‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists. Following that trend loosely, I compiled a list of business, writing, money, and other books that made an impact in my 2022.
Every one of these books affected how I think about my business and the world. They gave me actionable steps to improve my business and my writing. And they inspired me with damn-good journalism.
I don’t read nonfiction much these days. Most of the time, I’m lost in a good novel. That means this lucky 7 collection is special because every one of these books were good enough to pull me away from an absorbing story.
If any one of these books resonate with you, pick up a copy at your favorite local bookstore – mine is Walden Pond Books in Oakland, CA. If you prefer the fast-shipping route, I’ve provided Amazon links.
In no particular order…
1. The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel. This book doesn’t tell you how to save more or which stocks to pick. It discusses the underlying principle of accumulating wealth. Though real stories, it describes what can happen when greed informs your investment decisions. A fascinating read into the difference between having the freedom to do what you want when you want and losing everything for the sake of getting more.
2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear. I had this book on my shelf for at least a couple years before I read a portion in earnest. When I did, that was it. I went back and read it cover-to-cover. And for an evidence based self-help-type book, that’s sayin’ something. Not only did it provide me with a framework for instilling good habits and letting the bad ones fall away e.g., make it simple/make it hard, it did so with sound research and engaging writing. If you want to work smarter and/or live more healthfully, apply these lessons.
3. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers. My amazing business coach, Ed Gandia, gave everyone in his “Boardroom” cohort a copy of this at our fall retreat. I read it on the flight back home. I appreciate Sivers’s straightforward approach to running a business as well as his no-nonsense writing style. I remember CD Baby, and (don’t tell anyone) I remember music-buying transitioned from hanging out in the record store to buying online. Good lessons on customer service weaved in with great stories.
4. Everybody Writes: Your New and Improved Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley. Many a marketing writer have the original Everybody Writes all dog-eared and highlighted and scribbled on. The updated version is sure to have the same result. Anyone who writes for a living will learn something to help polish their craft. For everyone else: you’ll get practical tips to communicate more clearly and get your message heard (or read).
5. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane. A wealth of fantastic advice on how to persuade. Now that I stare at this title, I’m reminded I need to review this book so I can present better on Zoom calls and in person. One thing I do well: listen.
6. Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America by Cody Keenan. I pre-ordered this book because I wanted to know what it’s like to work as a speechwriter – especially for a President who is a best-selling author, and who gave some of the most powerful speeches I’ve ever heard. This book does that. It provides a glimpse into the exhausting schedule of a White House speechwriter. It also gives an inside look into a pivotal time in recent American history.
7. His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and Struggle for Racial Justice, Robert Samuels, Toluse Olurunnipa. Required reading for anyone who lives in the United States, wants to live in the United States, or thinks they want to live in the United States someday. Samuels and Olurunnipa do an exceptional job of telling Floyd’s story within the context of the systemic racism that’s been present in America since the day a non-native stepped on its soil. One of the best pieces of journalism I’ve read. Period.
What next: Susan Cain’s Bittersweet. She speaks to me!
What are your favorite books of the year? Share them in the comments below!