Christmas gifts and I have a love-hate relationship. Some of the gifts I’ve given have become treasured reminders of special occasions, like the sweater I gave my wife on our first Christmas together. Others have been less inspiring (although practical), like the nose-hair trimmer I gave my brother-in-law a few years ago. But there’s one gift that I believe is an undeniable gesture of affection and thoughtfulness … a good book.
A carefully chosen book is a present that offers hours of enjoyment, inspiration and encouragement for someone you love. Here are some books I highly recommend that illuminate vital life skills and elucidate important ideas.
In 1976, Chuck Colson’s autobiography, Born Again, changed my life. I was enthralled by the story of a man many thought to be the most contemptible character in the Watergate scandal. After finding the meaning of life while in prison, Colson went on to become a world-renowned Christian author and founder of Prison Fellowship, a ministry that has changed the lives of untold thousands. Colson’s book The Faith clearly and concisely presents what Christians believe, why they believe it and why it matters. Considering the horrific acts being committed around the world in the name of religion, this is a great book to give to a friend who may be confused about the difference between religion and faith.
I am an unabashed fan of Charles Krauthammer. He is recognized by many as America’s preeminent syndicated columnist and political commentator. In his New York Times bestselling book Things That Matter, Krauthammer, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, expounds on a wide range of topics with brilliance and wit. The autobiographical introduction covers the tragic accident that left him paralyzed and reveals his amazing determination to finish medical school in spite of it. As the book jacket declares, “This indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.” Don’t read this book at bedtime … you’ll never get to sleep.
Marriage is a tricky business. Hence the seemingly endless parade of books, videos, seminars and so on dedicated to helping us figure it out. However, when it comes to bold titles, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God takes the cake. My wife and I read this book as part of a Sunday school class. Author Timothy Keller and his wife Kathy provide nothing short of the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible. Every chapter delivers thought provoking concepts about what it means to be the partner to your spouse that God intends.
Do you have a bad habit you’d like to break? Remember last year’s New Year’s resolutions? How’s that going? How about a good habit you’d like to develop? Same question on the resolutions for this year. Thought so. The Power of Habit is the first book I’ve ever read that explains how this works. Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhigg shows how human nature is hardwired to respond to the right stimulus for change and he does it in an entertaining and engaging way.
And last but not least, here’s an idea for a non-book gift by one of my favorite writers. I’ve had a Dave Barry calendar on my desk for the last fifteen years. Every day, this Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist gives me a chuckle. While I own a number of his books, this day-to-day calendar delivers insights on the crazy stuff in life that you just have to share with others.
Okay, I’ve just made your Christmas shopping a lot easier. So click on one or more of the items above and kick back with a nice glass of eggnog. Your reward to me will be a modest commission I get as an Amazon Associate. Happy Holidays!