As 2020 comes to an end, there are a lot of fun, interesting, knowledgeable and important experiences to share. One of our favourite is looking back at the books we read and things we applied. It makes us happy.

We have been inspired by Drift and Buffer’s reading culture a lot.

So almost each month we read a new book. We don’t read all the pages, as long as we are enjoying and applying what we've learnt.

Here is the list of books HelloMeets team loved to read in 2020-

1) Atomic Habits

by James Clear, world-famous Habit expert. He coaches fortune 500 teams on science of small habits.

This book is for those who want massive success in their lives, by automating their productive behaviours as habits.

Key takeaway:
The effects of improving habits compound to become behaviour systems that you can depend on. If you improve habits by 1% each day, you’ll have gotten better by 37 times than what you started the year as. Example, if you want to build stronger arms, you can develop a small habit of doing 5 extra push-ups, every time you exercise.

2. Deep Work

By Cal Newport, Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, author of 6 self-improvement bestsellers

This book is for those who’re tired of working with distractions and can’t get things done with quality.

Key takeaway:

You can’t master complex information and produce high-quality results in less time, if you’re distracted. You need to become a craftsman in your field of work, to produce high-quality work consistently. Create your unique environment and rituals which let you enter your craftsman-like zone — in which you’ll do focused deep work, with zero distractions.

3. Everybody Writes

By Ann Handley, Business Speaker, Author, Marketer, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs

This book is for all marketers and content creators.

Key takeaway:

Quality content is less about storytelling, it’s about telling a true story well. Here’s a formula to guide you while making quality content.

Utility × Inspiration × Empathy = Quality Content

If you are telling a true story well, with all three elements, you can create unique content that matters to people.

4. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

By Jonah Berger, Professor, Author and world-renowned expert on change, word of mouth, viral marketing, social influence

This book is for anyone who wants their content to stand out in the sea of over-information.

Key takeaway:

  1. Social currency — how others see us
  2. Environmental triggers
  3. Emotions — picking the right ones to evoke
  4. Public — enabling ‘monkey see, monkey do’ behaviour
  5. Practical Value
  6. Stories — making virality valuable to carriers of word-of-mouth

If an idea or product carries these 6 elements, it can spread without investing much in ads.

5. The Copywriter’s Handbook

By Robert W. Bly

Copywriting expert, and author of a 100 books, including Secrets of a Freelance Writer, and Selling Your Services, also has appeared on CNBC and CBS's Hard Copy.

While writing to sell, always know the difference between the benefit and feature. List them down. Create content that gets users’ attention, and show them a need. To satisfy that need, position your product’s benefit as the solution. This format leads you to think and write copy that sells.

6. Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms

By Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt's Naturals & DTC Investor at Color Capital

This book is an excellent read for bootstrapped B2C founders. It gives you a overview of everything from figuring out what you love, hustling & experimenting, finding the right product, acquiring your first customer, scaling sales to getting your startup acquired by big corporates.

7. It's About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage

By Arlan Hamilton, an investor and the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital

"People tell you Money Attracts Money. What do you do if you have No Money?

Get the Information.

A privileged background, an influential network, & a fancy college degree are not prerequisites for success. The Best Music Comes from the Worst Breakups."   - Arlan Hamilton

This book is for people who think they can’t do much in life because of their background.

Look at Arlan’s story. She went from sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business - investing in 100 companies led by underrepresented founders by 2020 to achieving this dream in May 2018.


8. The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building

By Matt Mochary, an American businessman, investor, and filmmaker.

Mochary is a CEO Coach to companies including Coinbase, Opendoor, Bolt, and Clearbit

This book is packed with actionables for CEOs to optimise their time and get more done in less time.

9. Ogilvy on Advertising

By David Ogilvy, British advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the "Father of Advertising"

It's an all time classic book on marketing. No marketer or founder should miss reading it.

It’s filled with the best ads created to date from Dove, Volkswagen, Jack Daniel to Marlboro. This book will help you sell more through power of words.

10. The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness

By Morgan Housel, Partner at The Collaborative Fund

This book is good for everyone, it’s beyond money.

The person who will read this, will get to know the basic and simple rule of life: Power of Compounding which leads to success in everything in life be it relationships, startups or stock market.

11. ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever

by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Founders of Basecamp

This book shares 11 years of wisdom from running a startup. It's an easy read. Even a 5th grade student will understand it.

12. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

By Eric E. Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle

Learn to coach your team from someone who coached teams at Google, Facebook & Intuit.

13. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

By Danny Meyer, a New York City restaurateur and the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group

It’s a story about turning your childhood love into a business. Shows us how loving an ideas makes us go deeper into the details than anyone else.

It's a must read for all founders running food, fashion or even a tech startup. As the customer success principles shared in this book are relevant even in the digital age.

14. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

By Timothy Ferriss, an American entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcaster.

This book shares advice of the most successful people on this planet from book writers, sportsmen, musicians to entrepreneurs.

The two thing common between all are:

1) They are good at saying NO. Don’t spend time on anything or anyone that’s not long term in their life.

2) They are happy about the things they didn’t get. What they got is better than what they wanted.

15. The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging

By Charles H. Vogl,

He has helped Google, Airbnb, Twitch and Meetup with Community Building. He is the author of another community building book called, Building Brand Communities: How Organizations Succeed by Creating Belonging

This is a must read for all community builders. It shares fundamentals of community building and its origin.

Now every tech startup wants to build a community and they feel it’s something new but it’s actually as old as we are on this planet. This book is best for you to learn about community in religion, our neighbour and how to apply the same principles to build a community around your tech product.

16. Cashvertising

By Drew Eric Whitman

This book gives copywriting, customer and human psychology, niche product marketing tips. It’s snappy and full of practical examples.  

If you are getting into marketing, or starting a business or launching a new product, this book will come handy when you’re planning your next product copy.

17. All marketers are liars

By Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the 21st century’s marketing guru. He digs deep into storytelling, authenticity and what makes people buy.

One takeaway- First impression is never the first time they look at your ad or buy your product or encounter a problem with it. You have no idea when the first impression might happen. All you can do is stay true and authentic to the customer and give them a good experience at every step.

18. People powered

By Jono Bacon

If you are planning to start a community, this book will help you get started. Jono has a great experience of building several communities from scratch. And he has shared all of it in this book. It’s a practical guide with lots of frameworks and examples for you to get started.

19. What if

By Randall Munroe

People asked some pretty ‘absurd hypothetical questions’ to Randall on his website (and you can too) and he answered them with science and logic. What you’ll learn from it is that Randall is smart and there is an answer to everything!

It’s hilarious and you will be amazed at the research Randall has done for some super weird questions. You might find a new startup idea from the answers Randall gave. If not, you'll at least learn a thing or two about physics, maths, humans and rockets. I look forward to read the second part- ‘How to’ in 2021

20. The Underdog Paradox

By Jamie Russo

Launched in December 2020. This book covers 5 stories of 5 different entrepreneurs. Their mission in life is to make a difference in the world through their startups. Not just a difference but a difference that matters.

Each chapter is named after the founder’s characterise. And one thing common about all of them is their mindset. If you are looking for some motivation, push or just some inspiration this book is for you.
It’s a short and easy read.

Was there something you read that changed your perspective? We'd like to know!
Tell us your book(s) of the year on Twitter or email-