Top 50 books for Faith Driven Entrepreneurs

 

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” We think the same is true of entrepreneurs. If you want to be good at what you do, it helps to take a cue from the best. Here, we’ve collected a short list of books written for entrepreneurs, business leaders, creatives, innovators, and employees in every sector.

On this list you’ll find books written by leaders for leaders. You’ll learn why what you do at work matters. And you’ll hear story after story of success, failure, and everything in between. We hope this list enlightens you, challenges you, and helps you along your entrepreneurial journey.

Know of any we missed? Let us know what books deserve a spot on this list.


#1 The Bible

We believe that God speaks to us through His word and that all of Scripture is useful for instruction on how to live, work, and serve in any capacity. Scripture, when taken in aggregate, provides us with a great handbook on every question of life and entrepreneurship.

If you need a book to start with, this is the one. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s vital if we want to steward our life and our business for God’s glory.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our resources to help you stay connected to God’s Word.

 

#2 Rule of life

by Praxis Labs

Before beginning any venture, leaders must ask certain questions: What are my motives for leadership and entrepreneurship? How do I understand my identity, vision, and mission? What is the source of my creativity and what shapes my imagination? How do I internalize the pursuit of power, prestige, and wealth?

To this end, our good friends at Praxis Labs offers A Rule of Life for Redemptive Entrepreneurs as a set of shared practices for the Praxis community, and for anyone interested in faithfully pursuing a vocation as an entrepreneur, innovator, or creator.

We thought so highly of this content that we invited Andy Crouch to talk about this book and why it matters on his podcast with FDE.

 

#3 every good endeavor

by Tim Keller

With deep conviction and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about work today. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.

If you’ve been around our podcast, you know that we have the utmost respect for Tim and his wisdom in this conversation. You can hear Tim Keller talk about faith, work, and identity in his podcast with FDE.

 

#4 My, myself, and bob: a true story about dreams, god, and talking vegetables

by Phil Vischer

This is a story of dreaming big and working hard, of spectacular success and breathtaking failure, of shouted questions, and, at long last, whispered answers. With trademark wit and heart, Phil Vischer shares how God can use the death of a dream to point us toward true success.

Phil has delivered what has come to be known as one of our most popular podcasts. Hear Phil Vischer share the emotional side of his entrepreneurial journey on his podcast with FDE.

 

#5 work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work

by Tom Nelson

Work. For some this word represents drudgery and the mundane. For others work is an idol to be served. In either case, a biblical understanding of work as godly activity and a means of spiritual formation is lost. 

Striking a balance between theological depth and practical counsel, Work Matters engages the theological basis of God’s plan for everyday work. Tom Nelson explains how the fall has impacted vocation, how God’s redemption touches every sphere of our lives including our work, and how what we do now is connected to what we will do forever. As Nelson connects Sunday worship to Monday morning, he gives readers practical tools for understanding their own gifts, so that they may better live in accord with God’s design for work.

You can hear more about this book and these ideas our good friend Tom Nelson on his podcast episode with us. Listen to The Scoreboard of the Monday Church here.

 

#6 called to Create

by Jordan Raynor

In this energizing book, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Jordan Raynor helps artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and other creatives reimagine our work as service to God and others.

Raynor shares compelling stories from an eclectic group of 40+ Christian entrepreneurs, including the founders of TOMS Shoes, Charity: Water, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Guinness, HTC, and Sevenly, as well as nontraditional entrepreneurs such as C. S. Lewis, Johann Sebastian Bach, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Raynor's "show" rather than "tell," story-driven style makes you feel as if you are sitting at the feet of some of the godliest and most successful entrepreneurs of all time.

Perfectly poised to reach today's growing creative class, this unique work restores God's position as the first entrepreneur, helping readers see the eternal value in the work they do today.

 

#7 mission Drift: The unspoken crisis facing leaders, charities, and churches

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Slowly, silently, and with little fanfare, organizations routinely drift from their purpose, and many never return to their original intent. Harvard and the YMCA are among those that no longer embrace the Christian principles on which they were founded. But they didn't drift off course overnight. Drift often happens in small and subtle ways. Left unchecked, it eventually becomes significant. 

