Top 20 Books of 2020: Awards

What a year…

2020 was a challenging and difficult year for so many people. Hopefully, during the seemingly endless number of lockdowns and quarantines you were able to catch up on that stack of books you’ve been wanting to read.

As you begin to create your reading list for the New Year, here is my yearly “best-of” list for 2020. This year, I will share the top 20 (in no particular order) and then share the winners of different categories. The books on this list were not all published this year. All of the books on this list are books I read in 2020.


  • Theology
  • History
  • Devotion/Christian Living
  • Leadership
  • Ministry/Church Leadership

Top 20 of 2020

Gentle and Lowly: Dane Ortlund

Who is an Evangelical?: Thomas S. Kidd

Orthodoxy: G.K. Chesterton

Atomic Habits: James Clear

The American Story: David M. Rubenstein

Character Matters: Aaron Menikoff

Master of One: Jordan Raynor

Jesus the Great Philosopher: Jonathan Pennington

The Accidental President: A.J. Baime

From Chaos to Cosmos: Sydney Greidanus

Christianity at the Crossroads: Michael Kruger

The Ascension of Christ: Patrick Schreiner

Tiger Woods: Benedict and Keteyian

Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Christopher Wright

From Adam and Israel to the Church: Benjamin Gladd

Analog Church: Jay Kim

Canoeing the Mountains: Todd Bolslinger

Dreams of Eldorado: H.W. Brands

The Infinite Game: Simon Sinek

Leadership in War: Andrew Roberts

Best of 2020


From Adam and Israel to the Church: Benjamin Gladd

Gladd is one of the brightest and sharpest minds in the academy today and the first entry in IVP’s Essential Studies in Biblical Theology Series doesn’t disappoint. Gladd traces the biblical theme of “God’s people” from Genesis to Revelation providing clear, concise biblical observations throughout.

Honorable Mention: The Ascension of Christ: Patrick Schreniner


Dreams of Eldorado: A History of the American West: H.W. Brands

Epic. Mezmerizing. Thrilling. Heartbreaking. Brutal. Insightful. Renown American historian H.W. Brand’s history of the American West is one of the very best books I read this year. A page-turner from beginning to end, Brand’s episodic account of the development of the west in the 18th-19th centuries is completely spell-binding reading.

Honorable Mention: The Accidental President: A.J. Baime

Devotion/Christian Living

Gentle and Lowly: Dane Ortlund

Gospel-soaked, meditations on one of the great puritans, Thomas Goodwin. No book nourished my soul like this book in 2020. Ortlund shows us that a knowing the heart of God and his love for His children changes everything about how we live, both in this life and the life to come.

Honorable Mention: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Christopher Wright


Leadership in War by Andrew Roberts

Robert’s historical accounts of war-time military leaders is excellent, from beginning to end. What does leadership look like in the worst possible moments when facing the worst possible conditions? This book shows us all.

Honorable Mention: Canoeing the Mountains: Todd Bolsinger

Ministry/Church Leadership

Analog Church: Jay Kim

As a pastor in a local church, there is not a book I read this year that made a greater impact on me and the ministry I lead more than this one. Kim, in this intensely timely book, lays out the need for churches to embrace the real-life, in-person, “analog” ministry model put forward in the New Testament.

“Our churches must become places where people can shut off the incessant pleas of the digital world to show off their best selves”.

Jay Kim

Honorable Mention: Character Matters: Aaron Menikoff

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