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My 10 Favourite Books of 2018

by Jesse Jost

I didn’t reach my goal of 65 books finished this year, mostly because I got engrossed in some mammoth tomes on Russian history, and some other large volumes that I haven’t finished yet. But I did make it though 46 books. Here are my ten favourite reads with commentary. Below you will find the 10 that just missed making the top 10. It was a tough choice and anyone of these could have easily been included. They were all really good and highly recommended. Below that you will find the rest of the list. Feel free to look me up on goodreads to see my ratings and reviews of all of these books. What was your favourite read?

#10 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

by Jordan B. Peterson,
Very thoughtful and insightful book. Each chapter gave me something to mull over and challenge me in some way. The writing style won’t be to everyone’s liking but, the ideas explored are more than worth the effort!

#9 The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives

by Dallas Willard

I found this book so thought provoking and challenging. Really made me ponder why there is so little real life change in the church, why so little spiritual formation. A great introduction to the need for spiritual disciplines in the life of the disciple and how they work. There is a difference between trying and training. If you try to run a marathon, you will fail unless you first train. You will not succeed in in “trying” to respond in a Christ-like way, unless you, through the spiritual disciplines “train” to be daily abiding in Christ. Much to think about, and to apply. I think it is time to take the spiritual disciplines more seriously then I have in the past

#8 The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia

by Orlando Figes

Heart breaking look at what people suffered under communism. Amazing what a mess for millions just a few men can create. Ideas are powerful. Very insightful book. Highly recommended!

#7 Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

by Johann Hari

I found Johann’s discussion of the 9 causes of depression so helpful and fascinating. That part I would have rated 5 stars. But the solutions part of the book I found a little weak, even concerning. I’m not sure a universal income is a real workable solution. However, this book is very thought provoking and will help you evaluate your own life. I highly recommend it!

(For a more in depth review of the book, you can read what I wrote here.

#6 The Mission of God: A Manifesto of Hope for Society

by Joseph Boot

What a powerful, mind and heart shaping book. It was so refreshing but also very convicting to catch a fresh vision of the kingdom of God. The Kingdom is Jesus’ unstoppable mission to redeem and heal us, and extend the realization of His merciful Lordship over every area of life. We have such a kind, gentle, but relentless King. I’m so grateful for his love and power, and re-motivated to stay faithful to His claim on my life because of the thorough and well articulated clarion call this book provided. You need to read this book.

#5 Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism

by  Timothy J. Keller

Wow. What a powerful little book. Such great balance of practical advice on craft of Christ-honoring sermon, combined with a convicting call to make the truth real in your own heart. If you are called to do any amount of Christian speaking, I highly recommend you read this book. It will be a wealth of wisdom and inspiration, and humbling conviction.

#4 The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

by  Timothy J. KellerKathy Keller
Such a terrific book. It held my interest all the way through and was full of insight and practical wisdom. I love his perspective on marriage. After 12 years of marriage, his advice really rings true. One of the best marriage books I’ve ever read.

#3 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

by  Kerry PattersonJoseph Grenny Ron McMillan Al Switzler

Utterly fantastic book. So beneficial. I read it for the second time and found it even more helpful this time around. It’s full of practical tips to make others feel safe in conversation, and to prevent them from becoming silent, or forceful. The goal is free exchange of honest opinions and feelings, but this rarely happens because of habits that frequently sabotage our conversations. Highly recommended!

(I found the book so valuable I wrote out some notes on the books basic principles. They can be found here.

#2 Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ

by Tony Reinke

What an amazing book. Newton offered such a wealth of practical wisdom on what it meant to live in Christ. Newton found Christ to be the ultimate aim and treasure of the Christian life and that passion drove his Pastor’s heart. His letters are so convicting and affection-stirring. I repeatedly found myself wanting more of Christ and to be freed from the many entanglements of the old man. Newton is a skilled surgeon when he writes about the spiritual ills that plague a Christian and offers such relevant, Christ exalting solutions. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

#1 For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr

by Duncan Hamilton

Rarely have I been so moved and inspired as I was by this book. Eric Liddell has long been a hero of mine, (I named our latest son after him) but I now have an even great admiration for him. We measure greatness by many metrics: fame, wealth, power, accomplishments.

Eric achieved fame by unexpectedly winning the gold medal in the 400 meter at the 1924 Olympics, but his true greatness is measured for me by his total surrender and joyful submission to Christ, and his entirely selfless service to others. He abandoned the opportunities his gold medal could have given him, and returned to China where he tirelessly shared the gospel and educated the Chinese and offered comfort and encouragement in the midst of chaos and tragedy. He poured out his life for others until his body gave out in a Japanese internment camp near the end of WW2.

Biography can inspire us to strive for new heights in all kinds of ways, but Eric’s life is potent call to die to self, submit to God, and seek to serve everyone God puts in your path. I can’t recommend this book enough!

The 10 that just missed the cut:

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924

by Orlando Figes

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

by David Grann

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

by Timothy Egan

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

by Nathaniel Philbrick

JI. Packer: An Evangelical Life

by Leland Ryken,

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

by Stephen R. Covey

Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet

by Mark Adams

C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

by Alister E. McGrath


by Tara Westover

The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People

by John Ortberg

The rest of my 2018 reading in no order of favourites:

Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, 1921-1933

by Anne Applebaum

Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ

by Timothy J. Keller

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results

by Kenneth H. Blanchard

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

by Masaji Ishikawa

Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health

by Caroline Leaf

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

by Paul W. Brand, Philip Yancey

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs

by Peter Enns

Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity

by Frank Viola

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

by Frank Viola

What Women Really Want

by Morgan BrittanyGina Loudon Ann-Marie Murrell

A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

by Stephanie Coontz

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

by  Simon SinghEdzard Ernst

The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine

by Anne Harrington

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels

by  N.T. Wright


by  Keith A. Mathison

Kingdom, Come!

by  Philip Graham Ryken

Kingdoms in Conflict

by  Charles W. ColsonEllen Santilli Vaughn

The Kingdom of God

by  Christopher W. Morgan,

Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya

by William Carlsen

The Pioneer Years, 1895 1914: Memories Of Settlers Who Opened The West

by Barry Broadfoot

Shortgrass Country: History of Foremost and Area

by Foremost Historical Society

Through the Looking Glass: Reflections on Christ That Change Us

by Kris Lundgaard

Who Runs the Church?: 4 Views on Church Government

by  Steven B. Cowan (General Editor),

Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin–Completely Revised and Updated

by  Gary Scheiner

Leonardo da Vinci

by Walter Isaacson


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