GZ Picks: 2019 Top 10 Books of the Year

I’ve attempted to read a book a week again this year- I came close, but I was a few shy from 52. This year, my book purpose was to read more titles that focused on self-improvement, empowerment, personal development, or one that would make me question my beliefs and the way I view the world. My 2018 review received a lot of discussion and I hope to continue that thread. I did reach my goal in reading more novels, and this year some of them were All the Light You Cannot See, and the Sun Also Rises.

These are the titles that I felt made the most impact and aligned with my purpose for the year. Send me a message or comment on this post a book (or books!) you really loved this year and at least one title you want to read in 2020!

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

I’ve been recommending this book to those around me since I finished the first chapter. I hadn’t read any of Gladwell’s previous books, but I knew I had to read this one. Talking to Strangers focuses on what we should know about the people we don’t know. It left me with more questions than when I started it, but it has changed the way I look at the world and interact with people. It is a GenZiz MUST read, be sure to check out my full review.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

You all know I am a huge fan of Simon and a lot of my inspiration comes from his teachings. I was so excited this book came out, I bought it on Amazon. Sinek brings a different view with this one, saying that life itself is an infinite game- there is no winner. You cannot deem yourself the winner of life, as there is no specific guide to “winning.” We can’t choose the game we’re in, but we can choose how to play- with a finite mindset, or an infinite mindset. Definitely worth the read, and brings a fresh perspective on leadership in today’s world. Full review here.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

I couldn’t have read this book at a more perfect time in my life. Definitely think everyone should own a copy of this book, because it is something you can constantly go back to for inspiration, motivation, or to kick your a** into high gear! I was first introduced to Goggins in Living With a Seal, but had no idea how he came to be the man he is today. We call him the “toughest man on the planet,” however there were countless hours of suffering, pain, fear, and insecurities Goggins endured and he shares his journey. I even more so related to his chapters about being “The Only,” being “Uncommon Against Uncommon, and the Empowerment of Failure. Where some say you were born to win, Goggins will say you were BORN to FAIL. The book is aggressive but it is just what some may need.

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

If I’m being honest, I was searching new bestsellers when this title caught my eye. I said, “damn right!” because as I am constantly saying here, ya girl is just “trying to figure it out.” Guess my book title is already taken 😉 Anyway, definitely a good read and Forleo has action items and questions at the end of each chapter that empowers you to be the person you were set out to be. We don’t ask ourselves enough of these questions and it’s about time we started!

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

My thoughts after reading this were “just wow.” I really connected to Elaine in a way and her preserverance. Her climb to the top was not easy, and she dives deep into social issues, racism, and how it affected her throughout her journey. She became the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue and dives deep about her struggles to the top; about being comfortable with her true authentic self, not what people expect of her. It’s inspiring the way she uses her platform to talk about social-conscious issues. I thank Elaine for writing this and to the girls who recommended this to me, because it definitely impacted the way I approach my professional and personal life. To all my boss babes out there, it’s a must.

Turn That Ship Around by David Marquet

Rated one of the top 12 business books of all time, Turn the Ship Around focuses on David Marquet’s remarkable leadership and how he literally turned the worst performing naval nuclear submarine ship to one of the highest performing ships to this day. Marquet’s idea of leadership strays from the traditional “leader-follower” model and suggests the approach of the “leader-leader” model, giving more power and responsibility to those not that high up in the organization. His point is that traditional models of leadership are outdated and organizations can benefit from empowering our people in a way that allows them to engage and contribute to the organization in a way that makes them feel safe. (I’d like to see him and Sinek get together!) One of my favorite takeaways was the “I intend to” approach, allowing for us to say what we are going to do, rather than always ask what to do.

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

I was able to read more books this year with the help of the Libby app, courtesy of the county library. I read this one in a flash because it was mobile and I just read it whenever I was on the go. It made me laugh mostly and Fey had some really great things to share and I was all for it. Say what you want about Tina Fey, but after reading this, I found her pretty inspiring. She chose a career and profession (comedy) that didn’t really have a high percentage of women (and still doesn’t) and she powered through being the only and pretty much disrupted the standard of women in the industry. She shares a lot of her journey through comedy and has inspired the next generation to fiercely go after their goals and dreams.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Soo, yes I DID read other books that were fictional. I get most of my recs from you all, Barack Obama, or Jimmy Fallon’s summer reading list. The Chain was one of the nominations from Fallon’s summer reading list, and I definitely recommend it as well. If you don’t read too much, or get turned off by the page count, this book is for YOU. It wasn’t too long, fast-paced, and I literally finished the book in two days. If you’re into thrillers, and are looking for a new page-turner, you are welcome!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I also love historical fiction pieces. The Nightingale was suggested after I read the Dutch Wife and All the Light You Cannot See, both similar pieces based on WWII. It took me a little bit to get into, but once I freed up some time I zipped through it. I appreciated the different angle the author took, because a lot of the novels I read about WWII have a similar approach/story line, and sometimes it’s like reading the same book. This one is pretty long, but Hannah connects you to the characters and keeps you guessing at every turn. If you’re into historical fiction, it’s one is one of the good ones!

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Been meaning to read one of Brown’s books for a while (quite popular, considering I had to wait 10 weeks just to get it from the local library). Her Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the five most viewed talks of all time and she has spent years researching the concept of vulnerability in women and in society. Interesting topic, considering our view of vulnerability is often associated with weakness. I started with Daring Greatly and in 2020 of course I’m going to hit Dare to Lead (she spent another seven years researching courage and leadership) so I am excited for this one!

I read so many other great titles this year, but these were definitely my favorites. I’d love any recommendations you guys might have, so drop a comment, a DM, or some love on my social channels! Here’s to 2020, another year of growth and inspiration.



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