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Looking for a good book to start your 2020 off on the right foot? I love the experience of reading a good book. The feeling of flipping from page to page, unable to put it down. Reading just the right phrase and having that “a-ha” moment, where something finally clicks and makes sense in a new way. Those are the kinds of books that I crave and those are the kinds of books that I’m sharing in my top five list of books from 2019 today. Each of these books prompted a major revelation for me. Each of these books stayed with me long after I read them. And each of these books can help you find more meaning and fulfillment in your life and work. So, without further ado, here are my top five books to read in 2020.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
The key takeaway for me of this book is that if you want to be truly excellent at something, you have to have focus. This means prioritizing what matters most and sometimes making difficult decisions about what you will not do. This book gave me a vision of what a focused and fulfilling life could look like for me. And while it is not easy to get there, this book has given me small steps to take each day to get closer to that vision.
Read this book if you feel overwhelmed in your daily life and want a path towards streamlining and simplifying your focus.
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
The key takeaway from this book is that human beings crave stories. Donald Miller shares a narrative structure that you can use when talking about almost anything in life in order to connect better with your audience. While this is largely framed as a business book, the lessons carry through for anyone who has to communicate with other people – so just about everyone!
Read this book if you feel like your communication is not quite landing and you want to connect on a deeper level with other people.
Feeling Good by David D. Burns
This book was one of my first introductions into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and it has been a game-changer in how I think about my thinking. The book is full of extremely accessible exercises that you can start doing today to shift distorted thinking that may be making you feel anxious and depressed.
Read this book if you have moderate feelings of depression or anxiety and want some practical and tangible exercises to shift those feelings in your life.
I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
This book opened my eyes to a different way to think about my time. Laura Vanderkam had studied the daily schedules of hundreds of women and shares some of the best strategies for optimizing time. A massive takeaway for me is that there are many more hours in a week than I tend to think about. While a 40-hour workweek can feel like it takes over the whole week, in reality, it is just a small portion. When you start to really look at the time available to you, it is easier to get creative about how to use it to support your goals and values. This book also inspired my “How She Actually Does It” interview series.
Read this book if you feel like your work takes over your life and you never have enough time to do the things you want to do.
Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi
This book makes my list because it made me wake up to how much technology and constant stimulation is limiting my creativity and deep-thinking skills. One part of the book talks about how many people are losing the ability to read linear long-form text like novels because of online consumption. At that moment while reading, I realized I was having a hard time maintaining focus on reading the book. Reading is a huge value of mine, so that terrified me and woke me up. I love the internet and technology, but this book was a good reminder that much of it is designed to be addictive and it is important to set up guards around that.
Read this book if you feel like you are spending too much time on your phone and want a little more space in your life.
And there you have it! Change often comes from hearing the right words at the right time, and these books certainly came to me at the right time this year. They are all great books to read to change up your thinking and refresh yourself in the new year. If you read one of these books or another great read this year, please share it in the comments below!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out my “How She Actually Does It” Interview series to learn the tips and tricks of how successful women set goals, make plans, and create meaning in their lives.
PS: While I have included a link to Amazon for each book, but I also highly recommend you hit up your local library, my favorite tool for feeding my reading habit. If you haven’t been to the library for a while, many of them are doing some really cool things these days, including waiving fees!