Books I read: 2020
A big, long annotated list of books I read entirely, or at least largely, in the calendar year of 2020. Listed in the order I finished them. This list will include books that I mostly read, as with nonfiction I sometimes skip sections that are irrelevant to my needs. The list will also have audiobooks, including lecture series that aren’t available as actual books (such as collections of lectures by Alan Watts). The list includes books I’ve read before and am re-reading this year. Other notable reading, such as articles I found especially good, will appear on the list but will not be included in the numerical count.
I will read as much this year as I can, with the nominal goal of hitting 100 books if I can. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.
If you have questions or comments, shoot me an email at david(at)davidrmunson(dot)com or hit the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Books read so far in 2020:
Last updated: 2020-07-03
Standard disclosure: Some book links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. If you use a link and buy something, it costs you nothing, but I get a small percentage as commission, which helps pay for hosting, film, and cat food.
📙Reading (first time)
🎧 Audiobook version
Books № 1-20
Historical fiction more or less centering on a stonemason and his lifelong mission to build a cathedral. A long book, and my ex-girlfriend hated it because it’s not a happy book, but I’ve read it five times and I like it.
2. 📙✅ Sedaris, David, Calypso
David Sedaris’s newest book of essays. When he comes out with a book, I always buy it without a moment’s hesitation. I like some of his books more than others, but I always love them and always read them more than once. Aging, family, and mortality are major themes throughout this book, and it’s a touching, heartfelt read. Perhaps less funny than some of his others, but it’s a fair exchange for some deeper perspective.
If you haven’t read anything by Tim Kreider, you really should. This book follows his spectacular book of essays called We Learn Nothing. I’m not sure which book I enjoy more, but both are excellent. This book is more focused on love and relationships, which are a heavy theme in the earlier book as well, but here the focus is more specifically on those topics, rather than using them as a lens through which to examine the absurdity of life in general.
To be clear: I used/am using this book to help deal with ongoing depression. This is not a book I read for the sake of dealing with problem drinking, so I wasn’t sure about listing this book here, as I didn’t want to give the wrong idea. Rather, it was recommended to me as a book that provides a good framework for working through all manner of difficulties. I’ve struggled with depression my entire adult life, and I was curious about how the tools in the book might help me better manage it. In short, I find this to be a marvelous book with a lot of very effective strategies contained in it. I can recommend it wholeheartedly, whether you’re dealing with depression, behavioral things like overeating, or anything else you can slot into the framework. You could even use it for the intended purpose.
This year, I’ll be starting several short-run podcasts, and I need to get at least a general sense of what I’m doing. I was pleased with this book as a thorough but still very readable introduction to the topic. Please note that this is not a book about audio production, but rather about clarifying your concept, defining your audience, using a producer, having a co-host, etc.
6. 📙 Eiman, Mike, Podcast: Learn How to Stop Babbling & Start Podcasting Like a Pro
7. 📙 Mayo, Amanda, Podcasting: How to Start a Podcast and Create a Profitable Podcasting Business
8. 📙 Ulrich, Dave, Zen Camera
9. 📙 ✅ Vaynerchuk, Gary, Crush it!
Great book, really something I wish I’d read before. Will try to add more notes later, but it lives up to the hype and I’ll be reading it again, this year probably. But do I add it to the list when I do? 🤔
10. 📙 Gerber, Michael E., The E-Myth Revisited
11. 📙 VonOech, Roger, A Whack on the Side of the Head
12. 📙 Henri, Robert, The Art Spirit
13. 📙 Barker, Donna, Scrappy Rough Draft
14.🔁 ✅Noon, Jeff, Pixel Juice
A collection of short stories by Jeff Noon, one of my favorite authors. He writes with a style of prose that is unlike anyone else’s and is one of the few unique voices in fiction that I have come to enjoy. If you’ve never read anything by Noon, I recommend him thoroughly, though I recommend his novels Falling Out of Cars and Vurt as better starting points. NB: many of his books are hard to find, some are out of print, and sometimes copies are a lot more expensive than they seem like they should be, but Kindle versions are often available and reasonably priced.
This is a book that has been recommended to me a million times and I’ve seen it talked up forever as a personal finance classic, so I finally gave in and read it. I am a bit disappointed by it, but not exactly surprised. This would have been a decent book for me to have read in junior high school. As an adult with decent financial literacy and an entrepreneurial mindset, it was boring and of little value to me. There are some good nuggets in there, but they’re couched in endless mediocre prose. The real meat of the book could be comfortably summed up on half of a page. I’m glad other people have found the book so useful, but it’s not for me.
I think this is my third time reading this book, and I’m reading it again because 2020 is a year in which I am attempting to retool my career entirely, because I’m sick of working a shit day job just because they provide me with a work visa here in Japan. This is a great book and always gives me a recharge. Unfortunately, even now, many people see the title and seem to dismiss it readily, but that’s a mistake. And there are occasionally people I run across who dislike Tim and his work, calling him various names that reveal a lot about their character and very little about Tim’s. This is a good book and an important book, especially for those of us who don’t just want to spend our lives working for someone else and accepting that we will spend the best, most vital years of our lives too busy to enjoy them, and eventually retire at an age when we are often limited in our ability to make the most of them. In addition to this book, Tim’s podcast has more than proven his worth, as have his other books: The Four Hour Chef, The Four Hour Body, Tools of Titans, and Tribe of Mentors.
17. 📙🎧✅ Bishop, John, Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life
18. 📙🎧✅ Godin, Seth, This is Marketing
19. 📙✅Port, Michael, Book Yourself Solid
20. 📙 Jarvis, Chase, Creative Calling
Books № 21-40
21.📙 Lamott, Annne, Bird by Bird
22. 🔁Murakami, Haruki, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
23. 🔁Gibson, William, Pattern Recognition