My Recommended Reading List

During the first year I was in full-time ministry, I made a New Year’s goal to read 50 books that year. Looking back, I realize that’s a bit aggressive, considering they were all non-fiction for the most part. At the time, it sounded like a great goal to me. I was transitioning out of the education system and a volunteer ministry position and into full-time ministry. I knew I had a lot to learn, and I was motivated. 

During my first year in ministry, I was still teaching middle school health (doing both at the same time was one of the top 5 worst decisions I’ve ever made), and I made the wonderful mistake of telling the 54 students I was mentoring through a three-year leadership course that I made this goal. Dang it for accountability. 

They asked me about it EVERY WEEK of the WHOLE YEAR. I’m not quite sure if they were doubting I would actually do it, or if they really were just curious about what book I was reading and what number I was on. The good part about this was it made me keep working to reach my goal. I mean, I couldn’t be a bad example to them, I couldn’t lie to them, and I felt like I was letting them down if I didn’t do it. It pushed me to keep reading. And I am so glad I did. Because I learned a lot. About myself, God, ministry, leadership, and about the Hunger Games. 

Over the years I have continued to read as much as I can, because I still have a lot to learn. So I have put together a list of 50 of my favorite books that have been influential in my life over the last eight years. 

My 50 book recommendations (in no particular order)

  1. Visioneering – Andy Stanley
  2. Think Orange – Reggie Joiner
  3. Lead Small – Reggie Joiner, Tom Shefchunas
  4. Creating a Lead Small Culture – Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell
  5. The Ideal Team Player – Patrick Lencioni 
  6. How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership (too many authors to list)
  7. Start with Why – Simon Sinek
  8. Building A Story Brand – Donald Miller
  9. Good to Great – Jim Collins
  10. The Core Issue – Christine Caine
  11. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell 
  12. Communicating for Change – Andy Stanley
  13. Deep & Wide – Andy Stanley
  14. 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John Maxwell
  15. Crucial Conversations – Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler 
  16. Blink – Malcolm Gladwell 
  17. Leadership Axioms – Billy Hybels
  18. A New Kind of Leader – Reggie Joiner
  19. It’s Just A Phase So Don’t Miss It – Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy 
  20. Goliath Must Fall – Louie Giglio 
  21. The Myth of Balance – Frank Bealer
  22. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni 
  23. Caught in Between – Dan Scott
  24. Wooden on Leadership – John Wooden
  25. Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry – Doug Fields
  26. Middle School Ministry – Scott Rubin, Marko Oestreicher
  27. Make Believe – Ben Crawshaw & Kevin Ragsdale
  28. Find Your Voice – Sam Collier  
  29. Love Does – Bob Goff
  30. Undaunted – Christine Caine 
  31. The Bible Tells Me So - Peter Enns
  32. Switch on Your Brain – Dr. Caroline Leaf
  33. inGenius – Tina Seelig 
  34. Chasing the Light - Dave Adamson 
  35. Everybody Always – Bob Goff
  36. White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White – Daniel Hill 
  37. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? – Beverly Daniel Tatum 
  38. Left to Tell – Immaculee Ilibagiza
  39. Kisses from Katie – Katie Davis 
  40. When Helping Hurts- Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert 
  41. Wrecked – Jeff Goines 
  42. There Is No Me Without You – Melissa Fay Greene
  43. 28 Stories of Aids in Africa– Stephanie Nolen
  44. Honor & Shame – Roland Muller
  45. The Road Back to You – Ian Morgan Cron, Suzanne Stabile 
  46. Naked Confidence – Christen Shefchunas
  47. Quiet – Susan Caine 
  48. Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
  49. Beyond the Swipe – Kristen Fry
  50. THE ART OF GROUP TALK for Teenage Girls and Boys– Ashley Bohinc, Crystal Chiang, Tom Shefchunas, Jeremy Zach, Brett Talley (I had to include this… because I think it’s the most important book on this list… but I am biased clearly)

I wish I had space (or time) to tell you all the reasons why I included each and every one of these on this list. Maybe next time...

So… What books do you recommend for me?  

Ashley Bohinc