I’d like to write maybe a top 5 list and some thoughts on my approach to reading and what I’ll change in 2022 or something like that. But first, here’s a straightforward post with a list of the books I read this year.
- Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel: First book that I read this year and probably the book from this year that I’d most recommend in the future. Pair this with Atomic Habits and, while you might not reach enlightenment, you’ll have a great framework for improving in any aspect of your life without ruining yourself financially.
- How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis: Felix Dennis became mega-rich through publishing. If you ever opened Maxim or ripped a plastic wrapping to grab the demo disc with a magazine, you’ve experienced some of his influence. Main lessons: keep learning, don’t give up, and don’t actually make it a goal to get mega-rich. It requires too much sacrifice.
- Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich: If you think crypto is crazy now then you should see how crazy it was when it started. If anything, you can learn about people playing the long game.
- Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgensen: If you like Naval and his thinking, you’ll like this book. Eric did an excellent job curating Naval’s wisdom and Jack Butcher’s illustrations make timeless concepts even easier to absorb.
- Doing Content Right by Steph Smith: Learn how to write for the internet and to look at the data to grow something online. It gave me a lot of ideas for how to improve this blog, but then I got distracted by very shiny web3 things. In 2022, I do want to get back to cleaning this blog up as my foundation to point different things to. I’ll be referring back to this book often.
- Effortless by Greg Mckeown: Similar to Essentialism, everything seems so simple after reading Mckeown’s work. With Effortless, you do start to see things in your life that are harder than they need to be. Often because of your own doing. This is one of those books I need to review every quarter or so to inject some of this mindset into my life.
- The Art and Business of Online Writing by Nicolas Cole: If you read other books on writing and think they’re too high level, Nicolas Cole is the answer. He knows how to write on the internet. He has years of ghostwriting for business execs, so he knows how others should write on the internet. If you read other books on writing and think they’re too low-level (punctuation guides, etc.), this book is the answer. Creating a specific emotion in your reader matters more than proper grammar. Cole gives sentence by sentence breakdowns of how to do this.
- Soundtracks by Jon Acuff: Again, similar to Effortless above, this is a book worth reviewing. So much of life happens in our heads now. Yes, it’s good to find ways to get back into your body and be present. But it’ll also be good to make sure that the self-talk in your head is positive.
- The Infinite Machine by Camila Russo: Another recent history book capturing the beginning of Ethereum without deep dives into the technical aspects. Pair it with Bitcoin Billionaires to see some of the real-world effects of crypto.
- Year Book by Seth Rogan: Get the audiobook. Instant top-5 audiobook for me. Fun stories with someone who never lost the fascination and oddness of celebrities and fame even as he became an A-list celebrity. (But if you don’t like Seth Rogan, this book will probably change your mind about him.)
- A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost: Another good audiobook from someone in comedy. There’s an incredible chapter about his mom’s work as FDNY chief medical officer during 9/11.
- Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa: This is one of those “You’ll learn more from fiction than non-fiction” books. Or, I guess, historical fiction in this case. Musashi is a specialist showing the power of being a generalist. He’s one of history’s greatest swordsman. But if you go on reddit you’ll see history nerds saying he definitely isn’t the greatest swordsman. The fact that he’s in the running at all, centuries later, is because he was an artist and writer. He was able to package his legacy up for future consumption.
- Wanting: The power of mimetic desire in everday life by Luke Burgis: A quake book for me—shook my current worldview. I don’t anticipate that I’ll be going through René Girard’s library anytime soon, so it’s great to have some of his philosophy distilled for casual readers. For a few weeks after, I was looking at everything through this “everything we want is because we want what others want” lens.
- Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger: The most fun book I read this year. Arnold has succeeded in so many industries. This was published before he became the biggest star in Hollywood and before politics. It’s a deep look into the mindset he had to become a dominant bodybuilder. The main theme for me: learning. When he loses, he tries to learn why. He learns english because it’s key to learning bodybuilding from Americans in the 70s. And he keeps taking this learning mindset into acting and politics. But he also talks about brutal workouts in the woods with and it’s awesome.
- Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia: Find joy in your work until you have work you enjoy. Otherwise keep trying to find work you enjoy. Having that kind of purpose will be helpful for the rest of your life. Some objection to the book that I’ve seen (and that 4 circle venn diagram you might have seen) is in the inaccuracy of the word “Ikigai”. Whatever phrase you use, joy in work is worth striving for.
- Hard Drive by James Wallace: Bill Gates was already doing his think weeks at lakeside cabins in the 90s when this book was published. For the other 51 weeks in the year, he was cooking up a brutal mix of programming, product, law, and sales to destroy competition. In a run in the late 80s, he 10X’s his net worth year over year, going from 1M, 10M, 100M, to 1B. I heard Bill Burr re-tell a joke: A German tank was worth 4 American tanks, but the Americans always came with 5. Microsoft’s early days had that kind of brute force to success.
- iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon by Steve Wozniak: Take the incredible engineering mind of Bill Gates but then invert everything else. Wozniak isn’t searching for insane wealth or power. He finds technology to be really fun. He seems to look at the world through a whimsical lens and it seems like a better path to joy than some others might take.
- The History of the Future by Blake J. Harris: More recent history. Facebook recently rebranded to Meta—read this book if to learn more about the early moves in the modernAR/VR space.
- The Sovereign Individual by James Dale Davidson, Lord William Rees-Mogg: Shifted my world view and constantly reminded me that I have a very narrow lens: I understand tech but am very naive when it comes to finance, economics, and government. This was published in 1997—which was also the first year I used the internet. The authors predict how wider access to faster internet will change everything. They miss on some things (remote robot surgery in a couple decades) but absolutely nail cryptocurrencies (cybercurrencies based by cryptography) so it gives credibility to how everything else might play out.
- 21 Lessons: What I’ve Learned from Falling Down the Bitcoin Rabbit Hole by Gigi: Many people’s experience is buying some coins and then checking the charts every week or every day or every hour. I recommend this book if you want to learn about crypto beyond that. What do the true believers believe and why? Written from the perspective of someone talking about what they’ve learned so far.
- The Extended Mind by Annie Murphy Paul: So much more goes into thinking than what is happening in our skulls. Lots of science-based suggestions for how to improve thinking by using our bodies, environments, and relationships.
- The Gap and the Gain by Benjamin Hardy: Measure your current self against your past self. Don’t measure against a future ideal. Strive for it and figure out the path toward that. But be grateful for the improvement you’ve already made. It’s a mindset shift I’d like to take into 2022.
- Winning by Tim Grover: Similar to “How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis, sacrifice seems to be the main theme here. Tim Grover trained Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. He helped them win and has seen what it takes to be a winner. Give up some things to gain much more. Pair this with effortless if you want to try to hold two competing ideas in your head at the same time.
- Pop-Up Pitch by Dan Roam: A very actionable book on how to outline the hero’s journey and create a business presentation around it. Understand the journey, write the outline, make the deck, persuade your audience. In 2022, I want to improve in turning ideas into visuals and all of Dan Roam’s books are great guides I’ll be reviewing.
- To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy: Pixar’s first decades seen through the lens of their chief financial officer. It’s interesting to see another perspective after reading a handful of books from their creative side. Pixar made classic films to build their foundation, but there was still a lot of other work to make it the great business that it was. A majority of Steve Jobs’s net worth was from Pixar in the 90s. Understanding some finance and marketing is the key for solo creators to work for themselves. A lot of that will pattern match what big companies did in the past but on a smaller scale with technology to augment different pieces.
- Dune by Frank Herbert: I wish I read this years ago. Amazing world building. Gain power by controlling the flow of information: create religions, find spies, trick your enemies. Or also with genetic modification and psychedelics.
That’s that and I’m looking forward to more reading in 2022.
And a quick note on automation, in case you care. I timed myself grabbing the Amazon links and pasting them in manually. It took 10 minutes. I was tempted to automate this somehow but I’m pretty sure it would have taken longer than 10 minutes.