Leftovers and Libraries

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This is my bedside table…I may have a book problem.

Today, on this last day of the month, I am thankful for leftovers and libraries; both of which save my bank account and remind me of my dependence on others.

Grilled chicken and vegetable leftovers keep me from eating paleo cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today – thanks, Mom and Dad.

And libraries enable me to checkout and read books I wanted to read, but didn’t have in my budget to read. I’m on my way to reading 100 books this year and my new Greenville Library membership is by far the greatest factor in my success. In 2 visits the last 2 weeks, I’ve already checked out 14 books and read 5.5. Thanks Greenville Library!

I’m reminded that I cannot survive in a bubble. I love setting big, hairy, audacious goals (you can read more here), but I can’t do them alone – even something as simple as keeping a budget or reading a book requires me to depend on other people and systems for success.

Books I’m Reading

As promised I am posting my not-yet-finished book list for 2015. I’m hoping to read 100 books this year – a feat that may be more challenging than running an ultra-marathon. If I counted correctly, I have 71 books on my list, including the 3 books I’ve already read. I need to read about 1 book every 3 days if I’m going to do this. I’m not reading quite at that rate, but I’m planning on knocking out a few shorter books throughout the year that can be finished in less than 1 day. You will notice the books skew heavily toward the business/entrepreneurship category. This is an attempt to combine work reading with my personal goals. I don’t typically read a lot of fiction, but I plan to throw in a few more fiction books this year for ease of mind and speed of reading. As I said, I *only* have 71 books so far so if you have some favorites that I’m missing then let me know! I plan to update the Books I’ve read list throughout the year and if I find any must-reads I’ll post about those too. Now I’m off to the library! Book List 2015 Books I’ve Read: (as of 5.4.15)

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Fierce Convictions
  3. Einstein – Walter Isaacson
  4. The Plantagenets – Dan Jones
  5. Brilliant Blunders – Mario Livio
  6. American Sniper – Chris Kyle
  7. Great by Choice – Jim Collins
  8. Poverty of Nationa – Wayne Gruden, Barry Asmus
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  10. The Man Watching: A Biography of Anson Dorrance – Tim Cruthers
  11. Getting Naked – Patrick Lencioni
  12. The Forgotten 500 – Gregory A. Freeman
  13. The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd
  14. Love Does – Bob Goff
  15. Just Start – Schlesinger, Kiefer, Brown
  16. The Gold Standard: Building a World Class Team – Mike Krzyzewski
  17. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  18. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  19. The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Launched a Revolution – Jonathan Eig
  20. The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker
  21. Failing Forward – John C. Maxwell
  22. The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership – Steven Sample and Warren Bennis
  23. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

Books I’m currently Reading:

  1. The Last Lion (Part III) – William Manchester and Paul Reid
  2. The Fabric of the Cosmos – Brian Greene
  3. In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations that Changed the World – Ian Stewart

Books I want to Read:

Business/Entrepreneurship –

  1. Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development – Anthony Bradley
  2. Other Books (secondary) – see back of PON
  3. Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working… – Dambisa Moyo
  4. The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created – William J. Bernstein
  5. The Founding of the American Republic: 6. The Mercantile Impass (The Freeman22, no.1 (Janruary 1972)) – Clarence Carson
  6. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing… – Paul Collier
  7. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West… – Hernando De Soto
  8. Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
  9. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
  10. Competition and Entreprneurship – Irael Kirzner
  11. Love is the Killer App – Tim Sanders
  12. Getting Things Done – David Allen
  13. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  14. Entrepreneurial Mind – Kevin J???
  15. The Lean Start Up – Eric Ries
  16. The Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton Christensen
  17. The Entrepreneurial Mindset – Rita Gunther McGrath
  18. Getting Naked – Patrick Lencioni
  19. The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker
  20. Just Start – Charles Kiefer
  21. Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
  22. The Secret – Mark Miller

