Friday, April 19, 2013

Books I'm Digesting

I love to read. One of my personal core values is to be a lifelong learner, and reading plays a big role in that ongoing education. Here are brief synopses and reflections of the books I'm currently digesting:

The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (Lesslie Newbigin). Lesslie Newbigin was a missionary, pastor, and theologian who lived in both the UK and India. Newbigin was writing about the missional church way back in 1978, and The Open Secret is a fantastic theological overview of what it means to be a church on mission with God. Newbigin uses a trinitarian approach, showing how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are on mission in the world and invite the church community into the virtues of faith, hope, and love as signposts for the kingdom of God. I've underlined so much in this book, and had to sit back after each chapter just to breathe and worship.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (Tony Hsieh). The CEO of Zappos and a self-made millionaire by the age of 24, Tony Hsieh's book is all about creating a company based around culture and core values, as opposed to financial gain and strategies. I read this as part of discussion for the YMCP around core values. The first third of the book is Tony's personal story; the last two sections are more about creating a core values culture and implementing into an organization. Tony is (self-admittedly) not the strongest writer, but the book has some compelling ideas around core values, and any leader in a church or organization wanting to create their own set of core values would benefit from Tony's wisdom.

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? (Seth Godin). Godin's latest book is all about creating art and overcoming fear. That's it. That's the extent of the book's content. Create your art and overcome your fear. Great concept, but Godin offers very little practical wisdom beyond repeatedly saying this phrase in various ways. For 250 pages, Godin rambles and rants, writing pithy pop culture axioms in a sporadic structure. I love Godin's blog and loved his book Tribes, but instead of feeling inspired while reading The Icarus Deception, I honestly felt a bit duped. I have to hand it to Godin: he's a marketing genius, and got me to buy a copy of his book, so he's certainly effective. I just expected more from the guy. Godin, if you're reading this: I love and appreciate your writing, so give us something with more depth and practicality next time!

What have you been reading lately? Share in the comments!

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