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Book recommendations, November 2020

One benefit of living through a pandemic is that I’ve found a lot more glorious time to read books. In my ongoing work to inspire more folks to read, here is a quick list, plus some notes, about a few of the books I’ve read in 2020. Enjoy.


The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. As a history buff, I’ve long declared that Nixon was my favorite president to study. As I’ve aged, it is now hands down Teddy Roosevelt. Truly one of the most fascinating figures of all-time. This is the Pulitzer Prize-winning first volume of a trilogy, and I’ve purchased the whole set.

Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago. As a Chicagoan, I am fascinated with Al Capone and his legend, which is seeped into the history of this town. But this book offers the REAL story, which is still fascinating. All that crap you see in Hollywood films and television isn’t close to the truth.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Many have said this is the greatest war novel of all-time. I’m agreeing with them. You get into the mind of a German soldier on the front lines of World War I. Wow…

The Practice by Seth Godin. I’ve read every single one of Seth Godin’s books, so I had to continue the streak. This is a solid read, especially if you are stuck in neutral trying to create your best work, such as your own book, developing a new product, or launching a foundation. 😉

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. This was NOT what I expected. At all. And in a good way. What a fun and interesting book. Can’t believe I waited this long to read it.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. I was going to read this book no matter what. I liked the message behind it. But man, it was surprisingly good. And fun.

City of Thieves by David Benioff. I have no idea what led me to this book, but glad I discovered it. A great read about the siege of Leningrad during World War II.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The best book I’ve read in 2020. What a mind blow. This masterpiece launched the True Crime genre. It also led me down several wormholes in researching what a fascinating character Capote was himself.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Until now, I’ve never read Vonnegut. What a fool I’ve been. This anti-war book was amazing, and I’ve added a bunch more of his books to my reading list.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The last time I read this, it was under duress in high school. I decided to read it again for pleasure. And wow, what a book. I’ll be rereading many of his books over the next year or two.

But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer. All I can say is that if you love jazz, you will adore this book.

From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming. The WSJ featured this book earlier in the year (for some reason), which inspired me to read it again. It is one of the great spy novels of all time, and although better than the Bond film of the same name (which is one of the best Bond films), it was really fun to read again after many, many years.


In the comments, let me know what you’ve been reading. Always looking for ideas. The photo above are some of the titles waiting to be read by me…


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