After reaching out to many high-performing peers, this is a list of books that should inspire, inform, motivate, and entertain you in 2020.
My favorite book this year and one that was recommended several times:
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America.
This next book was mentioned by several people:
An updated edition of the blockbuster bestselling leadership book that took America and the world by storm, two U.S. Navy SEAL officers who led the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War demonstrate how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.
This book was also mentioned several times:
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
A book that I am excited to read based on the recommender:
Pain, pride, humility, family—many things shaped Geronimo’s life. In this “compelling book that humanizes a man many misunderstood” (New York Times bestselling author Brian Kilmeade), Mike Leach illustrates how we too can use the forces and circumstances of our own lives to build true leadership today.
This was Nikki’s favorite book of the year:
A liberating 12-step guide to recognizing the emotional issues that hold us back, with strategies to increase our energy and help us reach our potential by the health and spiritual advisor to Gwyneth Paltrow.
Based on the reviews and feedback this one is very intriguing:
The author of the New York Times bestseller You Are the Placebo, as well as Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and Evolve Your Brain, draws on research conducted at his advanced workshops since 2012 to explore how common people are doing the uncommon to transform themselves and their lives. Becoming Supernatural marries some of the most profound scientific information with ancient wisdom to show how people like you and me can experience a more mystical life.
This book has been very important in my growth
and achieving the big goals in my life:
Decades of research by a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist. Mastering our mindset is critical for lifetime achievement. There is also a focus on children in the book and it describes how we speak to them will determine how they overcome challenges in the future. If you work with children in any capacity, you should read this book.
From here, I will list the rest of the books in no particular order. The list is wide-ranging and full of great reads. Best of luck attempting to prioritize your list.
Performance coach Alan Stein Jr. shares the secret principles used by world-class performers that will help you improve your productivity and achieve higher levels of success.
This is a wake-up call to stop living as if the purpose of life was to simply arrive safely at death. Our dreams should scare us. They should be so big that without God they would be impossible to achieve. Quit running away from what you’re afraid of. Chase the lion! Change the world!
Is your professional network as diverse as the workforce and community around you? If not, you could be missing important opportunities for your career. We all face challenges in making meaningful connections, especially with people who differ from us in significant ways. Few of us consider the impacts of these missed connections. Even fewer know how to recognize and overcome them. This book will help you remove the artificial barriers that may be keeping you from your next mentor, star hire, or big customer. Are you ready to transform your career, one relationship at a time?
When we do better work, we live better lives.
Share before you’re ready. Get more agreements. Have difficult conversations.
These are a few of the practical but profound ideas Lessonly CEO Max Yoder shares in Do Better Work. No matter your rank or role, if you want to see more understanding, accountability, and progress on your team, these stories and examples are for you.
This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.
A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.
From the New York Times best-selling author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, a bold framework for leadership in today’s ever-changing world.
Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.
Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel—beloved by millions of readers—is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.
After two decades of research on founders, a best-selling book on the subject, and experience teaching and mentoring thousands of students in this field, Noam Wasserman is a prominent authority on startups. Hearing from countless readers and students that his insights helped them with important life decisions, beyond the incubator and boardroom, Wasserman brings us a new book that applies to everyday life his research on the methods of successful startup founders.
Named a Best Book of 2018 by the Financial Times and Fortune, this “thrilling” (Bill Gates) New York Times bestseller exposes how a “modern Gatsby” swindled over $5 billion with the aid of Goldman Sachs in “the heist of the century” (Axios).
Dapper Dan is a legend, an icon, a beacon of inspiration to many in the Black community. His story isn’t just about fashion. It’s about tenacity, curiosity, artistry, hustle, love, and a singular determination to live our dreams out loud.”—Ava DuVernay, director of Selma, 13th, and A Wrinkle in Time
“My goal in writing The Unicorn Project was to explore and reveal the necessary but invisible structures required to make developers (and all engineers) productive, and reveal the devastating effects of technical debt and complexity. I hope this book can create common ground for technology and business leaders to leave the past behind, and co-create a better future together.”—Gene Kim, November 2019
Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind?
