Byron's Babbles

Top 10 Books Of 2020

2020 was an incredible year of reading. I finished reading 119 books this year. I was an extremely tough chore to pick my top 10 and then put them in order. I love books because for a brief moment in time, books release us from the constraints of our own reality. They take us beyond our own small place in the world and into another person’s real or imaginary one. Each of us has a unique and valuable role in life. When experiencing life through the eyes of another, we encounter diverse angles on life’s most common situations. I have read such great books this year by very talented writers. Finally, I am a better person and understand many more diverse perspectives from reading 119 books this year.

Here are the posts that give the posts influenced by books I read in 2020 by each quarter:

The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year Of Reading

Second Quarter 2020 Book Inspired Posts

2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

The Books That Opened My Eyes In The Fourth Quarter Of 2020

Here is my video revealing my Top 10 Books Of 2020:

2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

Here is the third of five posts highlighting the books that inspired blog posts throughout the year. These are from the months of July, August, and September. The last post will name my top books of 2020. You can bet that some of these books that inspired posts will be on the top books of 2020 list. President Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Reading gives us the opportunity to experience and understand the lives and actions of others, the lessons learned from others, or how someone did something. These opportunities are readily and economically available through reading. We can learn a great deal about someone we might not, and probably won’t, ever meet. In some cases we may be learning from someone who died long before we were born. Being a leader is very complex. Leadership involves technical skill and knowledge, relationship building skills, and skills that we won’t know we need till the situation arises. Thus we need the mental exercise sessions that reading provides. So, as President Harry S. Truman also said, “The Buck Stops Here!” if you want to tap into some of the greatest knowledge from our past, present, and future the buck stops with you starting to develop your reading habit.

July, 2020

What The H@#* Is A Team Player

August, 2020

“Who Am I Not To Be?”

What Are Your Muses?

Big Momentum

Complex & Different

Codifier of Compassion

Why Are You On This Planet?

Become More Human & Less Machine

September, 2020

Explicitly Rethinking Your Leadership

“What Might Have Beens” Are Risky

What Do You Expect?

Don’t Overlook The Brilliance Of Our Students

Impossibility to Possibility Thinking

Leading With Global Reach

Don’t Get Naked At 8:00 AM

Gift Yourself Being Present For Your Own Personal Time

Belief Is The Price Of Admission

I Don’t Want We’ll See!

Seeking Opportunities to Observe & Update Our Worldview

Leaders Crashing & Flying Higher



The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year of Reading

As I begin to reflect on 2020, even on Day 279 of the Global Pandemic, I must say it has been an incredible year of reading. As of today I have finished 115 books and must say that these books have caused a great reflection and further research. I have learned so much from the books I have read and have written many blog posts inspired by the learning. Each year, and this year is no exception, I always get asked what my favorite book I read was, my top books of the year, or which books I would recommend. This is really tough because no one will ever let me off the hook with me saying, “All of them!”

Last year I did a post Best Books of 2019 to answer the question of my favorite books from the year. This year I am going to do it a little differently. I am going to do five posts over the last days of 2020 highlighting all the posts that were inspired by books that I read in 2020, and then a final post of the year naming my top five. Hopefully, this will make it easy for you to take a look at the inspirations and learning provided by a few of the books I have read this year. So, here we go for the first quarter of 2020:

January, 2020

Every Day We Are Making Memories

A Clouded Social Critique

“Remember, Freedom Is Yours Until You Give It Up”

“It Has Been An Honor To Live This Life”

When Purpose & Passion Turn Into Ambition

Empowerment Triggers The Approach System

366 Page Best Selling Autobiography

February, 2020

Hearing Every Leader

Arguing The Value Of Our Experiences Is Futile

Serendipity Mattered

Passion At Ambition’s Command

A Time To Fish & A Time To Mend Nets

Silence Is Golden

“Sam, Be A Man”

Deep Innovation

March, 2020

Win Every Day!

With The Crowd, Not Of It!

Influencer, Inspiring, & Impactful

The Nuanced Context Of The Great Society

Reflective Culture Gut Checks: A Five Star Review

Some pretty great inspiration from the first three months of 2020, wouldn’t you say? I’ll get the second quarter compiled and posted soon.

Codifier Of Compassion

I am reading the final pages of what is right now the fourth in the great series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert Caro. Caro is working the fifth and final and I sure hope he finishes it. These books that are really about power – how power is obtained, how power is used, and how power is abused. The fourth book, The Passage of Power, begins right before President Kennedy’s assassination and takes us through the first few months of Johnson’s Presidency. This includes passing a civil rights bill, getting budget approval, and a tax cut bill passed.

Robert Caro is an incredibly talented writer and I was moved by a statement in the book about Johnson. Here it is:

“He was to become the lawmaker for the poor and the downtrodden and the oppressed. He was to be the bearer of at least a measure of social justice to those whom social justice had so long been denied. The restorer of at least a measure of dignity to those who so desperately needed to be given some dignity. The redeemer of the promises made by them to America. “It is time to write it in the books of law.” By the time Lyndon Johnson left office he had done a lot of writing in those books, had become, above all presidents save Lincoln, the codifier of compassion, the president who wrote mercy and justice in the statute books by which America was governed.” ~ Robert A. Caro in The Passage of Power

He was comparing Johnson to Lincoln as a “codifier of compassion.” To codify means to make something a part of an organized system. In other words it becomes more than talk.

Because of the childhood poverty, his relationship with his father, and his teaching position, was able to have all three types of empathy I teach about in leadership professional growth gatherings. He was first able to show Cognitive Empathy; the ability to understand another person’s perspective. Because Johnson grew up in poverty, he was able to feel what another person feels, or what is called Emotional Empathy.

Thirdly, because of his experience as a teacher at Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas, a small town on the border of Texas and Mexico, he practiced Empathic Concern: the ability to sense what another person needs from you. Johnson’s classes were made up of the children of Mexican-American farmers. Johnson didn’t speak Spanish and many of his students didn’t speak English. Despite this limitation, Johnson quickly and enthusiastically began teaching and encouraging the children to speak English by holding speech and debate tournaments.

Johnson was very strict with his students and left a lasting impression on them. In addition, Johnson organized a literary society, an athletic club, and organized field trips to neighboring towns so his students could compete in sporting events, speech, and spelling contests. With his first paycheck, Johnson bought playground equipment. In a letter home to his mother, Johnson wrote about his work with the students and asked her for help in sending toothpaste for the children and borrowing materials for his debate team.

Clearly Johnson’s upbringing gave him tremendous ability for empathy, but notice he added action to this. Thus, becoming compassion. Empathy is just a profound feeling, but add to that merciful and helpful action and you get compassion and supportive companionship. Compassion is empathy put into action, or as is the point of this post, codified.

Johnson’s past experiences had set him up perfectly to be a “codifier of compassion.” He knew what had to be done and did it. So many leaders talk empathy very well, but that is all it is – talk. We must walk the talk and codify that empathy with the actions of compassion.