In keeping with year-end tradition, I wanted to share the best books I read in 2020 – a year unlike any other - with a list of reads heavily influenced by global events including…

…Race and social justice. While not a planned reading theme as I started the year, social injustices that have plagued our nation for centuries rose up in a jolting manner. May we pass on to our children and grandchildren a more socially just world than we received.
Frederick Douglass, David Blight

Douglass was a self-educated slave who freed himself to become a tireless speaker, political leader & passionate reformer. Even reading his speeches today, you feel drawn to the power, drama & personal suffering of this great man.
Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas & Timothy Keller

Theologian, Pastor, Church Leader & spy/traitor. Quite a resume for an influential young German aristocrat. Details the rise of Hitler & pure evil unleashed in the face of the pure good of Christ as seen through Bonhoeffer’s eyes.
So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo

Jarring. We have so far to go as we confront the realities of systemic racism. Since reading I've sought out reverse mentors to try and learn more. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. (Much profanity for those sensitive to such)
The Third Option, Miles McPherson

The church in America faces many challenges – but seeing a radical and aggressive approach to crossing unconventional social/ethnic lines as Christ did to build relationships and impact lives is what faith is all about.
Of course we couldn’t reflect on 2020 without news of the pandemic and the harsh impacts of COVID-19. However, as devastating as COVID has been, the great 1918 influenza had immense loss of life and changed the direction of healthcare.
The Great Influenza, John Barry

Gripping retelling of the great pandemic of 1918. Much of our modern understanding of the immune system, viral/bacterial infections, and so much more was born in the urgency of dealing with the Influenza.
Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker

Combined w/ @ouraring this book changed my habits. Overall health impact of good night’s sleep is profound. I used to “thrive” on 5 hrs/night, this transformed how I think about God given benefits of sleep to overall health. Must read for achievers.
Side note – Why We Sleep was Twitter’s most suggested from 2019
( Good call! Thanks.
To round out my top 10 list are a couple of great historical figures who you can’t stop learning from and two great stories of achievement.
Leonardo da Vinci, Walter Isaacson

The ultimate renaissance man. He studied engineering, anatomy, nature - everything. His anatomical drawings were centuries ahead of his time. Had he published his findings, the world might be decades or centuries ahead of where it is today.
Napoleon: A Life, Andrew Roberts

The greatest military leader of his era, w/ broad intrigue of history, arts & governance. Napoleonic wars are a study in strategy & tactics. His ability and lessons on inspiring the team should instruct leaders to this day.
The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown

A riveting story of what a team can do when entirely committed, acting with complete trust to each other and in pursuit of a singular goal – Olympic gold in the face of a ruthless dictator.
Hit Refresh, Satya Nadella

As a friend and colleague, it is truly impressive to see what @satyanadella has done at Microsoft. I deeply believe technologists have an inherent advantage running technology companies. Rebuilding a company is never a small task.
With those as my top 10, there are so many other great reads I may have missed. What should be on my list for 2021?

More from Culture

Great article from @AsheSchow. I lived thru the 'Satanic Panic' of the 1980's/early 1990's asking myself "Has eveyrbody lost their GODDAMN MINDS?!"

The 3 big things that made the 1980's/early 1990's surreal for me.

1) Satanic Panic - satanism in the day cares ahhhh!

2) "Repressed memory" syndrome

3) Facilitated Communication [FC]

All 3 led to massive abuse.

"Therapists" -and I use the term to describe these quacks loosely - would hypnotize people & convince they they were 'reliving' past memories of Mom & Dad killing babies in Satanic rituals in the basement while they were growing up.

Other 'therapists' would badger kids until they invented stories about watching alligators eat babies dropped into a lake from a hot air balloon. Kids would deny anything happened for hours until the therapist 'broke through' and 'found' the 'truth'.

FC was a movement that started with the claim severely handicapped individuals were able to 'type' legible sentences & communicate if a 'helper' guided their hands over a keyboard.
This thread examining a detrans story puts me in mind of something that shocked me to the core fifteen years ago in early 2004. I’ve not often told this so there follows a mini thread of my own.

This time in 2004 was very sensitive. Our little team at Press for Change was carefully helping to support the government to get the Gender Recognition Bill through its parliamentary stages. It had already started in the Lords and faced a committee stage with evangelical-backed..

..opposition facing the government’s Bill minister Lord Filkin and and others from all parties supporting him. The heavy lifting of daily liaison work was handled on our side by my colleague Claire @2legged whose back room lobby efforts should never go unacknowledged in any..

..account of events. Our political backdrop was a small but determined effort by two evangelical groups touting very familiar lies about trans people and, perhaps more worrying, a couple of contemporary journalists (one a Guardian staffer and one a freelance) determined to tout..

..detransition scare stories as a way to perhaps cast doubt over formalising a legal recognition process. The thing that was obvious at the time was that their stories relied on constant recycling of the same 10-12 case stories, which they had discovered because they were the..

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