15 Books I’ve Read in 2020 – What to Read to Broaden Your Perspectives and Accept Every Life Situation?
Reading books is one of my favorite activities. In the past six years, I couldn’t enjoy reading as much as I wanted. Most of my time was invested in taking care of Joana and the integration process in another country. I could afford to read approximately 30 minutes, a few times a week.
Last year our dynamic was a little different. We’ve spent 5 months in a hospital, as you know from this article.
It was a stressful period, and uncertain whether she will recover. And I invested all those countless hours by her hospital bed, reading book after book.
It wasn’t easy to focus on any subject other than Joana, but I was aware that reading helps reduce the stress and the fear I was feeling. And the less I am worried, the more I am helping her.
The books I’ve read were different genres: romance, autobiographies, comedies, drama, classics, self-help (or positive psychology), biographies, and thrillers.
This article gives a short overview of the books that impressed me and made me want to reread them. These are the books that broader my perspectives and educated me the most.
1. What to do about your brain injured child, by Glen Doman.
I was skeptical about this book, especially because it is written by a doctor. When I saw it’s 400 something pages and contains the words “brain damage” in the title, I thought: oh no, this will be a long, boring, and complicated medical study. I am sure it’s about proteins and genes and other medical staff I won’t understand.
However, I decided to give it a chance, and I can’t stop recommending this book since. This is a very precious tool in the hands of all special parents.
But not just that. This book gives so many valuable insights and explanations about how the human brain works in a very understandable, simple way. It explains the difference between a damaged and a healthy brain. It speaks about the possibilities and brain plasticity. Explores case studies about amazing recoveries and describes how a person with brain damage has the full capacity of empathy, emotional intelligence, and feelings.
It shows how much a person with brain damage can progress in a positive and encouraging environment. The opposite happens when that person is among people who feel sorry for them, complain, and feel sad all the time. Being in a negative environment creates too much burden for the person with brain damage. I warmly recommend this book.
2. E2 by Pam Grout.
The author writes in a humorous way, which gives the book vibrancy and genuinity.
Pam presents her research of The Low of attraction, performing 9 experiments to test if this whole philosophy works or “it’s just a big wu-wu. “She suggests that the experiments can be done by anyone, and she invites us to try. A step-by-step explanation is given about each experiment.
I had fun reading this book, and I even performed a few of the experiments.
However, given that I wasn’t staying at home (I was in the hospital), I didn’t have the right atmosphere to be more playful and do the experiments to see what happens. That’s why sometime this year, I will reread it and do the work-part from the start till finish. What can I say – I like to play and see if I can learn something that will improve my life. Or learn something that will help others.
3. The Vortex, from Esther and Jerry Hicks
This is also one of my favorite books I read in 2020.
I listen to Abraham Hicks videos when I need a spiritual answer for a specific life challenge. (if you like to find out more about Abraham Hicks, go to Google or YouTube). I was supposed to go to their 2-day workshop in April in Amsterdam, which was postponed for 2021. I recommend their book without giving too much explanation. Simply, you just have to read it.
It is full of wisdom and practical and tangible advices, as well as principles on how to live fully and enjoy life. Messages that come directly from a higher nonphysical intelligence channeled through Ester Hicks. I am not telling anyone how to think (and believe), but it resonates to stay with an open mind and see/hear what the other person has to say. Maybe it’s wu-wu, maybe it’s not. The only way to know for sure is to apply in real life the principles they are suggesting. Most of it I tested, and they’ve worked. For me. In the end, the results are what matter. It doesn’t matter which way the message or the advice came.
4. Journey of souls and Destiny of souls, by Michal Newton.
These two books are actually connected. Those are case studies from Michael Newton, who was a hypnotherapist doing past life regressions with clients. These books are provocative, and I understand why many consider them controversial.
There are different cases about people from all over the world being able to remember their past lives under hypnosis. I choose to believe this concept because what actually do we know for sure? We have no proof if this is true. Maybe the subjects under hypnosis are really remembering past lives. Maybe it’s just their fantasy.
At the end of the day, it soothes me to believe that we don’t end when we die. We just transform into another dimension. This belief makes me feel good. And that’s why these books are good enough and true enough for me. Not to mention that reading this was probably the best preparation for Joana’s transition. It was a solution before the problem came. Since what happened in November, the understanding and knowing these books gave me, helped me tremendously in my grieving process.
5. Finding your own north star by Martha Beck
One of my favorite books I read in 2020. Now I am giving it as a present to dear people.
Martha Becks is an amazing writer. Her main profession is a Life coach, and she is actually one of Ophra’s coaches.
This is not just a self-help book. Its many years of experience of working with clients. Martha Beck doesn’t accept excuses. You can live a better life under any circumstances and life situations! Period. She offers practical advices, worksheets to explore your thoughts and emotions, and resolve issues that hold you back from “finding your north star.” She gives plenty of personal examples from everyday life.
Reading it, you will see that people have the same problems no matter which part of the world they live in. They deal with the same obstacles, self-doubt, problem communicating with the partner and at the workplace, going to a job they hate it, stuck in the circle of pleasing others and afraid to say no.
6. Man search for meaning, by Victor Frankl
A book I’ve heard about in a video from Dr. Wane Dyer. He mentioned it as one of the books that changed his life. I’ve read it, and now I know why.
In this novel, Victor Frankl describes his biography. He is a survivor of the concentration camps in Auschwitz. After the war, he commits his life to psychology, and among other, he writes this book. He didn’t want to expose himself in public and draw attention to himself. He even considered publishing the book under a different name and stay as anonymous as possible.
