Anderson’s 2021 Reading List

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them!” Mark Twain

The average American spends 2 hours 45 minutes watching television each day. Reading has steadily declined since 1978 and Pew Research found that nearly a quarter of American adults haven’t read a book in the past year – not a paperback, a book on a Kindle, or even listened to an audiobook.

Your brain is just like any muscle in your body. It requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is just as true for your brain as it is for any muscle in your body.

Reading as little as twenty pages a day will exercise your brain and not only give you cognitive stimulation but also increase your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that reading will

  • Strengthen your brain
  • Increase your empathy toward others
  • Build your vocabulary
  • Reduce cognitive decline
  • Reduce your stress
  • Help you sleep better
  • Alleviate depression
  • Lengthen your lifespan

With that in mind, listed below is a list of some great books to read in 2021.  I cannot post a 2021 reading list without FIRST listing the Bible.  It’s estimated that there have been five billion bibles printed since 1815 making it the number one book ever sold.  List of best-selling books. Personally, the Bible has been the most influential book of my life. 

Psalm 19:7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey,
which comes from the honeycomb
. Psalm 19:7-11

2021 Reading List

HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible, British Tan, LeatherTouch

Bible Reading Plan

If you have thought about reading through the Bible in one year, this link will give you three downloadable plans to help you accomplish this goal. 

Engage in God’s Word Through Daily Devotions   

The demands of life can distract us from spending time with God. But if we don’t spend time daily in God’s Word and in prayer, we grow weak and weary.  This link will make it easier for you to engage with God’s Word on a daily basis. You can choose from two daily devotionals that deliver Scripture, teaching, and prayer guides right to your inbox.  Whether you are just starting to study your Bible or have been for years, these devotionals will help you grow in faith, knowledge, and love of God.

Irrational Kindness: The Crazy Pursuit of an Extraordinary Life

Kevin Williams

Often the idea of being irrational is smeared with negative connotations. It can sound illogical, senseless, unjustifiable, or groundless. It may even represent ludicrous and mad behavior! But Kevin Williams argues that being irrational can be just the opposite. And it is the most positive, inspiring, and empowering way to be. Being irrational has to do with thinking outside the box―way outside. It has to do with viewing life as a journey and still being willing to reverse the route, shake things up, or flip the map upside down. Why? Not just to be different, but to make a difference.

I Am Not But I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God

Louie Giglio

Our God is more expansive and powerful than we could ever imagine, the all-mighty creator of galaxies beyond our reach. But He is also the loving creator who has formed and fashioned you. Yet, as valuable as you are to Him, God’s best for your life is to invite you into a story that is all about Him.

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again

Lysa TerKeurst

Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of unresolved pain, playing offenses over and over in your mind? You know you can’t go on like this, but you don’t know what to do next. Lysa TerKeurst has wrestled through this journey. But in surprising ways, she’s discovered how to let go of bound-up resentment and overcome the resistance to forgiving people who aren’t willing to make things right.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

James Clear

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Greenlights

Matthew McConaughey

“I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.”

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

Jennie Allen

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

Are your thoughts holding you captive? I’ll never be good enough. Other people have better lives than I do. God couldn’t really love me. Jennie Allen knows what it’s like to swirl in a spiral of destructive thoughts, but she also knows we don’t have to stay stuck in toxic thinking patterns.

As she discovered in her own life, God built a way for us to escape that downward spiral. Freedom comes when we refuse to be victims to our thoughts and realize we have already been equipped with power from God to fight and win the war for our minds.

In Get Out of Your Head, Jennie inspires and equips us to transform our emotions, our outlook, and even our circumstances by taking control of our thoughts. Our enemy is determined to get in our heads to make us feel helpless, overwhelmed, and incapable of making a difference for the kingdom of God. But when we submit our minds to Christ, the promises and goodness of God flood our lives in remarkable ways. It starts in your head. And from there, the possibilities are endless.

God’s Smuggler

Brother Andrew and contributors John and Elizabeth Sherrill

Working undercover for God, a mission that continues to this day has made Brother Andrew one of the all-time heroes of the faith. His narrow escapes from danger to share the love of Jesus will encourage and embolden believers in their own walks of faith.

Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It  

Bob Goff

In his revelatory yet utterly practical new book, Bob takes you on a life-proven journey to rediscover your dreams and turn them into reality. Based on his enormously popular Dream Big workshop, Bob draws on a lifetime of living and dreaming large to help you reach your larger-than-life dreams. In Dream Big he shows how to learn to define clearly your dreams for yourself, identify the obstacles holding you back, come up with a specific plan for reaching goals, and develop the tools that will help you act on the plan.

Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough  

Brené Brown

Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough

What does it take to be secure in our sense of belonging and self-worth? We may hustle to attain this security through achievements, meeting expectations, or repeating affirmations to ourselves – but Dr. Brené Brown’s research has shown there is ultimately one obstacle to our sense of worthiness. “Shame is the barrier,” she teaches, “and building shame resilience is how we overcome it.” With Men, Women, and Worthiness, Dr. Brown draws upon more than 12 years of investigation to reveal how we can disarm the influence of shame to cultivate a life of greater courage, joy, and love.

Excommunicated Warrior: The 7 Stages Of Transition

Nick Koumalatsos

As human beings, we will inevitably go through a life-changing event at some point in our life. It could be losing a job of 20 years, finalizing a divorce, being forced to retire early because of an injury, or leaving the military. These life-changing events can have disastrous effects on us and the people around us. Some of us never work through these events and end up unhappy and stuck in life. This happened to Nick when he left a 12-year career as a Marine Raider with the Marine Corps Special Operations Unit. For years, he was stuck with feelings of anger, indifference, and bitterness. Until he finally decided to act and apply the skills he learned as a Raider and got to work on solving his personal problems. The Excommunicated Warrior takes you through the journey of Nick’s transition out of the Special Operations as he attempted to reintegrate into the civilian world. Through this journey, he identified 7 different stages of transition. Nick quickly realized that these 7 stages were something most veterans had to go through and he launched a non-profit that focused on helping the nation’s veterans transition out of the military. Soon, Nick started developing steps to work through the stages, all aimed at the military community. However, through various speaking engagements, it became clear that Nick’s ideas about the 7 stages of transition applied to anyone, not just veterans. The stages applied to anyone that had gone through a life-altering event. This book outlines the 7 stages and how you can use them in your life. In short, the book is for anyone who has gone through a life-changing event and refuses to be a victim of circumstance. Anyone who decides to never quit, never surrender, and always move forward.

Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Unthinkable Choices

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Since he was a small boy, Mosab Hassan Yousef has had an inside view of the deadly terrorist group Hamas. The oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas and its most popular leader, young Mosab assisted his father for years in his political activities while being groomed to assume his legacy, politics, status . . . and power. But everything changed when Mosab turned away from terror and violence and embraced instead the teachings of another famous Middle East leader. In Son of Hamas, Mosab reveals new information about the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth about his own role, his agonizing separation from family and homeland, the dangerous decision to make his newfound faith public, and his belief that the Christian mandate to “love your enemies” is the only way to peace in the Middle East.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Why have history’s greatest minds—from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with today’s top performers from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities—embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise. The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year you’ll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations, as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms.

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – Clean Edition

David Goggins

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America.

Take Back Your Life: A 40-Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right

Levi Lusko

A forty-day interactive journey that will help you identify and fight your internal battles–so you can take back your life. Every person has a mission and a God-given potential to impact the world, whether they recognize it or not. But life presents challenges and traps us in a helpless, hopeless loop of anxiety and fear. In Take Back Your Life, a blend of bestselling books Through the Eyes of a Lion and I Declare War, join Levi Lusko on an interactive journey to take back your life. With biblical truth and perspective, this step-by-step journaling process will help you: get out of your own way by learning to think right so you can live right, find purpose by discovering that God will do great things with your imperfect progress, and learn that your pain is not an obstacle to being used by God but an opportunity to be used like never before.

