Books Read in 2022
I reached a personal best of 35(!) books read this year. I had to dig through my previous years of book reviews (2019, 2020, 2021) to make sure the stat was correct.
I got a pang of nostalgia as I was reading my past reviews. It felt like going through pictures from old vacations. I remember learning about full capture and weekly reviews from David Allen in Getting Things Done. This upended my task management system. I also have vivid memories of reading the Red Wedding chapters in A Storm of Swords. I was in disbelief and had to reread those pages.
I am proud of my number, even though it’s vanity metric. I only read eleven books in 2021. It shows that I stuck to my reading habit. I put aside time to focus on a bunch of symbols on a page or screen.
It was hard narrowing down my most enjoyable and insightful books this year. There were just so many good choices. I tried to limit myself to three books in each category. I also created a honorable mentions list of books that were great but didn’t crack my short list.
Most Impactful Books:
So Good They Cant Ignore You
I found this book when I was considering a career change. It was a game changer. Cal Newport argues that following your passion is the wrong way to look at a career. Instead you should focus on acquiring rare and valuable skills. Then leverage those skills to craft your ideal career and lifestyle.
The Psychology of Money
This is one of the best books I’ve read about personal finance. The premise is that money is more than just numbers on a spreadsheet. People let their emotions get in the way. They also overestimate their rationality and underestimate the uncertainty of the future. This book is a great reminder to take all this into account when managing your money.
Four Thousand Weeks
Oliver Burkeman challenged everything I knew about productivity with this book. He makes the point that what you do with your life doesn’t matter all that much. And that’s okay. You should accept the limit of your time on Earth. Live life by just doing the next and most necessary thing.
Most Enjoyable Books:
Project Hail Mary
Project Hail Mary begins with Ryland Grace, a middle school science teacher, waking up from a coma abroad a spaceship. He has no idea where he is or how he got there. His memory starts coming back slowly as he discovers the terrible situation that he and humanity are in.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down and finished reading it in about 5 days. I loved how Andy Weir used science and logic to solve the hero’s problems. Without giving too much away, I also like Weir’s unique take on alien encounters.
Tiny Beautiful Things
This book is a collection of advice columns from Cheryl Strayed’s time as Dear Sugar. The advice given in this book touches all aspects of life. There’s love, death, work, addiction, and more.
I immensely enjoyed this book. I finished the book during the my week long vacation over Thanksgiving. It is a mix of my favorite book genres, short stories and memoirs.
I loved how each response was structured. It stats with Strayed acknowledging the writer’s situation with compassion. Then, she shares a personal story that seems unrelated to the topic. Everything comes together several paragraphs later as Sugar wraps up the letter with sage advice.
Fire and Blood
Fire & Blood is a prequel to A Game of Thrones written by George R. R. Martin. It details the rise and fall of the Targaryen dynasty. It stretches from Aegon the Conquerer to the Mad King. The book is written like historical fiction. True to this genre, the narrator doesn’t know what actually happens. He pulls in different primary sources and makes his best guess.
I finished the book in about a week. It is full of everything that makes Thrones great. There are tons of dragons, battles, palace intrigue, and raunchy behavior. I also enjoyed the interview transcript at the end of the book. Martin shares tidbits about his writing process and career.
Mistborn Series (Original Trilogy)
Mistborn is a fantasy series created by Brandon Sanderson. Allomancy is the prevailing magic system in this world. Certain individuals have ability to burn metals to gain physical and mental powers. For example, burning steel lets you push against metal objects. And burning cooper lets you dampen others’ emotions.
Allomancy sets up a great world to explore by itself. But Sanderson takes it one step further by introducing the characters and world with a heist story. I don’t know of any other book that blends these two concepts together. And it works. The first book is fast paced and full of adventure. The rest of the series goes in an unexpected, yet satisfying, direction.
- Die with Zero
- Shoe Dog - Thoughts
- Total Recall
- Snow Crash
- The Comfort Crisis - Thoughts
- This is Marketing -Thoughts
- Deep Work
Books Read in 2022:
- Mistborn: The Final Empire
- Six Easy Pieces
- Skeptics Guide to the Universe (audio)
- So Good They Cant Ignore You
- Deep Work
- Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP (audio)
- Shoe Dog (audio)
- How to Live
- The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (audio)
- This is Marketing
- Mistborn: The Well of Ascension
- Principles: Life and Work (audio)
- Twelve and a Half (audio)
- Four Thousand Weeks (audio)
- Mistborn: Hero of Ages
- Mistborn: The Alloy of Law
- Digital Minimalism (audio)
- Building a Second Brain
- Die with Zero
- Mistborn: Shadows of Self
- A World Without Email
- Total Recall(audio)
- The Psychology of Money
- The Comfort Crisis (audio)
- Snow Crash
- The Personal MBA
- Project Hail Mary
- Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting
- Fire and Blood
- The Obstacle is the Way
- Tiny Beautiful Things
- Average is Over
- The Moth Presents All These Wonders
- The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts