My Summer Reading List – Rabbi Eric Gurvis

One of my favorite “getting ready for the summer” activities is to wander around the piles of books that have amassed during the year to compile a summer reading list.  Invariably it changes as friends and colleagues recommend new titles I optimistically add to an all-too-ambitious reading list.  Each summer I actually create two lists, one entitled “fun” and the other “serious.”NActually, I have already made some good head-way on my lists.  Here’s a taste of what I’m reading or hoping to read in the months ahead:

The Advantage –  by Patrick Lencioni, who I heard at last summer’s Willow Creek Global Leadership Conference, and who will be speaking again this year.  Lencioni’s latest book is about building healthy organizations.  Lots of food for thought for our congregation here.

Great By Choice by Jim Collins , who will be another speaker at this coming August’s Leadership Conference.  
And God Saw That It Was Not Good by Otto Weiss.   I heard about this one at a recent High Holy Day Sermon Seminar from my friend Rabbi Jeff Salkin.  This is a book that was written in the Terezin ghetto during the Holocaust by a father, whose daughter drew the pictures.  It remained largely unknown until just a few years ago.  The work depicts God , in the form of Aharon Gottesman (literally, “God’s Man”) coming down to the ghetto in human form to personally investigate the rumors being heard on high.  This is one of the most powerful pieces I have read in a long time!

Defending Jacob by William Landey.  This is the second Landey work I have read.  It is set right here in Newton and is a compelling legal thriller in our backyards!

Calico Joe by John Grisham.   Grisham’s newest is about baseball.  But in truth, it’s about so much more, especially forgiveness.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  Many people told me this was “the best baseball novel” in a long time.  It sat on my night table for months.  This is an impressive first novel.  And yes, there’s a good deal of baseball in it.  But to me, it’s far more than a “baseball novel.”  It’s about friendship, family, competition, the complexity of human relationships, and so much more. 

Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero  by Larry Tye.  Tye’s work is a fun, informative and eye-opening look at the evolution of one of our most enduring American characters/heroes.  And who knew Supes was Jewish?  A fun and informative read!

As I’m now at Hartman and studying up to 10-12 hours a day, I’m currently reading novels (Just finished Baldacci’s The Innocent and am now reading a Brad Thor thriller). But soon I’ll be back at a mix of reading. 


The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion  by Jonathan Haidt 
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible by Michael Walzer
The Honesty About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely
The Sixth Man by David Baldacci and some more fiction yet TBD.

How far will I get?  Who knows?  
Oh, yes – and they assign me a good bit to read and study during my studies at the Hartman Institute.  I’ll be reading plenty – and studying a lot.  And I’m looking forward to it all.  I look forward to hearing what others are reading too. Have a great summer everyone!


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