Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BTL Top 5 Books of 2011

I wanted to do something for the Advent season, so I thought about writing a Top 5 Blog each week leading up to Christmas that will cover the top books, music, and movies of 2011.

This week's Top 5 will focus on my top the books of 2011. 

If only my English teacher, Mr. Doyle, could see me now.  I read a lot more now than I ever did in high school, minus the Cliff Notes, but I do not think they counted anyway.

It's an interesting thing to find myself reading more and playing video games less.  Welcome to life in the 30s, but I think it's going to be a good transition.

So here are some books that I found to be interesting, compelling, and worth checking out at your local library, or downloaded onto your latest tablet device; since Borders is now closed. 

5. Fall To Grace- Jay Bakker  

I enjoyed watching "One Punk Under God," a documentary on Sundance that tracked Televangelist Jimmie Bakker's son, Jay, in his ministry and struggles with God.  The book picks up were the show left off.  Dialoguing about his church plant, Revolution Church, his mother Tammy Faye, and wrestling with Grace in today's culture.  My family was affected greatly by PTL's rise and fall and to read Jay's words about his father's ministry and the aftermath hits pretty close to home.  There are some things that everyone may not agree with that Jay discusses but it is refreshing to see a Pastor's kid love God despite the trials of ministry.  

4. The Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach 

There is something about baseball that transcends life.  If football is the heartbeat of America, then baseball is the soul.  It is an underdog story about Henry Skrimshander, a brilliant fielder, that anyone who played baseball can relate to.  The characters are deep, layered and likable and remind me of friends that I used to play baseball with in college.  Whatever team you play for in the game of life, we all need a Henry on our team to remind us of "Sacrifice, passion, desire, attention to detail, and the need to strive like a champion everyday." 

3. Steve Jobs- Walter Isaacson 

Everyone loves Apple, not everyone loves Steve Jobs.  Maybe fascinated with Steve Jobs would be a better description.  Isaacson unfolds the layers of Jobs in an honest and compelling way.  What I like most about this book is that Walter makes you care about Steve maybe a little more than the Apple product in your hand or on your desk.  Isaacson writes, "Job's father had once taught him that a drive for perfection meant caring about the craftsmanship even of the parts unseen," and in an ironic way that is exactly what Walter does for Steve Jobs in this book. 

2. Start Something That Matters- Blake Mycoskie

You've seen the AT&T ad, and you might even own a pair of Tom's shoes, but it is the heart behind the shoe that makes you fall in love with this book.  Blake Mycoskie is the chief shoe giver for Toms and has started a movement with his "One for One" mission statement,  to give away a shoe for every shoe sold.  You learn about the humble, yet wise beginnings of a new type of business plan and along the way Blake inspires with tender true stories and great practical insights to get any small business off the ground.  You cannot read this book and not feel empowered to believe that if Blake Mycoskie can follow his dreams, you can too.

1. Love Wins- Rob Bell

As polarizing as Heaven and Hell can be that is exactly what this book did for many of it's readers.  People either criticized Bell for his generous view of the afterlife or they praised him for his generous view of the afterlife.  Whether you agree with Rob Bell's views or not you cannot argue that this book started a conversation that has not been had in a generation.  People would preach about Jesus not many would preach about Hell, let alone talk about it.  Love Wins was able to cross the pews and have cable news networks and blogs across the internet buzzing about what happens when we die, and that is a win. 

What are your favorite books of 2011?


  1. Great books. The Steve Jobs book was great. Also, I enjoyed the show "One Punk Under God". I bought the season on iTunes a few years ago. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanx for reading Adam. I'll have to get One Punk on iTunes good call. What are some books you have dug this year?

  3. Some of mine have been "Making Ideas Happen" - Scott Belsky, "Everyone Communicates, few Connect" - John Maxwell, "Quitter" - Jon Acuff. Those are just a few!

  4. I'll have to checkout Belsky and Jon Acuff is pretty on the ball with STL... Quitter looked solid too.