“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohna
Reading can be an important part of broadening your worldview and deepening your personal development. These are four books that I’ve read over the past few months that are worth adding to your list:
1. Braving the Wilderness
Brene Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness takes on the topic of belonging — an issue that’s become more and more important in America given the rise of social media and identity politics. At times, I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, and I have to censor what I say so I don’t offend anyone — especially if I don’t know their political bias. Brown gives practical advice on how to break down the wall of us vs them arguments that, at the core, are false, misleading, and divisive. She calls it speaking truth to bullsh*t. And we all bullsh*t at times, maybe without even realizing we are doing it. We need to reject dehumanizing language, restore humanity with our words and actions for those it has been stripped from, and address the underlying intentions behind what we are saying. As she says, “one of the most courageous things to say in an uncomfortable conversation is ‘Tell me more’.” We can disagree without disrespect. If you live in America and you are dissatisfied with our current social atmosphere, I’d highly recommend reading this book.
2. The Man Without a Face
With all the questions about Trump and Russia and the interference in the 2016 election (oh hey, Mueller’s report), I’ve been curious to learn more about Russia and its main man Putin. I mean, aside from the fact that he likes to ride horseback without a shirt on. This book was written by a Russian journalist and starts to peel back the layers of Putin himself. And man, was this eye opening. From his rise through the KGB to his current place as head of state in Russia, this tale is captivating from the start. Putin’s early career wouldn’t have suggested the rise to power that he’s had. But it happened all the same. This book will leave you on the edge of your seat and is a must read for those interested in a) politics and b) what and who we as a country are dealing with.
3. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes
Just because you’ve always done something one way or have been told ‘this is the truth’, doesn’t mean it is. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes was a fresh perspective that forced me to re-evaluate what my faith looks like and what I’ve always believe about the Bible. Bailey’s look at Jesus through the context of Middle Eastern culture opens up a depth to many familiar passages that I could have never achieved on my own. He examines stories like Jesus’s birth, teachings like the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’s interactions with women and Gentiles, as well as comparing the multitude of parables Jesus told. If you want to be challenged in your faith and your preconceived notions about Jesus, read this book.
4. The Nazis Next Door
Most of what I’ve learned about WWII stopped in the early 40s. But this book takes on what happened after the war — and how our country opened its arms to many Nazis, even fiercely protecting them from the Nuremberg trials. It’s an eye-opening read that sheds light (at least for me) of the prejudice and biases that many Americans had, allowing them to turn a blind eye to hundreds of Nazis entering our country. For every single Nazi or collaborator that was given a visa, that’s one visa that was taken away from the true victims who needed our help. It’s a stark reminder that the atrocities of WWII were not that long ago and the effects of that war may still be reverberating in our country today.
What books should I add to my reading list next? Comment below with some of your recommendations!
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Punishment without crime by Alexandra Natapoff. The sun does shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. The Process is the Punishment by Freely.