50 books in one year. Seems like a pretty daunting feat when you say it out loud, doesn't it?
This is the goal I set for myself for 2020 after numerous articles came out last year discussing that big name CEOs such as Bill Gates read 50 books a year, or a little under one book a week. Why did I set that goal for myself you may ask? Well, first of all I enjoy setting goals for myself. I think we can all agree that having something specific like reading 50 books in 365 days helps you focus on dedicating the time necessary to completing the task at hand.
In addition to the fact that...Your girl's gonna be a B-O-S-S and don't you forget it!
But in all seriousness, as I made my way home to Northern California to be with family for Quarantine, I realized that it was a great opportunity to truly implement reading into my daily schedule versus saving it for only thirty minutes before bed or weekends spent relaxing at home. That being said, I started finding gaps in my working from home schedule such as lunchtime, two hours after I closed my laptop down for the day at 5pm and again for 1-2 hours when I crawled into bed at the end of the night.
Averaging 2-5 hours of reading a DAY, sometimes even more on weekends, I found myself devouring book after book after book and quickly realized that my goal of 50 books might happen a whole lot sooner than anticipated. So I moved my goal. That's right - MOVED it! From December 31 to my birthday, June 10. 50 books before my 27th birthday. 50 books in 5 months.
I am extremely fortunate in that I am able to dedicate the time to reading as I know many people cannot do the same. Whether you have children to homeschool or you're frantically shifting your business to at-home, I recognize that not all of us have as much time as we would like to read. However, like I say about anything, if you REALLY want to do something, you will find the time for it. That could be anything from working out to journaling, if something is important to you you'll find the time.
Reading is important to me because it challenges me, helps me to grow, learn new things, escape to faraway places and inspires me to show up as the best version of myself every single day.
With that being said, I wanted to share the 50 books I read from January 1-June 10 of 2020 as well as my recommendations based on what I read and enjoyed. As you can see, my taste in reading varies but I hope that you're able to find something within this robust list that speaks to your reading fancy. Enjoy!
Recommend? -- YES!
"At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her."
"When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl inThe Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a "dumb blonde" in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.
Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making ofThe Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:
Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller;
Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane;
Started her own production company;
Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day
The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light."
Recommend? YES!! (One of my fave books this year)
"...In every challenging situation, personal or professional, individuals face the pressure to conform to the accepted norms. But doing so comes with heavy costs: passions are stifled, talents are ignored, and opportunities are squelched. The other, far bolder, choice is to embrace what Sarah calls Extreme YOU: to confidently bring all that is distinctive and relevant about yourself to everything you do. You’ll achieve more if you’re willing to step up—and out—of line.
Inspiring, surprising, and practical, EXTREME YOU is her training program for becoming the best version of yourself."
Recommend? No (Unless really interested in learning about becoming a minimalist)
"...In The More of Less, Joshua Becker helps you...
• Recognize the life-giving benefits of owning less
• Realize how all the stuff you own is keeping you from pursuing your dreams
• Craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering your home and life
• Experience the joys of generosity
• Learn why the best part of minimalism isn’t a clean house, it’s a full life
The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. It’s in what it gives."
"When Death has a story to tell, you listen.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement."
"An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart.
But 9/11 changes everything.
John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love--and face the hardest decision of his life."
"In Starbucked, Taylor Clark provides an objective, meticulously reported look at the volatile issues like gentrification and fair trade that distress activists and coffee zealots alike. Through a cast of characters that includes coffee-wild hippies, business sharks, slackers, Hollywood trendsetters and more, Starbucked explores how America transformed into a nation of coffee gourmets in only a few years, how Starbucks manipulates psyches and social habits to snare loyal customers, and why many of the things we think we know about the coffee commodity chain are false."
"When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers."
"...The more Chris spoke with these strivers, the more he began to appreciate the direct link between questing and long-term happiness, and he was compelled to complete a comprehensive study of the phenomenon. InThe Happiness of Pursuit, he draws on interviews with hundreds of questers, revealing their secret motivations, their selection criteria, the role played by friends and family, their tricks for solving logistics, and the importance of documentation. Equally fascinating is Chris’s examination of questing’s other side. What happens after the summit is climbed, the painting hung, the endurance record broken, the at-risk community saved?
A book that challenges each of us to take control—to make our lives be about something while at the same time remaining clear-eyed about the commitment—The Happiness of Pursuit will inspire readers of every age and aspiration. It’s a playbook for making your life count."
Recommend? YES! (Another one of my top FAVE reads this year)
"...Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies is the story of Tara’s path to re-parenting herself and becoming a “ninja of self-love.” Through simple, daily rituals, Tara transformed her mind, body, and relationships, and shows how to
• fake gratitude until you actually feel gratitude
• excavate your emotional wounds and heal them with kindness
• identify your self-limiting beliefs, kick them to the curb, and start living a life you choose
• silence your inner frenemy and shield yourself from self-criticism
• carve out time each morning to start your day empowered, inspired, and ready to rule
• create a life you truly, totally f*cking LOVE
This is the book Tara wished someone had given her and it is the book many of us desperately need: a candid, hysterical, addictively readable, practical guide to growing up (no matter where you are in life) and learning to love yourself in a non-throw-up-in-your-mouth-it’s-so-cheesy way."
"After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with ag rowth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed.Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment."
Recommend? YES! (Another fave!)
