Working on and improving areas of your life is a necessity. You simply have to put time and resources into them. You shouldn’t just be investing in your business, work, or other areas of your life. You need to invest in yourself as well. Treat your own self-development as importantly as you do the other parts of your life.
What follows is a collection of my efforts at self-improvement this month. July introduced me to some amazing books, podcasts and more. I hope these resources are helpful and brighten your day. If you enjoy it, pass it along.
Jocko Podcast Episode 183 introduced me to the story of former Navy Seal Jack Carr. After retiring from the Seal Teams Carr transitioned to his new career as an author. I read his first book, The Terminal List, earlier this month. It is a fantastic thriller from beginning to end. Thankfully his second novel, True Believer, comes out this Wednesday.
I discovered the ministry of Dr. Frank Turek earlier this summer and it has been a wonderful addition to my life. Earlier this summer, I read Turek’s first book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist. It was a fantastic book filled with helpful insights. This second book is no less remarkable. It details how the atheist worldview and atheists by extension have to steal from the theistic worldview to make their case.
This month’s celebration of America’s 243rd birthday turned my thoughts to the founding of this republic. The United States of America is a remarkable achievement and one worth celebrating daily. This masterful work from the pen of historian David McCullough provides the reader with a look at the making of a nation and more importantly the immense sacrifices required.
You can learn a great deal from the study of others. This is especially true when looking at the great figures of history. History deals with things past, which gives you the added benefit of knowing how their story ends. This was especially helpful while taking a look at the seven men Metaxas lauds in this best seller. The insights and lessons learned from George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson are remarkably helpful. You learn about grace and humility, submitting your life to the plans of God and allowing your faith to shape everything you do and to remain faithful to Christ no matter the cost, and to use whatever platform you have for God’s glory.
Hannah and I first read this book when we went through our Foundation Group seven years ago and are now revisiting it with the current group we’re leading. If you are unsure, a Foundation Group is a collection of newly married couples paired with a mentor couple. Hannah and I have the privilege to serve as leaders of an amazing group of young married couples. We kicked off A Lasting Promise this week.
I’ve read a number of fiction books this month. This is directly due to hearing Jack Carr on the Jocko Podcast above. After finishing The Terminal List, I decided to give Brad Thor’s new book Backlash a try. I found it a great read and determined to read the remainder of Thor’s work. This has led me on a journey into the series of novels about his talented protagonist Jack Harvath. Below are the four I completed this month.
This book is recommended often. It is a fictional telling of the stories of Kings Saul, David, and Absalom. I found several helpful ideas in this story. The most helpful concept I’ve drawn from this book is the reminder that pain and hardship are the primary means God uses for your growth. This comes as a timely and helpful a reminder. You can’t hear or remind yourself of this enough.
Few people exhibit the rare combination of whit, humor, and intellect Professor John Lennox of Oxford exudes daily. He has a winsome and likeable demeanor that draws you in and doesn’t let go. Most remarkable is his willingness to wade into the cultural seas with some of this world’s top minds. He does so with regularity and astonishing success. In short, Professor Lennox sets forth a model for how Christians should engage culture. At just under a hundred pages, this book puts things on the bottom shelf where the common man can reach. Clarity is one of the marks of a great thinker, and on this point Professor Lennox distinguishes himself.
I am always a sucker for anything offering guidance on protecting yourself and others, especially your family. This podcast didn’t disappoint. In it Josh Hughes shares tip after tip designed to help you protect those you love. If you enjoy this podcast, grab his book How to Be Your Own Bodyguard and learn simple steps you can take to keep your family as far away from danger as possible.
Scott Kedersha changed my reading life as he introduced me to the Scribd app this month. I credit the reading of so many books this month to this new app. It offers readers an unlimited number of ebooks and audiobooks for the low price of $8.99 per month. It merges the greatness of Kindle and Audible in one place. One word of warning however, Scribd isn’t truly unlimited. I have learned the hard way that they will limit the number of “premium” books you can read each month. They will make certain books unavailable for 30 days or so as you read more. This is highly frustrating if you aren’t expecting it. So go in with eyes wide open and give the free trial a shot.