Books I Have Found Helpful

Often I’m asked to provide a list of books I’ve found helpful. I’m glad to do this.

Let’s start with our rules:

  1. I try not to learn very much. I’m usually successful in learning very little. In each of the following books and resources, I learned enough to determine it was worth my time to read the book.
  2. Please use the wastebasket: I don’t agree with every thought in every resource in this list. I wouldn’t use every word you’ll find in every book. I don’t approve of everything that every author has done or will do. These volumes have helped me. If you don’t find them helpful, don’t use them. Think. Use what is good. Dispose of what’s not helpful.

Books with (5+) indicate that I’ve read that book five or more times.

My Ten Favorite Books (Besides the Bible)

  1. (5+) Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue, by Edwin H. Friedman: #ad
  2. (5+) University of Hard Knocks: The School that completes Our Education, by Ralph Parlette: #ad
  3. (5+) You Can Memorize God’s Word, by Marlin S. Hoffman: 2Uf2eNS
  4. Managing Church Conflict, by James A. Jones: #ad 2MGQ7bo
  5. Counseling Principles for Christian Leaders, by James A. Jones: #ad
  6. Every Life a Plan of God, the Autobiography of Batsell Barrett Baxter, by Batsell Barrett Baxter:
  7. J. D. Tant, Texas Preacher, by Yater Tant: (only available used)
  8. The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Andrew Tobias: #ad
  9. Reader’s Digest: #ad
  10. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life, by John G. Miller: #ad 2lEj2R1

Dave Ramsey’s material is excellent for money management — The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey: #ad

Two Audio Programs that Have Been Valuable for Life Structure

  1. (5+) Lead the Field, by Earl Nightingale: #ad
  2. Your Time and Your Life, by Charles R. Hobbs (This is no longer in production)

Books on Topics

Elders, Shepherds, Overseers

  1. Creating Biblical Leaders, by Ken Wilson: #ad
  2. A Treatise on the Eldership, by J. W. McGarvey: #ad
  3. They Smell Like Sheep: Spiritual Leadership for the 21st Century, by Lynn Anderson: #ad
  4. They Smell Like Sheep, Volume, 2: Leading with the Heart of a Shepherd, by Lynn Anderson: #ad
  5. Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, by Alexander Strauch: #ad


  1. (5+) Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, by William Bridges (the theory of transition’s three phases: ending, neutral zone, new beginning): #ad
  2. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, by William Bridges (practical steps of how to make change a transformation — not a tragedy): #ad
  3. The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments, by William Bridges (an autobiographical account of how Mr. Bridges dealt with the death of his wife): #ad

Transition After Long Ministry Without an Interim

  1. Next: Pastoral Succession That Works, by William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird: #ad
  2. Transition Plan: 7 Secrets Every Leader Needs to Know, by Bob Russell: #ad

Leadership, Business with Good Principles I Can Apply

  1. The Way of the Shepherd: Seven Secrets to Managing Productive People, by Kevin Leman and William Pentak: #ad
  2. Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within, by Robert E. Quinn: #ad
  3. Building the Bridge As You Walk On It: A Guide for Leading Change, by Robert E. Quinn: #ad
  4. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, by Patrick M. Lecioni: #ad

Preacher Search

  1. The Search Committee Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring Your Next Minister, by Don Viar: #ad
  2. When to Leave…Before You Go: 2 Books For Pastors in Transition, by Wade Hodges: #ad

Time Management, Life Planning

  1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen: #ad
  2. Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, by Michale Haytt and Daniel Harkavy: #ad
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey: #ad

Family Systems

  1. (5+) Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue, by Edwin H. Friedman: #ad
  2. (5+) Friedman’s Fables (short stories with 10 questions to discuss to illustrate and apply principles of Family Systems), by Edwin Friedman: #ad
  3. (5+) Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry, by Margaret J. Marcuson: #ad
  4. Healthy Congregations: a systems approach, by Peter L. Steinke: #ad

These books have had a great influence on me and helped me do the work I’m doing now and have been doing for the past sixty years.

(Visited 903 times, 58 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

4 Responses to “Books I Have Found Helpful

  • Jeff Bell
    3 years ago


  • Tommy Lee Shearer
    3 years ago

    I ran across your name this morning. I was in a train of thought while rummaging through Facebook and something told me to look up Jerrie Barber. In class at the NSOP & BS, Bro. Mike Tucker speaks of you frequently. Also, Bro. Don Walker brings up your name. Well I’ve never met Don, and I’ve never met you. It looks like you and I know a lot of mutual people, judging by the mutual friend list we have here.
    The only book I’ve almost read on your list is Bro. Batsell Barrett Baxter’s autobio. I better go for now, I’m gonna run out of characters😂
    I would like to know more, slowly though, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Jerrie W. Barber
    3 years ago


    Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond.

    I like your statement about knowing more — slowly.

    That’s one of my first rules when I study, “Try not to learn very much.”