P.J. O’Rourke quipped, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”


That’s not a bad way to live.  The best leaders are consistently reading, growing, learning and stretching to be all God wants them to be.


Henry David Thoreau added, “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”


In 2016 I set a goal to read 16 books.  And by “read” I meant finish, get all the way through, not simply “retinize.”  I’m gratified to admit that my reading goal was one of the goals I actually achieved.  I finished 22 books in 2016.




1.  “Canoeing the Mountains:  Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory” by Tod Bolsinger


Tod Bolsinger, Vice President for vocation and formation and assistant professor of practical theology at Fuller Seminary compares Christian leadership today with the journey of Lewis and Clark.  He says the world in front of you is nothing like the world behind you.  This was a great book, a real winner.


2.  “The One Thing:  The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller


Gary Keller, a successful entrepreneur and real estate salesman asks, “What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”  He debunks multi-tasking and takes the Pareto principle further than we’d expect.


3.  “Unoffendable:  Now Just One Change Can Make All fo Life Better” by Brant Hansen.


Radio personality Brant Hansen says, “Being offended is a tiring business.  Letting things go gives you energy.  Another quote from the book:  “Forfeiting our right to anger makes us deny ourselves, and makes us others-centered. When we start living this way, it changes everything. Actually, it’s not even “forfeiting” a right, because the right doesn’t exist. We’re told to forgive, and that means anger has to go, whether we’ve decided our own anger is “righteous” or not.” 




“Confessions of a Homeless Catholic” by my brother, John Pearring.  The forward is fantastic!  John now owes me dinner.


That’s my list.  What’s yours?  I’ve upped my goal for reading in 2017 so I need your suggestions. 


Feel free to send me your list of top books of 2016 at    We will add your ideas and try keep the article updated.


Happy Reading!


Here are some of the “Best Books” sent in by contributors:


From Alan Adler, Excel Network Administration Specialist


“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg


From David Bennett, Excel Leadership Network Board


“Canoeing the Mountains:  Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory” by Tod Bolsinger


“Influence” by Robert B. Cialdini


“Grit” by Angela Duckworth


“The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson


Tim Pearring, Lead Pastor, Journey Church, Elk Grove, CA:
"The E-Myth:  Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

From Brian Harrington, Entrepreneur, Political Operative, Creative Consultant, Film Producer

“Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday

From John Pearson, Management Consultant Extraordinaire

“The One Thing:  The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller

Check out John’s Top Ten books on his blog at:

From Rachel Prentice, Worship Director, Journey Church

“Chasing the Dragon” by Jackie Pullinger