I finished reading four books in September: The Men We Need (highly recommended) plus three others. Read on for my impression of each title.
The 4 books I read in September
Show Your Work by Autin Kleon
I finished re-reading Austin Kleon’s bestselling book Show Your Work last month. It argues that, when it comes to creative pursuits, people are as interested in the process as they are the finished product.
Judging by the 111,000 views the first one alone has received (so far), I’d say Kleon is right. So now I’m brainstorming more ways to put his advice into practice in the future.
The Men We Need by Brant Hanson
My daughter has recently been raving about a book she’s reading — The Men We Need by Brant Hanson — repeatedly telling me how insightful it is, sending me quotes, reading favorite passages aloud, paraphrasing important concepts, and summarizing entire chapters.
I put it on my own “to read” list the first time she mentioned it, but it got bumped closer and closer to the top with each successive mention. Once I finally got my own copy, I finished it in less than 48 hours. It is such a good book, in fact, that I’ve assigned it to my kids as part of their homeschooling. Although it’s written to men, many of the character qualities discussed — loyalty, contentment, self-control, a willingness to work hard, not being overly needy — would be equally desirable in women. So now I am nearly finished reading it through a second time, so they can hear and benefit from it, too.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
It took me a several weeks, but I also completed Jordan Peterson’s 411-page tome, 12 Rules for Life, last month. My favorite chapters? Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. And Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
I’ve always really enjoyed hearing Peterson speak. He is thoughtful, articulate, gracious, and communicates in a way that is rife with common sense and is accessible to intellectuals and laymen alike. While well-written and thought-provoking, his book is heavy on theory and may prove dry to all but his most ardent fans.
It’s also written from a strong evolutionary perspective and devotes as much discussion to mythology and Eastern religious beliefs as it does to traditional Christianity. It has been over five years since Peterson penned this book. A lot has happened to him in the interim, a fact to which he often alludes when speaking. So, while I would definitely recommend watching some of his interviews (a couple of my favorites are this one and this one), I only recommend his book if you love reading cerebral works that require a significant amount of concentration to follow — and if you’re especially good at eating the meat and spitting out the bones.
Louis Zamperini by Geoff and Janet Benge
My husband read Louis Zamperini: Redemption aloud to our family in September. Our history-loving Daniel picked this one, and we all agree it was a great choice.
Zamperini was a troubled kid making all sorts of bad choices (drinking, smoking, brawling, stealing, running away from home) before finding a sense of purpose when his older brother talked him into joining the track team in high school.
We’ve gotten choked up several times reading about the slow transformation that took place as Zamperini developed the courage, self-discipline, and faith that would serve him so well as an Olympic athlete, a member of the Army Air Corps, and a prisoner of war.
Although Zamperini was eventually liberated from that Japanese prison camp, it wasn’t until he came to faith in Christ at a Billy Graham crusade that he was completely freed from the bitterness and hate that had overtaken him in the early years following the war. His story is proof that no life is beyond redemption. It’s too bad the movie that was made to tell his story, Unbroken, completely missed the central message.
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