Faith and Business

  1. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business – Grudem
  2. Poverty of Nations – Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus
  3. The Beijing Factor: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power – David AIkman
  4. Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of Revolutionary Faith – James Bilington
  5. Neither Poverty Nor Riches – Craig Blomberg
  6. The Christian in Industrial Society – HFR Catherwood
  7. Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures – Darrow Miller and Stan Guthrie
  8. How Christianity Changed the World – Alvin Schmidt
  9. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ron Sider
  10. Thou Shalt Prosper – Daniel Lapin
  11. Business Secrets from the Bible – Rabbi Daniel Lapin
  12. Insanely Simple – Ken Segall
  13. Creation Regained – Albert Wolters
  14. Culture Making – Andy Crouch
  15. Work Matters – Tom Nelson
  16. Playing Heaven: Rediscovering Our Purpose as Participants in the Mission of God – R. Paul Stevens and Robert Banks
  17. He Shines in All That’s Fair – Richard J. Mouw
  18. When The Kings Come Marching In – Richard J. Mouw

Communication

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  2. Permission Marketing – Seth Godin
  3. Launch – Jeff Walker
  4. Secrets of Dynamic Communication – Ken Davis
  5. Talk like TED – Carmine Gallo
  6. You are the Message – Roger Ailes
  7. The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz
  8. On Writing Well – William Zinnser

Fiction

  1. Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd
  2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  3. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  4. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  5. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Science

  1. The Fabric of the Cosmos – Brian Greene
  2. Ada’s Algorithm – James Essinger
  3. The Accidental Universe – Alan Lightman
  4. The Meaning of Human Existence – Edward Wilson
  5. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  6. The Grand Design – Stephen Hawking
  7. Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

Leadership

  1. Failing Forward – John Maxwell
  2. The Killer Angels – Michael Shaara
  3. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
  4. Courage: The Backbone of Leadership – Gus Lee
  5. The Gold Standard: Building World Class Teams – Mike Krzyzewski
  6. Drive – Daniel Pink
  7. Failing Forward – John Maxwell
  8. The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership – Steven Sample and Warren Bennis

History

  1. The Plantagenets – Dan Jones
  2. The Last Lion Series – William Manchester and Paul Reid
  3. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  4. The Forgotten 500 – Gregory Freeman
  5. Genghas Khan and the Making of the Modern World – Jack Weatherford
  6. Earl Black and Merle Black, The Rise of Southern Republicans (Harvard University Press, 2003).
  7. Charles Reagan Wilson, Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis (University of Georgia Press, 1995).
  8. Frank L. Owsley, Plain Folk of the Old South (Louisiana State University Press, 1949).
  9. James C. Cobb, Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity (Oxford University Press, 2005).
  10. Christine Leigh Heyrman, Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (University of North Carolina Press, 1997).
  11. David L. Chappell, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
  12. Charles Marsh, The Last Days: A Son’s Story of Sin and Segregation at the Dawn of a New South (Basic Books, 2001).

Non Profit

  1. The Revolution will not be Funded – INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

Recommended

  1. The Man Watching – Biography of Anson Dorrance
  2. Creativity, Inc. – Ed Catmull
  3. Paper Towns – John Green
  4. Quiet – Susan Cain
  5. Great by Choice – Jim Collins
  6. Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson
  7. Bossypants – Tina Fey
  8. Telling Secrets – Frederick Buechner
  9. The Great Good Place – Ray Oldenburg
  10. The Hidden Dimension – Edward T. Hall
  11. Everything Is Miscellaneous – David Weinberger
  12. Emergence – Steven Johnson
  13. Orality and Literacy – Walter Ong
  14. I am Malala – Malala Youssef
  15. Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  16. God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew
  17. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
  18. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Just Do It

Y’all, I am riding a social justice high right now. We had an amazing meeting two nights ago with our little task force. Our merry, merry band of abolitionists is fired up and ready to go! It is so encouraging to be with friends who are committed to fighting injustice. Though I’ve only known most of these women for a short-time, it felt more like a reunion rather than our first meeting. I left with the same energy as after meeting with an old friend for coffee. These women are smart, creative, passionate, and committed to making a difference in our community and around the world.

