The 7 Best Books I Read in 2016

Books are one of the best ways to grow your knowledge on a subject. Each year, I set a reading goal and try to read books on a variety of topics.

Stack of books

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My brother loves books and reads fiction primarily. I am the exact opposite. I prefer books with actionable content that I can apply to my daily activities.

Without further ado, here were my top seven books I read in 2016.

Creating Magic Book CoverCreating Magic - Lee Cockerell (Genre: Customer Service / Business / Leadership)

Disney is Disney for one reason, because of the experience they create for their guests. Creating Magic takes you behind the scenes of the Magic Kingdom and shares how they create beautiful experiences.

Written by a former Disney exec with 56,000 employees under his watchful eye, he shares how micromanaging nearly killed his career, how one simple act of kindness can change a guests perspective, and how attention to detail can create incredible moments for cast members and guests alike.

This book is my go-to resource for creating magical moments at my workplace.
Hope Heals Book CoverHope Heals - Katherine and Jay Wolf (Genre: Memoir)

I first heard Katherine speak at Calvary Community Church on Mother’s Day.

She rolled on to stage accompanied by her husband and shared her story of having a stroke at a young age, raising a child while struggling to re-learn normal behaviors and seeing God show up in tangible ways.

She shares the power of life groups who show up in the happy times, but also in the darkest moments. Her story is captivating, grace-filled, inspiring and most of all a testimony to the power of Christ in our lives.
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail CoverAWOL on the Appalachian Trail - David Miller (Genre: Memoir / Adventure)

David Miller shares his raw story of hiking the Appalachian Trail to find himself. He tells of hitchhiking mishaps, wondering where his next meal would be, whether his new shoes were too new and the people he met along the journey.

In a sort of midlife crisis moment, he stepped onto the Appalachian Trail to find what was lacking in his life and found an unbelievable experience of redemption, love, and friendship. Buried in Miller’s story, you might find a little bit of yourself.
The Creative Habit CoverThe Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp (Genre: Business / Creativity / Design)

I love, So You Think You Can Dance. I marvel at the stories that choreographers tell through the movement of people, emotions, and music. Twyla Tharp is one such choreographer.

The book takes you inside one of the brilliant minds of dance and shares her secrets to success. She developed habits of storytelling early on, and then rehearsed, and rehearsed and rehearsed. She created a routine and habit of learning that opened her mind and heart to thinking differently about dance. She shares how she uses not just dance, but light, color, costumes and atmosphere to create a dance piece.

Twyla shares the good with the bad, and how you can perform at your best, but it is not without hard work, perseverance and dedication. Here are a couple of interesting pieces of her choreography work: Billy Joel and In the Upper Room.
Messy Grace CoverMessy Grace - Caleb Kaltenbach (Genre: Christian Living / Church / Religion)

This book caught me off guard. Caleb shares his story of growing up with gay parents. He shares being angry at the church for how they responded to them. He shares of his hatred for people that rejected his parents.

Caleb shares how little seeds of some Christians became planted in his life. When he came to faith in Christ, he wanted his parents to experience the same thing as him. A divide in the relationship ensued and never fully was restored. He became a pastor and helped people bridge the gap between Christ’s love for those that society glorifies and the church wants to marginalize.

The book took me by surprise and challenged how I respond to those around me. How do I walk with someone who doesn’t share the same belief as me? The answer was to walk alongside them and stand in the gap. There are many nuggets in the book, and I encourage each believer to read the book.

Make no mistake, Caleb does not endorse the gay lifestyle but believes that we as believers need to be in friendships with them just as anyone who is far from Christ.
Smart Money Smart Kids CoverSmart Money Smart Kids - Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze (Genre: Financial / Family)

Dave and Rachel share the power of teaching children how to create sound financial habits from a young age. They encourage you to assign chores and “jobs” with weekly pay periods to help them understand the value of a dollar.

Rachel shares how the weekly pay period helped guide her to a car, a good education and training her family. If you have followed Dave Ramsey’s financial advice in the past, this is a must read for parents.

The book is chocked full of tips and advice to help you navigate your children’s financial success.
For Your Glory CoverFor Your Glory - Duncan Hamilton (Genre: Biography)

Eric Lidell is most known for his refusal to run in races or preliminary heats on Sundays in the 1924 Olympic Games. Most people thought him a fool, but in this inspiring account of Liddell’s life, it was devotion to his faith that drove him to excel at running and later as a missionary in China.

This inside look at Eric Liddell is exciting, riveting and loving. He shares of a passion so deep for spreading the gospel of Christ (just like his parents) that he finds himself taken as a prisoner in China where he would later pass away. Eric’s track accomplishments were the door to conversations about life, success and eternity.

I learned more about Eric Liddell, the man, as well as Eric Liddell, the Olympian.

These were my top seven reads of 2016 – now it’s your turn.

Question: What were some of your favorite reads in 2016? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.