By Jeff Palmer, CEO on January 1, 2018 | Print

At the beginning of each new year, I like to scout out and find books that I plan to read for the coming year. I also like to reflect on the best books that I’ve read and note main lessons learned from each.

Here are my five favorite books that I read in 2017 and one major takeaway from each. I hope you enjoy my list and I would love to hear from you some of the “best” books you read last year.

1. Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore

Our culture in the USA is rapidly changing. Instead of despairing, we, as the church, should be urgently living out the power of the gospel. As Russell states in his conclusion, “It’s our turn to march into the future. And we do so not as a moral majority or a righteous remnant but just as crucified sinners, with nothing to offer the world but a broken body and spilled blood and unceasing witness.”


2. The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton

Not an easy read but an important one. Deaton uses his book to discuss the widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” of the world and comes to the conclusion that we are heading for some hard consequences as humans. He states towards the end, “Economic growth is the engine of the escape from poverty and materials deprivation. Yet growth is faltering in the rich world…Almost everywhere, the faltering of growth has come with the expansions of inequality…Great concentrations of wealth can undermine democracy and growth, stifling the creative destruction that makes growth possible.”

3. The Autobiography Of George Muller by George Muller

I read this book several years ago and have come back to it again in 2017. I am deeply moved and challenged by the simple life and recorded testimony of Muller and always come away challenged and invigorated to be more faithful in prayer. One statement made captures the heart of his autobiography where Muller writes, “(our) prevalence in prayer is conditioned by the conformity of our souls to the will of God…”


4. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This was one of my “fun” reads for the year. I try to read three to four history books per year and am pretty picky on the subjects and authors. This was my first reading of a Chernow book (I’m a McCullough and Ambrose kind of guy) and enjoyed it. I was reminded of the great men (and women) who made our country what it is today, but also that they were men of great flaws as well.


5. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympicsby Daniel James Brown

This was another one of my “fun” books. It is the story of the Washington University rowing team and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The story of nine young men coming together and learning to be a team set in the backdrop of rising Nazi Germany was a great read. My biggest takeaway was the key to the rowing and their success as a team was discipline, practice, and trusting the process.



So, what are your favorite books that you read in 2017 and some lessons learned?

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