Top 25 Best Books for 2020

25 Best Books to read in 2020

Make 2020 an amazing year, by finishing this list of Top 25 Books to read this new year. Books on career acceleration, earning more money and other life hacks.

As the New Year approaches nearer, many of us start thinking about resolutions and the determination to make the most of the new year is at an all-time high! Sadly, most of us give up by end of Jan, if not the quarter. But if you really want to make a difference this year, then look at this amazing reading list for the Top 25 must-read books for 2020.

Aim to read at least one book a month, and you will get the adrenaline dose of motivation to keep you on track to make 2020 an epic year! Best part, even if you fail, you will have read 10+ amazing books in 2020, which itself is something 90% folks never accomplish.

I’ve added some broad categories, but really anyone can read these books, irrespective of age, work domain or stage of career. Yes, all are non-fiction, and some fall into multiple categories, but I’ve placed them only once to avoid duplication.

You might notice a lot of these are New York Times bestsellers and come with rave reviews from top influencers. There is a REAL reason – these books are truly fabulous, and totally worth the hype! I’ve personally read all of them, else they would never have made this list! Even if you get one important tip from each book, your life will definitely be that much richer and more rewarding! (Speaking from experience…)

Amazon links are added, but if you are worried about breaking the bank, look for copies in your local library, or look for second hand copies in thrift stores. Amazon and Google Books are both currently offering discounts, so see if those might work for you, too.

Without further ado, here is the list.

Personal Development Books:

[1] Tools of the Titans – Tim Ferris. A detailed book review is available here. Learn the habits and behaviors of millionaires and world class leaders. The book is divided into 3 sections – health, wealth and wisdom and each contains advice from luminaries across industries and countries. So everyone will find some valuable information to accelerate their life. Topics include sales, becoming a world famous artist, app developers, bio-hacking, dealing with grief, venture capitalism and even how to fund your MBA with other people’s money!

[2] Antifragile – Nassim Taleb. The world is full of uncertainty; markets fall, disasters strike and life gets complicated. This book equips readers with the critical life skills needed to handle all of these curveballs and still forge ahead to success.

[3] Influence – Robert Cialdini. Whether you are a student or a top-level CEO, entrepreneur or blogger, being able to influence others is a key skill to success, so this book is a must read for people from all walks of life. This book will help you understand the principles behind decision making and how you can increase your powers of persuasion and influence.

[4] Alchemy – Rory Sutherland. This is similar to the above book, in the sense that it shows how and why people make decisions. However, this is even more brilliant since it is a practical book that looks at why some ideas convert into millions in revenue, while others bring in peanuts. The author is an advertising genius who unveils the curtains behind the campaigns that attracted millions of dollars in sales. Some clients were non-profits, so please don’t worry that you will need to pay a ton to see similar results.

[5] Mindset – Carol Dweck. Why do some people fail in the face of adversity while others rise and shine under pressure. The answer is a “growth’ mindset which allows us to adapt to ambiguity and increased complexity. Everyone can learn this skill and apply it to improve their life, whether you are a student struggling in class, a frustrated entrepreneur, or just an employee feeling “stuck” in your current position.

[6] The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg. Have you wondered why we brush everyday (no matter how grumpy we feel) but we can’t hold on to healthy diet or sustain New Year resolutions beyond the first quarter? This book offers simple tips to help you cultivate new habits by explaining the psychology behind how habits are formed, and how to keep going even when we feel tempted to cheat.

[7] Change by Design – Tim Brown. This is the definitive guide in design thinking, a concept used everywhere from hospitals to websites to how businesses think about creating a “WOW” customer journey.

[8] Factfulness – Hans Rosling. A unique perspective that teaches us how to separate fact from fiction when forming our opinions. Must-read in a world filled with contrasting opinions, fake reports and extreme divisiveness. Recommended by Bill Gates himself, so enough said already.

[9] Only Humans Need Apply – Thomas Davenport & Julia Kirby. If you have ever wondered (or worried ) about the impact of technology on jobs and salary bands in the future, then you will find this book answers all your questions. This is NOT a book aimed at technical professionals, instead it serves as an excellent reminder on what skills will become critical in our knowledge economy, as technology invades every niche and domain.

jobs of the future – man vs machine?

[10] Sun Tsu: Art of War for Managers – Gerald A Michaelson. Use ancient Chinese military strategies to win forward in corporate America (and elsewhere). Ideal for middle level managers and above.

