I’ll be honest, I don’t read very many books throughout the year. So when I pick a book to read, I try my best to make a selection that won’t leave me disappointed. I also usually like to focus on books that help me 1) be a better, holier person or 2) a more effective, successful leader.

Here are five books I read this year that I think you’ll find worth your time.

RETURN: How to Draw Your Child Back to the Church by Brandon Vogt

Return: How to draw your child back to the Church - Best books 2017 This book tackles a prevalent problem in the Church: the fact that many young people are leaving the Catholic Church. In RETURN, my friend Brandon Vogt offers tons of practical tips, including secrets to fruitful dialogue and how to respond to common objections to Catholicism. While I don’t have any children of my own, this book has help me have fruitful dialogue with young adults I meet during my travels across the United States.

Since I enjoyed this book so much, I asked Brandon if he’d be willing to help us get it in your hands, and he generously agreed to offer free copies (just pay shipping). I’m confident it will be helpful in your ministry!

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World - Best books 2017 Here’s a book we recommend to each member of the eCatholic team. Deep Work addresses a real problem in society (and in many workplaces): constant distraction. Whether it’s smartphone notifications, unread emails in your inbox, or the Pandora tunes streaming through your earbuds, we rarely “go deep” (i.e., work without distraction).

This book will open your eyes to the damaging effects of the distractions you face each day – and help you learn how to focus without distraction.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business - Best books 2017If you’re a business owner (or if you manage others in your daily work), this is a must-read. The book begins by addressing common workplace frustrations (personnel conflict, profit woes, inadequate growth), then offers a practical method for achieving business success.

I know how stifling it can be when it feels like decisions never get made at your workplace (or if they do, they are never fully implemented). Traction will help you apply its methods in your own job immediately.

Reform Yourself! How To Pray, Find Peace, And Grow In Faith With The Saints Of The Counter-Reformation by Shaun McAfee

Reform Yourself! How To Pray, Find Peace, And Grow In Faith With The Saints Of The Counter-Reformation - Best books 2017We recently witnessed the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, so there’s no better time to check out this fascinating book. Reform Yourself! dives into the lives of the saints who rose up in response to the upheaval of the Reformation. (Think: Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri)

The courage of these holy people helped renew and transform the Church during a critical time in its history. Better yet, this book isn’t only a historical biography of the saints – it will also challenge you to discover a richer spiritual life and help you imitate the saints in your own life.

REMOTE: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier

REMOTE: Office Not Required - Best books 2017We’ve written about the challenges and benefits of remote work and how a majority of our team works outside our main office in College Station, TX. (eCatholic has employees from Vancouver, Canada to Portland, Maine, and everywhere in between.) In fact, we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of dialogue generated by our blog post on remote work (and whether it could work for the Church) earlier this year.

If you haven’t ever seriously considered the possibility of working remotely (or hiring remote workers), I’d highly recommend this read.

I’m looking for some new books to read in 2018. What do you recommend and why? Let me know in the comments below!