Why do so many organizations--including churches--wander from their mission, while others remain Mission True? Can drift be prevented? In Mission Drift, HOPE International executives Peter Greer and Chris Horst tackle these questions. They show how to determine whether your organization is in danger of drift, and they share the results of their research into Mission True and Mission Untrue organizations. You'll discover what you can do to prevent drift or get back on track and how to protect what matters most.

We invited our good friend Peter Greer on our podcast to share more about this topic. Listen to his podcast with FDE here.

 

#8 the Tech Wise Family

by Andy Crouch

Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It's about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology's promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world's knowledge at our fingertips. And it's definitely not just about the kids.

Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology's distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

As entrepreneurs, we’re all somewhat terrified by what technology might be doing to us and our families. If you’re interested in this topic and how it relates to you, listen to Andy Crouch talk more about it on his podcast with FDE.

 

#9 entreLeadership

by Dave Ramsey

EntreLeadership is Dave Ramsey’s championship playbook with step-by-step guidance to take your business where you want it to go.

Dave has grown his company to a winning national brand with more than 800 team members who have impacted millions of lives. EntreLeadership is how he did it, mistakes and all. This is 20 years of real-world experience with all the sweat, tears and prayers. This is how his company has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Nashville seven times. It’s proven. It’s practical. And it’s how you can do it too.

Whether you lead a team of two or 200, you can grow your business to where you want it to be. Reaching your dream is no longer a question of "What if we could?" You can. EntreLeadership is how.

 

#10 the Redemptive NonProfit

by Praxis Labs

In the century since its invention, the nonprofit organization structure has powered immense social good, by enabling countless entrepreneurial leaders to address problems not adequately served by the market. But when it comes to delivering that social good today, many nonprofits fall short of the durable impact they hope to deliver. Our friends at Praxis proposes that there is a higher horizon of opportunity for the redemptive nonprofit—one that seeks the renewal of the larger society as well as all the stakeholders involved in the work.

They hope to inspire a new generation of leaders to go beyond the baseline of ethics and excellence that should characterize any organization (whether or not it receives a tax exemption)—to building nonprofits that embody the radical hope of the Christian gospel and its power to transform persons, communities, and the course of history.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have Jena Nardella on our podcast, so stay tune to hear more from her!

 

#11 The ideal Team Player

by Patrick Lencioni

In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. 

Beyond the fable, Lencioni presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players.  Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.

In all our interviews with entrepreneurs this is the top book people point to when it comes to building a team and beginning to set culture. See why in this video series.

 

#12 practicing the Kings Economy

by Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt

The church in the West is rediscovering the fact that God cares deeply for the poor. More and more, churches and individual Christians are looking for ways to practice economic discipleship, but it's hard to make progress when we are blind to our own entanglement in our culture's idolatrous economic beliefs and practices. 

Practicing the King's Economy cuts through much confusion and invites Christians to take their place within the biblical story of the "King Jesus Economy." Through eye-opening true stories of economic discipleship in action, and with a solid exploration of six key biblical themes, the authors offer practical ways for God's people to earn, invest, spend, compensate, save, share, and give in ways that embody God's love and provision for the world.

Our partners at Made To Flourish have written about how the ideas presented in this book, specifically that of gleaning, are challenging and stretching concepts. Read more here.

 

#13 strong and Weak

by Andy Crouch

Flourishing people are strong and weak. Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living—withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. True flourishing, says Andy Crouch, travels down an unexpected path—being both strong and weak.

We see this unlikely mixture in the best leaders—people who use their authority for the benefit of others, while also showing extraordinary willingness to face and embrace suffering. We see it in Jesus, who wielded tremendous power yet also exposed himself to hunger, ridicule, torture and death. Rather than being opposites, strength and weakness are actually meant to be combined in every human life and community. Only when they come together do we find the flourishing for which we were made.