[11] The Millionaire Master Plan – Roger Hamilton. If making more money feels like a perpetual struggle, then you will benefit from this excellent book. Take the quiz and get a personalized plan to understand your strengths, and then leverage those to accelerate your money goals. Best of all, the book takes into account the current state of your finances whether you are in deep student debt, or a middle class employee trying to expand your nest egg.

[12] I will Teach You to Be Rich – Ramit Sethi . A 32-oz expresso coffee shot wake-up call on how to control and manage your finances without having to live a sad life of scrimping or becoming a miser. Instead of asking folks to save a dollar per day on lattes, Ramit focuses on the big ticket items that can maximize savings and increase earnings. It’s a witty, no-nonsense kick in the pants, written in short chapters devoid of jargon, so you can take action immediately.

Books for Marketing / Bloggers / Small Business owners:

[13] Content Inc – Joe Pulizzi. Grabbing attention of customers is almost impossible, thanks to the din of social media, without remarkable content and extraordinary marketing. However, the latter is useless without content that is valuable to the reader. This book helps you create such captivating content.

[14] Lost and Founder – Rand Fishkin. We all know about rare successful entrepreneurs who went from rags to riches, after they become rich and famous. But they offer no hope or guidance for the average solopreneur or small business owner, who is muddling through life, trying to keep things together. This book offers a rare look into a thriving business owner, all the mistakes he made along the way, and valuable encouragement to get through the tough moments owners invariably face.

[15] Made to Stick – Chip & Dan Heath. A fantastic book on how to make your ideas gain traction and support and even go viral. Use it to get your business pitch approved, or increase your personal branding or make your content go viral. If you like this book, and are a senior executive, you might also want to look at the book “Decisive ” by the same authors.

[16] Business Brilliant – Lewis Schiff. Growing a business and earning money is tough, and expertise does not always translate into revenue. If you are an entrepreneur, freelancer or in sales, then this book will offer practical strategies to achieve your goals.

[17] Ready, Aim, Fire – Michael Masterson. Brilliant book that outlines a master plan to increase revenue, based on stages of a company. The book shows what types of management decisions and styles should be prioritized for each stage (startup, growing and mature). If you are a freelancer, or hustling on the side, you may also want to refer to the book “Seven Years to Seven Figures ” by the same author.

Job Search Help books:

[18] How to Answer Interview Qs – Peggy McKee. No matter what your role or domain, behavioral questions form the lion’s share of any interview process. This book will help you prepare for those questions. You can scout all the job search sites you want (including but you will never find a question that is not a variation of those listed in this book. The book has a sample answer that is easily customizable to your specific background. Recommended by recruiters and managers worldwide.

[19] Data Science Jobs – Ann Rajaram. Whether you are exploring careers in Data Science, or already in the interview stages this book will help you prepare for both technical and HR interviews in this field. The book also offers guidance on resume tips, how to create an impressive “employable” project portfolio and networking tips.

[20] Cracking the Coding Interview – Gayle Laakmann McDowell. If you are in a programming or IT role, then this is the definitive guide to ace your technical interviews.

Career Acceleration books:

[21] The Selfish Career – Matthew Tucker. A detailed career manual that will change how you think about work and career advancement and give you practical tactics to achieve the success you desire and deserve. Ideally suited for folks who have at least 3-5 years experience in the workforce.

[22] Promoted – Bozi Dar. Would you like to be in the Top 10% club? The ones who get invited for newly open roles, assigned the most prestigious projects and praised by everyone from the CEO to the janitor? These folks are not necessarily the most qualified or talented, yet they move from triumph to triumph that eludes the rest of the employees. If you’ve wondered what magic is at play, then read this book.

[23] Women Who Rise – Sally Hegelson and Marshall GoldSmith. A Bible for women who want to advance in the workplace, but are unable to get past invisible barriers and prejudices. Learn how to rectify behavior traits that seem like strengths, but are actually crippling your career.

Books for Women:

[24] Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis. Written in a funny, irreverent style and at times with disconcerting honesty. This is the advice you would love to receive from a beloved young aunt or college senior, yet rarely do. Most of us learn this in the fall of our lives, via the hard way (experience) when it is too late to chase our dreams. This book will allow you to rise above petty ideas of conformance and impostor syndromes and the permission to lead your best possible life!

[25] Becoming – Michelle Obama. A fantastic read on the factors that shaped one of the most revered First Ladies in the history of US. Detailed book review here.

Happy Reading, and wishing everyone a brilliant and fulfilling 2020!

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