Book Recommendations, by Stephanie Gray


I love books.  And I have my Dad in particular to thank for instilling in me an appreciation for literature (and for helping grow my library of hundreds of books).  Since I’m sometimes asked for book recommendations, I decided to share a list of 10 in particular that stand out to me (although many, many more do):

     Created for Greatness: The Power of Magnanimity, by Alexandre Havard.  I heard about this book from a speaker, Mike Phelan, who presented before me at an event in Phoenix.  His endorsement of it was glowing, so I ordered it upon returning home.  Once I started it, I could hardly put it down.  It so energized and inspired me that I organized a book study of it which I held at my home one month later for several friends who became similarly inspired.

     Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown.  I am forever indebted to my friend Mark Harrington who sent me this book.  While it sat on my bookshelf for a year before I read it, it became the reason for me implementing multiple changes to my life.  I have since gifted it at least 8 times and have recommended it to many others.  I am on my third re-read of it.

     Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25 Year Journey from Prison to Peace, by Michael Morton.  This book left me speechless.  It’s the true story of a man unjustly imprisoned for murdering his wife—a crime he did not commit.  After more than two decades behind bars, his faith and forgiveness blew me away.

      The Holy Bible.  It’s our Creator’s word, so we should read it.  The Psalms in particular have put words to the prayers of my heart on many occasions.  And if you’re ever in a hotel room and wanting a Bible to read, just open the drawers as the Gideons have kindly provided copies in hotels around North America (and possibly the world?).

     Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculee Ilibagiza.  This woman’s account of the trauma of the Rwandan genocide, how she was hunted down, and how she survived is nothing short of incredible.

     Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.  I read this book in 2006 in preparation for my trip to Poland where I visited Auschwitz.  For the past 11 years I have continually referenced the profound insights in this book for audiences around the world. 

     The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose, by Matthew Kelly.  This book was the impetus for me going to Romania to care for children, as well as the inspiration for me to create my famous “quote basket” that guests to my home are very familiar with (when you leave you place your hand in a basket of inspirational quotes I've collected and randomly pull one out to take with you).

     Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Jacques Philippe.  Short and succinct, yet profoundly deep and powerful.  It’s the type of book you can read as a meditation.

     The Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Gowda.  This novel was a vacation read several years ago.  It’s about a girl adopted from India and raised in America, and it interweaves the story of her, her biological family, and her adopted family.  It moved me to tears.

    Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom.  This book came to me in a surprising way.  I had had an extensive debate with a hostile pro-abortion student on a university campus.  He eventually calmed down and became more pensive.  This encounter ultimately led to meeting him for coffee later that week to further discuss the subject, and we pledged to recommend a book to each other.  His recommendation to me was this book, and upon devouring it I was surprised—because if you ask me, it’s profoundly pro-life in how the main character, Morrie, lives with ALS.