With the characteristic insight, memorable stories and hopeful realism he is known for, Andy Crouch shows us how to walk this path so that the image of God can shine through us. Not just for our own good, but for the sake of others. 

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, how do we avoid abusing our power? This is one of many topics Andy Crouch addressed on his podcast with FDE.

 

#14 treasure Principle

by Randy Alcorn

Jesus spent more time talking about money and possessions than about heaven and hell combined. But too often we’ve overlooked or misunderstood his most profound teaching on this topic, from his words in Matthew 6. Jesus offers us life-changing investment advice. He actually wants us to store up treasures for ourselves—just not here on earth. Instead, he urges us to store our treasure in heaven, where they will await us, and last forever. We can’t take it with us—but we can send it on ahead!

With this compact classic, you can read about and understand God’s view on stewardship during a short plan flight. In The Treasure Principle, you’ll unearth a radical teaching of Jesus—a secret wrapped up in giving. Once you discover this secret, life will never look the same. And you won’t want it to be.

Why does this matter? Because entrepreneurs need to recognize the value of surrendering it all to God. You can also check out this video series from RightNow Media to accompany the book.

 

#15 work pray love

by Diane Paddison

The number of Christian women in today's professional workforce is increasing, and they are hungry for practical mentoring. They yearn to learn from someone who has climbed the ladder of success without sacrificing family or faith—something author Diane Paddison has done with excellence and grace.

This is a working book for working women.

Full of practical, proven guidance that is both professionally viable and biblically sound, each chapter includes sidebars featuring pertinent facts from current research, resources relevant to the chapter's topic, action-oriented 'to do' lists, and other interactive material.

Work, Love, Pray is a valuable resource for professional Christian women, but it's also a must-read for the husbands, sisters, daughters, and friends who share their lives.

 

#16 rooting For Rivals

by Peter Greer and Chris Horst

Christian organizations have come to be known mostly for what they're against. And all too often, that includes being against each other. But amid growing distrust of religious institutions, Christ-centered nonprofits have a unique opportunity to link arms and collectively pursue a calling higher than any one organization's agenda.

Rooting for Rivals reveals how your ministry can multiply its impact by cooperating rather than competing with others, modeling Christlike love and generosity in the process. Peter Greer and Chris Horst explore case studies illustrating the power of collaborative ministry. Writing with vulnerability, they also share their own failures and successes in moving toward a kingdom mindset.

In Rooting for Rivals you'll discover the key to revitalizing your ministry and making an enduring difference in the world.

You can also hear Peter Greer talk about this book on his podcast with FDE.

 

#17 visions of vocation

by Steven Garber

Is it possible to know the world and still love the world?

Of all the questions we ask about our calling, this is the most difficult. From marriages to international relations, the more we know, the harder it is to love. We become cynics or stoics, protecting our hearts from the implications of what we know. But what if the vision of vocation can be recovered―allowing us to step into the wounds of the world and for loves sake take up our responsibility for the way the world turns out?

Garber offers a book for everyone everywhere―for students, for parents, for those in the arts, in the academy, in public service, in the trades and in commerce―for all who want to discover the virtue of vocation.

 
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#18 designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home–at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

 

#19 love and Respect

by Emerson Eggerichs

New York Times bestseller Love & Respect has sold over 1.6 million copies! Love & Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily and biblically.

Touted by leaders as a “classic” among marriage books, this book also reveals insightful wisdom about what it looks like to have respect in the workplace.

A Faith Driven Entrepreneur understands the importance of family and having a healthy balance between work and life. That’s why we think this book matters for you. Also, check out this accompanying video series by RightNow Media.

 

#20 dare to Serve

by Cheryl Bachelder

Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well. In Dare to Serve, former Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder shows that leading by serving is a rigorous and tough-minded approach that yields the best results.

When she was named CEO of Popeyes in 2007, the stock price had slipped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, the team was discouraged, and the franchisees were just plain angry. Nine years later, restaurant sales were up 45 percent, restaurant profits had doubled, and the stock price was over $61. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book confirms that challenging people to reach a daring destination, while treating them with dignity, creates the conditions for superior performance.