Social justice has always been a passion of mine ever since I was a little kid. In kindergarten, I led my class in a protest to save the sea turtles – their habitats were being disrupted by coastal lighting which caused babies to go away from the ocean after birth and then die – normal kindergarten stuff, no? Often times, this bent towards social justice can feel disjointed and exhausting. Each new cause brings an onslaught of hope and despair, passion and fatigue. However, with trafficking, the passion lines up with my passion for orphans and vulnerable children, particularly those in foster care, and a great wave of passion is born! I can simultaneously fight for trafficking (and potential trafficking) victims while also advocating for orphans locally and globally. I may not be in a position to foster or adopt right now, but I can support foster and adoptive families, purchase my Christmas presents from slave-free vendors, and I can raise awareness in my community.

One commitment I’m making this Christmas is to focus on the gifts I give and learning where they come from. If, to the best of my ability, the origins of the products or their materials are unknown or likely sourced from slave labor then I’m not buying. Yes, this means spending more and yes, this means planning more, but hey! one of my goals is to have all of my gifts by the end of November and that means I’m already on it!

The idea for this realignment came from a book I read in college, Everyday Justice by Julie Clawson. In it she states, “Justice, at its very core, deals with relationships – our relationships to God, to each other and to the world […] Whether we intent to or not, our everyday actions hurt others and damage those relationships. Through anger and malice, self-centeredness and greed, we deny the image of God in others […] using them as objects that can be exploited for personal gain […] or simply ignore them.” (Clawson 20)

The time for silence is over. I will not be silent this year. I will use my voice and my dollar to fight for justice and freedom.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Eli Wiesel

Book Review: The Elegant Universe

200px-TheElegantUniverseThe Elegant Universe by Brian Greene is a fascinating, albeit, intellectual read. Greene seeks to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and then String Theory’s attempt to merge the two seemingly irreconcilable ideas.

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically Theory of Relativity deals with the macro-universe and Quantum Mechanics deals with the micro-universe and when you try and use one theory for the opposite (macro or micro) everything breaks down. String Theory is an attempt to find a Theory of Everything (TOE) that explains the universe in its entirety.

Greene does an excellent job explaining both Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in layman’s terms. The detail and intricacy of each theory screams of an intelligent creator. At one point, Greene muses on the possibility, but it is more a passing nod than an actual claim to be explored.

The book begins to break down once String Theory is discussed. I imagine this is due in part to my lack of ability to understand the science, but also because the most brilliant scientists and mathematicians in the world have only an approximation of what they think part of the theory might be. It’s kinda hard to thoroughly and clearly explain an approximation of a guess of a part.

More than anything, however, I loved how the pure science of the book and the reality of our universe scream that God is at work. I was constantly blown away at the creativity and minutia of the God of the universe even when explained mathematically. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science, math, or to someone with a desire to be awed by God’s majesty.

Through all of this though, I was reminded as great as it is that God reveals himself to us through his creation, that is not the most important thing. Our God is personally knowable. He desires a relationship, not just knowledge. Even if I understood all the details of string theory and could explain the universe in its entirety, if I am not drawing life and purpose from the One who created it, then I am without hope.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

God is Big. Really Big.

Photo Credit to National Geographic

Several times over the past week I have read or been told that God wants to reveal himself to me. Usually, it is told in the context that I will not know His plans, but rather His character, who He is. C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity (I apologize to all of you MLA, APA, etc. crazies who know the proper way to cite a book in a blog, but I do not want to bother looking it up on the internet):

We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity – as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself.

If you have not read Mere Christianity I highly recommend it. It is thought provoking, well written, and addresses many contemporary issues through logical and thorough examination. Rest assured, though I love books and book reviews I will not attempt to summarize Clive, perhaps in 50 years when I have gained some perspective, perhaps.

Though simple, one thing I am learning that God is big. Really big. The fact that my mind “knows” (to a limited extent, as best as I can right now) that God is also good, knows me personally, wants the best for me, is just, all-knowing, etc. is a little too much for me at the moment. I am awestruck at the vastness of God and the thought of knowing Him overwhelms me. I guess that squarely places me in the creature category and that is A-OK with me.

What amazes you? How has God revealed Himself to you recently?

Will you go out without knowing?

I am a list maker. I love plans and organizing and systems. I am not rigid, per se, I love spontaneity when I can plan for it. Case in point: on a trip with friends around Europe (yes, I know that is probably the most cliche sentence a suburban white girl could say, but alas…) my friends and I planned out our time in each country for months beforehand, but get this – we planned for spontaneity. Yes, you read that right. Clearly I like control, order, and lists.

