Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Summer reading

Here's a list of the books I finished reading this summer. I'm looking for some titles to read next, so feel free to leave me a recommendation.

The Seven Faith Tribes by George Barna. This book is subtitled, "Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter," but I think a more accurate description of the book would be "Who They Are and How They Better Get Along Before All Hope Is Lost". Barna uses his massive amounts of survey data to identify seven faith tribes of America: Casual Christians (making up 2/3 of all Americans), Captive Christians (16%), Jews (2%), Mormons (1.5%), Pantheists (1.5%), Muslims (.5%), and Skeptics (11%). Barna outlines 20 shared values between the tribes (e.g., represent the truth well, develop inner peace and purity, seek peace with others, etc.) and calls all tribes to band together and push these values into the media, government, and families, to advance our common national interests. While I admire Barna's call to us all to unite and help our country, the lack of implementation specifics left me somewhat skeptical.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This book is an informative and entertaining weaving together of various studies and anecdotes that shed light on the (often overlooked) significant factors that lead to success. There's an excellent chapter (Ch 2) that talks about Bill Joy and other computing luminaries which is worth reading, even if you don't want to read the whole book.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I enjoyed Outliers so much that I was inspired to read Blink. It focuses on the abilities and distractions caused by our unconscious minds. Gladwell focuses on "thin-slicing", the ability to determine what is important from just a very small amount of information, and how it can be influenced by prejudice and stereotypes. I enjoyed Blink, but not as much as I did Outliers. Tipping Point is next on my list.

The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy. Christianity has gone soft over the years, and Ludy calls for us to reclaim the Truth of the Bible. I really enjoyed the rallying cry, but I'm still digesting this one.

Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright. OK, I've been reading this for more than a year and still have about 50 pages to go. It's tough reading but, Wright makes a good case that a Christian's hope should be based on the future resurrection, not "going to heaven." If you enjoy thinking deeply about eschatology, this book is for you.