The best book I read in 2020

I’ve delayed writing and publishing this. It seems rather shallow to talk about the best books we’ve read last year given the circumstances in the country.

This morning I listened to an episode of NPR’s Embedded entitled, January 6: Inside The Capitol Siege. They played tape from several people covering varying aspects of what happened at the Capitol two weeks ago. Multiple journalists from separate publications working together to give their accounts. That’s when it hit me. We as a collective group have experienced possibly the most traumatic event in our living history as Americans. As individuals our experiences and reactions and ways to deal with it are all distinct.

We all cope with things differently.

Talking about books seems a bit… frivolous. But maybe digging a little more into books, for some of us, is what brings us together by sharing ideas and stories. Could it be a trashy novel helps our brain escape and take a much needed break from the very serious state of the world? With that rest, we can come out stronger. Like great art, perhaps a book helps us see a perspective we had never considered before. They help clarify ideas that weren’t quite as solid as before reading a certain passage or chapter.

I tend to be a non-fiction reader and recommender. In 2020, the most important book I read was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. This is one of those books that I think every single person should read. Yes, it’s well written and compelling. But what’s more important is the thread Ms. Wilkerson unspools from before the founding of America to modern history to today. Seriously read (or listen to) this book!

Here are some other recommendations that I received when I put out the call:

Remorseless by Beth Fisher

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Designing Your Life and/or Designing Your Work Life by Bill Burnett

Apologies that Never Came by Pierre Alex Jeanty 

Zonal Marking by Michael W. Cox

The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

Thank you for sharing these suggestions. I’ve added them to my reading list and already bought at least one of them.

To quote my favorite television president, What’s next?

“It’s not the violence of the few that scares me, it’s the silence of the many.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.