Top Books I Read in 2022

“I cannot live without books.”

Thomas Jefferson

I don’t know that I “cannot live without books,” but I do love to read. And I love to read because I love to learn.

In 2022, I set a goal to read 48 books, and, as it turned out, I read exactly 48 books.

To those of you who provided me with book recommendations last year, thank you!

To those of you who SENT me books that you enjoyed and benefited from, THANK YOU!

As a note, these books were not all written in 2022 (some are oldies but goodies!), but these are my favorites from what I read in 2022:

1. I Love it Here: How Great Leaders Create Organizations Their People Never Want to Leave

“Here’s the truth: as a leader, you’re either the number one reason your people stay, or you’re the number one reason they leave.”

I Love it Here is a book on leadership, specifically in business but applicable to any leadership forum (families, churches, teams, etc.). I loved the title, and the content was excellent. Pulver says,

“Employees are not quitting companies—they’re quitting bosses.” “What will happen if you don’t invest in your people? They’ll leave anyway. Or, worse, they’ll mentally quit, and stay.”

In any organization, Pulver states that people are “our greatest asset.” Whether you lead a department, a business, a sports team, a class, or a family, I believe that you will benefit from this book’s focus on the importance of the people on your “team.”

2. Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking

Jon Acuff is also becoming a favorite author of mine (thank you to Dave McClain). Acuff is a motivational speaker and writer on self-help and productivity theory; frankly, he is HILARIOUS. In my life, I don’t know how many times I have literally laughed out loud while reading a book…but it is a sure-fire thing that I will laugh out loud at least once while reading Acuff. (Teaser – “You think that you are the worst mother in the world?” …You just need to read the book.) If you read a Jon Acuff book (like Soundtracks), you will enjoy it, and you will be challenged to consider your own approach to life and thought processes. And upon examining your own mental “soundtracks,” you may be surprised at the content and frequency of the soundtracks that may be playing in your mind, over and over again, and how they impact your actions and decisions.

3. Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word

Voddie Baucham (former skeptic, now a Christ-follower) possesses a gift for taking a subject that is complex and untangling that subject in a clear and understandable manner (such as his book Fault Lines on the topic of social justice and race), and I found that to be true of this book on the concept of apologetics. Apologetics is a broad topic. At times, I wonder if the abundance of works on Christian apologetics has “frozen” Christian believers in their witness because of the daunting task of being able to answer every question that a person might ask them. Baucham takes the concept of interacting with people from different viewpoints and provides a clear framework along with extremely pertinent examples of how to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

4. Out of the Dog House

If you have ever traveled to the Chicago area, you know that Portillo’s is a food staple in Chicagoland. Portillo’s Chicago hot dogs are world-famous, and their Italian beef sandwich is the best I have ever tasted. Out of the Dog House is the story of Portillo’s, as told by Dick Portillo himself. It is a fun journey that begins with a small shack with no running water selling hot dogs (The Dog House) to a billion-dollar restaurant company. I found this a fun read, and if you live in or travel to Chicago, Indiana, California, Arizona, or Florida, do yourself a favor, stop in at a Portillo’s, and enjoy a beef sandwich. I recommend sweet peppers and a little bit of “juice” on it!

5. Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time

All in all, I read 13 books in 2022 on the topic of disciple-making, mentoring, and life coaching…and Mentor Transforming Discipleship was another one that I enjoyed. (As a note, I am “knee-deep” in research for my doctoral dissertation on the topic of disciple-making, life coaching, and mentoring). In Transforming Discipleship, Ogden pursues the concrete and proposes a “triad” method of discipling. I found his arguments and experiences to be quite interesting as he strongly suggests discipling groups of three or four vs. one on one or larger classes and groups. Regardless, if you are a believer who grasps the importance of Jesus’ command to “make disciples,” you will benefit from the wisdom, experience, and practical thoughts from this book.

6. A Greater Glory: From Pitch to the Pulpit

If you know me, you know that I don’t like soccer—I LOVE soccer. (I played growing up and currently coach a high school soccer team, which I have done for many years.) Gavin Peacock grew up in a footballing family (as in soccer) and enjoyed a successful career in the English Premier League in the 1980s and 90s. Upon retiring, Peacock was a soccer commentator for the BBC, and, long story short, today, Peacock is a pastor in Alberta, Canada. So if you enjoy soccer, and even if you don’t, you will enjoy the life story and Christian testimony of this man (whom I was able to meet in 2022!).

