The 10 Books I Most Often Pull From My Shelf

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I love books. I underline key phrases, make notes for future talks, and highlight personal insights. I even use a number system for some books to categorize ideas.

People who know I love to read often ask me for recommendations. Some ask me about my “favorites.” To be honest, I hate favorites. I don’t really have a favorite anything. Depending on the weather and the day, my “favorite” food may change. I choose my “favorite” music by the mood I’m in—or perhaps more often, the mood I want to be in.

I think books are the same way. What could be a favorite for me may be a dud for you.

That’s why I’d rather recommend books based on the ones that have most impacted my life—the books with the most scribbles; the books with the binding hanging on for dear life.

These are the books I most often pull from my shelf to read, and read again. I make it a habit to regularly pick up these 10 books to reread my highlights, numbers, and underlines.

Apart from the Bible, these are the books that have the most influence on my emotional and spiritual health and have dramatically impacted the way I choose to live my life.

As you look for a good read in 2015, I hope one of these books has as much influence on your life as they have mine. 

In no particular order:

 

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GEMS FROM TOZER, A.W. TOZER      

I pull this book off my shelf more than any other. This book is priceless. My greatest takeaway from Tozer is doing my best to make and keep the five vows for a deeper spiritual life:
1. Deal thoroughly with sin
2. Never own anything (get rid of the sense of possessing)
3. Never defend yourself
4. Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him
5. Never accept any glory.

 

MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, OSWALD CHAMBERS

This is on the list because I read it nearly everyday. If I don't get to the actual book itself, I read the daily reading from the app on my phone.

 

 

 

GOOD TO GREAT, JIM COLLINS

I have this book numbered and reread it often. My goal: To be a level 5 leader.

 

 

 

 

DARING GREATLY: HOW THE COURAGE TO BE VULNERABLE TRANSFORMS THE WAY WE LIVE, LOVE, PARENT, AND LEAD, BRENE BROWN

No other book in the past two years has influenced how I approach life than this one. Thank you, Brene Brown, for helping me step into the arena with confidence.

THE FREEDOM OF SELF-FORGETFULNESS, TIMOTHY KELLER

Perhaps you're seeing a theme in the books I love--vulnerability, humility, never accepting glory--all attributes of a level 5 leader. I love this mini-book for that reason--learning to experience the joy in centering my life on others.

 

 

 

MASTERING THE SEVEN DECISIONS THAT DETERMINE PERSONAL SUCCESS, ANDY ANDREWS

I picked this book up a few years ago and haven't put it down since. I reread this book as much as any other. If you haven't read Andy Andrews, you must. Begin first with The Traveler's Gift, then read this. It'll change how you view the world around you.

 

 

BOUNDARIES: WHEN TO SAY YES, HOW TO SAY NO TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, HENRY CLOUD AND JOHN TOWNSEND

I first read this book eleven years ago when I had a big problem--the inability to say no. Since then, John and Henry have become mentors and friends of mine. Their insights on relationships are profound, yet applicable. Live by the 10 Laws of Boundaries and "no" will become your best friend.

 

KING'S CROSS: THE STORY OF THE WORLD IN THE LIFE OF JESUS, TIMOTHY KELLER

You won't see the Gospels of Jesus, or the reason you're alive today, the same again.

 

 

 

 

EXPERIENCING GOD: KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD, HENRY AND RICHARD BLACKABY

This book's title doesn't disappoint. When I first read this book I did a chapter a morning at 5am. Since then, I go back to this book frequently to gain perspective on my life circumstances beyond what I can see in front of me.

 

 

…and a special 11th book that I don’t pick up as often, but influences my life everyday because of how it has changed the way I pray, the types of prayers I pray, and the goals we now make as a family:


Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an advocate for families and parenting in the 21st century. He loves coming alongside families to provide encouragement, support and practical counsel. Josh specializes in combining the scientific research with biblical wisdom to provide the best-of-all-worlds perspective on raising stellar kids, having an awesome marriage and living a full life. He is the author of the upcoming release Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well (October, 2015). Together with his favorite writing partner and wife, Christi, Josh is working on raising his own baseball team, starting with their son Landon and daughter Kennedy. For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.