"Tonya Dalton, CEO and productivity expert, offers you a liberating shift in perspective: feeling overwhelmed isn't the result of having too much to do -- it's from not knowing where to start.
Doing less might seem counterintuitive, but doing less is more productive, because you’re concentrating on the work you actually want to be doing. Through this book, you can learn how to:
Identify what is important to you and clarify your priorities.
Develop ways to streamline your specific workflow.
Discover your purpose.
Named Top 10 Business Book of the Year by Fortune magazine, The Joy of Missing Out is chock-full of resources and printables. This is a legitimate action plan for change. Once you reject the pressure to do more, something amazing happens: you discover you can finally live a guilt-free, abundant life."
"The #1 New York Times and #1 Business Week bestseller, How Full Is Your Bucket? reveals how even the briefest interactions affect your relationships, productivity, health, and longevity. Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of research, this book will show you how to greatly increase the positive moments in your work and your life -- while reducing the negative."
"...Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive “perfect existence”―the one without debt, anxiety, or hangover Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town and met the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams―really did lie in the pages of our best known and acclaimed self help books. She vowed to test a book a month for one year, following its advice to the letter, taking what she hoped would be the surest path to a flawless new her. But as the months passed and Marianne’s reality was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better?"
"Being yourself should be easy, yet too many of us struggle to live on other people's terms instead of our own. Rather than feeling large and in charge, we feel little and belittled.
Sound familiar? Bestselling "anti-guru" Sarah Knight has three simple words for you: YOU DO YOU.
It's time to start putting your happiness first -- and stop letting other people tell you what to do, how to do it, or why it can't be done. And don't panic! You can do it without losing friends and alienating people. Knight delivers her trademark no-bullsh*t advice about:
The Tyranny of "Just Because" The social contract and how to amend it Turning "flaws" into strengths -- aka "mental redecorating" Why it's not your job to be nice Letting your freak flag fly How to take risks, silence the doubters, and prove the haters wrong"
"They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’sThe Fault in Our Stars,Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks,What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?"
"How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await."
"Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.
As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart—wherever that may lead?
Funny, romantic, and poignant,Still Me follows Lou as she discovers who she is and who she was always meant to be—and learns to live boldly in her brave new world."
"Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work."
Recommend? Yes (Mitch Albom books are quick, feel-good reads)
"This is the story of Charley, a child of divorce who is always forced to choose between his mother and his father. He grows into a man and starts a family of his own. But one fateful weekend, he leaves his mother to secretly be with his father - and she dies while he is gone. This haunts him for years. It unravels his own young family. It leads him to depression and drunkenness. One night, he decides to take his life. But somewhere between this world and the next, he encounters his mother again, in their hometown, and gets to spend one last day with her - the day he missed and always wished he'd had. He asks the questions many of us yearn to ask, the questions we never ask while our parents are alive. By the end of this magical day, Charley discovers how little he really knew about his mother, the secret of how her love saved their family, and how deeply he wants the second chance to save his own."
"Evoking days gone by when coaches were respected as much for their off-court performances as for their success on the court, Wooden presents the timeless wisdom of legendary basketball coach John Wooden.
In honest and telling passages about virtually every aspect of life, Coach shares his personal philosophy on family, achievement, success, and excellence. Raised on a small farm in south-central Indiana, he offers lessons and wisdom learned throughout his career at UCLA, and life as a dedicated husband, father, and teacher."
"Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.
Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.
One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself."
Recommend? No (Outdated. The author is definitely speaking to an older audience).
"...Loretta gives you dozens of proven techniques for recognizing the ten simple truths that will lead you to an intense, happy, successful life: resilience, living in the moment, optimism, acceptance, humor, creativity, moderation, responsibility, meaning, and connection. Loretta’s wisdom evolved from her own life—one filled with the demands of being a single mother of three; of starting her own business when she was broke; and of the wacky invasiveness of her Italian family. She’s like all of us: real, flawed, stressed out, and on edge. Her magic comes from an ability to not take herself too seriously, and to always shift her focus away from the self-destructive and toward the truly important things in life. In her work, Loretta has seen tens of thousands of people who live their lives as if they’re sitting in a waiting room, hoping that their turn comes up next. This book will show you that life is not something to be endured, but is something to be truly appreciated. We need to remember how to access our inner abundance, which allows us to be heart-centered, joy-filled human beings. As Loretta says: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift—that’s why they call it the present.""
Recommend? Yes! (Challenging read, not a book I would typically pick up but interesting nevertheless).
"Martin Kemp offers us exceptional insights into what it was that made this Renaissance man so special, and the "real" meaning behind such masterpieces as theMona Lisa and theLast Supper. Tracing Leonardo's career in all its variety, we learn of his unfulfilled dreams, relationships with powerful patrons, and the truth about his views on God, humanity, and nature. The famous notebooks are the key to understanding the secret of Leonardo's success and genius, Kemp shows, as they clearly reveal the workings of his mind and display the truly innovative and investigative nature of his creative vision. In these notebooks, over 20,000 pages of drawings and notes detail his incredible discoveries and inventions--from the workings of the human eye to designs for flying machines and giant crossbows. Bringing the story up to the present day, Martin Kemp considers what he means to us today, investigates the "Leonardo industry," and speculates about what he would be doing if he were alive today."
Recommend? Yes! (Definitely has religious overtones but still a good read!)