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Your official non-fiction reading list for 2020

Your official non-fiction reading list for 2020

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, I wanted to compile a list of books that I think are helpful for anyone on the quest of obtaining self-love, understanding the power of self-compassion and habit, or just anyone interested in adding to their reading list. The books that follow are all non-fiction meaning they focus on giving you sentiments and skills that you can apply to your own life.

Deepak Chopra

I love this book. I read it during my hibernation period last year on a bus from Toronto to New York City. In this book, Chopra reminds us of our body’s innate power to change and renew itself. It’s metaphysical but simple to understand and you should read it if you want to expand your understanding of the way that consciousness interacts with the body. More specifically, this book will help you understand the way in which consciousness/”the mind”/”the soul” is incapable of not affecting the body. Chopra calls on us to deliver attention to our souls again. This book should be number one on your list if you’re interested in empowering yourself via knowledge of the mind/body connection.

David Richo

This book revolutionized the way I think about relationships. Specifically, it underlined the duty that I have within my relationships whether it be my relationships with friends, family, or romantic partners, to show up as my most authentic and empathetic and recieving self. Richo addresses barriers we may subconsciously have and provides methods on how to move past them. He outlines ways in which we can begin to recognize and recieve love from others and how we can incorporate love into all aspects of life. He provides tips on remaining ourselves while in love, embracing our shadow selves, and breaking destructive relationship patterns. Essential pre-dating guidebook, in my opinion.

Virginia Blum

I recommend this book alongside Jia Tolentino’s article for The New Yorker titled The Age of Instagram Face. The aim is not to bash cosmetic surgery procedures, but instead to showcase potential sources behind the cultural phenomenon of bodily and facial alterations. I love this book because of the depth of its scope. Blum asks and answers questions both practically and philosophically. She even goes as far as philosophically exploring the psyche of a cosmetic surgeon; noting certain diction choices that surgeons make during interviews and then drawing up conclusions based on her own experiences. It’s such an interesting book. Super telling of our current time and how most of us experience identity.

Marilyn Holzmann

SUMMARY: You need not be familiar with any spiritual concepts or even be interested in spirituality to understand this book. There are no lofty terminologies or concepts that you need to get your head around. Neither do you need to work your way through many personal stories without ever coming to the point. With this book, your search for an easy way to change your life is over. All you have to do is follow the instructions regularly with total commitment and you will be able to live the life of your dreams.

Louise Hay

SUMMARY: Louise’ key message is: “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.” The author has a great deal of experience and firsthand information to share about healing, including how she cured herself after being diagnosed with cancer. An excerpt from You Can Heal Your Life: Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back. What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. I believe that everyone, myself included, is responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.

James Clear

SUMMARY: If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights. Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible.

Brené Brown

If you haven’t watched Brené Brown speak yet, you need to change that ASAP. In the meantime, you should totally read her book.

See Also


SUMMARY: Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is a true genius and will definitely go down in history as one of the most influential writers ever born.

SUMMARY: It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison’s oeuvre.

Olivia Laing

I think this book is perfect to read on a long bus ride, or while you’re spending time alone in a coffee shop.

SUMMARY: When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her midthirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by the most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS activism, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

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