Question: Who Are In Your Top Ten?


What writers are in your top ten? You may read for pleasure. You may read for your work. You may read to help you think (as in my case). You may read for a variety of reasons. Regardless of your reason for reading, who are some of your favorite authors?

What contemporary authors would be in your top ten?

My own list includes: N. T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Gary Thomas, Eugene Peterson, William Willimon, etc. I read very few novels but I do pay attention to Anne Tyler. I try to read widely. I regularly read numerous book reviews (as per Tim Keller’s suggestion). I occasionally read books, such as Andy Andrews’, The Noticer, as well as an occasional book by John Maxwell.


What contemporary writers are in your top ten?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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47 thoughts on “Question: Who Are In Your Top Ten?

  1. NT Wright
    Dallas Willard
    Philip Yancey
    Eugene Peterson
    John Mark Hicks
    Stephen King
    Wendell Berry
    RA Salvatore (fantasy fiction)
    Neal Stephenson (futuristic)
    JK Rowling

  2. For me it is:
    Scot McKnight, Eugene Peterson, Adam Hamilton, NT Wright, Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Mark McMinn, Max Lucado, C.S. Lewis, Joseph Girzone, Thomas Merton…'s not easy to pick just ten

  3. Philip Yancey, Brennan Manning and John Eldredge would definitely be in my top ten. On the fiction side, I'd include John Grisham, Jeffrey Deaver, Kathy Reichs (a recent discovery) and Robert Harris. How many is that….?

  4. Brenning Manning
    Larry Crabb
    John Piper
    Ruth Haley Barton
    Linda Dillow
    Joyce Meyers
    Richard Foster
    started a book last night by Jim Cymbala

  5. I read various writers for various reasons:
    Eugene Peterson
    Bill Hybels
    John MacArthur
    Dallas Willard
    Haddon Robinson
    Gary Smalley
    Charles Swindoll
    John Maxwell
    Wayne Jackson
    George Will

  6. Madeleine L. Engle (trying to read through all her books right now)
    Henri Nouwen
    Scot McKnight
    Brennan Manning
    David Benner
    John Ortberg
    Tim Downs (fiction)
    Lauren Winner
    Ruth Haley Barton
    Keri Wyatt Kent
    Eugene Peterson – want to read some stuff by him

  7. Mark– Familiar with your names until I got to Tony and Felicity Dale. They are new to me as well as Neil Cole. Thanks for the link to Librarything. A great tool.

    • I'm reading a book by the Dales titled The Rabbit and the Elephant. While the premis is in support of "simple church", I've found it to be an excellent book on the heart of what church is – a family through our relationship with God and others. They do a great job presenting the value of simple church without tearing down "legacy churches". Neil Cole has some excellent resources on organic church and discipleship.

  8. Jim, Linda Dillow wrote Calm My Anxious Heart, i have gone thru it 3 times with different groups of women. it is definitely a keeper!!

  9. Brennan Manning, Anne Lamont, Bird By Bird, Plan B, , Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Timothy Keller, the Prodigal Father, Randy Harris, (Please get God Work ASAP),

  10. My reading has changed significantly since leaving ministry as a profession. I'm more into historical biographies these days, particularly re: American War of Northern Aggression. I enjoyed Swindoll, Ortberg, Willard, Willimon, Terry Rush, Crabb, Peterson, Hybels. I was leaving the "market" when I learned of N. T. Wright and Scot McKnight, but what little I read by them was excellent.

  11. I would add John Eldridge, Francine Rivers, Philip Gulley. (Jim, if you have not read Gulley's "Home to Harmony" I think you would like it just for fun.) I always enjoy seeing what you are reading.

  12. Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, Frederick Buechner, Madeline L'Engle, Donald Miller, Catherine Marshall, Kathleen Norris, Richard Foster, Thomas Keating, Gene Edwards (I know that's more than 10, but I couldn't bear to leave any of them out!)

    I also enjoy reading mysteries of the Agatha Christie type – nothing horrid or bloody, just simple whodunnits that keep you guessing till the end!

