Alan J. Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan (IVP 2011). Under the editorial hand of D.A. Carson, this series continues to produce informative monographs on important topics of biblical theology. This new work on Acts is no exception. The strengths of Thompson’s work are many: he takes Acts on its own terms, his theological themes are well articulated, and he effectively shows the connections between Luke and Acts. I made a point to read this book before venturing on a long sermon series on Acts this fall. I’m sure I’ll refer to it often in the months ahead.
Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Random House 2011). Want advice on how to change apart from the gospel or belief in God? Then this is the book for you. Duhigg, a reporter for the New York Times, is a good writer with a knack for telling a story. Each chapter is a creative look at forming habits through the lens of advertising, scientific research, social movements, or the business world. Most Christians will enjoy reading this intriguing, entertaining tome, and many will find a few nuggets of good advice. But considering Duhigg goes out of his way to minimize the role of God in changing habits, evangelicals won’t find a lot of help here. Even when Duhigg can’t deny the power of religious belief in changing people, he concludes that the important piece is just believing in something, especially in ourselves. You’ll find the chapters on Pepsodent, Starbucks, and Target fascinating, but the power to transform your life lies elsewhere.
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity (Simon and Schuster 2012). Having read their book on Billy Graham and the presidents, I was eager to read another Gibbs/Duffy book on the highest office in the land. They avoid covering the same ground as many other presidential books by looking at the post-WWII presidents as they have related to each other. This unique angle makes for unique history. You’ll find out who was better than you thought (Hoover), which president went rogue (Carter), and which two are surprisingly good friends (Bush 41 and Clinton). This is popular history at its best—accessible, interesting, and with a knack for the untold story.