3 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List
“Leaders are readers,” my Dad replied to my then, know-it-all 20-year-old-self. If I wanted to lead well, I was going to learn to read well, too. I loved reading as a child, but college turned reading into an assignment for me rather than a practice of goodness and growth. I was complaining about my read-one-book-a-week-and-write-a-one-page-response class to my Dad when his reply essentially said, “get over it, girl. It’s helping you lead!”
I now love reading. I read books that make me better, books that make me think differently, books that tell stories I can get lost in, and books that call me out of where I am and launch me into a place somewhere far away. While some seasons of life offer more time for reading than others, I will say that turning off my phone and opening a book, even for five minutes, has proven to be a wise choice each time. There are many nights where I fall asleep reading – it’s much better than falling asleep mindlessly scrolling. So, I commit to reading because my mind is better when I read – my thoughts are more productive, my habits are healthier, and my knowledge base grows.
We live in a lie that says “there’s not enough time.” Not enough time to accomplish all the things we need to do for our ministries to be successful, relationships to thrive, and personal growth to be included. However, it’s simply that – a lie. There is always enough time for growth. Maybe you can’t stand reading, maybe you feel like there are other things with which you can fill your time. I want to challenge us to think differently about that in this season. With the incredible access we have to audiobooks and the like, reading doesn’t have to be sitting still with a book in our hands – it can be working out with it in our ears, or driving to work with it playing through the car speakers. Let’s not limit ourselves to not becoming a better leader because we’re believing the lie that there’s “not enough time.”
Here are three books I recommend to add to, or make, your summer reading list and why you shouldn’t skip one word. One leadership, one theology, and one fun – you won’t regret it.
Culture Code by Daniel Coyle is the best leadership book I may have ever read. Creating, sustaining, embracing, and changing the culture of our teams has the ability to open doors to incredible ministry in new ways we maybe wouldn’t have imagined without this resource. For four summers, I have used Daniel Coyle’s research and words with my team of interns as leadership training in our weeks before ministry programming begins. Each year, the feedback is better than the last. If you’re not convinced by me, listen to Seth Godin, author of Linchpin; “There are profound ideas on every single page, stories that will change the way you work, the way you lead, and the impact you have on the world. Highly recommended, an urgent read.”
Here and Now: Living in the Spirit by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Henri Nouwen is one of the greatest spiritual writers of modern times. Described as, “not a faint memory, but happening right here and now, spiritual living takes place in the present; the Spirit meets us in the ordinary.” These inspirational reflections by Henri Nouwen succeed in convincing us that God’s presence is reliable. This is an easy, short read, that will fill your head and heart with goodness and help make daily applicable life changes to a better relationship with God. Who doesn’t want that?
Any fiction book you want! There’s a risk to only reading a certain genre of books, as well. Set it in your mind to just read a few pages a day of a story – any story – to build the creativity in your mind. Choose an author you love, a theme that excites you, and get lost in the words which will build creativity in your mind!
Leaders are readers I’m told, and I believe it to be true. Choose a book and get started! When leaders get better, everyone wins.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.