10 min read

My 2022 book recommends

In 2022, I read several books, not as many as I’d like but more than I could have hoped for. I also reread a few, easy reads, comfort reads. Side note, when I say read I mean listened, as I listen to audiobooks, but I use read as it makes you, the reader, think “book”. The following is in no particular order.

Atomic Habits

First up, we have “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. You surely have heard of this book, but in the unlikely event that you have been residing beneath a rock, it’s a self-help book that argues that small changes in habits can lead to significant improvements in one’s life. It emphasises the importance of consistency and suggests different strategies for overcoming obstacles to habit change.

“Atomic Habits” is a good read, if not essential, albeit you could sum up the core points in a Twitter thread. That said, I gained a better understanding of the role that habits play in our lives and how even small, seemingly insignificant habits can have a significant impact on our long-term success and happiness.
The book emphasises the importance of consistency, 1% better every day, and provides useful strategies for overcoming common obstacles. I learned about the role that environment and psychology play in habit formation, and how I can use these factors to my advantage in forming new habits and breaking old ones. I found the book to be a valuable resource for learning about life-changing improvements through the power of good habits.

“Atomic Habits” provides a clear and actionable framework for creating and maintaining good habits, as well as strategies for overcoming common obstacles to habit change. The book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to make positive changes in their life through the power of habit formation.
Check out “Atomic Habits” for yourself.

Atomic Habits Atomic Habits - Check it out

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

“The Body: A Guide for Occupants” is a science book written by Bill Bryson that explores the human body and how it works. The book covers a wide range of topics related to the body, including the history of medicine, the structure, and function of the various organ systems, the role of the immune system in protecting the body from disease, and the latest research on genetics and personalised medicine. It's written in an engaging and accessible style, making the book suitable for all.

After reading, I was blown away by how much I learned about the human body. One of the most interesting things I learned was about the microbiome and the gut. I had no idea that the trillions of bacteria living in our digestive system play such a crucial role in our overall health. After reading about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut, I made several changes to my diet and lifestyle to support the growth of beneficial bacteria. I am already noticing positive changes, and I am grateful for the knowledge I gained from this book. And there is a load more knowledge within.

The book is a fascinating and engaging exploration of the human body and how it works. Reading “The Body” will give you a deeper appreciation for the remarkable capabilities of the human body and the complex processes that keep it functioning. Keep you functioning. It may even help you make more informed decisions about your health. By learning about the different organ systems, the immune system, and the latest research on genetics and personalised medicine, you can gain a better understanding of how to maintain your health and well-being. I highly recommend this book, it’s informative, enjoyable and well worth checking out.

The Body The Body - Check it out

Fire and Blood

“Fire and Blood” by George R.R. Martin, serves as a history of the Targaryen family, set in the world of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (Game of Thrones). The book covers the history of the Targaryens in Westeros, including the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms and their eventual downfall. It includes the stories of many key figures in Targaryen history, such as Aegon the Conqueror. We learn where many of the staples of Westerosi life originate. The book is written as an in-world historical text.

I really enjoyed the writing style of “Fire and Blood”, which is the style of fictional history as though a Maester had written it. As a fan of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, I loved being able to delve deeper into the world and history of the Targaryen family and Westeros after “The Conquering”. Martin's writing is always so rich and detailed, and I was really impressed by the depth of the historical events and figures included in the book. It was also fascinating to see how the history of the Targaryens played a role in shaping the events of the main series.

If you are a fan of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, you will likely enjoy this. The book is well-written and engaging, and the attention to detail is impressive. I waited as long as I did because I thought it would be too different, but it was great, and I regret waiting so long.

Fire and Blood Fire and Blood - Check it out

Greenlights

“Greenlights” is a memoir by actor Matthew McConaughey. The book is a collection of stories from McConaughey's life, including his childhood, his time as an actor, and his personal philosophies. The book touches on themes of self-discovery, authenticity, and the importance of following your passions.

McConaughey's easygoing approach to life as depicted in his memoir “Greenlights” is really enjoyable to read. I found it interesting to learn more about one of the best actors of the moment and his personal journey to get there. The book is filled with useful insights, nuggets of wisdom and even some good ole “Outlaw logic”, with one standout quote from his mother about understanding something fully and taking ownership of it, and not being worried about plagiarism.

