I love reading so much, and want to share the best books that I’ve read this past year. Each of these books have changed me, bring joy, insight, and growth into my life. They’re all different, but they’ve been crucial to my life and development over this last year. So if you want to grow in 2019, I encourage to pick up one of these and dig in!
10. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
Key Quote: “Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or you’re an accomplished chef, there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of the food.”
Why I Liked This Book: Unlike so many recipe-heavy cookbooks, this book is more about teaching you how to cook. Samin doesn’t just give you recipes to follow, but teaches you the principles of cooking, so that you’re equipped to tackle all kinds of food. The most interesting cookbook I’ve ever read!
9. Everybody Always, by Bob Goff
Key Quote: “Now I think while we might be known for our opinions, we’ll be remembered for our love. What I’ve learned following Jesus is we only really find our identities by engaging the people we’ve been avoiding.”
Why I Liked This Book: Bob Goff is an ordinary man who shows you how to love people like Jesus loved them. His examples and stories about how to love like Jesus are both gently convicting and instructive. This book has helped my faith grow from head knowledge to heart action, especially in a place like New York, which is full of people who can be hard to love.
8. Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
Key Quote: “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.”
Why I Liked This Book: As someone who comes up with lots of ideas and gets distracted easily, this book was so helpful! Learning to focus on the essential things in life has been really good for me. I like how he doesn’t encourage you to become more efficient, which just leads you into more and more busyness, but rather teaches you how to focus and gain clarity about the meaningful things that are worth spending your life on.
7. My Life in France, by Julia Child
Key Quote: “When I wasn't at school, I was experimenting at home, and became a bit of a Mad Scientist. I did hours of research on mayonnaise, for instance, and though no one else seemed to care about it, I thought it was utterly fascinating....By the end of my research, I believe, I had written more on the subject of mayonnaise than anyone in history.”
Why I Liked This Book: This book was incredible, as it detailed how an ordinary 38 year-old woman, stuck at home in Paris while her husband worked at a job for the U.S. Foreign Service, discovered and fell in love with French cooking. Julia’s path to becoming a cooking legend is both inspiring and instructive, showing the wisdom of picking something you enjoy and getting a little bit better at it every day. Her writing takes you back to 1950s Paris, and shows the beauty of a life well-lived.
6. Becoming Human, by Jean Vanier
Key Quote: “The discovery of our common humanity liberates us from self-centered compulsions and inner hurts; it is the discovery that ultimately finds its fulfillment in forgiveness and in loving those who are our enemies. It is the process of truly becoming human.”
Why I Liked This Book: Jean Vanier is such an inspiring person. in 1964, he bought a home in rural France and invited two men with developmental disabilities to live with him. This became L’Arche, a community for people with special needs, that now has over 100 homes throughout the world. In this book, Vanier writes about the lessons he’s learned through serving this community, helping me understand community, loneliness, and how to love people who are different than me.
5. The Power of Moments, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Key Quote: “We must learn to think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of investment…In organizations, we are consumed with goals…but for an individual human being, moments are the thing. Moments are what we remember and what we cherish.”
Why I Liked This Book: Human beings thrive off of moments, those special times of life that bring joy and cement themselves into our memories. This book explores why moments matter so much and helps you think through how to create them. I found this book so beneficial, and I’ve used it to rethink how I interact with my customers, friends, and family.
4. Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Key Quote: “Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”
Why I Liked This Book: This book opened my eyes to so many important things that I’d been blind to in my life. I had heard of boundaries before, but as I read this book, I began to understand the lack of them in many of the relationships in my life, and the major problems that caused. My life and relationships with my customers, friends, and roommates has improved so much as a result of this book.
3. Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday
Key Quote: “If you go looking you’ll find that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.”
Why I Liked This Book: This book is all about our egos and the danger it poses to all of us. Reading this book was eye-opening, since it showed me some major ways pride and overconfidence are setting me up for major problems down the line. Holiday draws from a wide variety of historical examples to show the corrupting influence of ego, versus the healthy effects of humility. This book is a must-read for anyone in their twenties.
2. TrueFaced, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch
Key Quote: “If our primary motive is Pleasing God, we never please him enough and we never learn to trust. That’s because life on this road is all about my striving
Why I Liked This Book: This book blew my mind in all of the best ways! It hones in on your motives for following God, showing the difference that results when we either try to please God or trust Him instead. It may seem like a small difference, but it creates such a radically different spiritual life. This book changed my life, and helped me understand grace and my relationship with God in a much healthier way. This book is so important for you to read!!!
1. From Wild Man to Wise Man, by Richard Rohr
Key Quote: “The full male journey is a risky journey where you can only trust God and not your own worthiness or rightness. It is a journey into the outer world, into the world of risk, uncertainty, and almost certain failure.”
Why I Liked This Book: This book packs a punch, and has helped me to understand what it looks like to grow into a healthy and spiritually mature man. Men are not naturally encouraged to do the “inner work” of examining your past hurts, wounds, and experiences, but this book gave me a framework to work through the ups and downs of my life. Richard Rohr brings such wisdom and insight into the male condition through this book, and I loved it so much.