My Top 5 books to read from 2020…

Michael Morris
4 min readNov 28, 2020


As 2020 is quickly coming to a welcome close. I have started to reflect on all the positives that this year brought. In addition to the amount of time I have been able to spend with my wife and children, the opportunity to commit reading has been great. Here is a list of some of the best books I have read this year, starting with my top 5 must reads:

  1. Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It — Chris Voss. Chris Voss makes his unique perspective (that of a former FBI hostage negotiator!) accessible at both work and home. Through anecdotes and examples, Voss illustrates nine principles for becoming more persuasive. The guide urges the reader to utilize the power of language, tactical empathy and other strategies to effectuate results.

2. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping — Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond — Paco Underhill. Paco Underhill is able to breakdown and explain the intricacies of why and how consumers shop in way that anyone can related to and understand. For those in retail, marketing or commercial real estate this is a must read to understand and adapt to the changing customer — not to mention the cutting edge of retail right now. For everyone else, this is an entertaining book that may just hit a little too close to home for our avid shopping friends.

3. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win — Maria Konnikova. Maria Konnikova is writer with a Ph.D. in psychology. This book follows her head first dive into the world of poker and challenges your perception of luck versus skill. Along the way, her insight into how to identify how our emotions and bias play a role in our decision making and acceptance of “luck” is thought provoking. Her journey provides some time honored lessons on life and a rare combination of earnest storytelling blended with fun competition and self perspective that can be applied to anyone’s life.

4. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds — David Goggins. Author, retired Navy Seal and United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member bibliography is intense, astonishing and forces you to want to be better. This book challenges everyone who reads it to push past the pain to reach your full potential.

5. The Monk of Mokha — Dave Eggers. This true story follows Mokhtar, a young Muslim man born and raised in San Francisco, on a journey inspired by the Yemeni history of coffee. Now sold online and at Blue Bottle, Port of Mokha coffee is the true brew of the American Dream, which Eggers explores in an authentically American way — incorporating explorations of geography, race, religion, culture, history, ancestry, business, commerce and politics.

The rest of the 2020 list:

Let me know if you have any great suggestions for 2021!




Michael Morris

A placemaking expert with a reputation for delivering quality mixed-use urban (re)development projects, particularly in retail, hospitality & entertainment.