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Since 1974 I’ve been reading fifty or more books per year. Every year I like to review what I’ve read and bring you my list of favorites. With that in mind, here’s my list for 2020. You’ll see that there’s a pretty eclectic collection this year.

This year eleven books made my list. Most are business books. Although there is one novel and one autobiography that I think are important books and ones you might enjoy reading.

Here’s the list:

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek -

In business we get to live in a finite world or an infinite world. Once again Simon Sinek comes up with some very important things to think about with why we’re in business, who we serve and what’s important for all the stakeholders in our business.

There are some examples in the book I’m not wild about. I almost took the book off the list for that reason. I decided that the general message that Sinek has is way important than my pet peeves about examples he uses. Read this book and learn whether your business and you live in a finite or infinite world.

If you find that you work for a finite company, you might just want to change who you’re working for.

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson -

Conversations you have that are crucial ones are the most important and the ones that have the biggest risk attached to them. This book will teach you how to have those crucial conversations in your life and not blow it.

This is an easy book to consume with some very practical recommendations on how to have the conversations that really matter in your life.

Wisdom at Work by Chip Conley -

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie De Vivre Hospitality, a boutique hotel chain based out of San Francisco. After he sold his business, he was looking for a way to stay relevant and ended up working with Air BNB when it needed some advice from an elder.

I loved this book. It might be because I’ve been struggling with aging out of business and looking for strategies to stay relevant. If you’re over sixty years old, I would say this book is a must read. You’ll learn what you can do to stay relevant with those thirty or more years your junior.

Love is Just Damned Good Business by Steve Farber -

Steve is a friend or mine so I could be a bit prejudiced about this book. It’s his first book that isn't a parable.

In his first, The Radical Leap Steve talks about love, audacity, energy and proof as being the secret sauce that makes a great business. In this book he talks about how love is the keystone for the four areas of business he promotes.

I agree that without love it’s almost impossible to create a great business. Read this book and find out why.

Choose by Ryan Levesque -

The most important decision you can make is to decide what sort of business you will start and who you will serve. In this book, Ryan Levesque takes you through a masterclass in how to decide what your business should be and why.

I love the way he melds what’s good for you and what you can be successful at. Too often I see people who become entrepreneurs get stuck by choosing the wrong market to start a business in. Read this book, do the exercises and you’ll be reducing your chances for making a giant mistake before you get started.

If you already have a business and are thinking about a new division, you need to this book just as much as a startup. Spending time thinking and researching the right business is something we all need to do before we start a new business.

Range by David Epstein -

We live in a world of specialists. Without at least a good dose of having generalists work with us is a big mistake. In Range David Epstein talks about why generalists are important and why organizations should value the generalists they have.

I believe this book does for the world of generalists what the book Quiet by Susan Cain did for introverts. The world doesn't give introverts and generalists the respect they should get. Without both, the decisions businesses make are not nearly as when both groups are consulted.

Learn why generalists are just if not more important than specialists in making your company sing when you read this book.

The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute -

If you will only read one book off this list, this is the one you want to read. This is the second book I’ve read by the Arbinger Institute and I think it’s among the most important books I’ve ever read.

This book not only makes my top books of the year, it makes my top books of all times. If you read and re-read this book, you’ll find there are ways you’ve not been serving yourself or others well.

While reading this book be honest with yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask what changes you can make the authors talk about that will make your life and others around you better.

Becoming by Michelle Obama -

This is the one biography or autobiography that made the list this year. I listened to this book as and hearing Michelle Obama talk about where she came from was a treat.

If you like the Obama’s as politicians or not there is so much to admire in where they came from and how they view the world which provide us with great life lessons. The book has little about politics and much about life. I think everyone would do well to read this book.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday -

For the past several years I’ve become enamored with the Stoics. Ryan Holiday is likely more responsible for bringing back the Stoics than anyone.

Often philosophy is hard to read and not very approachable. This is not true with this book. It’s easy to read and understand. You might even want to join me with my meditations on a daily Stoic passage.

If you believe that being personally responsible is important for living a great life, this book is for you.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou -

This is a real book that reads like a crime novel. The author is an investigative journalist who chased the Theranos story for years.

The book is an extraordinarily enjoyable read with great lessons on what not to do when you start a company. The lies and deceit that Elizabeth Holmes and company committed against all of their stakeholders was just staggering.

If you like mysteries and crime novels, this is one for you.

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson -

Neal Stephenson is my favorite author right now. This is the only novel to make the list. I don’t read many novels except anything Neal Stephenson writes. When one of his books is released I immediately pick up, stop anything else I’m doing and read it.

This book is the next chapter of REAMDE. If you like fantasy worlds, great science fiction and wonderful storytelling, it’s time for you to drop what you’re doing and read this book. It can be your reward for working on yourself with the rest of the books in this list.

Well, that’s my list of the best books I’ve read this year. What’s on your list? Why don’t you let me know in the comments below?

Topics: books, books to read, suggested reading, best business books

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