I like books.

I like ‘em a lot. As a kid, my mom taught me to love them. To live in their stories and drink of their themes.

Now at 31, I can see how much this love affair has shaped my life.

via GIPHY

Not too long ago, I tried to count how many books I read in my 20s. I couldn’t get an exact number, but I landed somewhere around 500. To some of you, that may sound like an extreme number, and you may wonder if I have a life or do anything except read. But the truth is I don’t normally read for more than an hour a day (the length of a show or two on Netflix).

And since I average about a page per minute—I’m not a very fast reader—my sixty minutes per day translates to about 60 books per year.

Since “Read more!” is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, I figured I’d highlight ten books that really impacted me in my early or mid-20s . . . just in case any of you are interested in picking up some new books.

Even if you’re not a reader, take a few minutes to scan this list—I think you’ll find at least one thing that’ll peak your interest.

Two quick notes:

  • Without question, the Bible shaped my 20s more than any other book, but it’s not included below.
  • These books are in no particular order.

 

1. Man’s Search for Meaning

Author: Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl spent three years in Nazi death camps. During his imprisonment, he lost his pregnant wife, brother, and parents. This is a short, riveting book about his time in the camps and what he learned in the midst of unthinkable suffering and death. Frankl’s journey will help you find meaning in your pain, regardless of what life throws your way.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

2. Under Cover 

Author: John Bevere

Authority. Leadership. The process. These are some of Under Cover’s major themes. Leadership dynamics are an inescapable part of our lives, and, frankly, that’s a good thing. Even in leadership’s imperfections, God can do a perfect work in our lives. The question is, will we commit to the process?

This has been the most instrumental book in my development as a young leader.

(It was also dedicated to me . . . I think my dad chose me because I was such a challenging teenager.)

Click here for more info about this book!

3. Multipliers

Author: Liz Wiseman

I read this book when I was 27. At the time, I was a new COO and little did I know that major organizational change was on the horizon. This book offered invaluable perspective that helped me navigate the change and position my team for strategic growth.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

 4. Mindset 

Author: Carol Dweck

Early in life each of us had labels placed on us—labels like: you’re good at school, you’re good with people, you’re not a hard worker. Professor Dweck argues that these labels, if left unaddressed, will stunt growth and keep us from realizing our potential. “People with a fixed mindset,” she writes, “are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed.” I read this book when I was 21, and its premise has greatly affected how I parent my kids, view my team members, and navigate my own strengths and weaknesses.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

5. Automatic Influence

Author: Erik Van Alstine

Technically, this book released when I was thirty. But its author is one of my mentors, and he let me read an early version of the manuscript five years ago (when I was 26). This book helped me understand why people—including myself—do what they do. Erik’s think->feel->act paradigm unlocks the power of perceptual intelligence, which is the secret sauce of vibrant relationships and powerful influence.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

6. Mere Christianity

Author: C.S. Lewis

Probably one of the most concise—yet somehow also complete—summaries of Christianity. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and this may be his magnum opus. The prose is beautiful, the metaphors profound, and the insights will disarm the best of skeptics. I read this book multiple times in my 20s. With every read I found myself more in awe of God and overwhelmed by the transcendence of our Christian faith.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

7. After You Believe

Author: N.T. Wright

I love Wright’s stuff. His British wit combined with his unreal acumen create a potent and enjoyable verbal elixir. I’ve read more than twenty of his titles, and After You Believe is one of my favorites. If you’ve ever wondered, Man, there’s got to be more to the Christian experience than just struggling through life to sneak into heaven one day, then you’ll love this title.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

8. Getting Things Done 

Author: David Allen

This is a practical book on systems and how to best process stuff. Its theories apply to things like checking emails, saving documents, creating space for creativity, batching work. I read Getting Things Done when I was 24 or 25 and still use the majority of its principals today. If you’re struggling to achieve your highest and best—this book will help you declutter your headspace.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

9. The Automatic Millionaire

Author: David Bach

The title is somewhat deceptive because this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a book on the disciplines of investing and managing your money. The premise is that a bunch of small, good financial decisions will snowball into a surprising amount of money. This book is more timeless than timely—in other words, you’re not going to find guidance on navigating the crazy world of cryptocurrency.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

10. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen Covey

I feel like this book is on everyone’s list. Covey’s classic breaks down seven habits that will empower personal change. While some of its theories have been updated and better presented by newer books, this title still packs a punch and offers a clear, systematic approach to developing these powerful habits.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

11. BONUS BOOK:

The Knowledge of the Holy

Author: A.W. Tozer

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” –A. W. Tozer

I’ve read this book a lot. In fact, I tend to revisit it whenever I find myself limiting God to the confines of my current understanding. Tozer paints a picture of God that overwhelms and insults our modern idea of the Holy One. If our perception of God is indeed the most important thing about us, then the value of this book cannot be overstated.