Watch Cheryl Bachelder’s story in our Top 100 Videos for Faith Driven Entrepreneurs.

 

#21 zero to one

by Peter Thiel

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

 

#22 start

by Jon Acuff

There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, honest, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.

It’s time to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters.

It’s time to Start.

 

#23 the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership fable

by Patrick Lencioni

Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.

Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

Check out the video series from RightNow Media that accompanies the book.

 

#24 building a storybrand

by Donald Miller

Donald Miller's StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion-dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

 

#25 your Work Matters to God

by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks

One of the definining books that has impacted a lot of people involved in the faith and work conversation, Your Work Matters to God is one of the forefathers of the faith-driven entrepreneur movement.

Your Work Matters to God demonstrates just how important secular work is to God. Whether you are a man or woman, once you realize how many different ways there are to influence your coworkers for Christ without preaching a word, you'll be challenged to develop a lifestyle so striking and true, the people you work with will be eager to let you talk about what makes you different.

 

#26 work as Worship

by Mark Russell

The time has come for us to see a purpose for business that goes beyond money and that has a vision for this economy that goes even beyond this earth. Built around twelve themes: calling, leadership, character, success, money, stewardship, balance, disciplines, relationships, pluralism, ethics and giving, Work as Worship opens our collective eyes to the spiritual nature and mission of our daily work. Written by respected business leaders from well-known brands (Hobby Lobby, Interstate Batteries, PepsiCo, TOMS Shoes, etc.), Work as Worship creates a space for ongoing community and conversation on these important issues.

 

#27 when Helping Hurts

by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

With more than 225,000 copies sold, When Helping Hurts is a paradigm-forming contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation and ministry to those in need. Emphasizing the poverty of both heart and society, this book exposes the need that every person has and how it can be filled. The reader is brought to understand that poverty is much more than simply a lack of financial or material resources and that it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve the problem of poverty.

While this book exposes past and current development efforts that churches have engaged in which unintentionally undermine the people they're trying to help, its central point is to provide proven strategies that challenge Christians to help the poor empower themselves. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts catalyzes the idea that sustainable change for people living in poverty comes not from the outside-in, but from the inside-out.

 

#28 outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"—the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

 

#29 garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human

by John Mark Comer

You’ve heard people say “Who you are matters more than what you do”. Does the Bible really teach that? 

In Garden City, popular pastor and speaker John Mark Comer gives a fresh take on our calling and our purpose, with a surprisingly counter-culture take. Through his creative and conversational style, Comer takes a good look at Genesis and the story of a man, a woman, and a garden. He unpacks God’s creation and his original intent for how we are meant to spend our time. Here, you’ll find answers to questions like “Does God care where I work?”  “What about what I do with my free time or how much rest I get?” “Does he have a clear direction for me?”

Practical and theologically rich, Garden City speaks to twenty and thirty-somethings who are figuring out next steps and direction in their lives. Garden City is the Purpose Driven Life for the next generation—the book that helps us answer why we are here and what should we do about it.

 

#30 gospel Patrons: People Whose Generosity Changed the World

by John Rinehart

Behind great movements of God stand a few generous men and women called Gospel Patrons. This book tells three stories from history about business leaders who were behind the scenes fueling amazing works of God.

Gospel Patrons is an invitation to believe that God is not done writing history and he’s prepared a part for you to play. It’s a call to engage. It’s a challenge to give your life to what matters most.

The Biblical message of generosity can transform any Christ follower's life, of course, including an entrepreneur's. Gospel Patrons is a great overview of how successful business people, especially entrepreneurs, have been the patrons behind some of the most impactful Gospel movements in history.

 

#31 give and take

by Adam Grant

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton's youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, this landmark book shows how one of America's best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron's demise four years before the company collapsed--without ever looking at a single number.

 

#32 purple cow

by Seth Godin

In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place.

Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product. In a world that grows noisier by the day, Godin's challenge has never been more relevant to writers, marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, and anyone else who has something to share with the world.