“She’s always believed that if you understand something, then you own it, you can sign your name to it, take credit for it, live by it, sell it, and win medals for it. Plagiarism? ‘Shit, they’ll probably never find out and if they do all they can do is blame you and take your medal back, so fuck em,’ she says.”—Absolute legend.

McConaughey's easygoing and candid writing style makes for an enjoyable reading experience. Through the book, you gain insight into his upbringing, his rise to fame, and the lessons he's learned along the way. The book is filled with personal anecdotes, reflections and some of his philosophy on life. You may even pick up some wisdom and apply it in your life. “Greenlights” is a well-written, entertaining and inspiring memoir that offers a unique perspective on the human experience.

Bonus: if you listen to it you have Matthew McConaughey talking in your ear for seven hours.

Greenlights Greenlights - Check it out

The Infinite Game

In “The Infinite Game,” Simon Sinek (you’ve probably seen him around online) explores the concept of an infinite mindset versus a finite mindset, and how this perspective can impact business and leadership. Sinek posits that those with a finite mindset, who focus on winning and beating competitors, will ultimately fall short eventually because their objective is to achieve a specific outcome and then stop playing. On the other hand, those with an infinite mindset, who focus on continuously improving and adapting, will be better equipped to succeed in the long term because they are constantly investigating how to evolve and stay relevant.

In this book, Simon Sinek provides valuable insights on how to approach leadership and organisational strategy. The concept of the "infinite mindset" stood out to me as it highlights the importance of long-term thinking and the need to continuously improve, rather than just focusing on “winning” in the short term. Play the infinite game. The book helped me to view leadership and strategy from a different perspective and has provided valuable insights on how to lead and build a successful organisation for the long term. It actually factored into my decision to switch job last year as it highlight great leadership which was absent.

I recommend “The Infinite Game” to anyone interested in leadership and a dive into the dangers of finitude. It offers an interesting perspective on the importance of long-term thinking, building trust, and fostering a sense of belonging in organisations. It provides actionable insights for improving leadership skills and gaining a more in-depth understanding of strategy for long-term success.

The Infinite Game The Infinite Game - Check it out

What We Owe the Future

In “What We Owe the Future: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” William MacAskill explores the idea of our moral duties to future generations. According to the book, we have a moral responsibility to make sure that future generations have the chance to live fulfilling lives, and as a result, we should give precedence to actions that will benefit the long-term future.

Full disclosure, I haven’t actually completed this book yet. I’ve been reading it for months, on and off. Even repeating a couple of chapters because it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I often found entire ideas sailing over my head. However, I still found the ideas compelling.

The core idea is that we have moral obligations to future generations, trillions of potential lives. We have a responsibility to take actions that will benefit future generations, even if those actions may be costly or difficult in the short term.
He suggests that we should think about the long-term impacts of our decisions, and that taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, investing in sustainable energy, and other actions that mitigate the harm caused by human activities are crucial.

Furthermore, the exploration of the evolution of morals, on the level of all humanity, in the book was particularly interesting, as I've never thought about it in that way before.
An example is slavery. It was a commonly accepted practice for most of human history, post-agriculture, but through moral evolution it’s now branded the most heinous of crimes. The book is persuasive, informative and well argued it makes the reader reflect on their actions, thinking about what kind of future they want to leave for the next generation.

For me, the perspective of “long-term-ism” really highlighted something I’ve always, as long as I can recall, the sense that it’s weird that we humans seem to prioritise the self above the whole. Maybe I’ll go into that notion another time.

I don’t recommend this book because I can’t. It’s a difficult one to swallow. It’s interesting but dull at the least and wordy beyond belief. Not only that, but it's difficult to follow. I recommend digesting the key ideas from the book via summaries such as Blinkist or Shortform.

There you have it, those are the 6 books I wanted to cover that I read last year. “Atomic Habits”, “The Body”, “Fire and Blood”, “Greenlights”, “The Infinite Game” and “What We Owe The Future”. I enjoyed all of them in their owe right and for different reasons. I hope you gain some insight and maybe even decide to read one or more of them, please let me know if you do.

Archive

2023

Want another?

The dawn of Homo-deus