Sy’s Book Recommendations

People often ask me what I read. I enjoy reading daily when I can, often covering a chapter or two per book in several books. Here are some recent and longstanding favorites from my bookshelf.

After AmericaAfter America: Get Ready for Armageddon

by Mark Steyn

Apart from scripture, AFTER AMERICA may be one of the most important current books you’ll read. This secular prophecy is dark. With relentless insight and biting wit, Steyn serves up a clear, comprehensive explanation of how and why it’s all gone so very wrong so many ways. Its’ the context of our times that will affect us all. You must make time to read this if we are going to stay friends…well, at least you really owe it to yourself and those you care about by learning from one my favorites: Steyn & AFTER AMERICA!

Our CultureOur Culture, What’s Left of It

by Dr Theodore Dalrymple

Former Supreme Court Judge nominee Robert Bork stated famously in his classic book ‘Slouching Toward Gomorrah’, that “if you want to know what the collapse of a civilization looks like, you’re in one”. Our Culture, What’s Left of It, explains how and why–and with brilliant clarity. One of my favorite reads in a while, Dr. Dalrymple’s wit, literary genius and years of global experience in the fields of medicine and sociology make for compelling reading–how the elites have fostered the overthrow of standards and with devastating consequences upon individuals and society as a whole…and all done in the name of enlightenment and freedom. Never has the ruin of a civilization been chronicled so well. At least those who unearth our ruins will have an explanation.

Liberal FacismLiberal Facism

by Jonah Goldberg

It’s important to know the context of your life. Our times in the west are marked by a bizarre and increasing bent toward control. ‘Liberal Facism’ exposes and explains the flirtation with and drift toward a socialist state and how it is playing out now–and where we may end up if this trend is not arrested. Among the important and disturbing insights are the history of facism and the significant fact that ‘we’ve been here before’: the alleged enlightenment of the politically correct left, including pc speech codes, vegan diets, animal rights, pc-compliant churches, environmentalism and fitness enforcements, were all platforms of the Nazi Party. While presently less thugish, today’s creeping facism seems more polite but still insists on ‘tolerance only for those who agree and conform.’ So, have a nice day…I insist.

America AloneAmerica Alone: The End of the World As We Know It

by Mark Steyn

With great insight and clarity, Mark Steyn’s book importantly details how and why the rise of Islamic extremism is relentlessly encroaching upon western culture, co-opting previous allies, and leaving the U.S. increasingly vulnerable and in several ways. If you want to understand the bigger picture that will inevitably affect us all, this book will achieve that and without hysteria, and serves up wit and useful responses.

Status AnxietyStatus Anxiety

by Alain de Botton

Given to me as a gift by a friend whose great heart and mind I admire, my anticipation for a satisfying read was well served! A masterful, informative and very entertaining review of history, particularly the compelling matter of status–what it is, how to get it, lose it and how it changes as times and cultures do. Today’s modern man, Christian or not, is burdened in new ways since one need not be born with status, but can achieve it and lose it depending on ambition, performance, talent or lack of it, or luck or circumstances beyond one’s power. The potential of rags to riches to rags…maybe back to riches is a phenomenon of our times, and a source for much ambition and angst. Though a secular book, the author highlights the remarkable way that Christianity can turn the world on it’s head. God’s view of status may not be the same as keeping up with your neighbor’s green grass. But that’s a relief, right? After all, it’s really God’s opinion that matters…or is it?

Americans at RiskAmericans At Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Mega Disasters and What We Can Do Now

by Dr. Irwin Redlener

Pastors and congregations alike must ask themselves the question, ‘What would we do if…a nuke goes off in our city or in a city nearby? or ‘What would we do if…a major storm, or earthquake or Katrina-like flood ruined entire sections of my community? ‘Such concerns are plausible and church culture needs to think through the issues of preparedness and response, so we can be part of a solution, not just victims of the situation. As the book jacket says: “This important book by one of our leading experts on disaster preparedness offers a compelling narrative about our nation’s inability to properly plan for large-scale disasters…he concludes with a real prescription: a nine-point proposal for how America can be better prepared as well as…what citizens themselves can do.”

