Posts Tagged ‘Donald Miller’


I don’t usually post across platform (i.e. the same post to all my different blogs) but today I am going to make an exception. Yesterday, a friend of mine was talking me about trying to get more into reading and asked me for some recommendations. Then today as I was working my way through today’s assignment in Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century I was asked to write about ten books that I love and why they impacted me. As I began to think of all these great books, it was hard to pick the top ten (I ended up with 12). but these are some of the best books I have read in the past few years and al of them would be beneficial to any creative. If you’d like to read any of these books, please click the image beside them and order them from Amazon. If you do, a very small portion of the purchase price will go to support this website.


  1. The Bible because it is the Word of God and contains so much information necessary to life on this planet and in the world to come. Nearly every time I read it, I see something new.

  2. Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park because it showed me the power of research in telling a story. The science in the book makes the premise so plausible that one begins to wonder is this being done.

  3. Andy Andrews The Traveler’s Gift. I read this book at a time when I was feeling very depressed and self-absorbed and it reminded me that there was more to life than what I was seeing and that there are principles that can help everyone all the time. This book also introduced me to Andy Andrews and secured in me the desire to become a professional speaker.

  4. Andy Andrews How Do You Kill 11,000,000 People? This small book is an exploration of the holocaust and the thinking behind it showed me that evil prospers when good people do nothing and the evil power of lies.

  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read this book because I had to for a school assignment, and several times since because I wanted to. Tolkien tells the story of a comfortable little man living a comfortable little life who discovers a big world full of problems and decides to do something about it. It’s a classic coming of age good versus evil story where good prevails. Of course one cannot speak of The Hobbit without the follow up epic, THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    . There are so many great things in these stories, but I guess the biggest thing I took away was it doesn’t necessarily take the most powerful to make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is for ordinary people to step up.

  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It almost seems wrong to mention Tolkien without Lewis. These two contemporaries and friends wrote some amazing stories. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis gives one of the truly great examples of allegorical story telling. From this book, I learned that you can tell a great story that makes a fantastic point without beating people over the head.

  7. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This book was one of the quickest books I have ever read which is strange for a memoir. I didn’t agree with everything in this book, but it really challenged me to look at how I communicate and live out my faith. The other reason I loved this book is because it got me to read…

  8. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. So here’s what happened. Miller writes Blue Like Jazz and it sells like a zillion copies so of course some film makers decided to make a movie out of it. In their meetings with Miller, he discovers they are taking a lot of liberties with the story. What Miller discovers is a great book does not always translate to a great movie. The problem though is BLJ is in many ways Miller’s life story. He begins to question how you live a better story and sets out to live one. This book made me check the story I am living and set out to live a better one too.

  9. Tribes by Seth Godin. This short little book has a basic premise. There are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of interests, and what they need is for someone to bring them together into community and lead them. This book was a huge influence on what I do. I started blogging immediately after reading this book and helped to bring so much of what I was trying to do in this world into focus.

  10. Linchpin by Seth Godin. This book talks about living artistically whether one is an artist or not. Living a remarkable life and being remarkable, living one’s life as a gift to the world and becoming indispensable. This book also made me look seriously at my life and the way I am investing my talents, abilities and pretty much my life in general.

  11. Re-Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson This is a business book, with a lot of really great ideas for creative folks. In addition to all the great content, I loved the way this book was formatted. It inspired the way I designed my own creative ministry book Running A.M.O.K.: Random Musings for the Creative Hands of the Body of Christ

  12. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. This book was a huge influence on me. I got it after reading about it in Linchpin. This book deals with the resistance that keeps people from creating and how to overcome it. This book is a must read for every creative. It will help you smash through creative block and also to fight the resistance.

If any of these books looks appealing to you, click the image to order them from Amazon


Think about your favorite story ever. What makes it your favorite story? Is it the setting, the characters, the conflict, the way the hero rises up to save the day? Now let me ask you another question. What kind of story are you living? Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller, found himself in a strange place. He wrote a memoir about his life as a Christian and someone decided to make a movie about it. Turning the memoir into a movie with a plot and action, heroes and villains, led him to that very question—what kind of story was He living and the follow up, how could he live a better story? Miller defines story as “a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”

Look at the story of your life right now. What is it you want (the goal)? What stands between you and your dream (the conflict)? How can you overcome the conflict to reach your goal? Create something that expresses you reaching your goal. What will it look like to reach your goal?

Take the challenge yourself and submit links in the comments below, I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

(Excerpt from Dave’s Upcoming Book, A Year in Art—52 Creative Challenges, Coming soon!)


Tell a better story, live a better story…

What are you going to do?


When I first heard about the book Blue Like Jazz, I wasn’t terribly interested, then I found myself in an airport bored out of my mind so I went looking for something to read. I saw it and picked it up. I read it before my plane landed at home. It became very influential on me. In the book Miller takes an honest look at his life following (or trying to follow) Jesus.

Then he wrote another book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that opens another window onto the journey. Making a movie about Blue Like Jazz (coming out in limited release soon) forced Miller to look at the story of his life and came to the realization that he didn’t just need to tell a better story, he wanted to live a better story.

I didn’t always agree with every conclusion Miller came to, but it wasn’t up to me to agree (or disagree) anyway. These books are a man telling his story and reading them forced me to look at the story of Jesus my life tells and made me want to live a better story.

What kind of story are you living?


I’m doing an art workshop at the end of the week that’s different from most ofwhat I have been doing. This video speaks about it. Please watch the whole thing. I ask for some input toward the end and I could rally use some as well as your prayers.

A lot of what I do a far as workshops go is for non-artists. People in the church who want to find new ways to teach and preach and reach and especially to empower people who are in their churches to use their gifts to serve God. So When I was first asked to do this workshop I was really excited about it but as it got closer I got a bit apprehensive. I started to doubt my abilities. What if the people are disappointed in my art abilities. I mean I work really hard to do the best work I can do, but the work I do is usually done very quickly and its used to tell a story. I make no excuses for it. My work does what it is created to do, but what will a room full of artists think? I get self doubts sometimes, how about you?

As a I searched for the topic of this event, I decided to tell you what I tell my church folks. I gave up doing art for art sake a long time ago and we’ll get into that more when I start to tell you my story at the end of this but for now suffice it to say I found a new purpose for my art. Art is not longer the be all end all for me. It’s a means to an end, it’s a tool and I use it to tell a story. Now in my case it’s the story of God, but today we’re not going to deal with that as much right away. We’re going to talk about art that tells a story.

There are four parts to this day. This part that we’re in right now the introduction where I’m going to share a little bit more. We’re going to look at story and ways to create art that tells a story, with a little philosophy and a few examples thrown in. Then we’re going to look at your story. This is going to be a fun exercise. I’m going to let you play, give you some time to create a work that tells part of your story and I will create a piece of my own as well in that you will get the chance to share your work and its story with the group. Then Leah’s going to come up and share some music with us while I create a piece with a story and finally I’ll tell you my story. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole thing. Of course at various times I will take a few questions and hang around a little while afterward to chat.

For me the art is subservient to the story. So what is story. Donald Miller defines the story as a character who wants someting and overcomes conflict to get it.
Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
Matthew 27,28; Psalm 103
You can also download your own chart here.