My Favorite Books of 2020

My Favorite Books of 2020

I used to think books were like drugs. And I don’t mean garden-variety pills like Benadryl or Tylenol–I’m talking hardcore drugs: nicotine, cocaine, and so on. How did I come to this conclusion? Like many kids, I would often start reading a book and struggle to put it down. I would start reading Percy Jackson in the morning and look up to find the sun was already setting. If addiction is a behavior where dependence on a substance interferes with a person’s ability to live a full life, my younger self was a full-blown pothead, if only for books instead of weed.

But I was wrong about books. They’re not addictive drugs; instead, they’re more like food. I now believe in a more holistic way of thinking about information input and output, by imagining the ideas that come into my head are like ingredients in a blender. Podcasts. Magazines. Movies. Books. Kerplunk. BZHHHH. And out comes a smoothie of new and interesting ideas. This way, books come out looking like a relatively nutritious option (at least compared to TV shows and Instagram feeds).

All that to say, I decided to compile a list of the books I most enjoyed reading this year. Treat this as a list of ingredients, a diverse set of raw materials that can help you achieve a result that is both tasty and nutritious (and they might inspire you to read, too).

General nonfiction

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  • The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Master Algorithm – Pedro Domingos
  • Scale – Geoffrey West

Business

  • How I Built This – Guy Raz
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton Christensen

Memoir

  • Educated – Tara Westover
  • On Writing – Stephen King

Self-help

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  • When – Daniel Pink

Fiction

  • The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

If you’ve read any of these books or have other recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below, or drop me a line at azhou.blog@gmail.com.

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