by Bethany Plumb

My son is learning to read. It is amazing—not just because I think he’s brilliant, but because he is standing on the brink of a whole new world. I can hardly wait for him to experience the wonder, the escape, the opportunity to learn, that books offer.

I’ve spent a lifetime reading anything I can get my hands on, and this year was no different. There is so much good stuff to read out there, and plenty that’s not, so I always love a good recommendation from a trusted source.

I compiled a list of my read-happy coworkers’ favorite books of the year and will gladly share a few recommendations if you’ll share yours. For your reading pleasure (okay, some of this stuff is pretty challenging as well), we recommend:  

Radical by David Platt

Want to be challenged to think beyond our consumer-driven society and pursuing the “American dream”? Get a hold of this book and buckle up for a thought-provoking and convicting look at what Jesus means when he calls us to follow Him and make disciples of all the nations. What does it really mean to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow him? Warning: If you’d rather stay comfortable, don’t read this one.

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

An inspiring, challenging, and paradigm-shifting book. Focuses on our relationship with the Holy Spirit and how we should look to live Spirit-filled lives in a deep and personal relationship with the triune God head. 

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of emotional intelligence (and its importance in just about every aspect of life). This book is the how-to for practicing and increasing your emotional intelligence.

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Godin speaks of one of the scarcest resources in most organizations—the spark of initiative. This book just may be the kick in the pants you need to get off the starting line.  

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead 

A fascinating book on the study of, well, fascination. Hogshead argues that fascination influences our behaviors and decision-making more than marketing, advertising, or any other form of communication. Anyone who sells anything, or influences others (so basically everyone), should read this.                                                                                                                             

There you have it, a few of our favorites. Now, what are your best book recommendations from 2011? Can’t wait to get my hands on the next good read.

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