Favorite 10 Books of 2020

This is a hard task each year: deciding on my favorite books. But it’s also a fun task. Without intentionally looking back, I can forget about some of the great reads I was given in a year.

Here are 10 of my favorite books, followed by another 10 (which could as easily be followed by another 10, on and on).

1. Holy Envy
Finding God in the Faith of Others
by Barbara Brown Taylor

Holy Envy_sm

Taylor chronicles her journey of teaching a college course on different world religions and what can be gained from each, while remaining rooted in her own faith of Christianity.

2. I’ve Seen the End of You
A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know
by W. Lee Warren

I've Seen the End of You_sm

Dr. Warren shares stories about his journey as a neurosurgeon and about the lives of his patients with brain cancer that inspire him to live better, do better, believe better.

[My review here of I’ve Seen the End of You]

3. Lies We Believe About God
by William Paul Young

Lies We Believe About God_sm

Young helps destroy some of the things we think we know about God but that aren’t true.

4. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Gottlieb, a therapist, decides she needs a therapist after a breakup. She writes here about her own journey with therapy as well as things she learns from her patients.

5. Stamped from the Beginning
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped from the Beginning_sm

Kendi teaches us lots of things we didn’t learn in history class about racism in the United States. This is an eye-opening book, well-researched and documented.

6. The Truth about Us
The Very Good News about How Very Bad We Are
by Brant Hansen

The Truth about Us

We’re not as good as we like to think we are. But God has us covered anyway. Hansen’s writing is personal, liberating, and inspiring.

[My review here of The Truth About Us]

7. The Worry Cure
Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You
by Robert L. Leahy

This is actually a helpful book about worrying. It’s broken down into seven practical steps and can be applied to many different types of worries.

8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman


Kahneman explains the two ways we think: System 1, the intuitive level, and System 2, the more logical level. This is fascinating information about our brain and our behavior.

9. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
by Emmanuel Acho

Acho answers the uncomfortable questions that white people often have about race issues, but are too embarrassed to ask. If you’ve seen his videos, you’ll feel like you’re talking to a friend in this book. 

10. Upstream
The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen
by Dan Heath


Heath explains why it’s better to prevent a problem before it happens than have to clean it up afterwards.

Bonus: 10 More Favorite Books

These ten books are also very good, too. I hated to leave them out. 

What book would you include in your top 10 list of 2020? Share in the comments.

31 thoughts on “Favorite 10 Books of 2020

  1. Linda Stoll

    Thanks for bountifully speaking into my reading life yet again throughout this year, Lisa!

    The Listening Life and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone have hit my lists, too! Excellent reads … and re-reads!


  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thank you, Lisa. I always appreciate your recommendations & reviews. you’ve introduced me to many new books that I’ve enjoyed. Happy 2021, and Happy Reading in good health.
    PS Can’t seem to connect to your one word FB group.

  3. Barbara Harper

    I’ll be working on a post like this later in the week! I usually can’t stop at just ten, either. The Worry Cure sounds good–I like practical suggestions, and books on that topic are usually big on philosophy but not so much on practicality.

  4. Laurie

    I see Stamped From the Beginning made your top 10 list. I am still working my way through it. It’s an important book and I am going to finish it. I need to read something by Barbara Brown Taylor. I have never read any of her books before, but they look so appealing.

  5. Tina

    Thanks for sharing! I love reading people’s “best of the year” list. I agree with you about Stamped- so incredibly well researched and needs to be taught more widely!

  6. Martha Jane Orlando

    So difficult to choose 10 top books, Lisa. I’ve read more this year than in previous ones due to the Covid lockdown. Three of my favorites were Dancing Prince by Glynn Young, Awakening by Beckie Lindsey and Jesus Revolution by Greg Laurie. Here’s to happy reading in 2021!

  7. mariel

    oh such great selections! I also loved “On Being a Writer” by Kroeker and Craig along with “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamont…obviously I have been reading some writing books 🙂 Thank you for these great recommendations!

  8. Kim

    Oooh, love this list and will be referring to it in 2021 (especially #7 – The Worry Cure!). One of my favorite reads of 2020 was Unlimiting Your Beliefs by Karen Brown, which told her (Karen’s) journey to racing in the Ironman. Truly inspiring!

  9. Beth

    I read the Listening Life. I also read Uncertainty. I always love looking at the lists and seeing how many of the books I have read. I read one off the Top 10 and 2 from your 2nd 10.

    Some days I just feel like there are too many books and I read over 200 this year but there are still more to read.

  10. Lesley

    It’s always fun to see what books have been people’s top picks for the year. I shared a post with six of my favourites earlier this week but one that has stood out to me recently is Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers.

  11. Joanne

    My reading pile is just about ready to topple over at this point! I just love reading everyone’s top pick reads of the year and keep adding to my own TBR pile. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

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  14. Elena Wiggins

    This looks like a great list, Lisa! I will link my 2020 favorite reads too! I have Thinking Fast and Slow on my TBR. I am definitely more intuitive and my husband is more logical… it balances out our marriage well, but it definitely makes communication extremely important since we don’t automatically understand one another because we are so different.

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