It’s sometimes surprising that I have a full time job because I consume an inordinate amount of media (it probably comes from being single and not having kids or friends). So far this year, 68 books cover-to-cover, 22 books skimmed and probably 100 podcasts. I also have a killer library and podcast game, which I will detail in a post sometime.
These are my favorites of the year – many, if not most, of these items did not come out this year. I’m a little slow to the game. And I wanted you to know that I worked hard to cull the list down to something manageable. This list could easily have been (and was at one time) twice as long.
My favorite books of 2017
Books I need to reread, but not in any order:
1. What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything
Rob Bell is apparently a very controversial figure in the Christian world, and I don’t know if his ideas are correct (because any time I mention his name, people seem to get excited about tearing him down), but his book made me thirst to reread the Bible. And that’s uncontroversially positive.
I swear I have the same dream about the white room. Just a beautiful and fun to read book. Sometimes it’s nice to dream.
So this is how you become a James Beard award winning cookbook author. The introduction made me feel so warm inside, I hardly needed the crockpot!
I can’t vouch for the advice for dealing with grief, having never had to do so before, but I thought it was such a beautiful and vulnerable look at how Sheryl Sandberg is dealing with grief.
It reminds me of How to Win Friends and Influence People, but with more practical tips.
Sometimes I marvel that I’ve been on so many long-term relationships without ever really questioning if I understood what a healthy loving relationship looks like. I need to study this book for life.
I am reminded of this book often because of the anecdote in the beginning where the author notes that he graduated in the same class as the CEO of Enron. What happened between the time he was a bright graduate to when he was running a fraudulent company? Bad people don’t set out to become that way but through their choices, and imperceptible and microscopic changes in perception – we become the person we are today.
8. How to Fight
I discussed my thoughts here.
Books that were eye-opening
Pastor Hamilton’s perspective on 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (regarding all scripture being God-breathed) really colors how I read the Bible now.
2. It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse―and How You Can, Too
I wish I had read this before my broken engagement, but hey, I’m learning. I love how proactive it is.
I would say this encouraged me to get outside my political bubble, but I actually know very few people with my political views. In any case, it provides me with hope for civil discourse in our country.
I accidentally taught my nephew a bad word, but it was worth it because this book was interesting. The thing about self-help books is that they typically say the same things, but sometimes you need to read several of them to get accustomed to the ideas and then find the one that finally speaks to you to really get it. I think I’m getting closer, particularly with this book.
Books that I haven’t finished but will go on this list
The idea that my vision can improve is something that I’d never considered before. But as the author notes, no one expects someone to stay on crutches for the rest of your life.
2. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
It’s like that form listicle that is repeated on a million sites “7 habits of successful people” except it’s a million really weird and obscure habits from the world’s most successful people. Some of the ideas are clearly contradictory but it’s a must for people who like to experiment.
Art of Manliness – How Your Climate Controlled Comfort is Killing You
I think about this podcast every time I get on my bike in 30-something degree weather or take a cold shower. I’m getting more resilient.
Also, I love listening to the Art of Manliness and it’s the source for so many of the books I choose to read.
Where Should We Begin? – I’ve Had Better
People tell me I should be happy to be single because of podcasts like this. It still makes me yearn a bit that these people have the project of a relationship, even if they’ve let it get so far away from them. They still have something to fight for, and if they didn’t still want to fight for it, they wouldn’t be in therapy. But yeah, it’s pretty tough.
I saw Esther Perel at Sixth and I, and wow, she’s just so brilliant, I could listen to her talk for days.
The Robcast – Pete Rollins- An Introduction to Love – Parts 1-3
I know so little about love. These podcasts were a deep dive into, what must be for others, basic concepts of love. Like for most people, people are just objects, but when we love, we make these people into “subjects.” They become fully formed in our minds and stand out from other humans because of our love. I also loved what Rollins says about how loving gives our lives meaning – how if we love, we can’t really not find meaning in life.
The James Altucher Show – Tyler Cowen – What the Future Holds
I took Cowen’s Complacency Quiz and got Trailblazer, even though I’ve moved all of 20 miles away from home. So I clearly liked this podcast because he says that I’m basically going to make America great again. =D But really, anything that involves getting out of our comfort zones is totally up my alley.
What were your favorite books and podcasts of 2017?
*Disclaimer* this post contains affiliate links. These views are mine and I was not paid for them.