Martin Luther biography by Eric Metaxas to be released later this year

I pre-ordered “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World” by Eric Metaxas (Viking Press) today. I consider Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer one of the most compelling, unforgettable books I have ever read, so I’m looking forward to this Martin Luther biography. 

Unfortunately this book won’t be released until October 3, 2017. That’s less than a month before the 500th anniversary of the day Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church (October 31, 1517). But, Germany is taking all of 2017 to celebrate the Reformation. When I visited Wittenberg during January 2015, the town was being refurbished in advance of 2017. So the celebration of the Reformation has already started and I'm a little bummed I can't have my copy of "Martin Luther" until October. 

Celebrating a milestone

My Best Books for Men Facebook page recently passed 300 Facebook likes… not a huge number but the growth has been steady. I genuinely appreciate everyone who has “liked” this page. To show my appreciation I will give away one hardcover copy of “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, via a giveaway contest by Amazon. (Sorry, the contest is open only to US residents.) The contest ends at 11:59 PM on February 9, 2017. Go here for the link

February 10 update - the giveaway for "The Power of Habit" has ended. Amazon tells me 199 people participated. One winner was identified and there are no unclaimed prizes. Thanks to everyone who participated. 

I'd like to give away another book when Best Books for Men hits 400 likes. 

Four books I'm going to read in 2017

Below are four books I want to read in 2017. One is a new book and other three are classic books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.
1. “The Confessions” by St. Augustine. This book is often called the first autobiography in Western civilization, but it seems more like a personal journal. St. Augustine traces his life from infancy to his famous conversion at age 33. It goes without saying that “Confessions” is foundational to western thought and Christianity. I just started studying this book with a group at my church. Why have I not read this book before? I vaguely recall having to read a couple of chapters of this book when I was in college; I feel like I’m long overdue to read the entire book. My group is reading the translation by Maria Boulding
2. “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike” by Phil Knight. The co-founder of Nike, Knight traces the growth of Nike from its beginnings in 1964 (the company was initially called “Blue Ribbon Sports”) to the multi-billion dollar enterprise Nike is today. A very candid, vulnerable, and endearing book. 
3. “Orthodoxy” by G. K. Chesterton. Something of a “spiritual autobiography,” this indispensable Chesterton book explains how Chesterton came to embrace orthodox Christianity. I want to read a lot of Chesterton’s books, and “Orthodoxy” will be the first.
4. “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville. This book, one of the great American novels, is another book I should have read by now but haven't. The plot of Moby-Dick – the epic struggle between a man and the whale he becomes obsessed with – is well known. The opening sentence - “Call me Ishmael” - is haunting.

Four books men will love getting this Christmas

The four books below will make excellent Christmas presents for the men in your life. I have read all four and can  vouch for them being books men will love to read. 
1. “Grit:The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by psychologist Angela Duckworth shows the key to success isn’t talent or I.Q. but a combination of passion and persistence known as “grit.” Chapter 7 alone - “Practice” - is worth the price of the book. I read “Grit” while I was in a training program for a strenuous cycling event, and after reading about the way “gritty” people approach practice I changed how I was training for my event. Elite performers practice differently than other people - they engage in deliberate practice to work on their weaknesses or to reach specific objectives. In the case of my cycling training, after reading “Grit” I approached training with more intensity, doing focused drills and exercises to build my leg strength, cardio, and mental toughness. 
2. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. This book is the most popular and well-known written work on warfare strategy and tactics. Attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking Chinese general, this ancient treatise has profoundly influenced military thinking, business tactics and legal strategies. This book contains 13 sections pertaining to different aspects of warfare. This hardcover edition published by Arcturus is a uniquely attractive, classy edition. Learn the lessons in “The Art of War” and you will be prepared to defeat your competition.
3. “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life” by Brian Grazer & Charles Fishman. Brian Grazer - one of Hollywood's most successful producers (The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Splash) – explains how curiosity is the secret to his success. For decades, Grazer has been holding what he calls “curiosity conversations” with accomplished people. He has interviewed Dr. Jonas Salk, F. Lee Bailey, Isaac Asimov, Daryl Gates, Carlos Slim (at the time, the richest man in the world), two CIA directors, and other luminaries outside the field of entertainment. Grazer pays close attention to how these accomplished people see the world. In the process he gains creativity, insight and inspiration. “A Curious Mind” makes a strong case that curiosity is more important than intelligence or persistence or connections. Some people might feel Grazer comes across in this book as an arrogant name-dropper. That's a fair criticism. But when a hugely successful person reveals his success secrets, it’s worth paying attention to.   
4. "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Questfor Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympicsby Daniel James Brown is the dramatic story of an unlikely group of nine boys from the University of Washington who overcame extreme adversity to win a gold medal in rowing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. How these working class boys – the sons of fishermen, loggers, miners, and manual laborers – prevailed over rowing teams from elite Eastern colleges and went on Olympic glory is an unforgettable story. I couldn’t put down the final chapters.