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In 2020 I read 85 books. It was my best reading year yet.
I 8X my reading from the previous year using the tips strategies from the article 15 Ways to Read a Lot More Books.
I mostly read books on psychology focused mainly on cognitive biases and learning how to think so you will find the majority of books on this list will teach you critical thinking and challenge your beliefs.
In this article I share the ten best books I read in 2020.
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake
I read multiple books on critical thinking and this is probably the best book on scientific skepticism and critical thinking I read. It was incredibly interesting and very accessible. The format was also very helpful and made going back to find information easy. I can’t recommend it enough.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works
I had already read the first edition the previous year, but decided to get a refresher with the new edition that came out. Ramit Sethi is one of my favorites. He’s unconventional and targets the psychology of personal finance instead of the tired advice given to cut out lattes. The book is funny and very actionable. I recommend to everyone wanting to take control of their finances.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The story of Malcolm X is hands-down the most inspirational transformation story I’ve come across. He was a black man in the sixties sent to prison for burglary after living a life of crime. While in prison, he learned how to read and became a voracious reader. Soon after getting out of jail, he rose to become a powerful leader of the civil rights movement. If you read any autobiography, let it be this one.
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
The author Kathryn Schultz makes it clear in the beginning that this is not a self-help book. It takes an interesting and well-rounded dive into the idea of being wrong covering philosophy, psychology, and history. It taught me why we should be open to being wrong and practicing intellectual humility.
“Don’t You Know Who I Am?”: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility
Dr. Ramani is amazing! I highly recommend her YouTube videos to check out her content. This book kept me sane in 2020 and helped me understand narcissism on a deeper level. Dr. Ramani demonstrates how narcissistic people not only affect us on an interpersonal level in our close relationships, but it affects our world and society as a whole. She also shares how to deal with difficult and narcissistic people in all areas of our lives.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel prize for his work on cognitive biases. It’s a long read and may be a bit dense at times, but it’s well worth the read. It shares interesting research and information on how we think and make decisions in our lives.
Bad Science: Quack, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
This book was an entertaining and fun read yet still informative. It teaches how to notice the difference between science and pseudoscience and touches on explaining why different types of pseudoscience are pseudoscience.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
After reading this book, I can easily call myself a Carl Sagan fan. This is the grandfather book on teaching critical thinking and scientific skepticism. This book instilled a sense of awe and wonder and awakened interest and curiosity in science. It should be required reading in schools.
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself
It’s a bit outdated, but it’s an interesting and fun introduction to cognitive biases and the flaws of our psychology.
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most Out of Them Now
I recommend this book to anyone in their twenties and thirties. It’s written by a psychologist who specializes in people in their twenties and thirties. She shares the psychology of making the most out of your twenties to take control and direction in your life going forward.