11 Books of Change in 2020

I have had the privilege to read some great titles this year. They have, simply put, changed the way I understand life.

Any of these books is well worth your time. If just one changes your life half as much as it has mine, this post is worth it 😁


Taking off from Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, this novel by John Steakley builds off of that tone with the memory recordings of a battered and blasted suit of advanced combat armor. Exploring the vulgarities of war for war’s sake, the glorification of violence, and the battle scars that never disappear, Steakley set an example for me on how to write better war stories.

Art Matters

Neil Gaiman is prolific. Maybe it’s because he takes his own advice on why creation and expression is so darn important to the human condition.

Can’t Hurt Me

A man of many titles and accomplishments, David Goggins serves as an example for me in what it means to push through, how not to quit. It’s not enough to want something – a person must first conquer their worst enemy: themselves.

Energy for Future Presidents

Richard Muller gives concise information on physics, chemistry, economics, diplomacy, and sociology that not just provides information on where the world stands in regards to its fuel, but also how to evaluate new forms of energy that arise. I have a better understanding of the future of energy and you will too reading this book.

Masters of War: History’s Greatest Strategic Thinkers

The Great Courses does it again, delivering top-notch educational course material in audiobook form. I grew into greater appreciation of some of humanity’s shapers. Further, this course outlines some strategic methodologies that can be applied to everyday obstacles and decisions.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

John Grey has given me language to express what I’ve felt and have observed in others. MAFMWAFV uses archaic terms by today’s more nuanced world, yet through its teachings I can point out the reasons behind how relationships have ended, what others have done, and why anyone reacts the way they do. The book isn’t everything there is to relationships and gendered self-expression, but it’s a lot!

The New Human Rights Movement

Like a punch in the gut, Peter Joseph hits hard with the ails of society. Unlike how some philosophers and dictators will say a thing is a problem and throw out solutions, Joseph defines terms, assumes a common goal (i.e. eliminate unnecessary suffering; minimize/optimize what’s left), details problems in opposition to that goal, and outlines seemingly obvious solutions.

I’m a big fan of this book, though give due caution: It’s depressing to see how much trouble society has wedged itself into. I have great hopes in a mass correction of ills, yet it will only occur on a macro scale. (Market dynamics trump individual performance always.)

A Plea for the Animals

Matthieu Ricard has made me a full vegetarian now. Hope that’s enough said about their work 🤷‍♂️

Revelation Space

Here I refer to the series whose first book is of the same name. Alastair Reynolds shoots for the moon in this sci-fi epic saga that spans tens-of-thousands of years, and he goes farther. Revelation Space has changed how I think about spaceship shapes and travel, as well as how short stories pump great energy into the rest of the fictional universe.

The Truth

Very controversial Neil Strauss, author of the more famous book The Game, explores here the consequences of a hedonistic life. At times verging on the soft-core, The Truth concludes that the tools to become confident, meet people, and become intimate must ultimately serve to find the relationship that is worth burying those tools for.

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

Neil Gaiman again here! This short story is… magical. Dark. Suspenseful. And of a kind of primal justice for which the characters (and we, readers) must journey towards. Not much of life lesson, but heck-of-a-fine read ~

These are the new works that most impacted me this year. A note that this does not include repeat reads, such as the graphic novel series Monstress or the advice found in Tribe of Mentors. Regardless, I am a better person for them all.

How many of these have you read? Which books would you suggest I pick up in 2021? Keep me posted and keep on improving! Cheers~

Published by

Jimmy Chattin

Processor of data, applier of patterns, maker of games and stories.

One thought on “11 Books of Change in 2020”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s