7. One Minute Mentoring

The One Minute Manager is a business classic, and One Minute Mentoring is written in a similar format, a fictional story about two people, Josh and Diane. Josh is a young man trying to find his footing in business and sales. Diane is a veteran executive, bordering on burnout and searching for a way to find big-picture meaning in her career and beyond. One Minute Mentoring is the story of how these two people discover and explore the value of mentoring (specifically in the world of business – but also beyond).

8. Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General

I continue to read through O’Reilly and Dugard’s “Killing Series,” historical accounts that read like fast-paced novels. While I am familiar with most of the other subjects of this series, frankly, I was not as acquainted with the story and career of General George S. Patton Jr. If you have an interest in some of the “on the ground” stories in Europe during World War II, you will enjoy this book.

9. The Persecutor

This is an older book (published in 1973) that a friend recommended to me. The Persecutor was not always an easy book to read, but what a story (and, I will add, an emotional one). This book is the autobiography of a man who grew up in Communist Russia and became a leading member of the secret police. Kourdakov led violent raids on Russian house churches and gatherings…until…(you will have to read the book).

10. Mentor Like Jesus: His Radical Approach to Building the Church

For many years, Regi Campbell has practiced a structure of mentoring in which he commits himself (and demands commitment from his mentees) for one year. Each year, Campbell commits himself to eight men, no more and no less. These eight men meet with him once a month in his home with an expectation that, after the year is over, each of these eight men will turn around and do the same thing with a group they will facilitate. In Mentor Like Jesus, Campbell is genuine and willing to share his approach in detail. Whether or not you think the one-on-eight impact model is for you, you will benefit from his thoughts and experiences, which are concrete and helpful.

11. White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era

Shelby Steele is an African-American author, columnist, and filmmaker who serves as a Senior Fellow at Stanford University. Steele writes, in a sense, from a biographical perspective and addresses a complex issue in a readable and clear manner.

“The age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt – and neither has been good for African Americans.”

(As a note, White Guilt was published in 2009, but it is extremely pertinent in 2023.)

On this multi-layered subject, I also read two other books this year. In Christianity and Wokeness, Owen Strachan examines the social justice movement from a theological perspective, and he argues that it is “hijacking the Gospel.” I also found The Whitewashing of Christianity by Jerome Gay to be a thought-provoking look at a perspective I had not previously examined from a researched source.

“Christianity is not the cultural property of any single racial or ethnic group. On the contrary, it has always existed as a chosen nation comprised of every nation, tribe, and tongue.”

12. Quick Answers on Social Issues

My wife, Kelly and I had a college student in our living room a few weeks ago, and she piped up, “I have a question for you.” Upon hearing the question, I immediately pulled up this book as a resource, and a productive, hour-long conversation followed. Quick Answers is a short book – under 100 pages – that takes hot-button cultural questions and devotes exactly two pages to each question. Clearly, you will not get a full discussion on any particular issue, but you will interact with a perspective on each question rooted in the Bible and to the point. Some of the topics that Osborne addresses are life issues (abortion, cloning, assisted suicide, stem cells), equality issues (race, feminism), marriage and gender issues, and environmental issues.

13. The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently

This book came with a high recommendation from my friend John Soemer, who is an example to me of what a mentor leader looks like. Tony Dungy is a unique individual and leader who has achieved great professional success while staying true to his beliefs and priorities. Mentor Leader is a readable book that you will enjoy and also find challenging as you seek to make a difference in the lives of the people around you.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan

2. Pure: Why the Bible’s Plan for Sexuality Isn’t Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive by Dean Inserra

As a note, Pure examines the Evangelical “Purity Culture” from a few decades ago. The purity culture has received harsh criticism in recent years. Pure seeks to take an honest look at the negative aspects of this movement while providing a biblical balance to the pendulum.

3. One at a Time: The Unexpected Way God Wants to Use You to Change the World by Kyle Idleman

4. Discipleship that Fits: The Five Kinds of Relationships that God Uses to Cause You Grow by Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom

5. The Secular Creed: Engaging Five Contemporary Claims by Rebecca McLaughlin

The Secular Creed is a Christian response to the yard signs that you may have seen in your neighborhood, “In this house, we believe that…”

This article is part of an annual series by Pastor DeAngelo. Here are the posts from previous years.

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