The Top 10 Books I Read in 2019 (Christmas Gift Ideas!)

Looking for Christmas gift ideas? If any readers are on your shopping list, you might be interested in some book recommendations. Here are the top 10 I read last year, in no particular order. A few good books didn’t make the list. These were the best of the best in my opinion.

The Wright Brothers by David McCollough – McCollough is one of the most accomplished historians in our nation, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I enjoyed learning the story of the Wright brothers from a master researcher and storyteller.

Leadership by Doris Kearns Goodwin – This book profiles four U.S. presidents: Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and LBJ. It chronicles crisis moments in their careers and suggests specific leadership lessons we can learn from them.

Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen – This book profiles the eight U.S. vice presidents who became president upon the death of their successor. It’s interesting to think about what it must have been like to be thrust into the nation’s highest office. This book does a good job of providing insight into these rare occurrences.

Contagious Generosity by Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard – I read this one in preparing to preach on stewardship. I can’t recommend his book highly enough for church leaders. It helped me to look at the big picture of what God desires for us and for His Kingdom through our generosity. The book really got me excited to preach about giving, which can be a challenging topic.

Leadership Pain by Samuel Chand – This book gives great insights on how to leverage painful experiences as opportunities for personal growth. Several individuals give testimonies of their own painful experiences and how God used those hardships to mold them as Christians and as leaders.

Sticky Church by Larry Osborne – Osborne makes a convincing case for sermon-based small group Bible studies. Whether or not a church decides to offer sermon-based studies, the book is a good resource for small group ministry in general.

Simon Peter by Adam Hamilton – This is an easy-to-read biography of Jesus’ most outspoken disciple. Hamilton is gifted at finding points of application to our lives.

Winning by Jack Welch – Our staff administrative team and I used this for a book study. A lot of leadership books, in my opinion, act as if the world pauses while the leader strategies and implements. This book was so realistic. It’s written with the understanding that leaders have to lead mid-stream while action is swirling all around. My favorite chapters were on candor and crisis management.

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon – Our school is an official Energy Bus school. The book is a leadership fable. The book is easy to read with solid advice for building a positive, forward-moving workplace.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – This is a classic. The chapter on the four quadrants alone is worth the price of the book – great concepts on prioritizing and time management.

And if I may recommend an 11th title, I encourage you to check out my book, Ancient Truths for Modern Times!

Author: Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

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