11 Brilliant Books I Read in 2020

11 Brilliant Books I Read in 2020

Books to Read

Before this year, I always read books “the old fashioned way.” You know…with “real” books. I LOVE hardcopy books! I LOVE the smell of books and the feel of books. You could call me a book nerd. BUT I only have so much time to actually sit down and read….which isn’t very much at all. I can do a chapter here and there but for the most part, it takes me FOREVER to read a book. With two small children I am constantly interrupted to “watch this with me”, or “play with me”.  This year with COVID I had to forgo going to the library. So I looked for other options. Let me just tell you, I have found a new love! I LOVE LOVE LOVE audio books. I have a 30 minute commute twice a day to and from work and I can listen to my books on the way to and from work, any trips to the store, while out on my walks. It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Amazon has this awesome app called audible. You can try it out FREE for 30 days  and take audio books with you wherever you go.

Without further ado, here is my list of books that I “read” this year.

  1. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages was an amazing book that helped my husband and I further understand each other and fill our love tanks. 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?

In the #1 New York Times international bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.

The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.

Includes the Couple’s Personal Profile assessment so you can discover your love language and that of your loved one.

  1. Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

While listening to this book, I removed tons of apps off my phone that were just time wasters, including facebook (gasp*). And guess what? I DON’T miss it at all. I use facebook only for the groups for my business and blog and messenger if I need to message someone. But other than that, I don’t even look at my news feed anymore. And I have felt more relaxed and less anxious since then. It starts with a 30 day challenge. Can you give up unnecessary digital time wasters?

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.

  1. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

I got some really awesome tips on how to go for my dreams with this book! And own them. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or how they feel and I don’t apologize for it! She gives you tips and tricks along the way to help you do you.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: Women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself. 

  1. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

The Year of Less wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be but I loved it anyway. Cait documented her no spend year and all the emotions that went along with it. It has inspired me to attempt a no spend month (I will have to work up to a year because….Amazon).

Synopsis (form Amazon):

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy–only keeping her from meeting her goals–she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

Now available for the first time in paperback, The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.
The challenge became a lifeline when, in the course of the year, Cait found herself in situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol, and food–and what it had cost her. Unable to reach for any of her usual vices, she changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life–and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less.

  1. Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher

Stress Less, Accomplish More has changed my life. I am not even kidding. I really do stress less! I have tried meditating before and didn’t really have any success. I just thought I wasn’t doing it right or I just couldn’t quiet my mind enough. Emily Fletcher has a new take on how to meditate using the 3 M’s, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifestation. Since I read this book, I have been meditating twice a day (almost all the time) and it has worked wonders. Emily is the founder of Ziva Technique, a meditation technique. If you would like to give it a try or for more information, click here.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

You know you should be meditating, so what’s stopping you? This entertaining and enlightening book by the founder of Ziva Meditation—the favorite training for high achievers—will finally take meditation mainstream.

In our high-stress, overworked lives, we think the answer to accomplishing more is to do more. But the best advantage we can give ourselves is to take a mental break—to spend a few minutes of the day giving the body and brain rest. Did you know that a brief meditation can offer rest that’s five times deeper than sleep? When you make time to practice the Z Technique this book teaches, you’ll actually be more productive than if you took an hour-and-a-half nap or had a cup of coffee.

A leading expert in meditation for high performance, Emily Fletcher has taught meditation at numerous global corporations, including Google, Barclays Bank, and Viacom, to help their employees improve their focus and increase their productivity levels. With Stress Less, Accomplish More, anyone can get the benefits of her 15-minute twice-daily plan. Emily specifically developed the Z Technique for working people with busy lives. Now, you can learn to recharge anywhere, anytime—at home or at your desk. All you need is a few minutes and a chair (no apps, incense, or finger cymbals required).

This is not just another meditation book. In Stress Less, Accomplish More, Emily teaches a powerful trifecta of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifesting to improve your personal and professional performance, clarity, health, and sleep. You’ll learn how to cultivate Mindfulness through brief but powerful exercises that will help you stop wasting time stressing. Plus, you’ll get Manifesting tools to help you get crystal clear on your personal and professional goals for the future.

Filled with fascinating real-life transformations, interactive exercises, and practical knowledge, Stress Less, Accomplish More introduces you to a revelatory daily practice and shows you how to make it work for your modern life.

