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It is tradition at WLCE to invite our blog authors, friends, and colleagues to share their favorite books from the past year.  We received many great recommendations!  Listed in alphabetical order, here are this year’s top picks, along with a brief reason why you should read them:

Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in our Christian Response to Immigration by Karen Gonzales (2022, Brazos Press)—”Gonzalez effectively integrates her own immigration story and biblical foundations into practical, thoughtful, and challenging ways to enfold immigrants with dignity. Her compelling vision of ‘the kin-dom where everyone belongs’ is one that you’ll need to read the book to discover!”

Disrupted Thinking: A Daring Strategy to Change How We Live, Lead, and Love by Bishop TD Jakes (2023, FaithWords)—“ As a well-respected leader, I enjoyed gleaning from Bishop Jakes’s leadership and how it has both disrupted and transformed the world.”

Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age by Christina Crook (2022, Nimbus Publishing Limited)—”A not so shameful plug for this excellent book by my friend Christina Crook. It’s refreshing and joyful, and I have gifted it to many of my girlfriends over the last year.”

His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life by Jonathan Alter (2020, Simon & Schuster)—”The author does an excellent job presenting an in-depth yet balanced analysis of an often-misunderstood leader who led at a highly complex time in our nation’s history. This cultural moment all too often finds us boiling down people, movements, and historic events into oversimplified sound bites. It is so refreshing to go in-depth on an individual and an era that are neither “good” nor “bad,” but rather – like all of us – broken, complicated, and by the grace of God, redeemed.”

Hopes and Fears: Working with Today’s Independent School Parents by Robert Evans and Michael Thompson (2021, NAIS)—”This is a quick read, pocket sized book that gives practical advice and digs into the reasons for the tension of parent/school relationships that can grip a school. It includes tools for teachers and administrators.”

Kith by Julie Rowbory (2021, Julie Rowbory)—”This is technically a young adult book, but I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel about friendship, tested loyalties, and the gospel set in C9th Britain.”

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman (2017, Harper Business)—”Multipliers essentially outlines the difference between leaders who drain energy, capacity, and intelligence from those around them (Diminishers) and those who use their gifts, capacities, and intelligence to bring out the best in others and lift energy and productivity (Multipliers). There is also a simple assessment individuals can do to determine the ways that they might accidentally be operating as Diminishers and the book outlines strategies for overcoming this.”

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton (2018, IVP)—”Barton frames the book around a question early Wesleyans asked each other, ‘How is it with your soul?’ and then takes a dive into how those in Christian ministry leadership can look at their own lives and practices so that our souls are well. This is not a book to read through quickly, as Barton ends each chapter with helpful and insightful reflection questions, but I have been challenged and affirmed as I worked my way through the book (for the second time!).”

The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team by Patrick Lencioni (2022, Matt Holt)—”My favorite book this year was The 6 Types of Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni. Like with his other classics, The Ideal Team Player and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni presents the concepts for building and working with a team in an entertaining fable. Understanding the six types of working genius have revolutionized the way I build and understand teams.”

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer (2014, PublicAffairs)—”The Culture Map by Erin Meyer is an excellent book that helps leaders to navigate cultural differences in the workplace, including communication, work style, feedback, and more. Research-based and full of practical examples, this book is an easy and insightful read for any leader looking to be more effective in building effective cross-cultural teams and school communities.”

The Garden Within: Where the War with Your Emotions Ends and Your Most Powerful Life Begins by Dr. Anita Phillips (2023, Thomas Nelson)—”Dr. Anita Phillips is a mental health therapist, minister, and a pastor’s wife who is on mission to normalize counseling and therapy for Christians, and Christians of color in particular. This book takes a look at how God has created a literal garden within each of us resembling that of a plant. I haven’t finished the book yet, but the analogies to God cultivating our hearts the way we do soil for planting have been wonderful.”

Now, it’s your turn! Have you read any of these books? Which ones are you most looking forward to reading? What books are we missing? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Author Becki Rust

Becki Rust is the Thought Leadership Project Manager at the Association of Christian Schools International, where she leads project management for a wide variety of innovative and timely initiatives, programs, and events. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York City. She is the editor for

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