Here are the second five books of “Ten Books for Christmas.” I read a lot and love to recommend books to others. So, why not share? Here are my favorite books for Christmas and the new year approaching. They are not always religious but they are interesting. The list is in no particular order. With each book there is information provided by followed by, “Why I like this book.”

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip & Dan Heath. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later? What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children? Readers discover how brief experiences can change lives, such as the experiment in which two strangers meet in a room, and forty-five minutes later, they leave as best friends. Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck—but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.


Why I like this book: As a pastor, I witness the immense power of moments first hand as people’s lives are transformed through the power and influence of God. But, The Power of Moments offers ways to create or enhance those moments. For example, there is the high-school student waiting for an acceptance letter from college. How could colleges make the potential moment more meaningful? This is a must-read for educators, pastors and anyone who seeks to inspire and motivate others.


The Ripple Effect: Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better by Greg Wells, PH.D. Dr. Greg Wells offers concrete strategies on how to get better and stay better—not just for a few weeks or a few months, but for life. Optimal well-being is obtained through a commitment to the “holy trinity” of healthy living—eating better, moving better, sleeping better. Together these lead to peak physical performance. With small—and very achievable—daily changes in your life, you’ll see the incredible effects of aggregate gains that professional athletes know.


Why I like this book: A sudden trip to the hospital forced Dr. Wells to face up to his own health challenges. He made serious lifestyle changes in order to live healthier and longer. His extensive research is now available within this book. Emphasis is placed on many aspects of good health including physical, mental, social and others. My favorite section is the “1% tip” section within each chapter which offers minor changes that can make a major difference in your health.

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors. How do you hold on to hope when you don’t get the ending you asked for? When Katie moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease. After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? 


Why I like this book: Being a missionary is often glamorized and dramatized out of all proportion to what actually happens when people live and work thousands of miles away in a difficult and unfriendly culture. Katie Majors weaves stories of working in less than ideal environments with every day tales of a large diverse family sharing meals, school activities and occasional squabbles. There are many times when you wonder how they will survive the burdens and obstacles in their path. But survive they do and their story is an inspiration for us all.


Unwind: 7 Principles for a Stress-Free Life by Dr. Michael Olpin & Sam Bracken. This book stands out in one significant way: its “whole-person” approach. Unwind! is about optimizing your body, heart, mind, and soul, recognizing that any and all of these dimensions of your life affect your anxiety level. It helps you get clear about who you are as well as your priorities and goals. The authors explore seven key paradigm shifts, from reactive to proactive; unmotivated to inspired; pressured to prioritized; hassled to harmonious; anxious to empathic; defensive to diverse; and tense to tranquil. Delving deep into each of these paradigm shifts, readers learn how to prevent most of the daily stresses people typically experience, by getting at the roots of stressors.


Why I like this book: “Our world is an angry place. People shout at each other. The media is cynical…” Unwind, avoids the usual complaining and offers sound strategies to cope and respond in a way that promotes harmony and health. The authors provide insight and down-to-earth examples designed to help you move from defensiveness and denial to one of vulnerability and openness. “It would be revolutionary if politicians were able to go up to each other and say, ‘You see things differently. I need to listen to you.’ The stressful conflicts that beleaguer our governments would turn into creative problem-solving sessions.” (From Unwind)


100 Things You Can Do to Stay Fit and Healthy: Simple Steps to Better Your Body and Improve Your Mind by Scott Douglas. Looking to revamp and revitalize your fitness and overall well-being, but not sure where to start? Each short section features a simple, and easy-to-implement, physician- approved practice that that will improve your health in an instant, and, when continued, will elevate your overall well-being permanently. In this helpful and healthful book, the reader will find sections on: Improving muscular fitness, Maintaining skeletal well-being, Increasing mental health, Monitoring intestinal well-being, And keeping up your cardiovascular fitness! Simple to comprehend, easy to use, and virtually effortless to implement in every-day life.


Why I like this book: Recently our church started a series of health tips: “If You Want to Know More…” Many of the ideas came from this book. You may not agree with every recommendation but if you implement just a few, your overall health will improve. This is a book you can use and reuse over time. Start with #1 – “Become a Choice Architect” to #45 – “Stand While You Work” to #85 – “Stop Multitasking.” Everyone can benefit from reading and using  the ideas in this book.