  13. C. S. Lewis, Tim Keller (books and sermons – of course he's my pastor), Larry Bossidy (business – his book "Execution" was life changing in terms of productivity) , occassional business books to improve productivity, Jack Miller (Heart of a Servant Leader was amazingly perceptive for searching out pride), The Bible (mostly out loud), New York Times (arts, culture, editorial, business, real estate, the magazine and book review) Wall Street Journal ( to counter the NYT) Paul Johnson (wonderful catholic historian), Susan Howatch (great british Fiction. I'm pretty sure she is a believer but energetic writing mostly interested in powers and principalities), Charles Stanley (he helps me to focus on heart change and viewing daily circumstances in view of God's larger purpose) & RC Sproul (such clarity) , CT, World, sports on the web, blogs. That's about it. Good question.

  14. Max,
    Tim Keller is very much a favorite. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't list him. I read his books and try to keep track of various articles and special presentations. I have been helped greatly by reading and listening to him. (Listened to some lectures from Gordon Conwell last year that were so helpful. And he is your pastor… That's great!

    I subscribe to the New York Times Book Reviews, and look online at the paper a few times a week. Right now, I am reading the Washington Post via my Kindle.

    I am familiar with several of your authors. Several, however, are new to me. Larry Bossidy and Susan Howatch are not familiar names to me. I will need to browse through their books on Amazon.

    I am curious about your reading of the Bible "mostly out loud." Is this a long time practice? Are there benefits that you gain from reading aloud? I am asking these questions because I have practiced reading the Psalms aloud for a number of years but do not usually read other books of the Bible aloud.

    I went to your website and enjoyed the visit. I would love to see both the Gospel of Mark and Screwtape. (One of my favorite Lewis' books.) This must be very interesting work.

    Thanks again, Max.

  15. Don Bloesch
    Richard Foster
    Dallas Willard
    John Grisham (for fun!)
    Ron White (I'm reading his bio. of Lincoln right now.)
    Adam Hamilton
    Tim Keller (I've become a fan!)
    Jan Karon

    • Clay–
      Good authors. Have not read Don Bloesch in quite sometime. I am not familiar with Ron White (I like bio.'s very much).

      My wife loves Jan Karon.

  16. Eugene Peterson
    Frederick Buechner
    Henri Nouwen
    Tony Earley
    Walter Wangerin Jr.
    Wendell Berry
    Brennan Manning
    Rick Reilly
    Tim Keller

    • Hoops,
      I really need to read Wendell Berry. I have read so many quotes from his various books. Yet, I have never read an entire book of his. Where would you begin?

  17. While I was earning my Bible degree I read the Bible as though it were a text book. it contained all the answers to the questions that would be on my tests. However, after college I started reading many many many books about the Bible, but did not read the Bible that much, even though I preached from it every week. About 10 years into my ministry I decided to stop reading so many books about the Bible and simply read and study the Bible in depth. In fact I decided that for the next year I would read no other book except the Bible unless I just had to. Conclusion: It revolutionized my relationship with God, my preaching, and everything else about my life. I discovered that the book I had been preaching from for 10 years, yet reading so little, was millions of times better than all the other books combined. I now read a lot of other books, but my main reading by far is still the Bible. Once one begins to really mine out the blessings found in the Bible that are hidden beneath the surface, he or she will never take God's word for granted again.

    • sdjquad– Thanks for this. Sounds like this has been a good journey for you. There is something to be said for saturating oneself with the message of the Bible. Glad to hear that on the other side of this that you continue to be encouraged by the message of Scripture. Thanks very much.

  18. Actually, you and I are reading many of the same things by many of the same people, but I would add to your list works by: Gayle Erwin, Chris Altrock, Bercot, Willard, Roper and Stott. In addition, I enjoy a wide variety of poetry: Frost, Kay Ryan, Billy Collins and Ted Kooser, to name a few.

    • Gary, you are right. The list could be much longer. You have listed a few of my favorite authors! You are way ahead of me in reading poetry. Thanks for sharing the names of these authors.