Books to read in 2020

As I like to do every year, here are my book recommendations for you to consider adding to your 2020 reading list. I like to break the recommendations into sections – general recommendations, personal development, business reads, and fun reads.

I read 32 books in 2019, which is more than I usually read. For some reason, the books leaned more towards non-fiction, so this year’s list will be a bit light on the fiction side. I’m planning to read a more balanced selection of books in 2020, which I addressed when creating my reading list for this year.

Here are this year’s recommendations:

General Recommendations

  1. Factfulness by Hans Rosling
    If you can only read one book this year, read Factfulness. Rosling takes a measured, fact-based approach to show that the world is not as dangerous as the media would lead us to believe. If anything, it’s improving, and Rosling proves it through facts and numbers. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but it’s remarkable when you look at the amount of advancement that’s been made in the world over the last 50 years or so. I discovered the book through Bill Gates blog, where he did a good write-up and video summary of the book.
  2. Summer Frost by Blake Crouch
    Summer Frost is a short story that is part of Amazon’s Forward Collection. I’ve read 4 of the 6 stories in the collection, and Summer Frost is the best of bunch so far.
  3. The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung
    I’m fascinated by the effects our diet can have on our health. Over the past year, I’ve been working on incorporating regular fasting periods into my diet. I read The Complete Guide to Fasting to help me learn about fasting, how it works, and how to do it effectively. I would highly recommend Dr. Fung’s book if you want to incorporate periods of fasting into your diet this year.

Personal Development

  1. Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    I really enjoyed reading the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, which I read daily during 2018, and again in 2019. Ego Is the Enemy is another of Holiday’s books based on Stoic philosophies that I would highly recommend reading. It doesn’t matter if you’re into stoicism or not, the book contains lots of great principles you can use to live a better and more rewarding life.
  2. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
    I read a lot of good books last year on productivity improvement. I liked Essentialism the best. McKeown does a great job giving you tips and habits that you can apply immediately to your every day life without going too deep into the weeds.
  3. Mastery by George Leonard
    Leonard’s work was both an inspirational and practical book on how to become the bast we can in what we choose to do. In a world that rewards and expects immediate results, Leonard rightly points out the road to mastery in any area of our life requires dedication, perseverance, patience, and, most of all, hard work.
  4. Getting Things Done by David Allen
    Getting Things Done is a low-level, nuts-and-bolts book to increasing your productivity. It starts by showing you how to organize your life, then how to prioritize it, and then how to get stuff done. I’d recommend starting with Essentialism, then following up with Getting Things Done if you want to up your productivity in 2020.
  5. The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hal Elrod and Cameron Herold
    One would think a book like this should go into the business reads, except Miracle Morning focuses more on personal development than business development. Elrod and Herold focus on practices that will improve your mental and physical health. As they rightly point out, you need to be of a sound mind and healthy body if you want to achieve your highest levels of success in business and life.
  6. Get It Done by Michael Mackintosh
    Get It Done outlines a 21-day action plan you can put into practice for achieving a goal or completing a project. I’d highly recommend it if you have a nagging project or goal that you’ve been wanting to do or need to get done. Just be prepared, it will take discipline, and it will challenge you.

Business Reads

  1. The Go-Giver Leader by Bob Burg and John David Mann
    The Go-Giver was one of my favorite books of 2018. The Go-Giver Leader is Burg and Mann’s follow-up, and it is every bit as good as the original. I would highly recommend reading it, but after you’ve read The Go-Giver.
  2. The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
    The 1-Page Marketing Plan isn’t the most detailed marketing book you’ll ever read, but it provides a simple framework that will help you organize your thoughts around your business or product. Best of all, it helps you build a complete marketing plan that actually fits on one page.
  3. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
    Some of my favorite books are those that get their point across through an entertaining story. Gordon uses that method with The Energy Bus. Using a story, he reveals the 10 rules you can apply to improve the performance of your team.

Fun Reads

These are the books that didn’t make my Must Reads list but are still worth reading. They are entertaining and great for taking on vacation, or reading over a long holiday weekend.

  1. Sourdough by Robin Sloan
    Only Robin Sloan could make a book about bread and technology go together, and entertain you at the same time. I shouldn’t be surprised. His first book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore was just as quirky and just as much fun to read.
  2. Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin
    This is the second best story of the four I’ve read in Amazon’s Forward Collection. It was my first exposure to Jemisin’s writing, and I expect it won’t be my last.
  3. Bandwidth by Eliot Peper
    Eliot Peper is becoming one of my top authors. I’ve read a number of his books thus far, including Uncommon Stock and Cumulus. Each have been well written, entertaining, and shown up on my Fun Reads list.
  4. Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey
    Make no mistake, I’m a fan of Hugh Howey. While Molly Fyde is not my favorite Howey book, it is still a classic Howey book. He immerses you in the environment and entertains you with a fast, action-packed story. The Parsona Rescue is the first of four books in the Bern Saga. There is plenty more to read if you enjoy this one.

I also read the daily devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young during 2019. I enjoyed it and would recommend it if one of your goals for 2020 is to start a daily habit of reading the Bible, prayer and meditation.


If you’re looking for more books to add to your 2020 reading list, here are my recommendations from prior years. Since my reading was more balanced in prior years, you may discover a few more fiction reads for this year.