Top 10 Most Influential Books

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Books! You’ve heard it said that leaders are readers. Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are certainly readers. Books stretch our minds and our imaginations. I have been a reader since a child, although it waned a bit in my teens. However, in my early 20s someone introduced me to the world of non-fiction. And my hunger for reading grew.

When my children were young, I wanted to get them reading as quickly as possible. We kept trying different genres until we found one that stuck. My son discovered sci-fi/fantasy (The Magic Tree House series), and my daughter discovered all things dogs (Animal Ark). And it worked. Both of my children are readers…and leaders.

Books shape us and transform us in interesting ways. Here are the top 10 books that were influential in my life. I hope you will share your list with me. Hopefully, we will both find new books to shape our minds.

  1. Silver Boxes – Florence Littauer

Silver Boxes was a book I read just prior to coming to faith in Christ. God used it to plant seeds of faith in my heart and encourage me in a difficult time of my life.

2. Wild Things Happen When I Pray – Tirabassi

This was one of the first books I read as a new Christian and the first book I ever read on prayer. I’m not sure it is even in print anymore. It opened my eyes to God’s work in our lives. And it challenged me to persevere in prayer.

3. Mere Christianity – C.S Lewis

I read this book as a fairly new Christian. I was intrigued when I discovered he was the same author of the Narnia series. And I was intrigued because he had been an atheist (just like me). Lewis had a brillant mind and he was able to articulate the things of God using both faith and reason.

4. The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Boom

I heard about this book early on in my new faith. I hesitated to read it for years. Mostly, I thought it would be a “pie in the sky” story of faith. I was wrong! She was a normal person with faith, questions, doubts, and fears. Yet, she persevered. Every Believer needs to read this book.

5. Intercessory Prayer – Dutch Sheets

Loved this book! It changed my prayer life! If you think you have nothing to offer the Kingdom of God, then you need to read this book.

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6. Pilgrim’s Progress – Bunyan

Pilgrim’s Progress is another book I heard much about as a new Christian. It made many people’s top 10 lists. And I really had no interest in reading it. Then one day I was at the library and they had it in audio book form. At that time, I was driving my son 30 minutes to school (one way) every day. So we began listening to it each morning. It was a powerful book, but it is also a reminder of a sweet time with my son.

7. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire – Cymbala

Obviously prayer seems to be a theme for me. This book came at a time in my life when I needed encouragement. Cymbala’s transparency and perseverance in prayer encouraged me to stay on my knees in the tough times of life.

8. The Shaping of Things to Come – Frost & Hirsch

During my undergrad work, I took an evangelism class and the professor assigned this book as reading. This book challenged everything I thought I knew about evangelism…and I hated it. But then God used it to radically change me! I can honestly say that I don’t think I would have ever considered planting a church before reading this book. I am ever grateful to my professor!

9. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller

10. Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell

I read these last two books back to back in about one week and they rocked my world. I know that both of these books (mostly Bell) have been surrounded by controversy. But the thing about books is that they are filled with ideas…and ideas are controversial. Jesus posed new ideas; controversial ideas. And those ideas took Him to the cross. These two books came at a time in my life when I felt trapped and dead inside. It was a time when I was questioning if there was more to life than this. Together, these books reminded me that God and His Word are infinitely deep and rich; deep enough to swim in and shallow enough to wade in. And most of us spend our lives wading in the shallow end.

I hope you will consider reading some of these books. Most of all, I hope you will read. Let ideas challenge and stretch you. Let your mind and heart work together to change the world, even if it is only your small piece of it.

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