2021 Book Reviews: A Year in Review

In November of 2020 I wrote my first book review for our Forward Fitness newsletter. At that time I mentioned that I was branching a little out of my comfort zone for these book reviews.  I love to read but I’m more of a contemporary, suspense fiction lover.  I was very excited to delve into the realm of non-fiction and hopefully bring some new titles to you along with my insights into the books that I read.  To close out 2021 I thought it would be a good time to revisit the titles that I have read over the past year and give you my top 3 picks.  Since there were just 2 books in 2020 I decided to include them for this post.

Here are the books that I read.

November 2020: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

December 2020: Braving the Wilderness by Brenê Brown

January 2021: Atomic Habits by James Clear

February 2021: Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

March 2021: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

April 2021: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

May 2021: Grit by Angela Duckworth

June 2021: The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

July 2021: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

August 2021: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brenê Brown

September 2021: Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski

October 2021: The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

November 2021: The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

One thing that I know about recommending books to people is that everyone has a different take on what is good and what isn’t.  When we start talking about non-fiction books like the ones that I have read this year, everyone is going to have a very different take on which of these books was the best.  A lot of it depends on where you are in your life right now.  I can say that there was something in all these books that I could take and use in my life, but some of them were more relevant to me than others.  These are also the kinds of books that I could go back and read again in a year or two and I might take something completely different from them than I did the first time I read them.  Many of my friends and family know about my book reviews and have asked me for recommendations. What I recommend is different for each person because I take what I know about each individual into account before I recommend a book to them.  When I tell you which are my favorite books from this list, these are the books that really stood out to me this past year.  I also have to say that choosing number one and two was easy but deciding on number three was a little difficult

Number ThreeThe Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. This was a tough choice. Honestly I may have gone with The Willpower Instinct because of the books I was thinking about this is the one I read most recently so I remember it the best.  I felt like this book combined some of the good ideas from Atomic Habits, Grit and Mindset. It was written like a guidebook and had some practical ideas that you could incorporate into your life to help you build your willpower. 

My runner ups for third place were Grit and Burnout.  

Number TwoThe Gifts of Imperfection by Brenê Brown. If you have read my reviews or talked to me about books in the past two years, the only thing that might surprise you about this pick is that it isn’t Number 1.  I absolutely love Brenê Brown and this book really was a life changer for me.  I have read this book twice, listened to the audiobook and I feel like every time I experience the book I take away something new.  If you are not familiar with Brown this book is a great introduction to her as it is a shorter book but has a lot of great take aways. 

Number OneAtomic Habits by James Clear.  This is the number one book that I recommend to everyone.  This book has so many great ideas on how to start building new habits into your life.  I read it in January of last year to help me start the year off and it was so helpful. If you were going to choose just one book from the list about without any hesitation this would be the book that I would recommend.  

I’m always on the lookout for new books that would be good to bring to you so if you ever have any recommendations, I’d love to hear what they are.  I own most of the books that I reviewed last year and am happy to loan them out so just let me know if you are interested in reading any of them.  I hope that you have enjoyed the book reviews from this year. I am glad that I branched out of my fiction comfort zone to find these books and bring them to you.  

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