My 10 Best Books from 2013

I set out to read at least one book a week on leadership and current events in 2013.

That seemed like a lot until I read an article “Caution: Reading Can Be Hazardous” by Charles McGrath, who read over 450 books last year as a judge for the National Book Award.

At the other extreme, in his book “The Universe Within” Neil Shubin cites Scottish paleontologist James Croll who would spend an entire year reading a single book, often lingering on one page for a day or more to digest each idea.

Most of us are somewhere in between, a lot closer to Croll than McGrath.

When I don’t retain much I take comfort from the advice in Montaigne’s Essays – “read a lot, forget most of what you read.

My 10 best books for 2013

Five are leadership books featured in Leading To Serve blogs.

David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

Power does not exist where we think it does.

What Keeps Leaders Up At Night, by Nicole Lipkin

Leaders often lose sleep over the wrong things.

Give and Take, by Adam Grant

Success comes from helping others with no expectation of return.

Quiet, by Susan Cain

Some of our best leaders are introverts.

“Evangelii Gaudium” (the Joy of the Gospel), by Pope Francis

A bold challenge for reform and renewal.

Five more 2013 nonfiction books I’ve read and recommend.

The King Years, by Taylor Branch

Upon the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, a summary of civil rights history.

The American Way of Poverty, by Sasha Abramsky

How poverty ruins lives and how to prevent it.

Voices in the Night, by Jim Copple

A first-hand look at global injustice particularly gender violence.

Baseball as a Road to God, by John Sexton

How baseball illustrates the elements of a spiritual life from a popular course taught by the president of New York University.

The Unwinding, by George Parker

The U.S. is coming apart at the seams.

Unfinished, by Richard Sterns

The president of World Vision US challenges believers to engage in social action.

What good books will 2014 bring?   The challenge is to decide what to read, both old and new.

2 Responses to “My 10 Best Books from 2013”

  1. Lois Says:

    Thanks, Tom
    I value the book recommendations–one of the best gifts you can give. I’m currently reading “I Am Malala” Of course, she has become famous this past year but it is quite something to think of the leadership she has provided with courage and grace beyond her years.

  2. Gene Gabbard Says:

    Thank you Tom. What a nice subject for the year end. I also “read a lot and forget most”. But reading clearly broadens my thinking and renews my interest in things. Right now I am reading “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. It is mostly a condensed history of Rome during the period of Jesus’s life, but very interesting. Well researched. I am also reading “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes & Politics” by Charles Krauthammer. This book is a collection of many of the syndicated columns that Charles has written over the years. Most of the thinking in right on point and the writing is excellent. My primary takeaway from this book is that politics is the controlling factor in the lives of most people on Earth. Whether most families will live a comfortable life or suffer greatly is primarily determined by the leaders of the country they happen to live in. Leadership matters!