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Book Reviews

Books take us to other worlds. We can learn from the experiences of real or fictional characters and the deep contemplations of others.  This list covers a variety of topics. All of these great books have challenged and encouraged me.


How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age
by Dale Carnegie & Associates

Dale Carnegie’s powerful, classic book has been updated to include today’s communication issues.  But, the central message is the same:  “…the quickest path to personal or professional growth is not in hyping yourself to others but in sharing yourself with them.”

This is a must-read for business owners – and everyone else!






Unbroken. A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand

The incredible true life of Louis Zamperini:  Olympian in 1936, plane crash survivor in the Pacific during WWII, who then lived a record-breaking number of days in a lifeboat before being “rescued,” unfortunately, by the enemy.  Years were lost in brutal POW camps.  Yet, Louie survived those challenges and more.

The author is a survivor, as well.  Despite debilitating, long-term, chronic fatigue syndrome, Laura Hillenbrand wrote this best-selling book, as well as Seabiscuit.

Given the list of crises faced by subject and author, you may fear that this is a depressing book.  Far from that, it is an inspiriting page-turner — although not for the faint-of-heart.  Whenever I spy the cover, I recall the challenge to persevere, laid down by both Louie and Laura.



Flirting With the Forbidden, Finding Grace in a World of Temptation
by Steven James

When I was a child, I often wondered why there were so many flawed people in the Bible.  Was I supposed to admire them when they did terrible things?  Or, learn from them?  Steven James addresses these questions and more in one of the most challenging books about Christianity I have ever read.

For instance: “Your wounds and struggles and choices and victories have helped shape you into who you are, but the past has not shaped you into who you will become.  That’s up to you as you cooperate with God, and that depends on the choice you make today and the perspective you have when it comes to gifts he graciously gives amidst the pain.”

Challenging and deep, Mr. James also gives us an enjoyable read.  If you are looking for spiritual growth, you will find grace here.




The Other Side of Suffering
by John Ramsey with Marie Chapian

We were living just outside Boulder, Colorado, when on December 26, 1996, the murder of JonBenet Ramsey became public.  We had a seven-year-old blonde girl at our house, too.  I have followed the case closely, but there has never been an arrest.  The police hounded her parents, Patsy and John, for years.  Most people do not know that, years after Patsy’s death, they were completely exonerated.

Here, John shares his perspective on unimaginable grief and profound loss: two children, his wife, his reputation, and his business.  He speaks of “the problem of pride” and the strength he has found through his faith in God.

“After the loss of a loved one, we can live the remainder of our lives with regret, bitterness, and brokenness, or we can accept that we cannot change what has happened to us.  We can make a conscious choice to go on with life, quite possibly a life with a deeper meaning and purpose because of our loss.   We alone have the authority and power to make that choice.”

John reminds us that God is with us, during our pain and beyond.  Thank you!


  • Sherry Carter

    April 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    One of the best “apologetics” books I’ve read is Letters with a Skeptic by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward Boyd. I actually made it through and understood it. It made me understand more deeply what I believe.

    • Cynthia

      April 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Thanks for the suggestion, Sherry. I’ll have to track that one down. The stack of books next to the bed is never so high that another one couldn’t be added!

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