The Most Anticipated Books of 2020, According to Goodreads

With the new year comes a flurry of new books to read—or at least books to get excited about in the next 12 months.

Goodreads, the social-network-meets-cataloging community for book lovers, pulls together its most anticipated book lists by genre, based on what its members are adding to their “want to read” digital shelves. The Amazon-owned property says that members add more than 18 million books to their want-to-read shelves each month. (Founded in 2007, Goodreads had accumulated 90 million members as of October 2019, according to Statista.)

Here are the 11 most anticipated smart reads—covering nonfiction, business, memoirs, and biographies—you can expect readers and critics to be buzzing about soon, with excerpts from their profiles.

Why We Can’t Sleep, by Ada Calhoun

Available Jan. 7

“[Ada] Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the boomers and the millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked.” (Goodreads)

Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives, by Daniel J. Levitin

Available Jan. 7

Successful Aging inspires a powerful new approach to how readers think about our final decades, and it will revolutionize the way we plan for old age as individuals, family members, and citizens within a society where the average life expectancy continues to rise.” (Goodreads)

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, by Kate Murphy

Available Jan. 7

New York Times contributor Kate Murphy draws on countless conversations she has had with everyone from priests to CIA interrogators, focus group moderators to bartenders, her great-great aunt to her friend’s toddler, to show how only by listening well can we truly connect with others.” (Goodreads)

Uncanny Valley, by Anna Wiener

Available Jan. 14

“Part coming-of-age story, part portrait of an already bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power.” (Goodreads)

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, by Philippa Perry

Available Feb. 4

“This book is about how we have relationships with our children, what gets in the way of a good connection, and what can enhance it.” (Goodreads)

The Adventurer’s Son, by Roman Dial

Available Feb. 18

The Adventurer’s Son re-creates the author’s two-year quest to learn the truth about his child’s disappearance. Immediately after Cody Roman’s planned departure date passed without a word from him, Dial set off for Costa Rica. As he trekked through the dense jungle, interviewing locals and searching for clues—the authorities suspected murder—the desperate father was forced to confront the deepest questions about his own life.” (Goodreads)

The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson

Available Feb. 25

“In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people ‘the art of being fearless.’ It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London.” (Goodreads)

Gone at Midnight, by Jake Anderson

Available Feb. 25

“In Gone at Midnight, [Jake] Anderson chronicles eye-opening discoveries about who Elisa Lam really was and what—or whom—she was running from, and presents shocking new evidence that may reopen one of the most chilling and obsessively followed true crime cases of the century.” (Goodreads)

Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life, by Anne Bogel

Available March 3

“More than a book about making good decisions, Don’t Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you’ll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.” (Goodreads)

The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind, by Jonah Berger

Available March 10

“You’ll learn how catalysts change minds in the toughest of situations: how hostage negotiators get people to come out with their hands up and how marketers get new products to catch on; how leaders transform organizational culture and how activists ignite social movements; how substance abuse counselors get addicts to realize they have a problem and how political canvassers change deeply rooted political beliefs.” (Goodreads)

The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness, by Sarah Ramey

Available March 17

“Ramey’s pursuit of a diagnosis and cure for her own mysterious illness becomes a page-turning medical mystery that reveals a new understanding of today’s chronic illnesses as ecological in nature, driven by modern changes to the basic foundations of health, from the quality of our sleep, diet, and social connection to the state of our microbiomes.”


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