Best reads of 2020: 12 books everyone was talking about the previous year

Take a look and make sure you haven’t missed any of these gems

Timer7 min

2020 was an overwhelming year. It seems like there have been enough events to fit in the whole decade, not in just 12 months. Despite everything, there were plenty of remarkable nonfiction books published.

We’ve collected 12 the most popular titles of 2020, as told by The New York Times, Goodreads, The Guardian, and our Headway community. You wouldn’t like to miss any of them, would you? Let’s go!

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

The New York Times bestseller, this book is not just about how to play poker. Most importantly, it’s about the psychology that stands behind this game and which you can apply to everyday life too.

When Maria Konnikova contacted Erik Seidel, a worldwide known poker player, little did she know that she would become a poker player herself. Holding a PhD in psychology, Maria Konnikova applied scientific knowledge to her not long, yet bright gambling career. This outstanding experience later turned into a top-rated title.

From managing emotions to reading other people, cutting losses, and maximizing your gains, “The Biggest Bluff” reveals how poker lessons can help you psych yourself up into the best version of yourself.

Buy Yourself The F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life From Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster

This book will show you how to stop treating your mind and body like a garbage can that is only used to toss things in but never properly maintained. Within lessons on how to take care of yourself, you will find real, practical, and enjoyable self-care and healing tools.

Tara Schuster, author and vice president of talent and development at Comedy Central, shared her experience and insights in a witty and humorous way. After turning the age of 25, she realized that she reached the rock bottom and things must be changed. More than an autobiography, more than a self-help book, this so-called bible is perfect for all twenty-somethings who try to figure out what actually to do with this life.

Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel

Do you often find yourself in a constant circle of ‘what if?’ thoughts? Chances are you are an overthinker. Don’t worry. There are lots of us like this.

In “Don’t Overthink It”, you’ll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small and large. And as long as we rely on decision-making styles that encourage overthinking, we’re going to spend a lot of time overthinking. But once we see what’s really going on, we can begin to change. It will feel like a battle at first — especially if we’ve been analyzing things to death our whole lives — but with time, it will begin to feel like a habit.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

2020 was heavily marked by the rise of Black Lives Matter movement due to the series of upsetting hate crimes. Luckily, more and more people start checking their privilege and refuse to support racism.

Layla F. Saad is a writer, speaker, and podcast host originally started the #MeAndWhiteSupremacy Instagram challenge where people shared their own stories of racist behaviour. All these turned out into the book called Me and White Supremacy. At the end of each chapter, you will find exercises that will help you eliminate any pattern of your unjust attitude towards other people. In 2021, it’s time to combat racism once and for all!

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen

It is not a secret that the way of thinking affects all aspects of our lives. Once you get stuck in your head, whirling in anxiety, doubts, and negativity, getting off this infinity train becomes very difficult.

Jennie Allen decided to figure out what we can do to control any kind of frustration and overthinking. And she actually found it, in faith. In her book Get Out of Your Head Jennie Allen draws the parallel between thoughts and outcome. She reveals that thoughts dictate our beliefs, which dictate our actions, which form our habits, which compose the sum of our lives. As we think, so we live. And when people think of Christ, they live on the foundation of Christ, their gaze fixed immovably on Him.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Feminism is now a global movement all over the world. More and more women each year identify themselves as feminists. However, does that mean that inside the community, there are no flaws or discrimination?

In her book, Mikki Kendall raises the problems of inclusivity inside the feminist movement. Intersectional feminism must be achieved, as many women of different experiences and backgrounds are still underrepresented and oppressed, compared to their white sisters. Hood Feminism is an excellent read for all fellow white feminists to realize that there are less privileged women who need to be recognized and supported by the global movement. 

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy

“You hear me, but you don’t listen!” Have you ever received this phrase from someone? Undoubtedly, it is crucial not only to deliver your thoughts clearly but also to be a good listener in communication. Many people want to talk, but very few want to listen, and people are really suffering from this lack of empathy. Empathy is essential for any listener.

This is why You’re Not Listening is a great choice. It will explain why we became so talkative, how to be good at listening to interlocutors, and get rid of garrulity. When you engage with someone, your behaviour does two things — it either helps or hinders your understanding and then strengthens or weakens the relationship. Ready to become the most fantastic listener in everyone’s life?

Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living by Glennon Doyle

Many women in today’s society still feel the pressure to be silent and caged in others’ expectations. This genuinely takes a right and ability to be yourself and live the desired life from you. You want to spread your wings and fly — do the things you want to do without feeling like an outcast.

New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle used to be in that prison too — until she figured out an escape. In her book Untamed she shares the honest story of the journey to freedom from pleasing other people and meeting their requirements. Glennon Doyle managed to discover herself, and this memoir will definitely help you do the same.

Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art by James Nestor

Inhale, exhale. Good. Now let’s talk about breathing. The most basic and necessary action that we can’t live without. However, have you ever thought that the way you breathe may be wrong? It might sound absurd, yet it’s true.

James Nestor reveals all the DOs & DON’Ts when it comes to the right and healthy breathing. Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art has already helped hundreds of people become healthier and happier, and all these due to the right breathing. Time to find out how to actually make your nose do what it should!

No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger conceived the idea that grew into Instagram, they were just students at Stanford University. They certainly were not looking for fame or wealth, although those eventually found them. When they sold their startup to Facebook for $1 billion, it was one of the most significant acquisitions in the industry.

In No Filter, Sarah Frier gives an accurate account of this merger. She leaves nothing aside, creating a wonderful picture about the intrigues, betrayals, and conspiracies that greeted the joining of the two entities – Facebook and Instagram. There are certainly lessons to be learned.

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein

You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo, a bestselling author, Netflix sensation and a guru of decluttering. Her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became an international outbreak.

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life is the latest book by Marie Kondo and her co-author Scott Sonenshein. As we spend pretty much a lot of time at work, it is also essential that everything we have on our desks and shelves sparks joy just like at our homes. That’s what you will learn from Marie Kondo’s new bestseller. It seems like it’s time to tidy up a little bit!

Wuhan Diary: Dispatches From A Quarantined City by Fang Fang

Covid-19 turned everybody’s lives upside down. While many people faced the loss of their loved ones, others celebrated life at its best when someone recovered. Either way, humanity will mark this time in history forever.

Famous Chinese writer Fang Fang started writing her online diary when the quarantine was proclaimed in Wuhan – the city where the novel coronavirus was first detected. Later, these notes were published as a book and translated into multiple languages. Wuhan Diary: Dispatches From A Quarantined City is not the story about good and bad guys, or who is guilty in the pandemic of 2020. It’s an honest and sincere narrative that sheds light on life in the first quarantined city before the rest of us couldn’t even predict future events.

2020 was challenging for the whole world. Yet at Headway, we firmly believe that 2021 will be filled with happiness, love, support, and many fantastic books to read. Become stronger, become smarter, become the best version of yourself. Headway wishes you a Happy New Year! And remember, life may not be easy sometimes, but there is one thing that can always make it better — reading!

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