 

#33 deep work

by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories-from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air-and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

 

#34 ninja selling

by Larry Kendall

In Ninja Selling, author Larry Kendall transforms the way readers think about selling. He points out the problems with traditional selling methods and instead offers a science-based selling system that gives predictable results regardless of personality type. Ninja Selling teaches readers how to shift their approach from chasing clients to attracting clients. Readers will learn how to stop selling and start solving by asking the right questions and listening to their clients.

Ninja Selling is an invaluable step-by-step guide that shows readers how to be more effective in their sales careers and increase their income-per-hour, so that they can lead full lives. Ninja Selling is both a sales platform and a path to personal mastery and life purpose. Followers of the Ninja Selling system say it not only improved their business and their client relationships; it also improved the quality of their lives.

 

#35 to sell is human

by Daniel Pink

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase. But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges: Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.

Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.

To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer "Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

 

#36 culture making

by Andy Crouch

It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture.

Andy Crouch unleashes a stirring manifesto calling Christians to be culture makers. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making.

A model of his premise, this landmark book is sure to be a rallying cry for a new generation of culturally creative Christians. Discover your calling and join the culture makers.

 

#37 it doesn’t have to be crazy at work

by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Long hours, an excessive workload, and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honor for modern professionals. But it should be a mark of stupidity, the authors argue. Sadly, this isn’t just a problem for large organizations—individuals, contractors, and solopreneurs are burning themselves out the same way. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours—it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress.

It’s time to stop celebrating Crazy, and start celebrating Calm, Fried and Hansson assert.

Fried and Hansson have the proof to back up their argument. "Calm" has been the cornerstone of their company’s culture since Basecamp began twenty years ago. Destined to become the management guide for the next generation, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work is a practical and inspiring distillation of their insights and experiences. It isn’t a book telling you what to do. It’s a book showing you what they’ve done—and how any manager or executive no matter the industry or size of the company, can do it too.

 

#38 alternative to futility

by Elton Trueblood

Modern man, now come to a full consciousness of his spiritual sickness, is ready for the first time to accept a thoroughgoing remedy, Dr. Trueblood is convinced. Here the author presents his prescription for restoring the total health of civilization.

Dr. Trueblood's answer is a 'redemptive fellowship"—the only "alternative to futility" which holds promise of adequate fulfillment in our age. This book develops the idea of such a fellowship—a creative society in miniature—a "beloved community" which may have small beginnings but can grow like the mustard seed. Further, he supplies abundant suggestions as to how these redemptive fellowships may be nourished in the community and in national life.

 

#39 the Gospel at WorK: How Working for king jesus gives purpose and meaning to our jobs

by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert

Many Christians fall victim to one of two main problems when it comes to work: either they are idle in their work, or they have made an idol of it. Both of these mindsets are deadly misunderstandings of how God intends for us to think about our employment.

In The Gospel at Work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert unpack the powerful ways in which the gospel can transform how we do what we do, releasing us from the cultural pressures of both an all-consuming devotion and a punch-in, punch-out mentality—in order to find the freedom of a work ethic rooted in serving Christ.

Solidly grounded in the gospel, The Gospel at Work confronts both our idleness at work and our idolatry of work with a challenge of its own—to remember that whom we work for is infinitely more important than what we do.

 

#40 originals

by Adam Grant

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent.

Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

 

#41 quitter

by Jon Acuff

From figuring out what your dream is to quitting in a way that exponentially increases your chance of success, Quitter is full of inspiring stories and actionable advice.

This book is based on 12 years of cubicle living and Jon Acuff’s true story of cultivating a dream job that changed his life and the world in the process.

It’s time to close the gap between your day job and your dream job. It’s time to be a quitter.

 

#42 start with why

by Simon Sinek

Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

Start with Why shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way—and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

 

#43 The lean startup

by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

 

#44 the juggling act

by Pat Gelsinger

Lunch is reserved for meetings, technology makes us available anytime, anywhere-and somewhere along the way 9-to-5 morphed into 24/7, and technology makes us available anytime, anywhere. Our demanding schedules crowd out what matters most: family, friends, even our faith. Although it may feel like you're living under the Big Top, take heart. You don't have to be a circus professional to keep all the plates spinning.

