Ultimate Reading List for 2020 : 10 MUST READ Non-Fiction Books

After completing my Goodreads Challenge 2019 with 40 books, here are the MUST read non-fiction books. Hope this inspires your reading list for 2020!

Successfully meeting my target of reading 40 books this year from the GoodReads 2019 Challenge, here is my reading list for MUST read books in the non-fiction category.

Continuing from last year’s recommendations, I have decided to make this a year-end ritual of sorts.

I know, I know, I write enough about Spiritual books already, so I’m promising you a list outside the core Spiritual genre, yet true to the non-fiction hall of fame.

Bringing you a bright concoction of genres this year, from undercover agents, comedy, mental health, memoirs, self-helps and more. Read on!

#1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear

If I could recommend only one book to you, it would be this one.

With 2020 around the corner, and the potential to BREAK most of your “new year resolutions”, this book will teach you how to commit to yourself this year, for good.

As the author emphasizes, we only need to change ourselves 1% everyday, and by the end of the year, we are 37 times better as a person! The tips and tricks in Atomic Habits are suitable for all walks of life, and I continue to use this book as a guideline to refine my own habits, even after 6 months of reading it.

This is also the book that influenced my post 7 Daily Habits that Bring Results Immediately.

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#2 – Why We Sleep by Matthew Kneale

If you’re a victim of sleep deprivation, you’re not alone.

Fairy Tale, Night, Music, Fish, Sky, Fly, Sleep, Non Fiction, Dream

This book will tell you everything there’s to know about sleep, whether its
how dreams work,
why we experience jet lags,
sleep-deprived driving versus drunk-driving,
how much we should sleep,
the impact of caffeine on our sleep, and much more!

Informative, but not overly. The stories and research is astonishing and will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. This book is the right blend of self-help and psychology genres.

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#3 – In the Skin of a Jihadist

I’ve always been inclined to learn more about whistleblowers and anti-terrorism stories. For me, this year, this book really stood out.

undercover, journalism, jihad

The story of an undercover journalist that went to extensive lengths to debunk much about the Jihadists and their plans, ultimately leading to life-threatening circumstances for herself. Bone-chilling and very different from anything else you’ll usually read.

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#4 – Becoming by Michelle Obama

In the category of memoirs, this along with #5 have been such good reads this year.

I was fortunate to hear it read by Michelle Obama herself, thanks to my latest love for audiobooks. I’m sure you don’t need much introduction to this book, and you’ve probably seen enough reviews in favour. So just take one more positive sign – you SHOULD read this!

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#5 – This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Very few people know, that I wanted to be a doctor while I was growing up. Being steered into engineering by my very practical family, was not a decision I got over for several years! I’m happy to be where I am today, but if there was anything left within me, this book brought me the closure. But don’t get me wrong, the book is quite the opposite of sad.

adam kay, this is going to hurt, must read memoir

If you’re looking for something hilarious and unique, look no further. This book comes with a power-packed message.

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#6 – Essentialism by Greg McKeown

If you’re a workaholic, read this.
Or, if you want to learn time management, read this.
Or, If you have a tough time saying no at work or in relations, read this.

Essentialism is an essential book for anyone that wants to understand how to set up boundaries in their life, and in a very practical way. The book uses a lot of references from other books and can seem worded at times, but it remains relevant nonetheless.

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#7 – Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

With me going on and on about Mental Health and happiness, it became almost mandatory to have this book on the list. It’s a classic, but I feel like it was written way ahead of its time.

bell jar, sylvia plath, mental health, must read

For anyone having any inclination and searching for some enlightenment on subjects of mental health, depression or suicide, please add this to your cart. I truly felt like this is as real and deep as you can get with experiencing such subjects, without being in that position yourself.

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#8 – The Circadian Code by Dr Satchin Panda

This year was a blessing, with back-to-back books that brought inner transformation. With diet-culture and intermittent fasting in extensive discussion, this is the book that nails every theory and myth with terrific scientific backing.

