If you’re like me, one of the greatest joys of summer is slowing down enough to do some “beach reading.” Despite the phrase, what counts here is the reading; the beach is optional.
I know I’ve probably got eclectic tastes, but in case they’re of any interest I thought I’d share the titles accompanying me on vacation, whether or not they include a beach.
The books feed my varied interests in leadership, communication, biblical studies, and good fiction.
Patrick Lencioni, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues (Jossey-Bass, 2016). 240 pp. On Amazon.ca for CAD $18.00 (hardcover); $11.99 (Kindle).
Patrick Lencioni is always worth reading. Not only does he offer excellent management insights, but he crafts his “leadership fables” in enjoyable narrative prose. (Lencioni was an amateur screenwriter before becoming a leadership guru, and his writing style and character development make his books worth reading for their own sake!)
In this latest work, Lencioni advances concepts from his earlier book, The Five Disfunctions of a Team, to unveil the core employee characteristics corporations ought most to look for in The Ideal Team Player, namely: humility, hunger, and people-smarts. See the précis on Lencioni’s Table Group page.
Chris Anderson, Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (Collins, 2016). 269 pp. On Amazon.ca for CAD $24.26 (hardcover); $13.99 (Kindle).
Carmine Gallo, The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t (St. Martin’s Press, 2016). 268 pp. On Amazon.ca for CAD $27.74 (hardcover); $9.70 (paperback); $15.99 (Kindle).
A good portion of my job involves speaking publicly. This is something I enjoy and something for which I’ve trained professionally (homiletics) and for which I have some natural affinity. But it is also an area on which I’ve recognized I need to make conscious and continual improvements.
A couple years ago, I picked up Carmine Gallo’s exceptional book, Talk Like Ted, framing public speaking tips on the ubiquitous TED Talks.
The freely accessible and never-more-than-18-minute TED Talks have so captured the attention of the global masses that they seem to possess the secret sauce for effective public communication in today’s world. (Though if you’ve watched a few TED Talks, CBC’s This Is That parody is laugh out loud hilarious!)
This summer, I look forward to learning what “head of TED” Chris Anderson has picked up from some of TED’s most popular speakers, and to gleaning more insights from Carmine Gallo on communicating great ideas through persuasive story-telling.
John M. G. Barclay, Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans, 2015). 672 pp. On Amazon.ca for CAD $86.08 (hardcover); $69.83 (Kindle).
Putting on another hat entirely, I am eager to complete John Barclay’s already critically acclaimed Paul and the Gift. Barclay was teaching at Glasgow when I began PhD studies in Edinburgh, and his Obeying the Truth was possibly the first book I read when preparing my thesis on Paul’s ethics.
Barclay’s massive tome explores the concept of “gift-giving” in ancient Jewish and Graeco-Roman contexts as a means to apprehend what Paul means by “grace.”
Set to challenge both traditional (Lutheran) Protestant and New Perspective positions (see my earlier posting here), Barclay’s work is sure to remain must-reading for many scholars’ summer trips to the beach!
As I’m preparing to publish a review of the book for The Evangelical Quarterly, I’ll likely blog more on this later.
Finally, how could we conclude a summer beach-read list without at least one work of fiction?
Jonas Jonasson, Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, translated by Rachel Wilson-Broyles (HarperCollins, 2016). 312 pp. On Amazon.ca for CAD $14.85 (paperback); $ 13.99 (Kindle).
Touted as Sweden’s “anti-Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” author, Jonasson writes whimsically about deplorable but loveable characters who misstep favourably through unlikely adventures and pitfalls to implausibly end up on top.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jonasson’s earlier The 100-Year-Old man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, and trust this latest story of an alcoholic hitman who discovers Jesus to be equally entertaining. (So as not to set up false expectations: despite Jesus’s role in it, this is not a “Christian” book!)
Whatever your titles, I wish you happy reading this summer – with or without the beach!