stack of books for wellness pros

Top 10 Must-Reads for Well-Being Pros: 2020 Edition

Whether you read for career or personal development — or both — you’ll walk away with new ideas, insights, and techniques to try after sinking your teeth into these titles:

  1. Atomic Habits (2018). Sometimes the freshest, most creative perceptions come from those outside the wellness industry; that’s what author and speaker James Clear presents in this unique look at habit change. Citing well-researched evidence and appealing anecdotes, this book will get you experimenting.
  2. Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life (2019). Geriatrician Louise Aronson points to hits and misses in healthcare for the aging, while illuminating the challenges and beauty of this unjustly maligned phase of life. An intensive read, but worthwhile.
  3. Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s View of Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law (2019). Former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara shares riveting stories from the trenches steeped in wise reflection, offering lessons learned along with insights on law, leadership, and compassion.
  4. Food Sobriety (2018). Registered dietitian and Fulbright Scholar Dan Fenyvesi advocates for moving away from the food-obsessed US mindset and toward the food-as-sustenance orientation of Nicaraguan culture. Packed with practical tips as well as recipes.
  5. Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go (2019). Do you and your organization engage employees in ongoing strategic career conversations? If not, you’re missing a rich opportunity for development, say coauthors Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni. Open this book to any page, quickly glean a useful concept, and put it into practice right away.
  6. In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids (2019). This memoir provides a startling look at how easy it is to be prescribed opioids, yet how difficult it is to find a doctor to help you discontinue them. Johns Hopkins professor and researcher Travis Rieder describes his excruciating personal experience, interwoven with the problems, solutions, and ethics of opioid treatment — past, present, and future.
  7. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed (2019). What happens when you undergo therapy? What is it like, and how does it help? In a time of heightened attention to mental and emotional well-being, therapist Lori Gottlieb invites a real-world glimpse into her own work as tcherapist — and client.
  8. Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness (2018). Psychologist and Greater Good Science Center senior fellow Rick Hanson uses the science of neuroplasticity, positive psychology, and mindfulness to guide readers in fortifying 12 inner strengths for a higher level of lasting resilience.
  9. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World (2019). Melinda Gates and her foundation colleagues/ partners do remarkable work helping poor women and girls across the globe. With engaging stories and heartfelt reflection, Gates thoughtfully illustrates the impact of this compelling work — plus a hopeful view for the future.
  10. We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (2017). Tired of uncomfortable, boring, exhausting dialogue? Georgia Public Radio host Celeste Headlee lights the way to meaningful connection through better conversation. Check out her viral TED talk for a preview: 10 ways to have a better conversation.

Need more ideas? See our must-reads from 2016 , 2018, and 2019.

Happy reading!


Beth ShepardBeth Shepard
Well-being consultant, educator, writer |National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach |ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist |Lifestyle medicine advocate |25+ years in wellness |Jazz enthusiast.

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