“We meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation.”—Emily Fletcher

  1. Project 333 by Courtney Carver

I love challenges! And this book is just that. It challenges you to go for 3 months wearing a combination of only 33 items in your closet. Sound hard? To me it sounds inspiring! This is going to be my first challenge of 2021. Starting January 1st I am going to only have 33 items in my closet for 3 months. I will let you know how it goes!

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Wear just 33 items for 3 months and get back all the JOY you were missing while you were worrying what to wear.

In Project 333, minimalist expert and author of Soulful Simplicity Courtney Carver takes a new approach to living simply–starting with your wardrobe. Project 333 promises that not only can you survive with just 33 items in your closet for 3 months, but you’ll thrive just like the thousands of woman who have taken on the challenge and never looked back. Let the de-cluttering begin!

Ever ask yourself how many of the items in your closet you actually wear? In search of a way to pare down on her expensive shopping habit, consistent lack of satisfaction with her purchases, and ever-growing closet, Carver created Project 333. In this book, she guides readers through their closets item-by-item, sifting through all the emotional baggage associated with those oh-so strappy high-heel sandals that cost a fortune but destroy your feet every time you walk more than a few steps to that extensive collection of never-worn little black dresses, to locate the items that actually look and feel like you. As Carver reveals in this book, once we finally release ourselves from the cyclical nature of consumerism and focus less on our shoes and more on our self-care, we not only look great we feel great– and we can see a clear path to make other important changes in our lives that reach far beyond our closets. With tips, solutions, and a closet-full of inspiration, this life-changing minimalist manual shows readers that we are so much more than what we wear, and that who we are and what we have is so much more than enough.

  1. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Even if you find this book in hard copy, please, please, please listen to the audio version. Jen has a sense of humor that I feel like hearing it is SOOO much better! She really brings it to life. 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bitesized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you’ve never made before.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

I feel I need to buy this book now so that I can have a checklist (anybody else like checklists?) or something to reference on the 7 habits. It was an awesome book. A lot of information packed into it. I think it would probably be fairly hard to read so I still recommend the audio version.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of presidents and CEOs, educators and parents—in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations across the world. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates his timeless wisdom, and encourages us to live a life of great and enduring purpose.

  1. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

This is the second book I read from Courtney Carver. (She wrote this one first though so maybe read this one first if that matters to you?) This book has re-inspired me to downsize and declutter. Although I have a long way to go, I am starting January 1st with Project 333. I have been trying to declutter for a while now, and I have been pretty successful getting rid of tons of “stuff”, but it gets discouraging just because there is so much and at times I feel like I haven’t made any progress. I have been re-inspired to keep going by this book. 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

We are often on a quest for more—we give in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stress was like gasoline on the fire of symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent.
     In this book, she shows us how to pursue practical minimalism so we can create more with less—more space, more time, and even more love. Carver invites us to look at the big picture, discover what’s most important to us, and reclaim lightness and ease by getting rid of all the excess things.

10.  White Fragility by Robin Deangelo

White Fragility puts racism in perspective. If you have any inkling to know more about racism and how it affects people of color whether you “see” it or not, this book is for you. It is definitely an eye opener!

Synopsis (from Amazon):

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

11.   Playing with FIRE by Scott Rieckens 

Who doesn’t want to become financially independent and/or retire early? If you are interested, this is a place to start. You definitely will not learn everything you need to know but it is a great introduction.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

What if a happier life was only a few simple choices away?

A successful entrepreneur living in Southern California, Scott Rieckens had built a “dream life”: a happy marriage, a two-year-old daughter, a membership to a boat club, and a BMW in the driveway. But underneath the surface, Scott was creatively stifled, depressed, and overworked trying to help pay for his family’s beach-town lifestyle. Then one day, Scott listened to a podcast interview that changed everything. Five months later, he had quit his job, convinced his family to leave their home, and cut their expenses in half. Follow Scott and his family as they devote everything to FIRE (financial independence retire early), a subculture obsessed with maximizing wealth and happiness. Filled with inspiring case studies and powerful advice, Playing with FIRE is one family’s journey to acquire the one thing that money can’t buy: a simpler — and happier — life.

PS: There is also a documentary!

I hope you enjoyed this list! I absolutely enjoyed reading them! If you liked the list or want to come back to it later, save on Pinterest!

Leave a Reply