In 2018, I had set a goal to read 40 books in one year, which was far and away more than anything I had every attempted in the past. I did it, and the most amazing side effect was creating a new pace and habit of reading that I was able to carry into the future long term. I have a higher threshold for continued learning, and urgency to finish books, and a list of books to read a mile long.

In 2019, with no goal set at all for reading, I imagined that I would keep pace at about 30 books, and I was spot on. I enjoyed 30 books this year, some of which I enjoyed less than others and abandoned (did you know you can do that?!), and several that I absolutely loved. Here is the full list, followed by some notes on a few of my favorites as to why I enjoyed them so much.

Title Favs
Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler *
Becoming, by Michelle Obama
The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer *
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Unlocking High Performance, by Jason Lauritsen
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, by Haemin Sunim
What I Know For Sure, by Oprah Winfrey
This Is Me, by Chrissy Metz
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo *
The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, by Valerie Young
Cribsheet, by Emily Oster
Lost in Startuplandia, E. Keller Fitzsimmons
Building a Storybrand, by Donald Miller
The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker *
Radical Candor, by Kim Scott  
This is Now Your Company, by Mike Rognlien
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott *
This is Marketing, by Seth Godin
Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott *
Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck
So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg *
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Steal the Show, by Michael Port
Do Less, by Kate Northrup
Transitions, by William Bridges
Community: The Structure of Belonging, by Peter Block *
Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed *


The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer

This book was an unexpected favorite and a complete joy. It has opened me to the world that is Amanda Palmer. Originally made famous as part of the cabaret-punk duo, The Dresden Dolls, she is a famous musician who has done things her way. This memoir is so lovely, and Amanda Palmer is one of the most real, true, and authentic people on the planet. She has also inspired me to play the ukulele.


White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo

I have set the intention this year to learn and observe more about what it means to be white, in a world that is built for whiteness. It is a challenging notion to accept and learning about it is one way to accept responsibility for how you show up in the world. This book will help you see things that you previously could not if you are a white person. I highly recommend it.


Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

2019 was the year that I discovered Anne Lamott and I am obsessed. Where has she been all of my life. Bird by bird is funny, witty and sage advice about writing that somehow doubles as some quality guidance on living life too. Her writing gave me the permission I needed to continue with my own, and I finally started my second book promptly after reading this one.


Community: The Structure of Belonging, by Peter Block

My continued interest and research into the idea of belonging has led me to this book. I used an inordinate amount of ink underlining things in this book and jotting notes in the margins. This book aligns squarely with my philosophies in belonging which helps me confirm that I think I am on the right track, but continues to teach me new things about what I think I know. Anyone interested in the topic of belonging should read this book.


Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed was eventually revealed as the beloved advice columnist of “Dear Sugar.” This book is a collection of Sugar columns and her responses, and they are so beautiful. Her advice and experiences are so compassionate and raw. This book is a repeat, and one of my favorites ever from one of my favorite authors.


About the author:

Katie Rasoul is a keynote speaker, author, coach and Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. She is a TEDx speaker alumna, author of the best-selling book, Hidden Brilliance: A High-Achieving Introvert’s Guide to Self-Discovery, Leadership and Playing Big, and co-host of The Life and Leadership Podcast.

Find out more by visiting and or join the Team Awesome Community for awesomeness coming straight to your inbox.

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