Pat Gelsinger understands this challenge. As a prominent executive in the Silicon Valley, Pat struggled to juggle* a thriving career with his family. Pat's pursuit of balance led him to dynamic truths that revolutionized his approach to life.

 

#45 Managing as if faith mattered

by Helen Alford and Michael Naughton

Managing As If Faith Mattered studies the very best of what the Catholic social tradition has to offer in response to the pressing issues and problems of our times. Challenging the often-held double standard of private and public moralities, authors Helen Alford and Michael Naughton bridge the fault line between work and faith by engaging current management issues with that tradition.

They consider the practical realities of managers within their economic and human resource environments, and discuss such concrete management issues as job design, just wages, corporate ownership structures, marketing communication, and product development. Undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in management, business, theology, and ethics will find it an excellent text, and real-life managers will benefit from the practical wisdom it contains.

 

#46 a high impact life

by Pete Ochs

Pete Ochs defines what it means to live a high impact life and provides today’s leaders with the resources they need to define their purpose, embrace their passion, and maximize their platform for success in business and beyond. Do you have what it takes to lead a high impact life?

Ochs reached material success early in his career, but wasn’t satisfied with just a large bank account. He wanted to create human flourishing and build economic, social, and spiritual wealth for the common good. Follow Ochs’ journey inside a business operating inside a maximum-security prison, and understand how his philosophy is not only economically profitable, but socially and spiritually transforming lives.

 

#47 kingdom calling

by Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman, director of the Center on Faith in Communities and scholar of vocational stewardship, uses the tsaddiqim—the vision of Proverbs 11:10, in which the people who see everything they have as gifts from God to be stewarded for his purposes― as a springboard to explore how, through our faith-formed calling, we announce the kingdom of God to our everyday world. But cultural trends toward privatism and materialism threaten to dis-integrate our faith and our work. And the church, in ways large and small, has itself capitulated to those trends, while simultaneously elevating the "special calling" of professional ministry and neglecting the vocational formation of laypeople. In the process, we have, in ways large and small, subverted our kingdom mandate.

God is on the move, and he calls each of us, from our various halls of power and privilege, to follow him. Here is your chance, keeping this kingdom calling in view, to steward your faith and work toward righteousness. In so doing, you will bless the world, and as you flourish, the world will celebrate.

 

#48 god at work

by David Miller

In God at Work, David W. Miller looks at how this Faith at Work movement developed and considers its potential value for business and society. Done well, the integration of faith and work has positive implications at the personal level, as well as for corporate ethics and the broader economic sphere. At the same time, increasing expressions of religion and spiritual practices at work also present the threat of divisiveness and discrimination.

Offering compelling new evidence of the depth and breadth of spirituality at work, Miller concludes that faith at work is a bona fide social movement and here to stay. He establishes the importance of this movement, identifies the possibilities and problems, and points toward future research questions. God at Work is essential reading for business scholars and leaders, theologians and clergy, and anyone interested in the integration of faith and work.

 

#49 the integrated life

by Ken Eldred

Ken Eldred reveals how to find a deep integration between our work and faith such that all areas of our lives further God's kingdom, glorify him, and fulfill our life mission. As we integrate our lives, he explains, we can experience the abundant life that Jesus offers us.

Eldred explains that we have a threefold ministry in our work life: pointing those around us to God (a ministry at work), serving and creating via the work itself (a ministry of work), and redeeming the practices, policies, and structures of institutions (a ministry to work). That's a pretty lofty charge for those of us in the marketplace!

This book offers a powerful picture of the integrated life in which our faith impacts every sphere, including our work in the marketplace. Drawing on his own experience and the example of others, Eldred lays out practical applications that lead to abundant living through a far deeper connection between work and faith.

