books that make me better

In the year 2016 I am setting out to read 50 books. Books that inspire, motivate, change, and push me. Books that defy my comfort zone. Beautiful books that make me brave. Books that scratch my itch to grow, learn, stretch, and strain against becoming stale. Words that although on the written page, leap out and take hold of my soul.

Books that make me better.

Just before the new year, I posted this on Facebook:

Okay – I need your help. What book has MOST inspired you? Caused a paradigm shift in your life? Brought you an AHA moment? Fiction works, but I’m mostly looking for nonfiction. The Bible is a given – looking for additional books that have changed your life. GO.
The results were overwhelming. People posted book suggestions from all different genres, subjects, and walks of life. Hundreds of suggestions from all over the United States and even out of the country.
So now, I read.
I remember as a kid one of my teachers challenged us to read like 25 books in the school year. I think I read that many in one week. Now, granted, they were kids’ books with not so many pages, but regardless, I loved to read and ted_talksstill do. And for those of you who don’t, try Audible (audio books) or TED Talks (inspiring speakers from all over the globe – check out the website or app – totally addictive) or podcasts for your inspiration.
But we should always be learning.
Hence, books that make me better.
Set a goal for yourself. How many books will you read in [x] amount of time? Or how many will you listen to? How many TED Talks will you watch (there’s some less than 6 minutes long! Good for while you’re cooking dinner or taking a shower!) or podcasts will you listen to? How will you stimulate your brain and push yourself to keep learning?
C’mon! That old dog can certainly learn new tricks! And he SHOULD keep learning so he doesn’t become old, grouchy, and rusty.
I want to live EACH day as if it were my LAST day – and I want to become the best version of myself. I want to learn, grow, and thrive. Won’t you join me?
If you need some suggestions, here are five beginner choices from varying categories that will begin the “better-me” process:
  • Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern Day Slave, an International Art same-kind-of-different-as-me-a-modern-day-slave-an-international-art-dealer-and-the-unlikely-woman-who-bound-them-togetherDealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together//Ron Hall & Denver Moore – This book messed me up. It’s a true story about a homeless man and a gutsy woman who decides to make a difference. Challenged me to fight for those who can’t. Must read. Seriously. Buy it NOW. Nonfiction
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess//Jen Hatmaker – Hilarious book about the serious subject of excess. Amazon describes it this way: Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on 7each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” Talk about conviction. But you’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry – and then you’ll cry so hard you’ll laugh. Seriously. Nonfiction
  • Redeeming Love//Francine Rivers – A beautiful story about the redemptionredeeming-love_4106 of a prostitute and the grace of the Man who loves her enough to keep coming back. I don’t read many books twice. This one, I did. Fiction
  • Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World//Tsh Oxenreider – Life is chaotic, but we can CHOOSE (one of my favorite words) to live it differently. Amazon says: Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, Notes from a Blue Bike takes you from a hillside in blue-bike-coverKosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to a small town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike. This was a refreshing encouragement that we can live simply in a complicated world. Memoir
  • Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale//Ian Morgan Cron Join Chase Falson on his life-changing journey to Italy where, with a curious group of Franciscan friars, he struggles to resolve his crisis of faith by retracing the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, a saint whose simple way of loving Jesus changed the history of the world (Amazon). This was a gorgeous work of fiction that also taught me a lot of history about St. Francis. Fictionchasing-francis-ian-morgan-cron

This is JUST the beginning – and I’ve actually taken many of your suggestions as books to add to my list. If you have additional suggestions, please comment below! I’m looking for books that were important to your development as a person, in your faith, or as a learner. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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