The Best Books I Read In 2020

Anish Malpani
5 min readJan 1, 2021

I feel like books have a way of shaping the journey of our minds.

And there are certain books that drop in at just the right time, leaving behind ideas and emotions that our minds bind to, which eventually shape the way we move forward.

That is what I seek — ideas and inspiration. Ideas that lie underneath all the minutiae. The details matter, but only to the extent that they establish credibility. Outside of that, it is the ideas that linger. It is the courage that inspires. It is the vulnerability and self-awareness that binds you to the author as tears of unfulfilled potential trickle down, all somehow connecting back to your own personal journey.

Of the 35 books I read last year, these lingered.

Humankind by Rutger Bregman

In a year marred with hopelessness and negativity, Bregman dared to defend that humans are basically decent people. Most humans are okay, and our MO needs to involve trusting people more.

Bregman is an excellent thinker and writer, and when you layer years of history on him, he has an engaging way of finding patterns that are hard to argue against — like people are generally good; and if you don’t get scammed at some point in your life, you’re probably not trusting enough. He is unafraid of challenging Harari and Pinker, and at one point, he also takes on the holocaust. Yeah, I know.

Bregman fills the pages with unconventional and riveting anecdotes that make for a pretty fantastic read. And after reading this book, for a well-earned bonus, microwave some popcorn and go listen to this podcast where he discusses it with Steven Pinker.

Livewired by David Eaglemam

If you have heard of Eagleman, you know that he is a neuroscientist and more crucially, an excellent writer. He has written a plethora of books about the brain that should pretty much be classified as neu-erotica.

In his newest book, Livewired, he talks about the brain (again). And talks about its plasticity and adaptability (the usual brain stuff). But what really stayed with me from this book is when he talks about what we can learn from the brain. I know that sounds meta-weird but hear me out.

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Anish Malpani

Trying to incubate my own social enterprise. Also these consume me: data, spoken-word and friggin’ Arsenal. https://anishmalpani.com