Today is National Read a Book Day, a day meant to encourage everyone to pick up a book they will enjoy and spend the day reading it. Here at Jesus' Economy, we're readers. You could even call us bookish. Our reading has become the research that supports much of what we do. For my new book, Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change, I assembled the following reading list, which I now recommend to you.
If you decide to buy any of these books, don't forget to support Jesus' Economy using AmazonSmile.
While it’s often hard to quantify how ideas influence us and where these ideas eventually resurface, I know the following set of books greatly influenced my writing of Jesus’ Economy. It is the ideas of these authors that operate in the background of my writing.
It’s difficult to know if you will have the same epiphany moments I did when reading these works, but I hope that the combination of books listed here will cause you to think differently. I hope that in reading further on this topic, you will become a little wiser, a little cleverer, and more emotionally attuned to the needs of our world. I hope the writings of other authors will help you see more clearly how to live Jesus’ economy in all aspects of life.
The Bible. Pick a readable translation and get on a consistent reading plan where you regularly read the Bible in its entirety. Also, try a study Bible focused on the ancient context; it will help illuminate the text.
Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). | In 2012, I wrote an article for Relevant Magazine on lessons from Toxic Charity, "How Should Christians Help the Poor."
Jacqueline Novogratz, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World. | At the inception of Jesus' Economy, I dialogued with The Blue Sweater in a series of blog posts; see "What I Learned from Jaqueline Novogratz."
Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. | Near the beginning of Jesus' Economy, I also wrote a series of blog posts interacting with The End of Poverty; see "What I Learned from Jeffrey Sachs."
Miriam Adeney, Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity.
Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent. Same Kind of Different as Me.
Tass Saada with Dean Merrill. Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life.
Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch. The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church.
Michael W. Goheen, Introducing Christian Mission Today: Scripture, History, and Issues.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church.
Lesslie Newbigin, A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions.
William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity.
If you finish that first reading list and want to go even deeper into this subject, here are other resources I consulted while writing Jesus’ Economy.
Sunday Bobai Agang, When Evil Strikes: Faith and the Politics of Human Hostility. | Sunday Bobai Agang is a Board Member of Jesus' Economy and has written widely in this space.
Anne Bradley and Art Lindsley, eds., For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty.
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself.
William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. | I also wrote a series of blog posts dialoguing with this book; see "What I Learned from William Easterly."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait.
Martin Luther King, Jr., The Measure of a Man. | For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wrote an article with accompanying infographic on how Dr. King thought we should each measure our lives. See, "The Complete Life According to Martin Luther King, Jr."
Eng Hoe, Lim, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Revealing the Heart of God. | At one point, I reflected on a conversation I had with Eng Hoe, Lim about "Spiritual Issues Often Associated with Poverty."
Robert D. Lupton, Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor.
Michael Matheson Miller, dir., Poverty Cure. DVD.
Michael Matheson Miller, dir., Poverty, Inc. DVD.
E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible.
Harvie M. Conn and Manuel Ortiz, Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City, and the People of God.
Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church.
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society.
C. René Padilla, Mission Between the Times: Essays on the Kingdom.
Leo Babauta, The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life. | See my review of The Power of Less on JohnDBarry.com, "Minimizing to Be More Effective."
Edward R. Dayton and Ted W. Engstrom, Strategy for Living: How to Make the Best Use of Your Time and Abilities. | I discuss the relevance of this book in an article on JohnDBarry.com, "Goals Are Often Selfish."
Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What.
Ryan J. Pemberton, Called: My Journey to C. S. Lewis’s House and Back Again. | Ryan Pemberton serves on the Board of Jesus' Economy. See my review of Called on JohnDBarry.com, "Calling Is Complex." You can also read an excerpt of Called on the Jesus' Economy Blog, "Faith as Beautiful as Fireworks: Calling, Atheism, and Oxford."
Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. | On how the breakthrough of the Oakland A's applies to business, see my article on JohnDBarry.com, "Playing Business Like the Oakland A's."
Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.
Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers.
T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. | See my full book review of The First Tycoon at JohnDBarry.com, "Could You Be the Next Cornelius Vanderbilt?"
This recommended reading list was originally published in my book, Jesus' Economy, pages 172–175.
I once had a supervisor who said, "There are two ways to gain more experience: live longer and read." We read to expand our worldview, our experiences, and our mindset. We read because it helps us grow. We read because it helps us gain experience of the mind, accelerating the rate by which we become wiser.
Have you picked up your copy of Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change? With simple, everyday choices you can make the world a better place. Learn how to live Jesus' economy, the currency of love.