2020 was truly an interesting year. Apart from the pandemic situation, I’ve also decided to finally quit my corporate job and start fresh on my own. Having more control over my time gave me a wonderful opportunity to focus on my personal interests and especially reading. I read some fantastic books and In todays’ article I will share with you my reviews of the very best of them.

“21 Lessons for The 21th Century” – Yuval Noah Harari

A truly wonderful book that comes right on time after Harari’s masterpieces “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” that I read in 2019.

In “21 Lessons for the 21th Century” Harari outlines some of the most important technological, political, social and economical challenges that the human race will face in the coming years. Technology develops at paces that far surpass the natural evolutionary capabilities of humans, governments and societies. Those innovations would require drastic rethink of our current socioeconomic model so that governments can handle those changes and provide a stable and functioning society where people can continue to live and benefit from the new order.

The technology of the 21th century will change our lives in ways that we might not be able to imagine. Those processes have already started taking place, especially in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, retail and etc.

Only one thing is for sure – “Change is the only constant”. “21 Lessons for the 21th century” is a fantastic handbook into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future.

I recommend starting with “Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and then moving on to this book to really get the full ideas of the author.

“Outliers” – Malcolm Gladwell

My profound interest in personal growth, development and success has led me to this interesting book. In “Outliers”, Gladwell takes a journey to find out the true outliers amongst us – the best, brightest, most successful and what makes them different.

It is not uncommon, blinded by the success of other people, to forget and oversee what it really takes to achieve success, regardless in which area. There is always a chain of events and circumstances that are involved in the process. It might be pure coincidence – for example meeting the right person at the right time. Some times it’s just practicing and working extremely hard (The mythological 10 000 hours rule comes to play here).

The book will take you on a journey across many “case studies” from different areas of life – sports, technology, business, law and etc. to show that success is not always what it looks like on the outside. It is never only one thing that makes a person an “outlier” but in fact, it’s the opposite – it’s a compounding effect of all the other things.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” – Daniel Khaneman

In this masterpiece, the Nobel laureate Daniel Khaneman takes a deep tour in our mind to explore how we, as humans make decisions.

Khaneman explains the major systems that handle the thought processes and also the faults and biases, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. Most of those biases and constructs are what drives our lives – we do not always take conscious decisions but instead we rely on our “built-in” mechanisms to take over and simplify the processes for us.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the inner workings of the brain and the mind. It is an exciting journey and I believe that understanding the processes behind our decisions can help us make better ones.

“Kafka on The Shore” – Haruki Murakami

This is the most adventurous book that I read in 2020. Haruki Murakami is a master in telling great stories, mixed with a spice of supernatural elements that just blow your mind away.

“Kafka on the Shore” is a book about a teenage boy who decides to run away from his home in Tokyo, Japan. On his adventure the boy meets with different characters, each of which with it’s own unique story and quirks. The plot also includes other characters and follows their unique adventures and their stories which are interlinked in mysterious ways.

The book is filled with many riddles, symbolisms and the storyline is very well connected with an interesting labyrinth of events. Every reader must find the answers for himself which is what makes this book so special to me.

“The Fountainhead” – Ayn Rand

Although I read it in 2019 I just couldn’t skip this one. If there is a book that makes me believe a person should always follow his own vision, ideas and standards, than this is “The Fountainhead” for sure.

The story tells us about an architect, Howard Roark – young, ambitious, bold, a true outlier. Always following his style, refusing to compromise even though being opposed by his colleagues and the society. Ayn Rand’s character is the ultimate proof that we must choose individualism and independence over collectivism, no matter how difficult it is at times and enforce our vision instead of blindly following the herd. It’s not easy being an outlier but it surely is way more satisfying in the end.

I do not want to spoil the story for you and I can only say one more thing – just read it!

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