Dr Satchin’s research proves that calorie-counting can go out of the window, if we make very small changes in our daily habits. His theory being, it doesn’t matter what you eat, as much as it matters when you are eating.

Clock, Plate, Intermittent Fasting, Must Read

In turn, these changes will reverse the effects of chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes, ADHD, as well as regulate your mental, hormonal and physical health on the daily basis!

Dr Satchin recommended 6 weeks of his recommended practice to see results, and at this point, I am over 8 weeks into practising intermittent fasting. The outcome is so amazing, I am compiling a post about my story. Stay tuned!

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#9 – Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I was today years-old, when I discovered that half the things I do, are not a personality flaw, but the essence of an introvert personality.

Woman, Read, Sit, Person, Literature, Must Read, Non-Fiction

It talks in great detail about introverts in all kinds of social and career situations. There’s wonderful insight on raising introvert kids, and how to cohabitate with an introvert or extrovert partner.

I can’t thank the author enough, for putting this incredible work together. She’s gone above and beyond, searched high and low to put this insightful work together. Whether it was her experience at Tony Robbins workshop, a study at Harvard Business School, or countless other studies of CEOs and other influential, introverted personalities, she’s shared EVERYTHING. And then some. Absolutely fascinating!

If you are an introvert, considered emotional or sensitive, this book is going to empower you and make you feel so good about yourself, you will wear the label with honour, as I now do. Thoroughly researched, witty and pushing your mind to break the stigma about who you are.

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#10 – Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

As someone who has gone through several episodes of depression, and continues to deal with anxiety, Matt Haig has nailed everything there has to be said about the state of our planet.

Sadness, Depressed, Woman, Girl, Alone

Looking at everything that effects our mental health from a practical, easy to understand but tough to digest perspective, this could be the book that shakes you awake.

While a simple, conversational book, not as easy to digest. It really makes you think about how you want to approach life, and to take your mental wellbeing more seriously.

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* BONUS READ – Make Your Bed by Will McRaven

While this didn’t make it in my top 10 non-fiction favourites, it definitely made a good read.

Military, Usa, Marines, Drill, Silent, Navy, Seal

I’m sure you’ve already seen the inspiring speech about making your bed every morning, but the author put together a fantastic book revealing what the life and struggle of navy marines are, in a rather unique and comical way. What I liked about this book was, no fluff, lots of stories that make great analogies, and how crisp it was.

Perfect if you need a short and motivating read.

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How many of these have you already read? I hope some of them make way into your To-Be-Reads for 2020! Happy reading 🙂

P.S. Thank you, if you are able to purchase any of the books through the links above. At no added cost to you, your contribution adds value to this blog! 🙂

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10 Underrated Books That Deserve More Love

My underrated favorite books, highly recommended for 2019.

Here’s my list of underrated books that people aren’t talking about enough, have just a few-thousand ratings or even less on Goodreads, but you should definitely add to your shelves (and also read, don’t just keep them sitting there!).

NOTE : If you want to buy any of these books, it would be awesome if you could use the affiliate links I have provided. There are no added costs to you, and it could be your way of supporting my work for every book you buy through my website. 🙂

1. Unthink by Chris Paley

(Goodreads average: 3.55, but it deserves at least 4/5 stars)

Genre? Psychology. Without the boring, scientific details, this short, quick book covers dozens of interesting studies on the human mind (and how it’s being heavily manipulated). Easy to read, keeps you hooked on every page, and will leave you thinking for a long time.

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2. An Atheist’s History of Belief by Matthew Kneale

(Goodreads average: 3.82, Me: atleast a 4/5)

I’ll go so far as saying it’s (almost) as fascinating and resourceful as Yuval Noah’s Sapiens. But don’t take my word on it – read it for yourself.

