If You Only Read A Few Books A Year, Read These in 2020

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This year, I’ve had the pleasure of listening and reading over 50 books. Here are some that I highly recommend reading in 2020.


  1. Skin in the game — by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The phrase “skin in the game” is one we have often heard but rarely stopped to truly dissect. As Taleb shows in this book, it applies to all aspects of our lives.

The symmetry of skin in the game is a simple rule that’s necessary for fairness and justice, and the ultimate BS-buster.

Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game. Without it, fools and crooks will benefit, and their mistakes will never come back to haunt them.

Nassim Tabel, Author

2. The War of Art — by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.

Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us.

Steven Pressfield, Author

3. The Dip— by Seth Godin

A quick read with a punchy point: Anything worth doing has a painful messy middle period, which is where most people quit.

If you want to be a superstar, then you need to find a field with a steep Dip — And you’ve got to get through to that Dip to the other side — And quit all the other projects and endeavors that don’t offer the same opportunity.

Seth Godin, Author

4. The Slight Edge — by Jeff Olson and John David Mann

The Slight Edge is a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire.

It’s not just another self-help motivation tool of methods you must learn in order to travel the path to success. It shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.

The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.

Jeff Olson, Author

5. The Compound Effect — by Darren Hardy

If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want. You will find strategies including:

  • How to win — every time! The №1 strategy to achieve any goal and triumph over any competitor, even if they’re smarter, more talented, or more experienced.
  • The acceleration secrets of superachievers. Do they have an unfair advantage?

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine

Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.

Darren Hardy, Author

6. Business Model Generation — by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur

Business Model Generation features practical innovation techniques used today by leading consultants and companies worldwide, including 3M, Ericsson, Capgemini, Deloitte, and others.

Designed for doers, it is for those ready to abandon outmoded thinking and embrace new models of value creation: for executives, consultants, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all organizations.

Telling a story that illustrates how your business model solves a customer problem is a clear way to introduce listeners to the idea. Stories give you the “buy-in” needed to subsequently explain your model in detail.

Alexander Osterwalder, Author

7. Creativity, Inc. — by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and an all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation — into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made.

Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.

Ed Catmull, Author

8. Start Small, Stay Small — by Rob Walling, Mike Taber

Start Small, Stay Small is a step-by-step guide to launching a self-funded startup. If you’re a developer, this book is your blueprint to getting your startup off the ground with no outside investment.

The genius of niches is they are too small for large competitors, allowing a nimble entrepreneur the breathing room to focus on an under-served audience.

Choose a niche market and focus so tightly that your product becomes the best in class, members of that niche will have no choice but to use your product.

Rob Walling, Author

9. The One-Minute Manager — by Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson M.D.

Deceptively simple, and measurably effective, the secrets of one-minute management will help you boost profits, productivity, and purpose immediately.

1: One minute Goal Setting. Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.

2: One Minute Praising. Help People to Reach Their Full Potential. Catch Them Doing Something Right

3. One minute Reprimand. We are not just our behavior. We are the person managing our behavior

10. The Last Lecture — by Randy Pausch

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration, and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form.

The last lecture is about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.

Randy Pausch, Author

11. On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is an excellent book for anybody who wants to learn how to write, whether about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, or about yourself.

Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.

William Zinsser, Author

12. Essentialism — by Greg McKeown

Essentialism is not one more thing — it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to do less, but better, and declutter and organize their own lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.

Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.

You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.

Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.

Greg McKeown, Author

13. Predictably Irrational — by Dr. Dan Ariely

In this book, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable — making us predictably irrational.

People are willing to work free, and they are willing to work for a reasonable wage; but offer them just a small payment and they will walk away.

MONEY, AS IT turns out, is very often the most expensive way to motivate people. Social norms are not only cheaper, but often more effective as well.

Dr. Dan Ariely, Author

What’s the most impactful book you read in 2019? Leave a comment below!