Monday, October 24, 2005

A Reading Fiend

I've read a lot lately. Tons of thoughts to share as I've read, but too busy reading to sit down and type them out. Wanted to give a brief blurb about the books I've plowed through in the last month or less....

  • 9 Things You Simply MUST DO by Henry Cloud. Had never read Cloud before. He's most noted for the Boundaries book and corresponding juggernaut of resources. Good stuff, so I've been told. Heard him speak recently, and was very convicted. So I grabbed the book, and found it very enlightening. It's far from Covey-esque, and includes a great deal of common-sense. But put togehter, its very good. Easy one for me to recommend. Great to read and talk through with a friend or group. Bottom line: a lot of us are messed up, and we can take some action to straighten our lives out. Of course, this isn't a magic cure-all book, but rather a psychologist who deals with folks with all sorts of life situations and has some things to share with the rest of us. Primarily, he looks at traits of folks who don't seem to be all that messed up, and tries to figure out the values and behaviors they have in common. It's good, and you won't be disappointed.

  • God's Blogs by Lanny Donoho. OK, I know, its a book called God's Blogs. But I'm a big Lanny fan. He emcees the Catalyst Conference, and is responsible for much of the zaniness that takes place there (he came out dressed as a whoopie cushion and got 9,000 of us to sit simultaneously on whoopie cushions, which puts us in the Guiness Book of World Records. Really.) So, who wouldn't want spiritual insight from a guy like that? It is clever, and full of fresh thoughts. Great devotional book, designed to read in little chunks, though bulldozing through it like I did can be just as beneficial. Just a snippet from the book, during a section entitled "Light" (Oh, its important to note that it's written as though God actually had a blog...hope you can wrap your head around that concept" "I AM light. When you know Me, you can see better. How many of you are doing the same thing over and over, and you know those habits are what is causing your grief, your stress, your darkness? How many of you are stumbling, hitting your shins and your hearts, and swearing because it hurts so much? I AM the light. When you know Me, you see better. When you see better,... you don't get hurt as much."

  • Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Wow, this book is tremendous. Lot to say, but I would rather my 10 or so blog readers just stop everything, go get this book, and read it. The subtitle is "Repainting the Christian Faith." Bell is an artist. His short films (Nooma) and sermons have been a favorite of mine for a while, and I just love the challenges he lays out in his book. Believe it or not, I even read the end notes. They're quite funny! NOTE: If your brand of Christianity is in some sort of box with no breathing room, well, you might want to stick with more conservative fare. On second thought, if that's you, READ this book. Again, great with a friend or a group to hash it out, agree & disagree, burn Bell (and me) in effigy, whatever...

  • The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Ramsey is an extremely entertaining radio show host who invites callers to creatively shred their credit cards on the air (shredectomies). He makes an enormous amount of sense. His book is easy to read, but hard to implement. I'm attempting to implement. It's rather startling to know what your money can do for you, but equally startling how easy is it to be a slave to debt. We just want it all, and we want it now. Regardless of whether we have the $ or not. So we use credit, and before we know it, we become a slave to it. That is Ramsey's basic message, but he offers practical advice to help climb out or avoid the trappings of debt. This should be required reading! For those just getting started in the "real world," get this and read it. Then do it! If you have Ramsey on the radio (probably a conservative talk radio station, late morning to noon-ish), he's worth a listen.

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