At the end of each year, I do a short end-of-the-year recap for readers and then share my favorite books that I read that year. You can see recaps and book reviews from 2019, 2018, and 2017.
Year in Review
Well, fuck… we didn’t see that coming, did we?
I’ll start by saying that I have been extremely fortunate this year. I feel as though I dodged pretty much every bullet 2020 shot at me. I already worked from home. I have no kids. Being online, my business benefited from the pandemic and grew a bit this year. Book sales continue to be strong. Wife and I got along great. Without the insane travel schedules of 2019 and 2018, I ate healthy, lost about 20 pounds, drank way less, and slept better than I have in years.
Honestly, on an individual level, 2020 was a great year for me. It was healthy, productive, and for the most part, relatively happy (there were a couple dark periods in the spring and fall, but those passed). I feel very fortunate and I've been constantly reminding myself of how good I have it.
This year was spent working on the Will Smith book (yes, it’s still happening) and expanding the content of the website and newsletter. I launched my YouTube channel and have a few other projects I am looking forward to pursuing in the new year.
Since so many people ask, yes I will be writing another book, although I have not started the next one yet. The past six months have been the first time that I was not actively working on a book since 2013, so I decided to take some time off from book writing and focus on other projects for a while. I will start the next book in 2021 and it will likely come out in 2022 or 2023.
Overall, I enter 2021 hopeful. The vaccine is great news. There is a documentary film project that I will be working on in the spring. Travel should hopefully open up in the second half of the year. I’ll begin research for the next book in the summer and probably begin writing in the fall. By this time next year, things should be back to normal.
Long-time readers know that I am quite fastidious about tracking all of the books that I have read. I do this to push myself to improve my reading, both in terms of quantity but also quality.
This year I read 81 books. 44 were general nonfiction, 16 were history or biography, 11 were fiction, and 10 were philosophy. In total, I read 29,664 pages (over 30% more than my previous best year), averaging 81 pages per day, and 366 pages per book. I also started and abandoned 15 other books.
Numerically speaking, this is probably the most I’ve read in any single year of my life (thanks, COVID-19). I also read some of the most difficult books of my life this year.
Below are my ten favorite books that I read this year. I should note that these are not necessarily the “best” books of the year—simply the ones I enjoyed reading and got the most out of personally. It’s completely subjective. Also, these books did not all come out in 2020, I just happened to read them this year.
My ten favorite books of 2020 are: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace, Very Important People by Ashley Mears, The Overstory by Richard Powers, The Immortality Key by Brian Muraresku, The Revolt of the Public by Martin Gurri, Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering by Scott Samuelson, and The Information by James Gleick.
Site members can read full reviews of each book—along with some other notable mentions—below:
by Susanna …
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