His message is that every life, no matter how much, is filled with suffering, agony, milestones, and challenges, is worth living. There is always a chance for a positive outcome. Never give up. Every situation, no matter how difficult, has something positive in it. This book is a masterpiece. It is translated into 24 languages and sold over 10 million copies. I highly recommend it to anyone who suffers and wishes to be in another circumstance.
7. The 5 am club, by Robin Sharma
This is a book I’ve read during the summer holidays. It’s a typical self-help book with advices, ideas, and principles on how to make the most of the day and most of your life. I liked this book because it wasn’t just the philosophy and personal thoughts of the author. It has a story, and the author presents the idea of morning routine through dialogs between the characters.
8. Loving what is, by Byron Katie.
Byron Katie is active on YouTube, where she shares her teachings. Everything we experience, everything we have in our lives, is a projection of our perspective. The author has long years’ experience working with clients. In this book, she describes some of her sessions during the years.
I’ve learned that I can’t control what is happening to me and what is happening to others.
If we try to judge everything that already is, we hurt ourselves and suffer. Byron Katie says: there are only 3 businesses in the world: my business, your business, and God’s business. I can only control my business: that is my choices, my decisions, my point of view. Whenever I am in your business or God’s business, I experience suffering. Examples of being in “your” business: “I think my mother should do this,” “why is my sister not listening, she is supposed to do that,” “I am nervous because my 30-year-old daughter decided to quit her job, what if she can’t find another”, etc.
Every time we are in a challenging situation, we should ask ourselves 4 questions. Read the book if you are interested, what are they.
Loving what is, gave me so many a-ha moments. I warmly recommend it.
9. Hygge, by Meik Wiking.
I was reading this whenever I needed to cheer up or amuse myself. After finishing this book, I feel like I’ve already been to Denmark and experienced the danish way of living. The author of this book works at the Happiness Research Institute and explores the causes and effects of human happiness. He presents all the Danish culture elements during different seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. I think everyone heard about the book Hygge. Here you can find descriptions of places, holiday destinations, towns, meals, and traditions.
10. Born a crime, by Trevor Noah.
Trevor Noah is a comedian. You can find his videos all over the Internet. When I’ve heard he wrote a book, a biography, I knew it will be funny. So, I bought it intending to read it by the beach. It turned out – yes, it was funny. But it was also very emotional. And educational. Trevor Noah was born in 1984 during the apartheid in South Africa.
I had only a general idea of what apartheid meant for the people living there. I learned much more about that in this book. It was very emotional at moments, even though Trevor describes the events with humor. Although funny at moments, it touched me a lot, thinking that this is someone’s story. This is someone’s life full of trauma, losses, ups, and downs.
I was happy for him when he described his victories and achievements. But I also cried every time he talked about the injustices that he and his family suffered.
I expected to be amused by this book, but I ended up touched and impressed by the author’s flexibility and ability to adjust. Today he is a successful television host, a producer, and a comedian, living and working in the USA.
11. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.
This book was written in 1936, and it’s a bestseller even today. I am so glad I’ve read it. It’s not a good suggestion for those with a big ego and lack of desire to change and improve their behavior. The principles described in it can be applied in everyday life. I found out a lot about myself. I saw how unaware was I in many situations and that there was a way for me to give a different reaction.
Although there are words “winning” and “influence people” in the book’s title, the content is nothing about manipulating or taking something from someone. It’s about reducing your judgments, and examine your actions. If you don’t like your reality, change yourself. Don’t try to change the others.
12. Atomic habits, by James Cllr
The title says everything. Everyone interested in improving their habits should read it. And it’s a perfect book if you feel that you work too much, but you don’t see results. The message is: it’s not your talent or the hard work that will push you forward accomplishing your goals. The little everyday habits will.
Do you always arrive 15 minutes later on appointments? Do you exercise? Do you check your social media the first 5 minutes you get out of bed? Do you procrastinate finishing projects, and you work night and day when the deadline is near? How do you spend your free time? Are your friends encouraging and positive? Do you give up every time you are rejected for something? Little things you do every day define the level of satisfaction and accomplishment in your life.
13. Daring greatly, by Brene` Brown
It gives a great lesson about vulnerability. What does it mean to be vulnerable? How to express vulnerability through your work? And what about shame? The book is entertaining, and you feel like you are having a coffee with the author. Her perspective is: the only life worth living is to push all your shame and fear of rejection away and boldly get in the arena and play.
14. Your erroneous zones, by Wayne Dyer
There is so much to say about Dyer’s work. He wrote around 40 books in his lifetime, and 20 of them are best sellers. That speaks a lot about his writing abilities and his talent for communicating with his audience. If you like his videos, you will like this book too.
He describes in 12 chapters how to break free from the trap of negative thinking. In his words: “The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfillment in circumstances where others choose madness.”
15. Dying to be me, by Anita Moorjani
If you are afraid of death; If you have someone you love who left the physical world; if you or someone you love has uncurable illness; if you want to hear what the author experienced during her near-death experience – this book is for you.
Anita Moorjani helped tens of thousands of people around the world with this book and her public speaking. This book is a biography of the author describing her childhood in Hong Kong and her adult life events. She struggled to find a balance between the culture she grew up in and the Indian culture (her parents moved from India to Hong Kong, where Anita was born).
She tried to meet everybody’s expectations, which created a big conflict inside of her. As she describes, that inner struggle manifested as cancer. Today she knows that if she lived her life in balance with her own wishes and desires, she would never get sick. Her mission is to spread this message in the world about the illness, healing, fear, love, and the true magnificence of every human being.
I hope you can use this summary, and it will serve you as an inspiration for what to read next.