2020 Reading

The books I am currently reading or have read in 2020. Periodically updated as we move through the year.

Links will be direct to the publisher or author website.


In Progress

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century – George Packer
I’d heard Holbrooke’s name over the years but didn’t really understand his impact… or the lack thereof.

NSA Secrets: Government Spying in the Internet Age – The Washington Post
A compilation of the Washington Post reporting on the Edward Snowden leaks. A counterpoint to Clapper’s book below.


The Lew Griffin SeriesJames Sallis
The Long-Legged Fly
Black Hornet
Eye of the Cricket
Ghost of a Flea

Why is James Sallis not a household name? Probably the fickle nature of the publishing business. I’ve read tons of noir over the years and had never heard of this author until late 2019 when Soho released the entire Lew Griffin series in paperback. Sallis is a noir master. I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same after reading this series. I’m sure I shouldn’t be the same after reading this series.

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal – Ben Macintyre, afterword by John Le CarrĂ©.
The story of how one man betrayed Great Britain, the United States and her allies for decades. Philby’s treason wreaked havoc on the intelligence community in unfathomable ways. Lesson: Beware the overly charming chap who seems safe.

Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence – James Clapper
Clapper presents a narrative that diverges wildly from that of both Congress and the mainstream media… especially on the subject of Edward Snowden. His explanations regarding the challenges the intelligence community faced (and still faces) are enlightening.

Temporarily Shelved

Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
I’ll come back to this one before the end of the year. This one requires more focus than I can currently give.

Stillness is the Key – Ryan Holiday
This feels like a sort of “catch-all” book of tips and tricks as opposed to Holiday’s two previous works on Stoicism. It’s important but there’s much in this book I’m already implementing. I’m not disappointed in any way. This is probably one of those books I will come back to by the end of the year.

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to al-Qaeda – Wallace, Melton, Schlesinger… with brief appearances by Tenet and other nefarious characters.
I’m halfway through this book and have gotten to the tradecraft section. This will require a little more focus after we relocate to Western Michigan.