6 Random Books I Never Got Into (But Maybe You Will) [BOOK REVIEWS]

These are some books that I found, well, boring. Or, at least not as helpful as I had hoped. Some of them I finished. Some, I didn’t. I feel like there are too many other good books out there that are waiting for me to read them, so I try not to waste my time on books I do not enjoy.

What are your thoughts on that? Would you rather stick it out and finish what you started?

And, what are you thoughts on each of these books? Which ones have you read, and which ones did I miss the point of?

Here’s my list of *eh books I’ve worked through over the past couple years…


The Power of Storytelling. By Jim Holtje. What I thought was a “how-to” book on how to communicate through telling stories turned out to be a compilation book of stories. While I did not learn what I thought I would, I did enjoy the book. It is grouped by topic and is to be used similar to a 1001 Illustrations For Preaching book, although written for a corporate business audience. The stories cover several prominent CEOs of the past several decades. While it was not what I expected, I can recommend it as a simple entertaining/informative read. 3/5*


The Sense of Style

By Steven Pinker. I should have judged this book by its cover. Once I got into it, I could not finish, so I returned it. It was laced with edgy examples that were too inappropriate for my tastes. Although it promoted a more modern style of writing (especially when compared to Strunk’s Elements of Style), it was not authoritative enough to merit completing. I learned a few things in the little I read, but not enough to make it worth my time. 2/5*


The Closing of the American Mind. By Allan Bloom. Written in the 1980’s by an American university professor, this secular book frames some of America’s moral problems in terms of bad education. To me, this book was good but not great. It was a boring read and carried little practical value to me. My favorite parts of the book were a couple fabulous chapters that articulated American problems with rock music, the decay of the family and other social issues. These chapters made the book worthwhile, to me, because they helped validate (from a secular educator’s viewpoint) what preachers have been saying for generations. 3/5*


Yes. By Robert Cialdini. When searching for another book (Getting to Yes), I came across Yes and mistakenly purchased it, thinking it was the original book I was after. I was disappointed upon completing the book, because it did not provide the punch I hoped it would. It was written well, but not overly so. I think I was jaded because my expectations were too high. Yes delivers just what it promises in the title: 50 tactics of persuasion. It is not a sleazy approach, but it is not intriguing, either. 3/5*


The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss. This book is legendary in the business world. If anything, for me, it was entertaining to read. His concepts could never be applied to a church staff member, but the principles can still help. Most of the focus is on learning to remove yourself from processes and outsource tasks that you do not need to be doing. In practice, this can perhaps be done in the church setting by setting up and coordinating work-days, maintenance lists, and tree-trimming volunteer days rather than doing it all yourself, for example. I like reading books like this because I read about the passion with which people conduct their lives and business. I’m challenged to be and do at least as much (or more) for my Lord.


Virtual Freedom, by Chris Ducker. See my other topic on outsourcing for other insights into this book. If you oversee jobs that could be outsourced (ie updating a school’s website, scheduling sporting events, ordering and organizing choir music, booking hotels, etc.), it might be of interest to look into overseas virtual assistants. While virtual assistants may or may not be Christian, the jobs that are not inherently “ministry” jobs might very well be outsourced, saving your time for things that only you can do (write encouraging notes, plan youth activities, go to youth leaders retreat, etc.) This book and the next are recommended at least for your consideration.



By Daniel Goleman. My former pastor, Wayne Hardy, recommended this as “his kind of book.” To me, it was boring, but I got through it. What was simultaneously fascinating and dull was the brain studies—how that our brain wires connections to topics that it spends deep amounts of time with. Roughly half the book deals with some sort of scientific discussion about the brain, while the other half is about how we should take care to make focus a priority. The subtitle was somewhat misleading to me, as I expected more discussion about excellence as a result of focus. If you like brain studies, this would be a good book for you!


Now, what is YOUR opinion on these books?