Books of 2016

What I Read and What I Learned

It’s here! The 2016 Book List. I didn’t read as many books as I wanted this past year. For some reason I fell off the wagon sometime in August. I didn’t finish a single book during the last four months of the year. But, there are some outstanding books in this list. There is also one stinker.

I lean heavy on Presidential Biographies when I stray from traditional non-fiction/life improvement type of books. This year I read three such biographies and one more of a man who probably would have been President in MLK.

Scroll down to read my review/opinion on a few. Let me know your opinions in the comments. Let me know which of these you’ve read. And yes, those are affiliate links. (Affiliate earnings allow me to purchase more books!) The author links bring you to the Amazon Author Page for each author, if available.

  1. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    Author: Jon Meacham

    Reading about the Founding Fathers is always a great time for me.
  2. Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
    Author: Jon Meacham

    Jon Meacham provides a great review of the incredible life of a great man who dedicated most of his life to the service of his country. George H.W. Bush is a national treasure.
  3. The Last of the President’s Men
    Author: Bob Woodward

    This book can be described with one word: Horrible.
    My copy is now serving a better purpose helping to hold up my wobbly desk. Mr. Woodward may have been a great journalist in the 70’s, but this effort is not worthy of any recommendation. Please avoid it.
  4. The Echo Factor: Living a Life That Resonates Freedom
    Author: Kinda Wilson

    I’m proud to say the author of this great book is a personal friend. Kinda creates a great read combining psychology, story telling, and travel to bring the reader on an adventure that will help you look at yourself and life in general in a different way.
  5. Quarter-Life Calling: Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose In Your Twenties
    Author: Paul Sohn

    If you click the link for this book, you’ll notice it isn’t available until April 4. How is that possible? In self-publishing such an incredible book at the start of 2016, Paul Sohn attracted the attention of agents and publishing houses. This great book will be revised and re-released this coming Spring. Don’t miss out on this one. Pre-order it now.
  6. I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers
    Author: Tim Madigan

    A great book about the incredible Mr. Rogers.
  7. Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life
    Author: James Cannon and Scott Cannon

    President Ford is a hometown boy for me. This biography is well done and worth the read for anyone interested in Presidential history.
  8. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness
    Author: Eric Metaxas

    Another well written book by one of my favorite biographers.
  9. Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy
    Author: Alli Worthington

    I liked this book so much I included it in a blog post. Read more about it HERE.
  10. The Alchemist
    Author: Paulo Coelho

    The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies world-wide. That alone makes it worth the time to put it on your “To Read” list. I read it for the first time this past year, and it will definitely be on my list again in the near future.
  11. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
    Author: Derrick Jensen

    This book was not on my radar at all this year. My oldest son read it for one of his college classes and asked me to read it as well. Jensen provides an interesting perspective on the profession and practice of writing. While not at the top of my list for books to read on writing, I would still recommend it.
  12. More Than Rivals: A Championship Game and a Friendship That Moved a Town Beyond Black and White
    Author: Ken Abraham

    This is hands down the best book I read in 2016. Ken Abraham weaves an incredibly important story into a wonderful read. 5 Stars all around. Truly a great story, shared well. Special thanks to my friend, Anna Floit, for bringing this one to my attention.
  13. Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Author: Stephen B. Oates

    Widely considered the preeminent biography of one of the greatest men to ever live in this world. I learned a lot of new information reading this biography. It has also encouraged me to branch out from our Presidents in my search of biographies of great Americans.
  14. I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love
    Author: Tim Kurkjian

    It’s baseball. It’s Tim Kurkjian. What more could you want?

There you have it. The whole (short) list.
Later this week I’ll publish my “What I want to read in 2017” list.

I Cried on Easter

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
– 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55

I cried on Easter Sunday. More than once.

There is no doubt Resurrection Day is a powerful day. The most important day. And it being that day probably pushed my emotions to the top. This can be expected.

The morning service prepared me for what came next. It prepared me to cry.

Hard tears.

Heavy tears.

Tears of sadness.

Tears of pure joy.

My friend’s daughter was called to Jesus Sunday morning.

While I was in church singing of the power of the cross, of the amazing resurrection, sweet and beautiful Tori was dancing with Jesus.

My own faith has been challenged and strengthened by the faith shown by Lesa and Brennan Brackbill.

Lesa and Brennan knew their beautiful Tori would someday die. They also knew that someday she would be healed.

Many people prayed for Tori. Thousands and thousands of prayers.

Prayers for peace. Prayers for good days. Prayers for miraculous healing.

Healing was guaranteed. God would heal sweet Tori. Here on earth, or in heaven.

It was a guarantee.

It is now a fact.

Sunday morning at 9:05 A.M. Eastern time, Tori met Jesus.

I could go on and on about the journey traveled by Tori and her family, but I’ll send you to her page instead. Lesa and Brennan have written so beautifully. Their words have strengthened my faith. My faith is stronger because of their example. Take the time to read and learn about Tori. Learn how she impacts thousands of people even today.

Here’s a link to the their page: The Brackbills

Pick a post. Any one. You’ll quickly understand.

Tori Brackbill

20,000 Days and Counting

Here’s a peek into the next few weeks of posts on the blog.


I’ll be writing about the ideas in the book 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith.
Specifically these 7 questions.

7 Questions Guaranteed To Create Intensity In Your Day
1. Whose life am I going to brighten today?
2. What three things am I most grateful for today?
3. What memories am I going to create today?
4. What challenge am I going to overcome today?
5. What value am I going to create today?
6. How much joy can I create for others and myself today?
7. What life changing decision(s) am I going to make today?
BONUS: What question am I not asking yet today?

If you want to read the book before I begin posting, hustle up and grab it here:

20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now

It all begins November 11, 2015!