In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues.
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
In the bestselling tradition of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and Nick Vujicic’s Life Without Limits comes a rousing 7-step plan for living a life on fire, filled with hope and possibility—from an inspirational speaker who survived a near-fatal fire at the age of nine and now runs a successful business inspiring people all around the world.
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time, as seen in the HBO documentary True Justice
Poland. 1944. Alfred Mendl and his family are brought on a crowded train to a Nazi concentration camp after being caught trying to flee Paris with forged papers. His family is torn away from him on arrival, his life’s work burned before his eyes. To the guards, he is just another prisoner, but in fact Mendl―a renowned physicist―holds knowledge that only two people in the world possess. And the other is already at work for the Nazi war machine.
You’ve read the Jeffrey Epstein headlines, now get the full story. The world’s bestselling author, James Patterson, has written the definitive book on the billionaire pedophile at the center of the newly unsealed federal sex crimes case.
No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.
After three years of sobriety, Chris Farley’s life was at its creative peak until a string of professional disappointments chased him back to drugs and alcohol. He fought hard against them, but it was a fight he would lose in December 1997. Farley’s fans immediately drew parallels between his death and that of his idol, John Belushi. Without looking deeper, however, many failed to see that Farley was much more than just another Hollywood drug overdose. In this officially authorized oral history, Farley’s friends and family remember his work and life. Along the way, they tell a remarkable story of boundless energy, determination, and laughter that could only keep the demons at bay for so long.
New York Times bestselling author, superstar comedian, and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have a “hilarious but also heartfelt” (Elle) memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself.
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day, the definitive book on Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time.
The dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of one man’s forty-year obsession to find a solution to the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day–“the longitude problem.”
People are using this simple, powerful concept to focus on what matters most in their personal and work lives. Companies are helping their employees be more productive with study groups, training, and coaching. Sales teams are boosting sales. Churches are conducting classes and recommending for their members.
Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler chronicles his month of living and extreme fitness training with a Navy SEAL in the New York Times and #1 LA Times bestseller LIVING WITH A SEAL, now with two bonus chapters.
The mystery of Dead Mountain: In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the mountain climbing incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over the true stories and what really happened.
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.
Hard-hitting divorce lawyer James Sexton shares his insights and wisdom from the front lines of divorce to keep you out of his office and improve your relationship.
The winning game plan for channeling fear into world-class performance. Fear comes in all forms, but one thing is always true: Fear is an obstacle to success. Every successful person has overcome fear.
Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, modern management expert, and New York Times bestselling author, combines lessons both from history and from modern organizational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help executives build cultures that can weather both good and bad times.
Malcolm Gladwell focuses on “minor geniuses” and idiosyncratic behavior to illuminate the ways all of us organize experience in this “delightful” (Bloomberg News) collection of writings from The New Yorker.
Joining the ranks of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fck, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck, You Are a Badas, and Fck Feelings comes this refreshing, BS-free, self-empowerment guide that offers an honest, no-nonsense, tough-love approach to help you move past self-imposed limitations.
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life — and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.
A guide to creating miracles in your own life through the power of thought.
YOU ARE A BADASS IS THE SELF-HELP BOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO DESPERATELY WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES BUT DON’T WANT TO GET BUSTED DOING IT.
Explore the power of the underdog in Malcolm Gladwell’s dazzling examination of success, motivation, and the role of adversity in shaping our lives.
Brené Brown has taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.
Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come.
Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.
Use data, technology, and inbound selling to build a remarkable team and accelerate sales.
Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong.
Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People.
A timeless business classic, Who Moved My Cheese? uses a simple parable to reveal profound truths about dealing with change so that you can enjoy less stress and more success in your work and in your life.
The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.
In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain.As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. No Country for Old Men is a triumph.