5 books that inspired me in 2020, that might inspire you in 2021

Get some reading inspiration for 2021.

Alexandra Denisa Neagoe
4 min readJan 5, 2021
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In 2020 I read more books than in any other year prior to it. It might have been the lockdown, but I was a lot more motivated to read. Some were great, some were good and some were simply awful. Even so, I managed to compile a small top of some of my favorites.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

(by Hans Rosling)

Flatiron Books

You probably heard about this one, or even read it. If you didn’t, you should. Factfulness offers an explanation, with facts and examples, on why the world is in better shape than we actually think it is and presents us with 10 instincts that distort our perspective.

Although a hard-read, it is definitely worth your time, as it will offer you a new perspective on the world.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

(by Phil Knight)

Simon & Schuster

This might be my favorite read of the year (along with Factfulness). It is a riveting memoir of how Nike came to be, told by its founder, Phil Knight. It tells the story from its early and humble beginnings to becoming the giant, well-known brand that it is today.

Phil Knight takes you on his journey filled with risks and setbacks but also triumphs and relationships, all fueled by his dream for his company. And I don’t know about you, but I also had this picture-perfect image about Nike, so learning about its failures, was kind of refreshing.


(by Michelle Obama)

Crown Publishing Group

Of course I read this book. Although I don’t live in America and don’t necessarily keep with everything that’s going on there, I always thought of her as a very inspiring woman. Yes, she was the First Lady of the United States, but she is also a very smart woman who became a role model for millions of girls around the world.

Her memoir reflects everything that she is. She invites you into her childhood and her family, who although struggled made her feel empowered. We see her grow and become a successful lawyer, fall in love, get married, and try to find a balance between work and family life. She also invites her into her life as the First Lady of the United States.

This book is everything you would expect from her. It’s warm and wise, but also deep and reflective. It’s certainly an inspiration.

The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience

(by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton)

Simon & Schuster

Here’s a book from another First Lady. This time is a book by Hilary Clinton, written together with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton. This book doesn’t talk about them, their life, or accomplishments, but about women that inspired them. Women that made history.

In this book, you can read about Harriet Tubman, Malala Yousafazi, and many other activists, authors, historians, and simple women that persevered, fought for what they wanted to accomplish and inspired others. Maybe they will inspire you too.

She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

(by Erica Armstrong Dunbar)

Simon & Schuster

In 2020 I found myself reading a lot more about other cultures and people that made history. This book was one of them and I found it quite stirring, yet uplifting.

As you might have deduced from the title, this book is about Harriet Tubman, a heroine whose selflessness and fearlessness still resonates and encourages people today.

As a non-American, I knew about her, but only a few things here and there. Reading this book taught me a lot more and moved me to my core. Filled with stories about her life it really is a wonderful insight into the powerful woman that she was.

Bonus: Queen of a Small Country. Thoughts about my Dear Country.

(by Queen Marie of Romania)

Editura Predania

This one is a book in Romanian, about Romania, but it holds a special place in my heart so I decided to add it to this list.

Queen Marie of Romania talks about her love for this country and describes everything in such vivid details that you feel like you are there alongside her, walking around the small villages, the forests, or the mountains. It’s a beautiful depiction of the traditions and the culture of the Romanian people.

There you have it. Some of my favorite books I read the past year. What are some of your favorites? I would love to hear your recommendations.



Alexandra Denisa Neagoe

Content Specialist. Passionate about everything digital, traveling, books, and movies.