My Favorite Books of 2020

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. 
The man who never reads lives only one."
                    - George R. R. Martin. A Dance With Dragons

It's true, and the more I read, the more I fall in love with it. We don't have to work too hard for our dopamine hits these days, but a book demands a bit of work. 

It's a slow burn, not a firecracker. 

It asks a lot of us. Developing a habit of effort in a time filled with effortless ones. Far more entertaining than the page. Don't get me wrong, it can become effortless but if you're not a natural reader, or you didn't grow up surrounded by them, then it takes work. Like fine alcohol, the taste is off-putting at first. 

If you can stick with it long enough, you will find that one book. The one that engulfs you and changes the direction of your life. It triggers a before and after marker of your life. The irony is you think its a secret that's worth sharing with everybody, only to discover the next lesson to reading - Books are highly subjective and one that changes your life might only reach doorstop status to another.

That book alone can keep you reading for years until you find the next one, and the next, and then realize your rhythm. You sift through enough that you find a groove. What you love, what you don't like, and what's worth bearing to reach its fruit. 

It begins, slowly, to turn from a challenging effort to an unquenchable thirst of curiosity.

"Read what you love until you love to read." - Naval Ravikant

I didn't read at all as a kid. Honestly, I only read for social credits in my late teens and into college. However, in the last few years I'm proud to say, I read because I love it. 

That's a bit of the story of how I got here, not that you asked... I just felt like sharing it.

Here's a subjective list of some books I loved this year.

#5) How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers By Sonke Ahrens

This book inspired me to start taking notes of books I've read. The key to good and efficient writing lies in the intelligent organization of ideas and notes. This book teaches you about the Slip Box note-taking method—a note-taking system that helps organize, structure, and retain knowledge learned from reading. Here's my summary of it. 

Get it here.

#4) Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes. Nike was born. This story is entertaining even if you're not business-minded, but it's incredibly inspiring if you are. The highs and lows Knight has experienced during the early years of Nike would halt many lesser men. What a journey. 

Get it here.

#3) Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves by James Nestor

Nestor is such a fantastic storyteller. The description of Deep is a voyage from the ocean's surface to its darkest trenches, the most mysterious places on Earth. Fascinated by the sport of freediving-in which competitors descend great depths on a single breath-James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. His ability to teach you about a subject while entertaining you is uncanny. 

I also read and loved his other newer book Breath. 

Get it here.

#2) Mistborn: The Final Empire By Brandon Sanderson

This is a fictional fantasy book. It was a goal of mine to read more fiction in 2020. I've only ever read non-fiction. I wouldn't typically include a fictional book here, but maybe it'll inspire you to try out some fiction yourself. 

Stats show readers are primarily one or the other. Rarely combined. Yet, reading fiction has just fed my love for books even greater. It's opened up a world of opportunity, and they're way better sleep aids!

I'm fairing new to fiction. I read Dune, Ready Player One, and a couple of David Gemmell books before Mistborn, but it changed everything. 

It's the type of book that makes you want to share it with all of your friends. I got a few of mine onto it. The audible is fantastically read as well, so pick that up to make your daily commute something you look forward to. 

The story is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action. Think Oceans 11 set in The Lord of The Rings world. That comparison is rough and doesn't do it proper justice, but I promise it works.

Get it here.

#1) Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era By 

This book will change your life with one page. The catch is its the final page, and you have to work through nearly a thousandof them to appreciate it. 

Let me tell you, it's worth it. It's one of the most famous works out of Japan for a reason. It's a masterpiece of literature. Musashi was the greatest Samurai to ever live. The book takes you through his life, and as it does, it teaches you how to live yours. 

I don't have the vocabulary to describe how valuable this book is to me, but it's my favorite book I've read, and if you read it, I think it will be a top pick for you as well. 

Get it here.


Here's to another year of quenching the unquenchable! 

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