Twenty Books I’ve Read This Year (2020)

With all the time at home during the 2020 pandemic, I would have thought I would have read more books. My goal is to read five books per month, and hit between 50 and 60 books per year. This year was around 45. When routines change, something takes a hit – but I’m grateful to be able to publish this list of twenty books I’ve read this year. If you’re interested, you can see my lists from the last several years here.

For each of these titles, I share a link to a blog post where I wrote something I learned from the book and a link to purchase the book if it’s still available on Amazon. Some of these books I get from the library or used book sales and some may not even be in print.


GREAT LEADERS HAVE NO RULES

Kevin Kruse (2019)
Three things from this book: 1. Close your open-door policy, s2. hut off your phone, 3. crowd your calendar.

RESISTING HAPPINESS

Matthew Kelly (2016)
This was a great little book with practical calls to action such as celebrating the ordinary, giving up boredom, some great words to pray.

DIGITAL MINIMALISM

Cal Newport (2019)
This was an awesome book, prompted me to start charging my phone in the kitchen most nights and think about “high quality” leisure time and gain new perspectives and the additive nature of devices.

THE TIME PARADOX

Philip Zimbaro & John Boyd (2009)
A really fascinating book about time and how our perception of time changes our behavior and our attitudes. It’s why casinos don’t have clocks on the wall – they only want you to think of the present and now the future consequences of your current behavior.


RETHINK COMMUNICATION

Phil Bowdle (2019)
“Advocate for your audience,” “if it’s worth communicating, it’s worth communicating more than once,” and so many more practical tips in this book – every church leader should read it.

POPULAR

Mitch Prinstein (2018)
Being likable is more important than being popular. Everyone can be likable. Most people spend too much time chasing the wrong kind of relationships.

WORRY LESS AND LIVE MORE

Robert J. Morgan (2017)
This was an awesome book taking a deep dive into Philippians 4:4-9. One practical bit is that a more gentle outlook helps change our physical presence – gentleness brightens our faces!

MORE THAN A HOBBY

David Green (2010)
Interesting book about the founding of Hobby Lobby and the Christian roots throughout the company.

BEFORE YOU KNEW IT: THE REASONS WE DO WHAT WE DO

John Bargh (2018)
It’s been said that you are the sum of the five people closest to you. Be aware of who you are watching, spending time with, and listening to. You will become more like them.

KISS THAT FROG

Brian Tracy (2012)
Practical ideas about turning negatives into positives. Eat That Frog, another popular book was about getting things done without procrastination. My post from this book is called “Keys To A Positive Personality.”

THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS

BILLY GRAHAM (2002)
This was a great book! I’m not sure how I’ve stumbled upon so many happiness topics this year, but this book teaches that happiness is a byproduct of living a surrendered and devoted life.

WHAT MATTERS MOST

Doug Fields (2006)
This is a great student ministry leader book, but it’s also good for any leader in the church! My post is called “two questions every leader must honestly ask and answer.”

THE BLUE PARAKEET

Scot McKnight (2016)
The gospel is capable of and designed to reach every age, culture and language. The Bible doesn’t need to be defended, it defends itself. We need twenty first century Christians living out the biblical gospel in twenty first century ways.

100 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY

Joyce Meyer (2015)
This easy-reading book was really practical. The section on simplicity in clutter was what prompted this post – about matchbooks, keychains, fire-pits and deck dinners.

IT: HOW CHURCHES AND LEADERS CAN GET IT AND KEEP IT

Craig Groeschel (2011)
We can often tell when it seems like things are going well in our church and have “it!” I read this book several years back and picked it up again this year. My post from this book is on pruning: cutting back to move forward.


THE MYTHS OF HAPPINESS

Sonja Lyubomirsky (2014)
The things you think will make you happy most often don’t and the things you wouldn’t think should make you happy, often do. I wrote three posts from this book – 1) why experiences are much better than things, 2) why you shouldn’t compare and 3) the art of thrift.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: STORIES OF VISION AND CHANGE FROM AMERICA’S LEADERS

Capt. Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger (2012)
The author of this book was the heroic pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 that safely landed a crippled plane into the Hudson River. The book included his great story and others as well. I wrote a post about something I learned: When Your Values Are Clear, Your Choices Are Easy.

CREATIVITY: THE PERFECT CRIME

Philippe Petit (2015)
The author of this book was famous for walking a high wire between the twin towers back in the 1970’s. He talks about passion, enthusiasm and has an interesting outlook on life. One of his rules, as he teaches highwire, is to “never lean against a wall or anything else.” I wrote about his advice on fighting lethargy.

HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN 90 SECONDS OR LESS

Nicholas Boothman (2008)
The author describes the four best ways to connect, including attitude, synchronization, conversation, and sensory preferences. This is an interesting practical little book. My post from this book was on greeting people (and the re-entry to greeting after the pandemic).

COME BACK

Roger Ross (2020)
Our whole church read through this book during a 2020 message series and our small groups used it during that time as well. It’s a great book!

OTHER BOOKS I’VE READ THIS YEAR

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