A review of some of the books I read this year.
This year, unlike many others, has allowed me to really take the time to sit down with my thoughts, a good book, and a cup of tea. Some of these reads have moved me to tears, some have broadened my perspective of the world, and some have encouraged a smile on my face. I once read that it is important to note what you enjoy reading about, as this will point towards your passions and interests. However, in reading a variety of different books this year, I have found new interests, new passions, and new discoveries. I am excited for more interesting reads in 2021- if you have any favorites let me know! Here are some of the best books that I have read over the past year.
Book by Marc Randolph
As I have mentioned before on the blog, this book just cannot be missed. Written by Marc Randolph, the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, the book takes you on an intimate journey of the creation and evolution of Netflix, the streaming service that we all know and love. What many don’t know, however, is that the company started by mailing rented CDs to customers and grew exponentially from there. Did you also know that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, offered to buy Netflix in 1999 for $12 million dollars? The book is filled with interesting anecdotes and provides an insightful birds-eye view of what running a business looks like- newsflash it’s often not as glamorous as depicted. My top read of 2020 and probably will be for many years to come.
Novel by Khaled Hosseini
When I am unsure of what book to read next, I often find myself scrolling through lists posted by news outlets and blogs alike of the “Top Books to Read in Your Lifetime”. On almost every list Kite Runner appears near the top, a novel I have heard of before, but never read. Once I picked the novel up it was one I could not put down. Kite Runner is just one of those books that finishes so perfectly, tying together every theme so well at the end, leaving such a satisfying aftertaste you’ll be tempted to read it over again once you finish.
Book by Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point is all about uncovering what sparks massive trends, epidemics, and social movements. If you are passionate about marketing, then I definitely recommend the read. Gladwell expertly breaks down the important facets of such “tipping points” using an accessible approach to the everyday reader. What I love about all of Gladwell’s books is that they cause you to apply his logic to personal facets of interest and this book is no exception. You’ll have yourself thinking about everything from TikTok’s ever growing popularity to the ripped jeans trend- the list goes on!
Book by Tara Westover
This book was one of two choices in a virtual book club that I was recently apart of- which was such a fun experience that I highly recommend seeking out! Although this book is not one I would have grabbed off the shelf to read myself, I really enjoyed learning all about life in a survivalist Mormon family, a life contrasting my own. The resilience and sheer vulnerability that Tara displays throughout the novel is totally inspiring. Tara shows us an intimate look into the human experience of discovering personal identity separate from any entity that surrounds us. It’s a New York Times Bestseller for a reason!
Novel by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere is another book from my virtual book club that I am so glad that I had the chance to read. Now an acclaimed TV series, the novel takes you into the parallel lives of two families who could not be more than different, but uniquely intertwine. It is such a thrill to watch the stories of the two families unfold that you won’t want to put this book down for a second.
Book by Meg Jay
Being someone in my twenties, I thought that this would be an appropriate book for helping me navigate some of the tough questions that many people my age face. This book was especially interesting because it is written from the perspective of a clinical psychologist talking with her patients who are all in the twenty year olds. Although it was a bit anxiety inducing- talking about time and big decision making does that doesn’t it?- the book was an insightful read. If you think that you are alone in asking “if my twenties are supposed to be the ‘best time of my life’, why doesn’t it feel that way?” this will be the book for you.
Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
These short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald were such a joy to read. Packed with delightful details, you will feel all of the emotions in reading a large novel in just a few pages- a true testament to Fitzgerald’s eloquent writing. One of the many things that I love about short stories is that you can embark on many different literary journeys in just one afternoon, exploring a variety of themes, characters, and motivations. If it isn’t this book of short stories, I recommend you pick up another.
Book by Jake Knapp
Although this isn’t a book I would normally pick up for a leisurely read, Sprint was super helpful in guiding me with a project I was working on. Sprint is especially helpful to entrepreneurs and leaders who are looking to shake up convention and provide a new way of doing things in a speedy manner.
Book by Malcolm Gladwell
Although Malcolm Gladwell is my favorite author, I had to give this one a three out of five stars because of the lack of cohesion between the stories within this book, although understandable considering they are a compilation of the journalist’s articles published in The New Yorker. If you are looking for a light read or even a book to consistently pick up and put down, this is a good one for that. Packed with interesting stories and anecdotes, you will never get bored reading this one!
Novel by WM. Paul Young
I am not quite finished with this novel, but I knew that it had to make the list. Incredibly detailed and nuanced, The Shack tells the story of a man and his meeting with God and the subsequent adventures that they embark on during their meeting. For anyone who has ever grappled with questions about the Christian faith, this book is a compelling and quite beautiful read. Young humanizes God in such interesting ways, which makes the read altogether enjoyable and thought provoking. I can’t wait to finish this novel over the holiday break!