Reads & Listens

My Top 10 Reads of 2020

January 1, 2021

Books to me are one of the MOST valuable tools I have to create success in my life and in my business. You can learn from them, you can be inspired by them, you can daydream with them, you can relate to them…the whole gamut.

Even reading 1 chapter or for just a few minutes a day can have such an incredible impact on your learnings and…dare I say…Creative Powers. Seriously, I cannot count the number of new ideas that have been born from the most wildly unsuspecting books this year.

And, look, I read a lot. I read just under 50 books last year, but to me, it isn’t about how many books I read, it’s about me prioritizing something that fuels me.

There are endless ways in which to learn and be inspired these days (helllooo information overwhelm). It’s so easy to get caught in the loop of videos, podcasts, courses, the list goes on and on. But, I promise, taking a step back from all that noise to sit for 30 mins a day with a book (of your choosing) and a hot beverage, will create space in that big beautiful brain of yours to see your ideas, the world, and your day-to-day in a new lens.

Someone put their years of learnings and imaginings into one place for you! How incredible is that?! And you get to take it in at your own pace or leave it where it lies on the page.

You can explore their mind, their experiences, their stories.

You can avoid their mistakes.

You can be inspired by their words.

You definitely don’t have to read 50 books a year (You only ever have to do what’s right for you), but I dare you to read one page a day for the next month and see how empowered you feel by what you’ve absorbed.

Need some help picking your first one of the year?

Here are my 10 favourite reads from 2020 :

To tap into your creative superpowers:

1. Big Magic by Liz Gilbert

I have read this book at least 3 times. And will most definitely be reading it again. It puts a spin on creativity in a way I had never quite registered before and it opened my mind and heart wide open to what I’d been missing. 

I’d spent my life feeling like a non-creative type of human and then up and came this book…showing me just how wrong I had been.

2. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

Truly making creativity a part of your everyday life and actions is going to be the key to really CREATING the life of your dreams. And, that is exactly what CREATIVE CALLING is. In fact, Chase Jarvis wrote it as the guide that he wished to have had at the beginning of his creative journey. Not only does he cover owning creativity as a superpower that every single one of us is born with, but he dives deep into the strategies, habits, and rituals that he put in place in order to truly CREATE the life of his dreams. The steps to take, the people to surround yourself with, the mindset, the motivation, the connection…all of it. He exemplifies every lesson with real-life stories from his own journey and those of his equally impressive friends (from the likes of Brené Brown, Richard Branson, and Brandon Stanton) and I have to tell you, I found this to be the most influential part. 

To learn about the inner workings of Becoming Your Best You:

3. Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

This book gave me a perspective on business and collaboration that I didn’t know I needed. An amazing reminder that good guys DO NOT always finish last and that kindness and being a GOOD HUMAN in business might just be what leads to your success. Through case studies of incredibly successful people, who have created extraordinary results, Adam Grant highlights just how much your interactions with people matter. Whether you are a giver, matcher, or taker can have an incredible impact on your long-term success and legacy. I guarantee this is a book that will stay with you for the long-haul.

4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s THE HAPPINESS PROJECT made me keenly aware of the busy bee blur that took over my life in 2020…That the constant shifts between ambition, productivity, and fun had perhaps caused my intentions to get lost in the mix of things. It is one of those books that has inspired many people to go on yearlong soul-searching journeys–the kind that pushes them to reassess their whole lives and the way they’re showing up in it…without having to actually change their whole lives.

5. Predictably, Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

This book highlighted perfectly just how little control we have over our choices-even when we feel like we’re in total control and making the MOST rationale of choices. Why? Because our brain is bananas. Dan Ariely hilariously walks us through a series of experiments that showcases how “expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities”. Honestly, it’s kind of scary. Let’s just say, I had a heightened sense of the impact of my emotions and environment on my choices after this read, and of just how “predictable” those choices actually were.

To be inspired by “made-up” stories:

6. Sky In the Deep by Adrienne Young

Blend together warrior princess vibes, Vikings, and a compelling story of familial ties, unity, and love, and you’ve got yourself my favourite Fiction read of 2020. Need I say more? “They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.”

7. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acedevo

From the moment I picked this book up, I was hooked. And I did not put it down until I was finished. An incredibly powerful insight into the life of a high school girl named Emoni Santiago as she navigates the incredibly tough choices and sacrifices that arise from caring for her daughter, helping support her family, and dreaming about the future. Such a magical reminder of the power of following your passions and the hard work that often comes with making our dreams come true. This book challenged me in so many ways and I most DEFINITELY came out the other side of reading it a more empathic and inspired human being. The way Elizabeth Acedevo tackles topics like teen motherhood, coming out, complex family histories and dynamics, cultural identity, gentrification, and prejudice is…honestly…freaking elegant. She’ll have you gripped from the very first word to the very last. Not to mention, have you craving delicious foods.

“In a world of after-school specials designed to scare teenagers into abstinence, ‘With the Fire on High’ dares to make the assertion that it’s possible to be a both a teen mother and a good mother.”– Caitlyn Paxson, NPR

8. Things in Jars by Jess Kid

This book jacket had me at “gothic”, “tattooed ghost”, and “female detective”, and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, goes on a dark, mysterious, and mystical adventure to solve the disappearance of a “peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery”. Jess Kid’s cast of interesting and ghostly characters had me wishing I could dive into the pages and be Birdies’ assistant.

9. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

One of the most interesting books I’ve read in a really long time, Frankie Presto’s journey is told through the perspective of Music. Honestly, it is an epic told in only 489 pages of the “greatest guitar player of all time” and the magical guitar strings that changed the lives of 6 people he encounters. While it is definitely not a happy story, filled with tragedy, regret, + heartbreak, it is a hopeful one. It’s one of those stories you feel deep in your heart. This book will leave you feeling like you have magic within you too!

To be inspired by a true story:

10. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

I don’t often read memoirs, but boy am I glad I read this one. A seriously emotional and moving story of a family with profound flaws, The Glass Castle showcases just how differently we all navigate the challenges of our lives and just how those challenges can continue to affect us in big and small ways for the remainder of our lives. We follow her life as the daughter of dysfunctional and incredibly whimsical parents and all the parts that come along with it, the joy, the adventures, the addiction, the guilt, the disappointment…More than anything, for me, it was an incredible reminder of our capacity to love unconditionally despite it all and to choose our own path.