12 Nonfiction Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2020
With a bumper year of book releases behind us, many of which you can find on Blinkist, our editors are looking forward to getting their mitts on a host of life-enhancing publications in 2020. We asked our Head of Curation & Selection, Robyn Kerkhof, to share some books that she’s excited to read in the coming year—as well as some titles that you can read while you’re waiting!
1. The Money Tree: A Story About Finding the Fortune In Your Own Backyard by Chris Guillebeau
Due in April, Chris Guillebeau’s The Money Tree advocates for hard work and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to change your life. Its narrative centers around Jake Aarons, whose life is on the brink of falling apart — in debt, close to eviction, and at risk of losing both his job and his relationship. Then he joins a group meeting where members learn to build side hustles. Through taking on new challenges, Jake discovers skills to help him regain control over his life and his spending. Between now and April, check out Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle, The Happiness of Pursuit and Born For This on Blinkist.
2. Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free From Self‐Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story by Benjamin Hardy
This book challenges the “personality types” defined by such tests as the Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram. Hardy says that these tests are not only unscientific and unhelpful, but will actually limit people. He shows that personality is not fixed, but instead something you can create and work on, building towards the future you want. Hardy shows readers how to measure their progress by growth – considering how far they have come, rather than blaming themselves for not being perfect. This book teaches you to re-frame your past so it no longer holds you back, and to set your sights on a better, brighter future.
3. Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond by Lydia Denworth
In Friendship, journalist Lydia Denworth explores the biological and psychological foundations of friendship and considers its universality. She discovers that friendship is critical to our physical and emotional well-being. This book shows how we are programmed to seek friendships, how our social bonds develop, and the way in which the desire for friendship drives society. This optimistic view of human evolution shows that we really do all get by with a little help from our friends. The key ideas from I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Denworth can be read on Blinkist.
4. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath
Upstream explains how to target the source of persistent problems with time management or logistics rather than just reacting to these issues as they occur. Dan Heath draws on hundreds of interviews and his own innovative behavior research to provide practical solutions which will prevent problems before they arise. Upstream gives you actionable advice that will change how you approach your personal and professional goals. Titles Heath co-wrote with his brother Chip — Decisive, Switch, The Power of Moments and Made to Stick – are available on Blinkist
5. Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World by Olga Khazan
Coming out in April, Olga Khazan’s Weird explores what it’s like to really feel like an outsider. Weird draws on interviews, scientific studies and Khazan’s personal experience as a Russian immigrant in West Texas to explore what it is to be different or ‘weird’, why we crave conformity, and how social norms affect us. It shows how different individuals have coped with being outsiders, and how we can embrace weirdness, and see it as a strength.
6. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein
Listed as one of Time’s ‘100 most influential people’ in 2015, Marie Kondo has revolutionized the art of space organization with her world-renowned KonMari Method. In this book, the bestselling author and Netflix star collaborates with Scott Sonenshein, a business professor at Rice University to show you how to create a healthy and productive work environment. Joy at Work helps you clear the clutter so you can focus on the tasks that really matter. According to Kondo and Sonenshein, a tidy desk and mind will eliminate some of the stress from your workday. The goal is to create a space that will be healthy for your body and your mind. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011) which sold millions of copies and has been published in over 30 countries is available on Blinkist
7. Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates
Men Who Hate Women is a book very much of its moment. It examines the rise of secretive, extremist groups that despise women. Bates explores the growth of misogyny as a popular movement, from men’s rights activists and “pick-up artists” to trolls and incels. Bates relates this to other extremist movements and draws on interviews with trolls, former incels and academics in the field of gender studies and technology, as well as her own undercover investigations both on- and offline. This book is an essential read in the context of the #MeToo movement. Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates was named one of the Huffington Post’s Most Inspirational Women of 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013 Shorty Award in activism. Read the key ideas from Everyday Sexism on Blinkist.
8. Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang
David Chang, star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious and creator of Momofuku, shares his goals and values in this memoir, while also showing how cuisine can be used to tackle racism. As a newcomer on the food scene, Chang opened a noodle restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village that should not have survived its first year. But, through sheer stubbornness and a series of reckless choices, Chang has succeeded in becoming a restaurant guru. In this memoir, Chang is open and honest about his self-doubt and struggles with mental health. He also has a podcast, ‘The Dave Chang Show.’
9. Mission: Economics: A Moonshot Approach to the Economy by Mariana Mazzucato
This book takes the moon landing as an example of how teamwork, innovative thinking and aiming high are necessary to create change. Economist Mariana Mazzucato suggests that the kind of collaboration seen between NASA and private companies to achieve aeronautic advances could be applied to challenges such as the climate crisis, disease and poverty. In Mission: Economics she argues that innovation and wise investments from the government could rework the economy radically.
10. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates
In this book, Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, explores how to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through personal, industrial and global shifts. He points to new research and the need to develop new technologies to combat the climate crisis. Gates is optimistic that the worst impacts of the climate crisis can be avoided, if we take action. Need some reading material in the meantime? Check out this list of some of Gates’ favorite books.
11. The Spy Next Door by Ben Macintyre
Ben Macintyre is a bestselling author of non-fiction history books, a journalist and has produced BBC documentaries. He is best known for his books about espionage and World War Two. His books have sold more than two million copies worldwide. His latest will tell the story of “the greatest female spy in history.” The Spy and the Traitor and A Spy Among Friends are available on Blinkist.
12. Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein
This book explores ‘chance variability in people’s judgments’ and how this can cause us to make errors. The authors refer to this ‘chance variability’ as ‘noise’ and they aim to expose the role chance plays in our actions. They show that all actions – whether by individuals, corporations or leaders – are ‘profoundly affected’ by noise in judgement. Before reading their collaboration, why not look at some of these authors’ solo projects. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein are currently available on Blinkist.