Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Top 10

After I posted Justin Taylor's around-the-room survey for Top 10 Books, someone asked me what mine where. These are ten books that have had a big impact on my life and thought.

1 - Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman

  • This is a tremendous book that I come back to again and again. I've summarized it here. Seligman is a psychologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Through summarizing the research literature and sharing his own unique work in this research space, Seligman effectively demonstrates how successfully handling adversity optimizes the chance of success in many spheres of life.
2 - The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irwin Yalom
  • The main thing I gained from this book was the concept that successful therapists commonly share several specific behaviors in effecting life change with their clients irrespective of idealogical orientation.
3 - Chronicles of Wasted Time by Malcolm Muggeridge
4 - The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne
  • Payne is an amazing CS Lewis scholar and mystic. She writes eloquently and convincingly about the importance of practicing God's presence.
5 - Inside Out by Larry Crabb
  • I was blessed to study under Crabb when I was working on my Masters of Divinity degree. His teaching quite literally changed my life. This book is the summary of the primary class in his graduate program at that time.
6 - A Francis A Schaeffer Trilogy by Francis Schaeffer
  • Schaeffer's interaction with secular thought and art was both prescient and a model for us today.
7 - Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
  • Collins and Porras' magnificent study of outstanding organizations is a classic in organizational study. I've summarized it here.
8 - Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Collins followed up Built to Last with this wonderful study that outlines how organizations can change. A brief summary can be found here.
9 - The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  • Kouzes and Posner's book is also considered a classic in leadership studies. A summary of this book can be found here.
10 - Descartes Error by Antonio Damasio
  • Dr. Antonio Damasio provides a neurological basis for the importance of a transpropositional approach to spiritual formation through analyzing the importance of emotions on intellectual development. We've teased this out a bit more here.


Anonymous said...

If someone summarized the type of person that would have been influenced by those 10 books, I wonder how close they would be to summarizing you Steve. It would seem the books we treasure reflect our heart, passions, gifts & talents—a quick sum of our life.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful list! Of course, now one wonders WHY each of those books made it onto your list. I fully expected Learned Optimism, Inside Out and the Muggeridge book, but some of the others threw me for a loop. Anyway, very interesting list. Thanks for sharing :) I'm going to go make my own, but I'm not sure I'll be able to come up with 10.

Amsika said...


I have bumped into your list searching for some psychotherapy info.
I was struck with the similarities your list has with what would be my list :)

I am enjoying the synchronicity that brought me here,
and have a book to suggest if you haven't tried allready.
(I am gestalt therapist, and am into organisational work)
Maslow: On Management

Warm warm regards from Zagreb,Croatia

Stephen said...


That's really cool! I hadn't read that particular book and I appreciate your mentioning it.


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