I like to scour Amazon on Fridays for some cheap weekend reading, usually picking up a great book or two for a few bucks that I can read through in a couple of hours.

As I spend my week reading Christian books for my teaching and preaching, I’m usually on the lookout for something a bit different, often a biography about someone I’d like to know more about, perhaps a popular history book, or maybe something on leadership/time management/study techniques.

My ideal is a New York Times Bestseller that’s on special offer – not fiction, I just don’t have the time or inclination for that. Sometimes if I see a book that’s got tons of reviews (say 300+) but I don’t know anything about it, I’ll pick that one just to see what others are reading and what’s got traction in our culture. I’m often surprised at how many good sermon illustrations (and blog post ideas) I find.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the special Kindle offers that intrigued me this week. Of these, I’ve already downloaded Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies. If I get through that quickly or it’s a duffer, I’ll probably pick Thinking Fast And SlowHere’s the full list with Amazon descriptions:

Upstairs At The White House: My Life With The First Ladies by J.B. West ($1.99)
J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—and coordinated its daily life—at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive presidents and first ladies, their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests—including friends, relatives, and heads of state.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ($2.99)
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Evernote for Your Life: A Practical Guide for the Use of Evernote in Your Everyday Life by Tyler Collins ($2.99)
Evernote for your life is not a manual, it’s a guidebook for the practical application of Evernote into every corner of your life. Whether you are…
-A student struggling with reams of lecture notes, references, and recordings of talks
-A journalist who needs to compile ideas, log interviews, and communicate on the move
-A busy individual who wants to keep and share photos, store business cards and notes 

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell ($3.99)
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

Quiet: The Power of Quiet in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ($2.99)
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden SIde of Everything by Levitt & Dubner ($1.99)
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar whostudies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.

  • Richard

    The last two books are considerably more expensive than you say :-(

    • David Murray

      It’s the Kindle version that comes with the low price

      • Richard

        That’s what I’m looking at. $14 and $12 respectively. It may be because I’m in Canada. No biggie! (the others are “as advertised” :-)

        • David Murray

          Must be the Canada thing .

          • Richard

            Afraid so. We are a persecuted minority. And too nice to complain :-)