Imagine my surprise then when I read: “Will you go out without knowing?” this morning in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (Jan. 2). Well, obviously I had to keep reading. Chambers highlights the illogical nature of following God without knowing why, exactly – something that is very difficult for this logic and reason minded girl. I want to be able to give an answer, both to myself and others, for the reasons of my actions. Why did I go to school in South Carolina when I swore I would leave the state. Why did I quit playing soccer my senior year when it was so very much a part of who I was for so long? Why did I keep going back to the Ezer study when every fiber of my being screamed “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!”?

Some of the decisions that have had the most impact on my life were made against my logic, my desires and my understanding; yet they are also the most beneficial, good, and healthy decisions that I have “made.”

Chambers asks: “Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do – He reveals to you who He is.” So often, a part of me whispers (OK, sometimes shouts) “I want more. I want to know.” Arrogant. Foolish. Seriously?!?! Clearly, Chambers is also a mind-reader because he soon countered my thoughts with the statement: “Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think of how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is!” Alrighty then, I think I can do that and you know, it makes sense – how did I not think of this before? So often I want to believe the worst about God (I don’t even want to touch the illogicalness (yes, that’s a word now) of that statement), but the reality is that God is MORE good, MORE gracious, MORE knowing, MORE wise, MORE powerful, etc. than I know even in my moments nearest to Him.

Will you go without knowing? Will I?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)

My Personal Reading List

I am inspired by this woman to create a personal reading list for 2012. We are both self-professing nerds, love Jesus and love to read. I think this will serve as extra motivation (as if I need any) to read and challenge myself in 2012. I am an achiever and learner (in addition developer, discipline, individualizer) so nerdy to-do lists are pretty much the highlight of my life. I wish I were kidding. So here goes nothing, my 2012 personal reading list, wish me luck!

Leading on Empty – Wayne Cordeiro
Forever – Paul David Tripp
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
Sabbath – Dan Allender
God in a Brothel – Daniel Walker
What is the Mission of the Church?
– Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
Jesus + Nothing = Everything – Tullian Tchividjian
Surprised by Grace – Tullian Tchividjian
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Fall of Giants – Ken Follett
Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership – Steven B. Sample and Warren Bennis
The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene
Infinite Vision – Pavithra K. Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy
The Names of God – Ken Hemphill
The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
Eden’s Bridge – David A. Trurrill
Same Kind of Different as Me – Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Real Sex – Lauren Winner
The Water is Wide – Pat Conroy
How to Start a Revolution – Gene Sharp
The Lean Start Up – Eric Ries
Outliers
– Malcolm Gladwell
Memoirs of My Time in Washington – Condoleezza Rice
Great by Choice – Jim Collins
Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
A Framework for Understanding Poverty – Ruby K. Payne
Luther’s Works: Luther on Galatians – Martin Luther
As We Forgive – Kathy Lawson
Life Together – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Tribes – Seth Godin
Toxic Charity – Robert D. Lupton
The Cross and Christ – John Stott
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther – Roland Herbert Bainton
Eve’s Revenge – Lillian Calles Barger
Sex and the Soul of a Woman – Paula Rinehart
The Female Brain – Louann Brizendine
The Male Brain – Louann Brizendine
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Do you have any books you want to read? Do you have any book recommendations? Do you know your Strengths Finder strengths?

Life happenings.

Here is a little recap/update of what is going on in my life:

1. My sister is coming home in 11 days. To say that I am excited would be putting it mildly.

2. I love the way Tim Keller writes. He takes big theological ideas like The Reason for God and breaks them down simply. I am currently reading Generous Justice and it poignantly emphasizes the need and motivations for justice.

3. I am so thankful for my family, with whom I was able to spend 5 days with over Thanksgiving.

4. I also read The Hunger Games books over Thanksgiving. I think I will do a book review soon. I definitely enjoyed reading them. They are all quite easy to read (I finished all 3 in less than 2 days) with basic social commentary as well as some indirect commentary on human nature.

That’s all for now!