My top ten most influential books

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, filled with over 1,5000 books, today’s category: the top ten books which have most influenced my life:

10. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I love her concept of becoming “real.” (Read it online.)

9. The Technique of Clear Writing by Robert Gunning
Still, one of the best books on writing.

8. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
I love his concept of focusing on “Important/Non-urgent” items in life rather than all the “Unimportant/Urgent” items.

7. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The opening paragraph changed the way I look at life: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” (I quote Peck in Squeezing Good Out of Bad.)

6. True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer
A great book for thinking Christians.

5. Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey
Yancey’s honest approach to God has gotten through a lot of “why’s.”

4. Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross
The Catholic mystic explores “the dark night of the soul” when God seems absent and we are stripped of the blessings and feelings that often become idolatry in our lives. Heavy reading, but worth the effort. (Read it online.)

3. The Imitation of Christ
This book has been a consistent “best-seller” for over five hundred years (second only to the Bible). And for good reason. It’s a powerful antidote to the “healthy and wealthy” “name it and claim it”
prosperity gospel” of today. I’ve read through it this life-changing book at least ten times. My modern-day devotional based on The Imitation of Christ will be released January 12, 20016.

2. Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
“. . . make the Lord and his immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself
radically as one beloved by God.
God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth” (49). I need to constantly remind myself that my identity is not in being a writer and speaker, but of being a loved child of God.

1. Reach Out: The Living New Testament by Ken Taylor
This 1967 paraphrase opened up the Bible to a KJV-challenged college student. My current favorite version: The New Living Translation.

© Copyright James N. Watkins

What books have had the most influence on your life? Please add a comment below.


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