 

#50 how then should we work?

by Hugh Whelchel

“If you had asked me to describe the work I was doing that was important to God, I would have told you about my work in the lay leadership of my church, the adult Sunday school class that I taught, and the work I did with Christian non-profit groups. I secretly envied pastors, missionaries, and others who got to work ‘full time’ for God. I saw little to no connection between what I did as a businessman and God’s Kingdom ...”

Have you ever felt like what you do the majority of the week at work may not have any value to God? Many Christians struggle to find any meaning in their work. Many are taught it’s just a place to share your faith or earn a paycheck to donate to missions. Businessman Hugh Whelchel was just that guy but knew there had to be more. His thorough biblical investigation reveals the eternal significance of work within the grand biblical story of God’s mission throughout history.

 

#51 why business matters to god

by Jeff Van Duzer

You knew we weren’t going to be able to stop at 50, right?

Jeff Van Duzer grew up thinking business was the source of much damage and evil in the world, the work of greedy capitalists polluting the environment. Thirty years later he was dean of a business school.

In the course of that remarkable transformation, Van Duzer found cause for both hope and concern. He discovered many business people achieving a great deal of good for society as well as a lot of illegal and unethical behavior.

This book explores the nature and meaning of doing business and finds it calls for much more than most think. Van Duzer presents a profoundly Christian approach that integrates biblical studies with the disciplines of business and economics. Looking beyond the place of ethical principles and the character of the individual, Van Duzer displays a vision of business that contributes to the very purposes of God.

 

#52 fruit at work

by Chris Evans

Do you feel as though you have to choose between growing spiritually and growing professionally? Does it seem like the pursuit of profit conflicts with honoring God's principles? Does your work environment undermine your faith and core values? Join successful entrepreneur Chris Evans as he explores how to develop the fruit described in the Bible and uncovers a natural and sustainable way to grow and demonstrate your faith at work.

Written in a clear, easy-to-read style, Fruit at Work gives the specific meaning of each word, provides biblical examples, and shares workplace stories where the fruit of the Spirit is having a dynamic impact. Fruit at Work is for people at any level of employment who seek a spiritual life that resonates not only in their personal lives, but also in their work. Evans provides guidance for tough situations such as managerial decisions, the need for approval, patience with coworkers, job loss, distraction, team dynamics, and job satisfaction.

Here is a new vision for work relationships―one based in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


OTHERS WE RECOMMEND

Obviously, we were never going to be able to limit ourselves to just 50 books, so here’s a few more. These come recommended by our friends at LeTourneau University, Praxis, Denver Institute for Faith & Works, and many others. Happy reading!

 

Love Works: 7 Timeliness Principles for Effective Leaders, Joel Manby

Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life, Made to Flourish

Exercising My Faith in the Marketplace, Caroline Oduol

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, General Stanley McChrystal

Refugee Workforce: The Economic Case for Hiring the Displaced, Chris Chancey

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, Stephen M.R. Covey

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

Every Job a Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses and Astronauts Tell Us About God, John Van Sloten

Leadership as Art, Max Depree

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Gary Chapman and Paul White

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, Studs Terkel

Vision to Results: Leadership in Action, Jim Fischetti

What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, Matt Perman

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, James Kouzes and Barry Posner

Leadership as a Lifestyle, John Hawkins

The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters, Albert Mohler

Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace, R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace, by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae

The Accidental Executive, Albert M. Erisman

Business for the Glory of God, Wayne Grudem

Business with Soul,  Michael Cardone

The Call, Os Guinness

Fabric of Faithfulness, Steve Garber

The Fabric of This World, Lee Hardy

Fruitfulness on the Frontline, Mark Greene

The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Darrell Cosden

It’s About Excellence, David W. Gill

Joy at Work, Dennis W. Bakke

Person Called You, Bill Hendricks

Roaring Lambs, Bob Briner

The Soul of the Firm, Bill Pollard

Spirituality Inc, Lake Lambert

To Change the World, James Davidson Hunter

Whatever You Do: Made to Flourish, Luke Bobo

Work: The Meaning of Your Life, Lester DeKoster

Workplace Grace, Bill Peel and Walt Larimore