YahwehYAHWEH

by Philip Baker

Just because Phil is a friend, doesn’t disqualify him from being an excellent writer of several worthy books…which he is. This recent book illumines aspects of the awesome, mysterious, personal God who reckons with and redeems us–an intimate book, fresh in perspective and beautifully presented. Check out his other books too at philbaker.net

 

shapingofthingsThe Shaping Of Things to Come

by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
Hendrickson Press Publishers/Amazon.com

“If I had my way, you would be forced to read this book—especially if you are in or hope to be in any kind of ministry. Certainly it’s been one of my best reads of recent days. I suggest you get it if you want an idea of what’s wrong with the current template church cultures offers…vs. discarding the template to find innovative ways to bring God’s character and redemption to a wary but needy generation. This IS the cutting edge stuff others often hype about but rarely deliver. This book delivers and will leave you challenged and inspired in the best way.”

The Fourth TurningThe Fourth Turning

by Strauss & Howe/Broadway Books

Wow…if you want to understand the times we live in, and where we are going and why, then this brilliant historical overview will give you that and more. Avoiding crystal ball guessing, or Bible prophesy interpretations, the authors paint the future view with historic fact: we live within an ever-repeating 80 year cycle with four distinct seasons, each with its social and generational destiny. According to their researched opinions, we are once again headed into the darkening season of ‘winter’, or crisis-but all is not doom perhaps. While we can’t stop the onset of winter, so to speak, we can prepare to be effective in it, IF tuned in to the times. If you are a Christian leader or youth worker, or just love history and future prediction stuff, then why aren’t you reading this?? See www.fourthturning.com. Thanks Phil!

Sacred RomanceThe Sacred Romance

by Brent Curtis and John E Eldredge

This inspiring, encouraging and practical book tells it just like it is when it comes to relating to an unpredictable, invisible God in an uncertain, uncontrollable world. If you’ve longed for more from life, or longed for more security in God’s love, then this book is for you.

Beyond The CosmosBeyond the Cosmos

by Hugh Ross

The subtitle says it all: “What recent discoveries in astronomy and physics reveal about the nature of God.”

Fast Food NationFast Food Nation

by Eric Schlosser

Compelling, well documented, but always entertaining study of fast food as both consumer commodity and metaphor. I will never view fast food – or the society that enabled it to evolve – in the same way. You owe it to yourself to read this… be prepared, though, to be disturbed… and your modern eating habits challenged. I told you so.

In His ImageIn His Image

by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey

Dr. Brand’s follow up to bestselling ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’, details the amazing biological package that is the human body, and draws a rich supply of spiritual parallels. I love science, particularly biology. I find it very useful to understand our physical machinery, as it is always full of profound spiritual/theological insight.

My Utmost For His HighestMy Utmost for His Highest

by Oswald Chambers

A classic daily devotional that I’m enjoying for my 4th year in a row. I am inspired and encouraged by his insights into the character of God. Though written many years ago in a previous generation, Chambers speaks to me today.

Fingerprints of the GodsFingerprints of the Gods

by Graham Hancock

This best selling secular book is a rich, exhaustively detailed compilation of ancient, global human history & it’s compelling implications for today. 9 years in the writing by a former correspondent for one of my fav magazines…. ‘The Economist’. (And no, it’s not about aliens.)

Return of the Prodigal SonThe Return of the Prodigal Son

by Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen is a gifted writer who offers a simple but powerfully moving study of love greater than failure, rejection and injustice. If you’ve ever been an outcast, or have wrestled with the fear that you aren’t worthy of love, then read this and be encouraged… I surely was. Inspired by the classic Rembrandt painting of ‘The Homecoming’, this remarkably crafted book will remain one of my favorites.’

No Place to HideNo Place to Hide

by Robert O’Harren Jr./Free Press Publishers

Yes, you ARE being watched, monitored, tabulated and increasingly so. Justifiable paranoia. Welcome to the end of privacy.

George Müller or BristolGeorge Mueller of Bristol : A Biography

by A.T.Pierson, /Flemming Revell Co. Publishers

This book was foundational in my understanding of how to pray for God’s provision even in the face of hardship and deprivation. No better example than George to show you real prayer.

Another good book like it: Is That Really You God? By Loren Cunningham.