The first post of this two part series was a more personal post talking about my love of reading. This second post will deal with some of the books (and ideas within them) that have highly influenced my thinking.
How to Read a Book – Mortimer J Adler
I first read Mortimer J Adler’s How to Read a Book in 2016 after it was suggested to me by a friend in 2015. This book has greatly improved my reading ability (and comprehension) further growing my love of reading. Adler talks about the different levels of reading and how to determine which level is necessary for the type of book you are reading. Even though many of the principles in Adler’s book may seem simple it is incredibly practical and helpful for improving your reading ability and speed.
The Moment it Clicks – Joe McNally
Joe McNally’s The Moment it Clicks was hugely influential on me when I first read it when I was in my sophomore year of high school. Joe McNally is one of the most sought after portrait photographer’s working today. He has photographed many celebrities and has worked for publications including National Geographic and Life Magazine. This book is a combination of a coffee table book and a photography how to book. McNally retells the stories behind several of his images taken through his prolific career and gives the technical photographic details behind how he captured the images. Even though I may not agree with some of McNally’s views outside of photography this book was hugely influential on me pursuing professional photography and later attending Hallmark Institute of Photography (where I would befriend one of McNally’s later assistants).
The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber
Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited was first recommended to me by a professor when I was in college. I never got around to reading the book until late 2016. It has been one of the most influential business books I have read in my life. Gerber talks about how most people who are good at a technical skill (such as photography) assume that they will be good at running a business that specializes in that technical skill. This assumption is false and is one of the reasons most small businesses fail. To run a successful business you must know more than the technical skill the business provides but also know how to run a business. Running a successful business is all about setting up systems and working on your business instead of just in it. This advice greatly impacted the changes I made to Ryan Watkins Photography during my off season in later 2016 and early 2017 (making it run smoother and more efficient). I would highly recommend The E-Myth Revisited to anyone interested in running their own business.
The Conservative Mind – Russell Kirk
Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind was recommended to me by some friends from church. This book is an extended essay in the meaning of conservatism in the line of Edmund Burke. Kirk spends over four hundred pages expounding the principles expressed by Burke and those who have followed in his tradition. Part of Kirk’s masterpiece which was especially impactful on me was near the end of the book where he talks about the dangers of both individualism and collectivism. This helped me see the importance of community (especially locally) which is something I’ve tried to cultivate and have made an active effort to be part of since reading Kirk.
The Westminster Confession of Faith – Westminster Assembly
When I started compiling this list I found it difficult to decide what theological books I would include on this list. Over the last few years theology has been what I’ve primarily read due to my shift from the non-denominational church I grew up in to confessional reformed theology. There are tons of books which have been incredibly impactful to my thinking in this area but I think the majority of the thinks expressed in other books get covered somewhere in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a historic confession coming out of the protestant reformation and is held to by the church I am a member of (the Orthodox Presbyterian Church). I believe this to be the best summation of the teaching of Holy scripture and would highly recommend fellow Christians or those curious about the historic Biblical Christian faith become acquainted with it.
Ordinary – Michael Horton
Another theological book I read recently and would highly recommend is Ordinary by Michael Horton. This books focuses on what living an ordinary Christian life in an ordinary town and an ordinary family practically looks like. I found this book incredibly comforting.
If you are a fellow lover of reading check out my profile on Goodreads where I regularly update which books I’m currently reading and write reviews of books I’ve read in the past.