Top Ten Books of 2020

by Jan 6, 2021Productivity

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 5-minute audio recording.

In 2020 I read 37 books. This is down from 48 in 2019, and it was intentional. In StrengthsFinders, my number one strength is Learner. This means I am continually inputting information, whether it is from a book, podcast, or article. I feel like I have to use every moment to learn something. 

Input Less

Most people have goals to read more. My goal for 2021 is to input less. My theme is White Space. As in…white space on a page. A blank document (my brain) to write my own thoughts and theories. If I'm always inputting, I'm never really thinking or allowing my brain to absorb what I've learned. I'm promoting a new habit for people like me to thinkitate. 

This year brought about 38% growth in my company and new challenges and situations that I needed to strategize and get creative. Without this thinkitating time, I'm not doing this. Now it is intentional.

I also cut back on my book goal because some of what I ‘read' is audio, and my podcasts are sometimes over 2 hours each per episode. A few of those are the equivalent of a book!

Top Ten Books of 2020

I still love to read and listen and am happy to share my top ten books of 2020. These are in no particular order and were not all released in 2020. You can see the full list of the books I read here.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Everyone should read this book and how their breath affects their health. Did you know how many more bottle-fed babies need braces, have sinus issues, and mouth breathe?

Read Full Review

Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body Defy Aging

Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body Defy Aging by Ben Greenfield

Get your biceps ready…this book is a big one! Ben Greenfield offers the most comprehensive health book I have ever read. It's best for personal trainers, medical doctors, and people who already have a deep knowledge of the body and mind.

Read Full Review

The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More

The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype–and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More by Dr. Michael Breus

Did you know there are over 3000 studies on chronobiology? This book was FASCINATING. I took so many notes for myself and my husband that I created a spreadsheet with my ideal chrono times for everything from eating, sleeping, sexy-time, working out, presenting, and even sending emails. 

Read Full Review

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I think this is one of the most important books I've read this year. Anyone who has grown up in the South or Midwest – Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee- will either see themselves or families they know in this book.

Read Full Review

upstream

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

I highlighted so many sections in this book, I'll almost be reading it over again. I found myself saying to my husband every night “Today I learned….” I'm now on a quest to find ways to solve things upstream.

Read Full Review

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson

White Fragility was the third ‘educate Marcey' book this year and, while painful to read, so important. She brought up so many points that I am embarrassed to say that I have stated, believed, or even encouraged, and why those points are not legitimate or helpful.

Read Full Review

Born Survivors

Born Survivors by Wendy Holden

HEAVY. I've read a lot of WW II books and this one is very different. It's more of a fact-based story rather than a novel or drama. It follows three women who were pregnant while living in the concentration camps.

Read Full Review

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Mr. Bryson does it again! I made so many Kindle highlights I may as well have copied the book. If you are interested at all in the human body, read this!

Read Full Review

Talking to strangers

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

This wasn't one of my favorite Malcolm Gladwell books, but I think he is so excellent that he sets the bar high. I listened to this as an audio and love to hear him speak (he also works well at 1.25 speed). The stories he tells are insightful about our bias and unconscious thoughts that inform our decisions.

Read Full Review

voice unleashed

Voice Unleashed: Speaking Up with Faith and Courage by Helen Moses

Voice Unleashed is a walk with Helen Moses and how she found her voice in multiple areas of her life. She touches on topics that people don't want to admit to from physical and digital clutter, financial insecurities, religion, and raising kids with health issues. 

Read Full Review

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects