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Favorite Five: 2020 Books

Every year I set an annual goal of how many books I want to read. In January 2020, I set my goal the highest ever, 20 books. I figured this would be quite the challenge, considering all of life’s activities – my work commute, networking events, yoga class, seeing friends and family. Oh, the blissful ignorance I had back in January! Fast forward to October 2020 and after seven months of quarantining and social distancing, I am 29 books in and counting. I guess having the opportunity to read has really been a silver lining! Below are my favorite five books of 2020 (so far) that I wanted to share with you.

  1. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama XIV & Desmond Tutu: With today’s constant news cycle, the world often feels dark and chaotic. If you’re feeling this way, you need to read this book. Not only is it informative, providing the reader with amazing insight into the lives of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, it leaves you feeling lighter, happier, and determined to find more joy in life. I cannot recommend this book enough!
  2. Untamed by Glennon Doyle: This book was so raw, authentic, and empowering. Glennon is an activist, speaker, and bestselling author, who provides entertainment and a life lesson in every chapter. She is now also one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram!
  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: Last year, Medline’s book, Circe, was my favorite book of 2019. Her writing is poetic and captivating. I loved reading Circe so much, I had to go back and read her first (and only other) book, The Song of Achilles. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, this is one you won’t want to miss!
  4. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist: As someone who is always looking to plan the next family dinner, a get-together with friends, or vacation, being forced to quarantine was difficult to say the least. Shauna’s stories and advice reminded me to slow down my constant hustle and appreciate each and every present moment. This book was my saving grace during the start of the pandemic and has allowed me to slow down and reconnect with what truly matters.
  5. Happiness is the Way by Wayne W. Dyer: Given to me as a thank you gift from SMPS Boston Past President, Suzanne King, this book quickly became one of my favorites this year. In this collection of Wayne’s most classic teachings, you will find a solution to almost any problem you may be encountering. His advice is straightforward and sometimes hard to hear, but every chapter is full of valuable insight and techniques to improve your overall happiness.

Of course, there are some honorable mentions (is that cheating?). Although they did not make the top five, I could not go without recommending The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. All three of these books left me feeling energized, refreshed, and motivated, both personally and professionally – feelings I think all of us could use a little more of this year!

The SMPS Boston Communications Committee is responsible for posting the monthly Favorite Five Blog. The committee leverage this recurring blog to share their favorite five industry-related tips and tricks. Topics can include favorite five blogs, books, social media tips, A/E/C market trends, etc. If you are interested in contributing to this blog post, please reach out to Communications Committee Director Sabrina Bauer ( or Communications Committee Chair Virginia Steigerwald (


Sabrina Bauer is a New England Marketing Lead at VHB where she supports the execution of deliverables, visibility, and business development plans. She currently serves as Director of Communications for SMPS Boston.

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