The Best Books I Read in 2020

“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”

Dr Seuess

How do you find time to read?

I get asked this question a lot. I get it. We’re all busy, and making time to sit down and read a book just seems so hard to do sometimes.

The truth is, I can’t imagine life without books. To me, the written word is one of our greatest treasures.

Every year I read a lot of good books. I also read my share of not so good books. And scattered among them all are a few really excellent books. These are the books that move me or give me joy in a way that leaves an impression long after I’ve read the last word. The kind of books that need to be shared.

So here is my list of top books read this past year. Out of the 45 total books I read, these were the golden apples. Hopefully you’ll find the same joy I did while reading or listening to them.

  • The Last Kingdom Series (Saxon Chronicles) by Bernard Cornwell
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  • All Things New by John Eldredge
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

The complete list

My goal for 2020 was to read 45 books. On top of all the other things we added to the farm this year (meat birds, more pigs and a growing list of CSA customers) I felt 45 was ambitious enough to be challenging but still doable.

Looking back on this list of books is like looking back on great memories. Experiences shared. New things learned. Like looking back on some of the best vacations. And so sharing them with you feels like reliving them all over again.

You’ll see through this list that I like to read widely. There are books on farming, memoirs, fiction, leadership books and books on developing a deeper faith. I very rarely read the same genre of book back to back. I read what I’m interested in, I read what I think will motivate or educate, and I try not to waste time on a book if it doesn’t hold my interest. Life is just too short.

And there are too many adventures to experience.

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  2. Uncommon by Tony Dungy
  3. You and Me Forever – Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis & Lisa Chan
  4. Successful Berry Growing by Gene Logsdon
  5. Win Forever by Pete Carroll
  6. Leadership Strategy and Tactics by Jocko Willink
  7. The Dirty Life – On Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball
  8. Master of One – Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor
  9. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  10. Get Your Life Back – Everyday Practices for a World Gone Mad by John Eldredge
  11. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
  12. Unfu*k Yourself – Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
  13. Good Husbandry by Kristin Kimball
  14. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
  15. The Fort by Bernard Cornwell
  16. The Motive – Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities by Patrick Lencioni
  17. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  18. The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  19. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  20. Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  21. Death of Kings (The Last Kingdom #6) by Bernard Cornwell
  22. The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran
  23. A River Runs Through it and Other Stories by Norman Maclean
  24. The Pagan Lord (The Last Kingdom #7) by Bernard Cornwell
  25. Fortitude by Dan Crensaw
  26. Learning to Lead Like Jesus by Boyd Bailey
  27. Follow Me – A Call to Die, A Call to Live by David Platt
  28. Leadership is Language by L. David Marquet
  29. Dream Big by Bob Goff
  30. Taking Point – A Navy Seal’s 10 Fail Safe Principles for Leading Through Change by Brent Gleeson
  31. The Empty Throne (The Last Kingdom #8) by Bernard Cornwell
  32. Atomic Habits – An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  33. Not a Fan – Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman
  34. The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz
  35. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
  36. The Garden – A Spiritual Fable About Ways to Overcome Fear, Anxiety and Stress by Jon Gordon
  37. Warriors of the Storm (The Last Kingdom #9) by Bernard Cornwell
  38. The Uniform of Leadership – Lessons on True Success from My ESPN Life by Jason Romano
  39. The Flame Bearer (The Last Kingdom #10) by Bernard Cornwell
  40. All In – How the Best Managers Create A Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results by Adrian Gostick
  41. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  42. The Catalyst – How to change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger
  43. Becoming Bulletproof – Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations and Live Fearlessly by Evy Poumpouras
  44. All Things New – Heaven, Earth and the Restoration of Everything You Love by John Eldredge
  45. War of the Wolf (The Last Kingdom #11) by Bernard Cornwell

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