This is an essential book to believers and non-believers alike, as this uncovers questions like, where did the idea of God really originate from? How did idol-worship begin? Why are there strange practices like sacrifices, martyrdom and witchcraft? The conception of polygamy and abstinence, and a LOT more.

Value for money, and a well utilization of 240 pages! No fluke. And you might be surprised by what you discover about your own religion. Brace yourselves, there are some bold revelations!

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3. Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman

(Goodreads average: 4.4, Me: 5/5!)

What is hypnosis? Can we be hypnotized without consent? Is it possible that we are often hypnotized even without knowing it? Can hypnosis actually be beneficial? And how can we do it (if at all)?

This is one of the finest books written on the subject, and will surprise you with a ton of information. Mind-blowing!

Disclaimer – the book is rarely published anymore and will be an expensive buy. But most certainly worth it, I assure you!

4. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue

(Goodreads average: 4.31, I’d say 5/5)

Celtic wisdom. Philosophy. Mystical.

If these words intrigue you, pick this book without a second thought. In a world where you get a hundred new quotes per hour on Instagram, the thoughts and ideas in this book still remain widely untouched and uncirculated.

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5. Invisible Acts of Power by Caroline Myss

(Goodreads average: 4.06, Me: definitely a 5/5)

“Faith in humanity restored!”
That was my reaction atleast after every 2 pages.

Its a feel-good yet emotion-stirring read. Thought-provoking, yet gentle. An ideal book if you’re finding yourself questioning the ‘purpose in life’, or wondering if there’s any hope left for humanity.

This is written as a series of stories with a deep message and a lot of happy endings (happy new beginnings, rather).

Note : Caroline Myss also has a series of blogs that are equally inspiring, in smaller doses.

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6. Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

(Goodreads average: 4.49, Me: 5/5 undoubtedly!)

Written by an Enlightened Buddhist Monk himself, this book is such an easy way to understand the Buddhist Way.

Even if not with the intention to become a Monk, or a Buddhist, read this extraordinary piece of work to gain invaluable knowledge about Meditation practices, spiritual discourses, and historic recounting (disputes between the monks, rivalries, the Buddha’s passing into Nirvana etc).

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7. No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal

(Goodreads average: 4.45, Me: 5/5)

A Pulitzer prize winner, I would describe as ‘UNPUTDOWNABLE’.
Narrated with three, shocking perspectives – one from a Mujaheddin leader, second from a Taliban member and third from a local citizen of Afghanistan, this book is a personal and immersive experience of what happened to the country, and why it is suffering. Even if you know nothing about Afghanistan (as I didn’t when I read this), this is the only book you’ll need to read.

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8. The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim

(Goodreads average: 4.09, Me: 5/5 brilliant!)

Haven’t we all wondered how such families are impacted? And what happens to the kids – do they follow their father’s footsteps? This is a (very) quick but brave memoir about the story of a Terrorist’s son. Written by a TED talk speaker, this one is sure to leave a mark on your heart.

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9. Return to Life by Jim B Tucker

(Goodreads average: 3.7, Me: 5/5 phenomenal!)

If you want to be challenged into reading something outside your comfort zone, try this. It will question (almost) everything you’ve believed in about life. The major theme is around cases where children’s memories of past lives could be PROVEN, and there are other compelling evidences such as famous people being reborn, animals being reborn as humans (WTF?), psychic powers, near death experiences, and more.

As eerie as this book sounds, it was a breeze to get through and really shook me to the core.

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10. The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

(Goodreads average: 4.27, Me: 5/5, favorite book ever!)

If there is one book you need to understand how the mind works against us, how to meditate, the concepts of detachment, ego, surrendering, and a vast sea of other spiritual concepts, pick this and you will not have to look further.

This is a beautiful, meaningful and short book that merges psychology and spirituality. I know I’ve brought this one up before, in my list of spiritual favorites, but I think it’s worth mentioning again!

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Happy Reading! 🙂

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must read, underrated books