Buzzard’s Best Books of 2016


Here is my annual list (see the link at the bottom for past year’s lists). These are not necessarily books published in 2016, but the books I read in 2016 that I benefitted from or enjoyed the most.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith. I’m still thinking about and applying this book, and I will be for a long time. A refreshing biblical presentation of what it means to be human, exploring the deep connections among desire, habit, and being created in God’s image. I think everyone should carefully study this book.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World  by Cal Newport. A helpful primer on getting back to doing deep, focused work in our increasingly distracted world.

Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds. This old book has been an inspiration and conviction to my prayer life.

Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe–and Started the Protestant Reformation by Andrew Pettegree. A fresh, fascinating look at Martin Luther and his leadership.

The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it by Henry Cloud. The title says it all. This book is an opportunity to reflect on the power of other people in your life and consider adjustments you might want to make.

Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne. A winsome exploration of an underplayed doctrine.

 Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance. Where I live, Teslas are everywhere. How did this happen? This is a look into the head and heart of a man whose vision for the future with Teslas, SpaceX, and Solar City is staggeringly huge.

Leadership Mosaic by Daniel Montgomery. These pages contain some of the best thinking and reflection on leadership I’ve ever read. I’ll be using this book for a long time, and training others with it.

The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus by Zack Eswine. I wish Zack lived nearby, I’d ask him to mentor me further in the joys of being an imperfect pastor who trusts Jesus to build his church.

Preaching in Pictures: Using Images for Sermons That Connect by Peter Jonker. A very interesting way to think about preaching: craft your sermon with a dominant image that communicates the text. I’ve enjoyed incorporating some the wisdom of this book into my preaching this past year.

Being Dad: Father as a Picture of God’s Grace by Scott Leonard Keith. There are not a lot of great books out there on fatherhood. This book is a bit uneven, but it spoke to me. My understanding of God as Father and my grasp of what I’m called to as a father of three boys was enriched from this book.

Click here for last year’s list: Best Books of 2015, and links to past year’s lists. Note: This year my wife and I began re-reading (and I started taking my staff through) the powerful book listed at the top of the 2015 list.