What a year! In the context of this read, 2020 proved to me that productive life requires balance! At the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown, I thought that because of more time at home, I can read more. I could not be more wrong, I read less this year than in 2019.
Statistically, I traveled less, eat-out less, partied less, socialized less, exercised less, and read less. It proved to be productive (for a year-long period of time), we must maintain/improve the other aspects of our life as well.
But I am happy that the quality of the book I read in 2020 was very high. The first book I read was “American Soldier” by General Tommy Frank, a veteran of the Vietnam war, who also experienced the Desert Storm operation, lead the US coalition as the CENTCOM commander in the Afghanistan and Iraq war.
“Bitter Friends and Bosom Enemies” by Barbara Slavin, a book describing the US-Iran relationship up to 2009. She had the best description of their relationship: “a long-married couple that has gone through a bitter divorce, two countries may never get back together with the same intimacy but they may have knowledge that they have wronged each other and learn to interact in a less destructive way”. She wrote the book before the famous Iran-deal.
“Cloud Atlas” a compilation of nested stories about the connection of humans, David Mitchel travels you through time, from the past to the far future. Another masterpiece is the “Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides, a thriller-twist novel that does not let you put the book down.
A good friend of ours from Memphis, Helene, send us “Thank you for being late” by Thomas Friedman. A remarkably interesting book that I enjoyed reading every page of it. Also, “The old man and the sea” a gift from our good friend in Memphis, Wolf, was also a great read, especially when you read it in English.
“Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development” by Carol Dweck, and “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Mathew Walker are two must-read book that I believe everyone should read (or at least read the summaries). I strongly suggest integrating the knowledge introduced in these books into the education systems. These books are a must!
“The ride of the lifetime” an amazing book by Robert Iger, is a true guideline for every leader, manager, or any person who is working in a modern world company. This book is full of life experiences, ups and downs, and challenges that every one of us are facing in our daily life.
And lastly, my favorite book of the year was “How I build this” by Guy Raz. I first introduced to Guy’s podcast, “How I build this” – on NPR, by my wife. She is the top 10% listener of his podcast (according to the NPR app)! This book is a distilled version of years of his podcast. A summary of the lessons and stories shared by many entrepreneurs whom he interviewed over the years.
- “How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs”, Guy Raz
- “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations”, Thomas L. Friedman
- “Cloud Atlas”, David Mitchell
- “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company”, Robert Iger
- “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation”, Barbara Slavin
- “American Soldier”, Tommy Franks
- “The Silent Patient”, Alex Michaelides
- “The Old Man and the Sea”, Ernest Hemingway
- “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams”, Matthew Walker
- “Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development”, Carol S. Dweck