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5 New Books You Should Read to Ring in 2020

January 3, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC
Book Review: The Power of Bad-Quit Like a Women-F-ck No
"The Power of Bad" (Penguin Press); "Quit Like a Woman" (Random House); and "F*ck No (A No F*cks Given Guide, Part 5)" (Voracious)

If the 2010s were all about the fear of missing out (thanks, social media), then 2020 is already about learning how to set boundaries and when to say no.

Essentially, be nice to yourself this year…and be realistic at the same time. Here are five new nonfiction books to peruse—all published on Dec. 31 in anticipation of habitual New Year reading about setting better goals for your career and health (mental as well as physical).

F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, or You Just Don’t Want To by Sarah Knight

In a follow-up to her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (inspired by her TED talk on the same theme), New York Times bestselling author Sarah Knight stays on brand with another irreverent take on how to balance your life. That means sticking up for yourself and making the (sometimes brave) decision to say no to things you don’t want to do, places you don’t want to go, or people you don’t want to see. Expect a crash course in sticking up for yourself and not letting anyone make you feel guilty for it.

Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol by Holly Whitaker

Bottled nonalcoholic spirits and bars with completely alcohol-free menus took off in a big way in 2019, signifying that plenty of consumers are looking for spirit-free, healthier drinks, whether at home or when going out. But except for health-related reasons such as pregnancy or diet, many people don’t want to share why they aren’t drinking in fear of being stigmatized. Holly Whitaker, the founder and CEO of online sobriety program Tempest (formerly Hip Sobriety), launches into her own history and reasons for going sober (including what she and her friends coined their “alcoholic phase”), reflecting on just how intertwined social occasions become with drinking when you hit a certain age. The revelations can be startling, but it’s not hard to find relatable experiences in this droll but honest look at drinking culture.

The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

If hygge ushered in a wave of relaxation and self-help guides from Scandinavia, then Marie Kondo’s Konmari method appears to have done the same from Japan. The latest entry is this guide to the Japanese art of ichigo ichie (pronounced itchy-GO itchy-A), from the authors of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long Life. Essentially, the Japanese phrase ichigo ichie refers to the idea that each moment in our life happens only once, and if we let it slip away, we lose it forever. Beyond reminding readers to live every day to the fullest, the guide aims to inspire readers to be more creative, improve relationships, and be more successful at both work and home.

The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It by John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister

Viewers of Christopher Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception will remember that a core tenet of the movie was that positive thoughts or lessons will take stronger root in the brain to result in desired change. And yet in real life, even when we get positive feedback, it seems like we always dwell more on the negative remarks or criticism—no matter how constructive or small. But social scientists John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister argue that we don’t need to let our days be ruined or become sleep deprived while worrying about whatever mistakes or relationship tension is going on. If failure is revered in Silicon Valley as a stepping stone to success, then perhaps negativity is something we need to overcome on the way to true happiness.

Older, but Better, but Older by Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas

For everyone who has ever clicked on articles suggesting how to live, dress, or eat better just like the French, now you can age better too. From the authors of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, model and Chanel brand ambassador Caroline De Maigret and Call Me by Your Name executive producer Sophie Mas offer the latest take on why life gets better for women after 40, while also acknowledging it can be hard to own up to the fact that your interests (and energy levels) might not be what they once were. And while this elevated guide to life, love, and work is written by two Parisians, many of these life lessons are universal.

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—Scribd’s “Netflix for books” subscription model is proving to be fruitful
—Listen to our audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily
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