeat at New York City and how an unexpected group of spies turn the tide in our history of the American Revolution.  A great read!

17. Cold-Case Christianity

Written by a former L.A. County homicide detective who was an atheist-turned-believer, J. Warner Wallace uses the same process of determining facts of a crime scene to determine whether the claims of Christianity could hold up in a court of law.  Fascinating and worth reading for the skeptic and believer, alike!

18. To My Sons: Lessons For the Wild Adventure Called Life

Bear Grylls captured American television for a season of time with his cool accent and unbelievable bravery and skill at survival.  Although I do not have any sons (only 4 beautiful daughters), I wanted to see what this manly-man had to say.  I was not disappointed.  Short, to the point, and thoughtfully written from a dad to his kids.  If you’re a father, you’ll love this book and messages Bear brings to his family.

19. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Malcolm Gladwell.  Look up his books and buy every one of them.  In yet another classic of his, David and Goliath is a book that teaches people how to look at obstacles and disadvantages different than we usually do.  Through great stories and psychology, he once again forces us to view life differently and makes us better for it.  Incredible book!

20. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success

I can’t recommend any other book more than this!  Truly.  The amazing story-telling and clear take-aways are compelling and moving.  It is the story of one man’s journey of a lifetime, but it moves you to make sure that your story is one worth telling as well.  I love this book so much!