I Love To Read

Fact 1) I have had a 30 minute commute for the last 8 years.

Fact 2) I love to read, but don’t have time.

About 2 years ago it finally dawned on me that I could take the weakness of Fact 1 and turn it into an advantage that solved Fact 2.  I started borrowing audiobooks from the library and listening to them on my commute.  So, because of that simple revelation I am able to read (ok, ‘listen to’) a lot of books.  For some reason I had never thought of it before…isn’t it funny how the answer can be so obvious AFTER you finally see it?!?

Here are a few brief lessons I have learned from this situation:

  • “There’s always another way.”  If you really are passionate and/or desperate, you will figure out how to make it happen, if you are purposeful.
  • I figured out that I can take a liability (30 minute drive) and turn it into an advantage.  Because of this, instead of wasting 30 minutes per day I am able to redeem the time and use it for my own education and knowledge.
  • Things add up. It really is pretty incredible – you can learn just about anything if you devote 30-60 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week, for years.
  • Purposeful is good, but sometimes you need to mix in some random.  I have certain books on my ‘To Read’ curriculum (more on that later), but a lot of my favorite books have been ones that I found while randomly perusing the library shelves.  I will call that “Purposeful Randomness.”   ;^)
  • As my daughter taught me, even something good like reading can become a distraction or even an obsession or idol.  I realized that I was emphasizing the intellectual and neglecting the spiritual. So, I started listening to the New Testament on CD in between other books on CD, to give me a balance.  It’s amazing how much of the Bible you can listen to in 20 minutes!

I like hearing about books that other people read, and so as part of my learning process I am going to share my reading list with you, with some of my thoughts.  My plan is to make a brief comment here, and then if I need to write more I will put the longer reviews of the book on the OPL Book Shelf page. Please let me know what suggestions you have about the format or the content.

2014 Books

Man of God
Charles Stanley

Impressions:  Incredible book about being a complete man of God.  I thought it was amazingly thorough.  Some of it was pretty basic stuff, so I found myself a little impatient at times.  However, he had a lot of quotable nuggets of truth, and I will definitely add the hard copy to my Christmas list.


Greek Legacy
Timothy Shutt

This is one of those college lectures that they have recorded for nerds to listen to.  I firmly believe that the better you understand history, the more perspective it gives you on modern problems and opportunities.  Plus, as they say, history may not repeat but it definitely rhymes, so I like to learn about the past to learn about the present and future.  Keep reading on The Book Shelf…


Equipping 101
John Maxwell

John Maxwell is THE leadership guru, and he put these books together to give a snapshot of a variety of topics:  Leadership, Mentoring, Attitude, Equipping, Relationships, etc.  They are a good, quick read.  I started to compile good quotes from them, but nearly every sentence is a good quote!  This is a good way to cover a lot of good topics in a short time.  The only downside to the books is that there was some overlap between them, so you heard some of the material more than once.


Killing Kennedy
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

This was a good book that covers America in the 1960’s.  It gives some background about JFK, and goes into his personal life, strengths, and weaknesses.  Also delves into Lee Harvey Oswald’s life and struggles.  There are a lot of moral lessons to be learned from his misguided life.  Keep reading on The Book Shelf…


Killing Lincoln
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

I grew up in the Land of Lincoln, so I have read and own lots of Lincoln biographies.  Even so, I learned a lot of really interesting information from this book.  I liked the way that the book brought the human characters to life, both the hero and the villains.  Keep reading on The Book Shelf…


The Bible

First and Second Thessalonians
First and Second Timothy

I can’t really go into everything that I learned, but it was really eye-opening for me how much I could read in a short period of time.  I certainly wasn’t doing serious studying, but just hearing the letters as they would have been read to the original audiences is really enjoyable to me.  And by listening to all of these chapters it made a lot of opportunities for me to hear just what I needed to hear at the time.  I recommend that you add this Bible to the 8 other Bibles that every family needs!


Please share – have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  I’m interested in agrees, disagrees, and additions.  Tell us what books you have been reading…good, bad, and ugly.


2 thoughts on “Books!

  1. Donnie Smith says:

    Nathan, I am so glad to hear this from you! I haven’t read any of these books, but I do like to read histories and biographies. Right now I’m reading a biography of Eisenhower by Stephen Ambrose. My favorite historian is David McCullough; his biography of John Adams is a masterpiece. Another favorite is “Team of Rivals,” a history of Lincoln’s cabinet by Doris Kearns Goodwin. My list of favorite Christian books is too long mention. Happy reading!

    1. Nate says:

      Thanks for the comment, Donnie! I really liked David McCullough’s 1776, and I agree that his John Adams is awesome. (If you look closely at the picture you can actually see it in the middle.) I’ve heard good things about Stephen Ambrose too. It is my goal to read a biography about each American President, so I’ll add that Eisenhower one to my list. Sometime if you wanted to start a list of your favorite Christian books I’d love to see it. Too often we just read the latest best-seller or whatever is markteted the loudest, and we forget about a really great book that is no longer the popular thing.

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