Bible and Breakfast: 31 Mornings with Jesus–Feeding Our Bodies and Souls Together

Asheritah Ciuciu

Bible and Breakfast: 31 Mornings with Jesus--Feeding Our Bodies and Souls Together by [Asheritah Ciuciu]

Before your feet hit the ground, chaos drowns out any hope of quiet time with Jesus, as the alarm blares, kids run around the house, and your to-do list reminds you that you’re already behind.  Bible and Breakfast is for you. In just a month, you’ll kickstart a morning habit of meeting with Jesus and eating a healthy breakfast every day. Join Bible teacher and author Asheritah Ciuciu for 31 devotions for busy women and 31 tasty breakfast recipes.

Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God

Mark Batterson

The voice that spoke the cosmos into existence is the same voice that parted the Red Sea and made the sun stand still in the midday sky. One day, this voice will make all things new, but it’s also speaking to you now!
 
That voice is God’s voice, and what we’ve learned from Scripture is that He often speaks in a whisper. Not to make it difficult to hear Him, but to draw us close. Many people have a tough time believing God still speaks. Sure, in ancient times and in mysterious ways, God spoke to His people, but is He still speaking now?
 
Mark Batterson certainly believes so. And he wants to introduce you to the seven love languages of God; each of them unique and entirely divine. Some of them you might suspect but others will surprise you. By learning to tune in to and decipher each language, you’ll be able to hear His guidance in simple as well as life-altering choices. God is actively speaking through Scripture, Desires, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain. Batterson gives you the tools you need to unlock each of these languages.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Phil Knight

Bill Gates named Shoe Dog one of his five favorite books of 2016 and called it “an amazing tale, a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous, and chaotic journey, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. Phil Knight opens up in ways few CEOs are willing to do.”

Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

Break Shot: My First 21 Years: James Taylor

James Taylor

Break Shot: My First 21 Years: James Taylor

Recorded in his home studio, The Barn in western Massachusetts, Taylor tells the deeply personal story of his youth, which is entwined with the story of his family. What started as an idyllic tight unit soon became a family sent to different emotional corners – like a break shot in the game of pool, he says, when you slam the cue ball into the fifteen other balls and they all go flying off. By the time Taylor released his breakout second album in 1970, Sweet Baby James, he had seen the disintegration of his parents’ marriage and his family crumble in the aftermath. He had committed himself twice to a psychiatric hospital, battled depression, a heroin addiction, suffered a relapse, and traveled far away from the wood smoke and moonshine of the North Carolina landscapes in which he came of age. Despite it all, he was also on the cusp of super-stardom and on his way to bringing light and joy to millions. He was 21. Journey with James Taylor to a time before he became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts – and a beloved voice to millions.

The Hiding Place

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was a woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis, and their reward was a trip to Hitler’s concentration camps. But she survived and was released as a result of a clerical error-and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil. For thirty-five years Corrie’s dramatic life story, full of timeless virtues, has prepared readers to face their own futures with faith, relying on God’s love to overcome, heal, and restore. Now releasing in a thirty-fifth-anniversary edition for a new generation of readers, The Hiding Place tells the riveting story of how a middle-aged Dutch watchmaker became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s death camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity

Nabeel Qureshi

In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, now expanded with new bonus content, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.

Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with an inner turmoil that will challenge Christians, Muslims, and all those who are interested in the world’s greatest religions.

Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart–and of the peace, he eventually found in Jesus.

Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

Ann Spangler

A twenty-six-week devotional study by the bestselling coauthor of Women of the Bible Names in the ancient world did more than simply distinguish one person from another, they often conveyed the essential nature and character of a person. This is especially true when it comes to the names of God recorded in the Bible. Praying the Names of God explores the primary names and titles of God in the Old Testament to reveal the deeper meanings behind them. El Shadday, Elohim, Adonay, Abba, El Elyon―God Almighty, Mighty Creator, Lord, Father, God Most High―these are just a few of the names and titles of God that yield rich insights into his nature and character. Praying the Names of God shows readers how to study and pray God’s names by focusing each week on one of the primary names or titles of God. • Monday―readers study a portion of Scripture that reveals the name. • Tuesday–Thursday―readers pray specific Scripture passages related to the name. • Friday―readers pray Scripture promises connected to the name. By incorporating the divine names and titles into their prayers―and learning about the biblical context in which the name was revealed―readers will gain a more intimate understanding of who God is and how he can be relied on in every circumstance of their lives.

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