Recommended Books You Should Read in 2020

Recommended Books You Should Read in 2020

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. The advantages of cultivating a culture of constant reading cannot be stressed enough. At the beginning of 2018, I vowed to read a single book each month as a way of flexing my brain muscles. I mostly failed as I ended up buying books but never having enough time to read them. At the beginning of 2019, I intentionally purposed to fulfill this goal and I did. To achieve this, I had to schedule my reading hours before anything else in the morning as well as sacrifice a lot of hours of social meetings and events in exchange for a book and a comfy armchair in my apartment. Now, this isn’t meant to be a pat on the back since anyone can achieve this and numerous people have and still do each year. This is merely a challenge to myself and anyone interested to spend even more time reading and gathering knowledge and going on wonderful adventures between the pages of books this year!

With that being said, here’s a list of books I was able to read and totally enjoyed in 2019. I hope you find something interesting that you can intentionally set to read before the end of the year. (also, if you live anywhere near my radius and would like to borrow any of these books for no cost at all, feel free to inbox or email me)

January - Forty Million Dollar Slaves by William C. Rhoden

This book gave me a look into the history and culture of African American athletes right from the plantations to the modern day million-dollar players of the NBA.

February - The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass and Public Policy by William Julius Wilson

This book will forever stand out as one of the best researched books I have ever read. The author tackles issues that are still relevant in the society including, urban poverty, welfare dependency, race and their implications on public policy. Very thought provoking.

March - Kill Me Quick by Meja Mwangi

A classic survival story in the gritty streets of Nairobi by one of my favorite Kenyan authors.

No Easy walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela

In this short book, Mandela narrates his struggles and fight for a democratic and equal South Africa. 

April - Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The funniest memoir I have read. The son of Patricia narrates his journey from a cheeky South African boy to the man he is now. This book was hugely captivating that I finished reading it in a record two days!

I’m Judging you by Luvvie Ajayi

I was introduced to Ms. Ajayi's humorous podcast, Jesus and Jollof (with Yvonne Orji) by a friend of mine. I have not regretted a single second of the hours spent listening to their funny podcast. Her book is exceptionally funny and left me thinking that I could as well do better as a human being.

May - The Thing Around your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

You can’t speak of African writers without mentioning Chimamanda. Her beautiful and endless stories always grasp you by the hand and urge you to follow her on her journeys. This was another simply well written book full of captivating stories.

June - On Becoming A leader by Warren Bennis

In this book, Mr. Warren argues and seeks to prove that leaders are made and not born. This book inspired me to think of leadership as something that everyone can achieve and do so long as they set their minds to it and work towards it.

July - The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest

This book is a clear example of “we know what ails Africa, but we simply don’t mind the status quo.” Precious little book that might seem a bit obvious for most Africans who have spent some time in the motherland and are aware of its potential and what hinders its growth. Please send some free copies to all our African leaders before the next election.

August - Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Another leadership book which I truly enjoyed. Simon is famous for his “Start with your why” theory (and his graceful questioning of millennials entitlements). Worthy read.

September - Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea who Viktor Frankl was until last year. However, I am thankful that he was able to write this gem of a book that narrates his time in the Nazi Camps while offering guidance on find purpose in one’s life.

October - Obama, An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza

Let’s be honest, we have all missed 44 at some point in our lives since he left office. There was no better way to reminisce about the excellence and class that he is other than a photo book that tells the story of his family and him at the White House.

1984 by George Orwell

I grew up as a proud owner and fan of George Orwell's, Animal Farm. I loved the book so much that I read it in Swahili countless times too. When I finally got hold of 1984, I expected nothing short of a masterpiece of a story. I was not disappointed.

November - If you want to Write by Brenda Ueland

I am always looking for inspiration to write and Brenda Ueland in this book offers more than enough inspiration to never put one's pen down as a writer.

December - A life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

One of the greatest actors of his generation, at least in my books. I grew up watching Malcolm in the Middle and no character made me happier than Bryan Cranston’s Hal Wilkerson (Malcolm’s father). His book, which is a tale of his personal and acting life is equally captivating just like Hal’s character.


“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.” – Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
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