Best of 2020

Looking Back At The Good And Looking Forward To What's Next

2020 was a tough year for most of us. Or we could rightly say it was a raging dumpster fire that we should nuke from orbit, just to be sure.

Whether it impacted you in a big way or only a (relatively) minor way, we were all impacted. But a year is what we make of it, and 2020 had some good things if we look hard enough. So we’ll take a hard enough look to pull out a few good things to learn from and some to add to your reading and listening list for 2021. And some we can just smile at as we speed away from 2020 as quickly as we can.

Books

My Top 10 Books from 2020

I had my most prolific reading year yet in 2020, reading over 70 books. In my post above, I wrote about my top 10 books from the year, but I’ll give you a preview of three of my favorites: Churchill: Walking With Destiny, Thinking, Fast and Slow, and The Biggest Bluff.

NPR’s Best Books

I’m also busy populating my reading list for next year, which inevitably includes many books that are older but others that are newer but that I’m trying to catch up on. So I love reading the lists of others to see what they recommend. Usually when I see a book a few times from unique sources, then it grabs my attention.

Articles

Our 25 Favorite Longreads (Wired)

I love some good, in-depth reads about various topics. So this is an impressive list of some top stories from 2020. I’m still working through all of them, but a few that I really enjoyed are Secrets in the Age of 23&Me, The Cheating Scandal That Ripped the Poker World Apart, and Inside the Early Day’s of China’s Coronavirus Coverup.

1,273 People Share Their Best Life Lessons from 2020

We learned a lot in 2020. We’re not as ready as we think we are. Things can go south quickly. Certain aspects of our lives are more important than others. Not all brands of toilet paper are equal. This article dives into some of those lessons.

Dave Barry’s Year In Review 2020

Nobody got killed by murder hornets. As far as we know. So 2020 at least had that going for it.

I’ve looked forward to Dave Barry’s year in review since I was young. And 2020 was a year that needed a good review.

Podcasts

Favorite Podcasts

In a previous newsletter, I wrote about my favorite podcasts, many of them related to professional development for product people and leaders. And those are still my most listened to podcasts.

The 50 Best Podcasts of 2020 (Atlantic)

But with such a great medium and so many great creators, there is no reason not to branch out further. That’s why I searched for some of the best podcasts of 2020 to see what I was missing. And the answer apparently is a lot. Not all of these are my cup of tea, but I’ve already started on three of them. Hopefully, there is something for you as well.

Memes and Tweets

50 Best Memes of 2020

If nothing else, our meme game remained strong in 2020. Thank you internet.

20 Best Tweets of 2020

There are way more than this, but I won’t keep a running list, so thanks to the sites that do. It’s worth it for the LOLs.

Other

The Best Tech Products of 2020

I love technology, so looking back on the cool gadgets that came out over the past year is fun. I didn’t get many of them, but that’s not the point, is it?

My Favorite Products

I normally write a post with my favorite products of the previous year, but I haven’t finished it yet. I’ll give you a little preview, though. For apps, I was a big fan of a game called Elevate that does brain training and a service called Lunchclub that pairs you with new people virtually each week to get to know professionally. It was great, especially during Covid.

I also leaned heavily on a lot of podcasting gear as I got my Product by Design and Things To Think On podcasts started. So my Jabra Elite 85s were incredible and my Rode Procaster mic. Great gear for a podcast.


So far it feels like 2021 has collectively told us to hold its beer, but it’s early still. If you have good books, articles or podcasts, send them my way. Good luck this year and don’t forget to share!

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