My 2020 Favorite Books, Podcasts, and Organizations

Each December I love sharing with you some of my favorite resources that I’ve enjoyed reading, listening to, and being connected with.

Life today can often seem like trying to make it up a steep road – uphill, in the snow, with the wind in your face, at night. Getting regular healthy input and connecting with others who are making a positive difference can provide much needed encouragement, support, and inspiration. That’s what I believe these favorites can do for you.


How much more nourishing is a book than most forms of entertainment!  

And here are some of my favorites that I’ve read recently.

  • Paul, A Biography (N.T. Wright, HarperOne, 2020). I love almost everything this brilliant New Testament scholar writes, but this may be one of his best works ever. Looking at the Apostle Paul from a biographical viewpoint brings out fascinating aspects that will impact how you read much of the New Testament.
  • Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves (Michele Cushatt, Zonndervan, 2019). Coming from deep personal suffering and her own experience, Michele shows how to look for the evidence that God is with us, regardless of the pain, loss, illness, or doubt.
  • Challenging Conversations: A Practical Guide to Discuss Controversial Topics in the Church (Jason Jimenez, Baker Books, 2020). Racism, mental illness, abortion, politics, homosexuality, divorce, and more. The author addresses each specific tough topic with Biblical ways to talk with others instead of at them. Solid, practical, and Biblical.
  • Hope When Your Heart is Breaking: Finding God’s Presence in Your Pain (Ron Hutchcraft, Harvest House, 2021). If you’ve lost anyone or anything, this book will bring you hope. The author lays open his own journey through grief, offering the reader a pathway to authentic Biblical hope. (I was blessed to receive an advance reading copy. The book is available for preorder.)
  • Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover, Random House, 2018). Raised in almost unbelievable circumstances, Tara’s relentless quest for knowledge takes her from the isolation of her childhood to Harvard and Cambridge University. This best-selling true story is gripping. What does it mean to grow up? Definitely recommended.
  • The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkein, Del Rey, 2012). OK, I’m really late to the party on this one. Having never previously read these classic works from the 1950s, I have been thoroughly moved and enlarged in reading them now. If you, like me, have never read them, what are you waiting for?
  • The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis, HarperOne, 2001). A collection of essays and lectures, the first one, where the book gets its title, is especially timeless. In these essays Lewis deals with the longings we all experience, glory, heaven, authority, forgiveness, and more. All Lewis’ work is worthwhile; this ranks near the top.
  • Fear Gone Wild: A Story of Mental Illness, Suicide, and Hope Through Loss (Kayla Stocklein, Thomas Nelson, 2020). In 2018 Kayla lost her husband Andrew, successful megachurch pastor, to suicide. Now an advocate for mental illness, Kayla shares an honest account of Andrew’s struggles, and her own grief and journey to hope.
  • The Vision Driven Leader: 10 Questions to Focus Your Efforts, Energize Your Team, and Scale Your Business (Michael Hyatt, Baker Books, 2020). This book makes “casting vision” doable and impactful. While written for business leaders at any level of an organization, the 10 questions also largely apply to anyone needing to wrestle with a vision for your own life.
  • Thriving in Love and Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights about Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself (Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn, Bethany House, 2020). “It’s not about the money; It’s about how money makes us feel.” Based on extensive research, the Feldhahns tackle one of the greatest causes for marriage conflict and provide super-helpful insights.


I’m quite voracious in consuming podcasts. You can gain an education while you jog, drive, or clean the house. I listen to most or all of the episodes in each podcast listed here.

  • The Emotionally Healthy Leader, with Pete Scazzero. Exploring themes around spiritual authenticity and growth in the Christian life.
  • Java with Juli, from Authentic Intimacy. Conversations about sexuality, intimacy, and culture from a solidly Biblical worldview.
  • Ransomed Heart with John Eldredge. Conversations about the life of the heart, and the restoration God intends.
  • Catalyst Podcast, for leaders who love the church. Conversations with both young and young-at-heart church leaders, authors, and influencers.
  • Typology, with Ian Morgan Cron. Enneagram expert, Ian interviews thought leaders from every sphere of life who are trying to become the best version of themselves.
  • Dream Big Framework, with Bob Goff. Conversations about helping you discover, declare, and realize the ambitions you were created for.
  • Entreleadership, from Ramsey Solutions. Lively conversations with many of the top minds in business, in a faith-friendly way.
  • 48 Days to the Work You Love, with Dan Miller. Talk about finding or creating work that is meaningful, purposeful, and profitable, from a man of deep faith.
  • Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Practical insights from the leader of one of the largest multi-site church organizations in America.
  • Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. From successful pastor, author, and awesome communicator, helping leaders go farther faster.  
  • Relationship Prescriptions with Dr Carol. OK, shameless self-promotion. This is my weekly podcast, and I’d love you to join me!

Other Organizations

Here are some organizations I connect with, believe in, and am happy to recommend. 

  • Christian Healthcare Ministries– believers helping to share the costs of medical care for each other. (I am honored to be a member of the Board of Directors.)
  • Emotionally Healthy Discipleship– helping believers move from shallow Christianity to depth in Christ. At least take the free personal assessment, and discover if you’re a spiritual/emotional infant, adolescent, or adult.
  • Compassion International– releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. (I sponsor a precious child, Luz Esther.)
  • Global Advance – empowering frontline leaders to be catalysts for the fulfilling of the Great Commission around the world. 
  • Charity Water– they do water – and charity – right. I love donating to this organization.
  • Covenant Eyes– amazing organization providing help for those who want to break free from pornography and related issues. (Use code DrCarol for a free month.)
  • Be Broken– Helping men and women find freedom from a life of sexual brokenness and addiction.
  • Ransomed Heart– a bunch of resources and events helping men and women regain the life of the heart as Jesus intended.
  • JuicePlus+ – the only nutritional supplement I take. It’s the next best thing to fruits and vegetables.
  • Noom – a revolutionary way to control weight and get fit, providing a personalized custom plan and help to develop a healthy lifestyle.

May these resources be inspiring, and fill your winter days and evenings with meaning and growth.

Your Turn: Do you have a favorite book, podcast, or organization to suggest? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 

Tweetables: why not share this post? 

  • It’s a time for sharing my favorite resources; books, podcasts, and other organizations I enjoy, read, listen to, believe in. We could all use some uplifting after the 2020 year we’ve been through.   Tweet this

Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?

There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.

** Note: Listing a resource here does not imply that I or Dr Carol Ministries endorse every idea promoted in these resources. Amazon links, and links to Covenant Eyes, JuicePlus, and Noom are affiliate links, whereby you can also support Dr Carol Ministries by purchasing/connecting with them.