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Our Favorite Books of 2020

We asked our contributors to tell us the best book they’ve read this year. Here are their responses.

Book cover: Dare to LeadDare to Lead by Brené Brown

“This book offers practical tips and tools that help me enable my team to share their ideas, to risk, and to give feedback to be stronger as an organization. Our businesses function best when we as leaders are vulnerable, operate from our values, and build trust with our staff. ‘Dare to Lead’ has helped me personally and professionally to be my best self and to create an environment for my team to do the same.” – Lori McDonald, CEO Brilliance Business Solutions.

Book cover: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” by John Carreyrou

“The is the book that most impressed me. It’s about Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, and how she duped so many intelligent people, leaders in their fields. Theranos never had a viable product. Yet for years Holmes was lauded by the technology press and attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from investors. One day Theranos was worth $9 billion and then it was worth virtually nothing.” – Marcia Kaplan, Writer, Researcher, Financial Consultant

Book cover: Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

“In 2020, I was most impacted by ‘Sapiens.’ It’s about the history of man. Think of it as a Ted Talk about humans given by a kindly Martian. Harari concludes that Sapiens (humans) are essentially gods at this point. He asks, ‘Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?'” Peter Keller, CEO Fringe Sport

Book cover: Start with WhyStart with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

“Successful brands define why they exist for their customers. Once a brand can answer ‘the why,’ its messaging will flow. If you cannot answer why your business exists and the problem solves, you need to rethink your model.” – Phil Masiello, Founder CrunchGrowth Revenue Acceleration Agency

Book cover: Traction: Get a Grip on Your BusinessTraction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman.

“I have read a lot of books in 2020. This one is my favorite. ‘Traction’ describes the entrepreneurial operating system — a simple and direct way for small and mid-sized businesses to manage their companies for success. It provides a framework for decision-making, problem-solving, and growth.” – Armando Roggio, PEC Senior Contributor, Consultant, Developer

Atomic Habits by James Clear

“‘Atomic Habits’ is my favorite book in 2020. It describes how tiny changes in our lives can have a transformational effect. It provides a step-by-step guide for changing routines and becoming successful. The challenge for me is putting into practice what is described in the book. That is what I have tried to do this year.” – Gagan Mehra, Managing Director Deloitte Digital

Book cover: Think Like a MonkThink Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day,” by Jay Shetty

“Purpose coach Jay Shetty sheds light on our need to connect more deeply in every type of relationship. The former monk shares eye-opening experiences — shattering many myths about how monks live — and explains how to apply them in all aspects of work and life. The audiobook is read by Shetty himself, whose soothing and convincing voice makes listeners feel like they’re having a personal conversation with him. Rarely do I read a book that addresses everyone. This one ranks near the top of my all-time favorites. ‘Think Like a Monk’ will teach you how to best connect with everyone you encounter.” – Pamela Hazelton, Consultant, Author, Speaker

Book cover: The End Is Always NearThe End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses by Dan Carlin

“This book is by my favorite podcaster, Dan Carlin, the creator of ‘Hardcore History.’ He wrote the book just before Covid-19. Still, it has helped me put the pandemic in perspective and understand its place in human history. After reading it, I am better prepared to carry on despite the doom and gloom.” – Mike Eckler, Author, Fintech Consultant

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