February Reading List

I am about two months behind on posting my reading lists, so I will get caught up in the next couple of days. First up is my February reading list.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

I fell into the same trap that everyone seems to fall into when they start reading this book, you cannot put it down until you are finished. It was a quick, entertaining read that I enjoyed way more than I thought I would. I had heard all the arguments about the violent premiss of kids killing other kids for sport, but to be honest as you get into it, there is not much more here than there was in Lord of the Flies that I read as part of a school curriculum. I enjoyed the journey Katniss takes in this first book. She has to wrestle with many of the developmental questions every student wrestles with as they emerge into adulthood. She has to find out who she is, beyond the conformity of the world she is forced to live in. Katniss finds the answer to the three basic questions of adolescence: Who am I? What is important to me? And, Where do I belong? A great read that needs to be addressed beyond the questions surrounding the violent plot. After all, Lord of the Flies is a staple in many schools and this book will be too. 5/5

The Flinch by Julien Smith

The Flinch is about our ‘flinch’ mechanism that fires every time we have the possibility of failure, or running into danger in our lives. The concept and the potential for this book in terms of leadership growth was huge in my mind. However, I felt that it just did not live up to the potential. Personally, I never got to the point while reading this book where I felt that it defined how to overcome the flinch. The steps are all there in the book to overcome your flinching mechanism, but I found that it was too focused on finding and defining what causes you to flinch instead of how to change. How to change the flinch is all about acting against it and moving forward and I did not think that the author covered more about what is the ‘Flinch” and not how to remove it. The style of the writing screams Seth Godin, but the impact does not.  2½/5

Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God by Craig Detweiler

“We are concerned by the desensitizing aspects of video games. They often objectify women and glorify violence. . . . [this book] aims to demystify the gaming universe and dignify the passions of the most active gamers. We believe in the theological possibilities contained within even the most debased popular culture.”

I really enjoyed this book and it digs deep into the mechanics of video games and their potentially addictive element and all the while Detweiler attempts to bring it all back to God. The book is a collection of essays that tackle questions of identity, science, art, story telling, religious undertones, teaching possibilities as well as the ethical and social applications of video games. The book can become dry at points, but the content is worth the read. The big takeaways for me were the essays on creativity within Halo as well as the ethical implications in games like BioShock. A great read. 4/5

I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives by Dave Sterrett and Doug Bender

I have been watching the I Am Second videos on YouTube for quite some time, so I was very excited to find some of the stories in book format. I did enjoy reading the stories of transformation and reconciliation from a wide variety of individuals, but I did not find it as effective as the videos. If you are looking for inspirational stories of lives being changed this is a great read. 3½/5





Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership by John Dickson

“the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself,” such that a “humble person is marked by a willingness to hold power in service of others.”

John Dickson takes the reader on a historical journey to trace the route of human development and their understanding of the term ‘humility.’ I was not sure how I would like a book that took a historical look at a term, but I found this book fascinating. Humility, as it began to change in how it was understood and how it was practiced within leadership roles needs to be studied in order for anyone to truly embrace humility as a leadership characteristic. Humility has taken many forms, but for Dickson there are some very clear guidelines for someone to be an effective leader and it begins in this clear understanding of humility. The motivational aspect of humility is seen as a leadership quality as opposed to the gluttonous view of self-promotion; and that humbling oneself to serve others is a sign of strength and not weakness for Dickson. I was worried that this book was going to be a self-help type of read, but it becomes very clear that this book is a calling out effective leaders to step up and embrace being small. A must read for leadership. 5/5


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