My top 3 books for 2011

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image credit: Creation Swap user Jamie Current

I’ve read a lot in 2011. And there are three books that rose to the top for me.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This is an old book, but it’s still unbelievably applicable today. Because relationships are still vital to whatever you do, whether that’s at work, home, or church. This book oozes practical wisdom.

2. Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities, by Steve Gladen (blog)

I know, it’s niche. But it’s good. If you’re overseeing small groups, this book is gold for you. Steve has laid out the method that Saddleback Church has pioneered in launching thousands of small groups. And he’s broken it down where churches who are much smaller can learn from the principles that Saddleback has used.

3. Sticky Teams, by Larry Osborne

Our staff read through this book together and it was so, so good. Osborne packs this book full of the wisdom he’s learned in leading his teams of staff members at North Coast Church. If you’re a team leader, or plan on being one, especially in the church, this is a must-read.


Have you read a must-read this year?


 * image credit: Creation Swap user Jamie Current


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jeremy Sarber

    Outside of the Bible, there is hardly a book I recommend more than “How To Win Friends…” Great read!

    I read “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” by Tom Hagler, Jr. not long ago. There’s a free e-book version on his website:

    I re-read “Atlas Shrugged”. That’s a classic.

    • Ben Reed

      Oooh…Atlas Shrugged. Haven’t read it. I’ll have to put it on my list for this upcoming year!

  • Aaron Armstrong

    Working on my “must-read” list now (and actually reading one that has made its way onto the list and I’m not even done!)

    • Ben Reed

      Can’t wait to read it, Aaron!

  • Jason Vana

    I’m working on it for a future post, but I would definitely say Quitter by Jon Acuff is a MUST read for anyone wanting to pursue any kind of dream.

    • Ben Reed

      If it’s anything as good as Jon’s blog, I’d have to agree!

  • Brian Owen

    “Jesus, my Father, the CIA, and Me” by Ian Cron was my favorite read of 2011.  It’s a powerful, honest, thought-provoking memoir with incredible  writing.  

    • Ben Reed

      I’ve heard it’s really good. I need to put it on my list. Thanks for the recommendation, Brian!

  • Loren Pinilis

    Would “Small Groups with Purpose” be a useful resource for those who teach life groups and want to increase community? Or is it more for church staff wanting to implement programs?

    • Ben Reed

      It’s written more for church staff/small group point person than it is for individual small group leaders. It’s a great resource for developing small groups organizationally.

      If you’re looking for a good resource for group leaders, check out Bill Donahue’s resource, “Leading Life-Changing Small Groups.” It’s really good.

      • Loren Pinilis

        Oh, great. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for the recommendation!
        I’m just more convicted day by day that I want to lead well. It’s a sacred duty and I alternate between feeling gung-ho and completely inadequate.