2020 Books Read

With a global pandemic and long road trips, I devoured audiobooks in 2020 like never before. I’ve found the medium suits me well for plot-driven works like novels and biographies. This year’s pages were mostly modern works, with outlooks ranging from the stoic to the sarcastic. However, their core messages all echoed ancient themes from both the virtuous and the vile, proving again that there is indeed nothing new under the Sun.

A historical and a fictional story on Armored warfare from Makos and Coyle flanked the early part of the year. Malcolm Gladwell was my most-read author. With 2020’s Summer of Violence fueled by various narratives on racism, I picked the works of Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Ibram Kendi that these debates often summoned. Meanwhile, titles by Epstein, Heuer, Teicholz, and DiNicolantonio questioned our mental shortcuts and tackled their topics with an investigative mind.

Jocko Willink and David Goggins crafted timely mantras in personal responsibility. Bold and animated, their philosophies are clearly refined in the furnace of a hard life. Meanwhile, Ryan Holiday’s summaries on Stoicism are perhaps more relatable to modern readers than the ancient texts, but also lacked the depth of the originals. Like the prosperity preacher, what Holiday misses is shaken loose in the dissonance between his conclusions and the way he applies them to contemporary challenges. Though they don’t claim Zeno’s lineage like Holiday’s refined anecdotes, Willink and Goggins’ rougher stratagems surprisingly offer a more mature model for surviving days like these.

  • Spearhead by Adam Makos
  • Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness*
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf
  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall*
  • Team Yankee by Harold W. Coyle
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump*
  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin*
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
  • Thank, Praise, Serve, and Obey by William Weedon
  • Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Peak by Dr. Marc Bubbs
  • Range by David Epstein
  • Becoming Kim Jong Un by Jung H. Pak
  • The Dragons and the Snakes by David Kilcullen
  • Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins*
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama*
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams*
  • Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler*
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi*
  • World War Z by Max Brooks*
  • Educated by Tara Westover*
  • How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps by Ben Shapiro*
  • The Unquiet Frontier by Jakub Grygiel and A. Wes’s Mitchell
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury*
  • The Answer Is… by Alex Trebek*
  • The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois*
  • Legacy by James Kerr
  • Psychology of Intelligence Analysis by Richards J. Heuer, Jr.
  • What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • The Salt Fix by Dr. James DiNicolantonio
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley*
  • David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Devolution by Max Brooks*

41 (24:17*)

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