Watson is top tier. One of my personal devotional goals is to be always reading something by him.
Apologies for the discrepancies between the book I read, the cover I am showing, and the edition I am linking to. A lot can happen in three and a half centuries.
The Virtues of Capitalism (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2010)
A decent book. I enjoyed it, and learned some things, but I much prefer my defenses of capitalism to be Strident. These guys were mellow, but they still had some good things to say. My favorite was their observation that the opposite of contentment was not ambition, but rather envy.
Proclamation and Theology (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005)
I found this book very helpful. Willimon is writing from a different place theologically, but his observations here were very shrewd and biblically grounded. A lot of good food for preachers here.
The Checklist Manifesto (New York: Picador, 2009)
This book has a very fine analysis of how to achieve excellence in the midst of complex systems. The complexity of a masterful violin performance is very different from the complexity of building a skyscraper. With the latter, no one person can be the “master builder,” monitoring performance at every level. What is necessary is to monitor the communications of those who are involved and hence, checklists. A good, straightforward read.
Envy (Indianopolis: Liberty Fund, 1969)
Meticulous, careful, learned. I had long thought I needed to read this classic, and am glad I finally did. A mix of psychology, sociology, politics, anthropology, this book is dense but worth it. For pastors, there are a number of takeaway gems.
Mission Drift (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2014)
A good rehearsal of the basic principles necessary to keep organizations from going the way of all flesh. The New St. Andrews board reads a book together in between each of our quarterly board meetings, and this was the one on tap. It contained some really good ideas. A great read if you serve on any boards at all. You might want to say, “Well, that goes without saying.” But it doesn’t.
The Creed of Presbyterians (NL: Fredonia Books, 1901)
I enjoyed this very much. It is a bit too rah-rah in places, and I read an early version of it (1901), written before the author was bedazzled by Barth. At the same time, it was heartening to be reminded yet again how much good Calvinists have introduced into the world.
Toasts (New York: Crown Publishers, 1981)
I enjoy reading collections of sayings and quotes, and just finished this book of toasts by Paul Dickson. It was enjoyable, and as always I picked up a few things. Here are a few favorites.
“May we have more and more friends, and need them less and less”
“Here’s champagne to our real friends and real pain to our sham friends”
“Good luck till we are tired of it.”
There was a short section on curses, and a great Yiddish one was “May the greatest doctors in the world know of your case.”