Here are eight books I recommend from what I read in November. Once a month we share our current reading lists at Jennifer’s.
Books I Recommend
1. Dream Hoarders
How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It
by Richard V. Reeves
This book might make you uncomfortable like it did me. But maybe that’s why we need it. Reeves lays out a disturbing trend in America of increasing divisions among class lines. (Yes, even more than we thought we already knew.) He also gives a few suggestions about how we might help create a more equitable society instead. It’s definitely worth thinking about.
“When all our neighbors are like us, there is a danger that we end up living in a bubble. Economic sorting at the neighborhood level leads to social sorting in terms of schools, churches, and community groups This means fewer interactions and social ties across social classes. A geography gap can become an empathy gap.”
2. How to Think
A Survival Guide for a World at Odds
by Alan Jacobs
Thinking is hard work. It’s why we don’t often think as much as we need to. This is a fascinating book that explores the obstacles that prevent us from thinking clearly, what thoughts are attractive or repulsive to us, the thinking person’s checklist, and much, much more. Also interesting is the author’s own orientation; he writes as one belonging to two often antagonistic communities—academia and the Christian church. So while this isn’t a Christian book per se, it has important spiritual undertones for those of us who are believers.
“All of us at various times in our lives believe true things for poor reasons, and false things for good reasons, and that whatever we think we know, whether we’re right or wrong, arises from our interactions with other human beings.”
3. The Sacred Enneagram
Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
by Christopher L. Heuertz
I share more here about this wonderful book. It’s full of wisdom to cut through the clutter about who we each are. Heuertz does more than tell about each of the 9 personality types of the Enneagram. He also goes into specifics about the Harmony Triads, Harmonic Groups, and other subtypes that help you understand yourself more clearly. He also points us toward specific tangible prayer practices that are most helpful for each type (hint: it’s likely one that you struggle with the most).
“Waking up is the first step in the spiritual journey—a courageous alternative to the fantasies we fashion to keep us asleep.”
4. The Four Tendencies
The Indispensable Personality Profiles that Reveal How to Make Your Life Easier (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)
by Gretchen Rubin
This is a simple but important and brand-new personality framework. The four Tendencies are Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. Depending on which Tendency you lean toward can affect so many choices and relationships you make in life.
“The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.”
5. Downsizing the Family Home
What to Save, What to Let Go
by Marni Jameson
It’s not organizational help I need; to get rid of stuff, I need emotional help. This book provides a little of both. It’s contains nothing particularly different than other books (although it probably has more practical advice than some), but sometimes one sentence can prompt a lot of change, such as: “You are not your kids’ attic.” I’m currently working on that one (sorry, kids).
“Choose to keep rather than choose to let go. When you are cleaning a closet, rather than moving through the items and deciding what to eliminate, do the reverse. Take everything out, down to the bare walls. Then physically put back the items you choose to keep. That process makes you choose to keep rather than choose to let go and will result in your clinging to fewer things.”
6. What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Whether you like Hillary or can’t stand her, her memoir will at least make her real to you. I prefer hearing words directly from a person, not what someone else said they said. So this is our chance to hear many words directly from Hillary (it’s a long book and could have been longer). I enjoyed hearing her backstories and hearing about life on the campaign trail.
“Each of us must try to walk in the shoes of people who don’t see the world the way we do.”
“This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is always worth it.”
7. The Righteous Mind
Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt
And if you’re either bothered or else thrilled by seeing Hillary Clinton’s book on this list, you might check out this incredible book. It helps us understand the divide we’ve noticed more than ever this year between us and our friends and family. Granted, this book is dense. But more importantly, hopefully its information can help us draw closer together again.
“A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s mind by utterly refuting their arguments. …If you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants.” p 48
8. The Day I Met Walt
by Aleesa St. Julian
This is a children’s book. I met the sweet little author on the actual day she met Walt. The book came later. Her story (and my story with Walt) is here. She wrote and illustrated the book herself. It’s absolutely adorable.
- The Gatekeepers
How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency
by Chris Whipple
- Building a StoryBrand
Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
by Donald Miller
- The Daniel Dilemma
How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise
by Chris Hodges
- The Trespasser
by Tana French
- Ordering Our Affections: Advent
by Dr. Melissa McCrory Hatcher
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What good book have you read lately? Please share in the comments.
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