Click here for more info about this book!

 

Leave a comment below if there’s a particular topic you’d like to learn more about. I’ll try to recommend a couple of books for you.

Also, I’d love to hear some books recommendations from you!

Happy reading!

19 Comments

  1. Hannah Peckett

    Just catching up on this post. Thank you for sharing! I’ve always been a reader but am wanting to be more intentional with it, and I’m impressed by your reading regimen. Question for you – a mentor of mine takes notes as she reads. I’ve started doing that a bit. Do you have a particular system for taking notes, or do you simply read and move on? I want to read “more”, but I also am wanting to retain well…any thoughts?

  2. Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray wrecked me right through. It’s one I’d suggest for all believers, especially those who truly want to let go of their lives to God. Truly a treasure.

  3. I wish i had started reading books earlier. I never developed that before until a year and half. And since then my life has changedly a lot. Some of my favorites are – “i dare you” by Joyce Meyer ; “the women code” by sophia nelson ; “knowing God intimately” by Joyce Meyer ; “Soar” ; by Bishop TD Jakes and the list goes on. I have not read any of the books above but pretty much love them all as i read what u wrote about them! Will definitely add them to my list this year! Love what u guys are doing here 💚

  4. Mariah Frerichs

    Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship, The Bait of Satan, Changes that Heal. Anything John Maxwell. All changed my life.

  5. Love your list. Just started reading mere Christianity. What an amazing book. To think what the soldiers must have been going through my listening to this. Knowing that they will probably be dead by tomorrow.

  6. I grew up in a Christian religion that basically everything was “worldly” — playing sports in school, makeup/dyeing hair, any music played on the radio/dancing, dating outside of the church…you name it, it was probably worldly and not allowed.

    This past summer I found Jesus, (hallelujah!) and now trying to unlearn my old “Christian” ways. I find it so difficult!! My brain wants to cling to what it knew for 27 years. Any suggestions on a book that could maybe help me unravel those twisted truths and find some healthy balance in my faith life? (Does that make sense???)

    • Addison Bevere

      Hey Linda, that makes complete sense. A religious spirit is a cruel taskmaster. Give me a few days to think on this. In the meantime, spend some time in Galatians and Colossians. Thanks for reaching out!

      • Thank you, Addison! I did a study on Colossians but revisiting it sounds like a great idea & I look forward to diving into Galatians too.

        I appreciate all you guys to do make S&D’s possible! 🙌🏼

  7. Courage to conquer by Lester Sumrall and Sure Path by Susan Scott Sutter have something about them that makes you want to go back to read them and when you do, you’ll always leave with new wisdom and revelation. Also, it’s targeted at youths.

  8. Wow! I haven’t read any of that book yet. 😪 will have to read it one at a time though. So excited for the new things to learn. 😍 I am currently reading Good or God by John Bevere and it brought me to a much deeper understanding of my faith now I am not only reading my Bible but thriving to study it. I also like sweet and bitter Providence by John Piper.

  9. Great list.
    I’ve just read Wild at heart by John Eldridge. It helped me to understand the masculine heart while raising my two boys.

  10. Love this list! A mere Christianity is one of my favs. After your believe sounds interesting, I’ll have to give that a go. The search for significance by Robert S. McGee is a great read.

  11. I’ am a reader so I’ am really excited about the list of books you gave. For particular topic’s I would like to learn more about…I have a 9 year old niece who has a friend at school asking her a lot of questions about God and what being a Christian is all about. So any book recommendations that I could read and even read to her that could help her with speaking to her friend about God and what being a Christian is all about would be great 🙂

    • Addison Bevere

      Hmmmm. I’d probably go with the Narnia series. I’m reading those with my kids, and Lewis’ depiction of Aslan is helping them better understand the multidimensional layer of God. “Simply Christian” is a great book as well. But that would be more appropriate for a teenager.

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