The Best Books I Read in 2021

The 5 books that shook my mind the most this year

The Best Books I Read in 2021
Photo by Radu Marcusu / Unsplash

These are the five books that shook my mind the most this year. If you have read or eventually decide to read any of these, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Love Does by Bob Goff: Real love is not some esoteric theory to be talked about and studied. It's a verb that shows up as actions and service; hence, love does. This book isn't about romance (which is such a small part of relationships) but about how we interact with everyone in light of how we're already loved by God. Bob Goff is a whimsical, humble, inspiring man, and I am better for having read his work. The way he loves people looks a lot like how I think Jesus would want us to love people--not by shouting Bible verses at them, but by genuinely being with them and helping in any way we can. Everybody Always is also good.

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield: In your creative pursuits, you can either act like a Pro or an Amateur. When you "Turn Pro," you act like a professional: you show up everyday, you show up on time, you work even when you don't feel like it, and you keep your emotions in check. Amateurs, on the other hand, only work when they feel like it (inconsistently), practice their craft without intention, and are controlled by their feelings. If you liked The War of Art, Turning Pro is a follow-up that delves into the practical side of overcoming the Resistance. If you haven't read The War of Art yet, read that first.

Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday: I'm technically cheating by putting this choice on my 2021 list because I haven't finished it yet. However, since picking it up last week, I can already tell it's going to be a good one. I'm a longtime fan of Holiday, and at only a few chapters in, I think this book will be my new favorite of his. The subject matter is timely in today's world.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and God Has a Name by John Mark Comer: John Mark Comer has a gift for explaining how Jesus would've wanted us to live in the modern world (unburdened and unconfused by religion). As you can see, I couldn't pick just one because both of these books majorly shifted my view of God and what it means to follow him. In The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Comer argues that our greatest modern enemy to spiritual health isn't the devil; it's hurry. God Has a Name (summary) explains God's character according to what he says about himself in the Bible (as opposed to the toxic ideas we've collected about him throughout our lives).

Also Phenomenal: C.S. Lewis is one of the clearest thinkers and most articulate writers I've read, and his Mere Christianity was eye-opening, The Spirit of The Disciplines and Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard taught me a lot about the journey of following Jesus and how to grow spiritually. Educated by Tara Westover was gripping (and reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls), and the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara reawakened my appreciation for fiction.