Sunday Reads #168: Best books of 2022.
Read 49 books this year (so far). These are the best ones.
Shorter (and later) Sunday Reads this week. Revenge work travel continues - I was in Jakarta this week. Looking forward to the end of the year (and also to a good night of sleep)!
With all this travel, I couldn’t put down my thoughts on ChatGPT, like I’d promised last week.
So instead, I’m sharing next week’s newsletter today. The best books I read in 2022. I’m sure you’ll like some of them.
1. The best books I read in 2022.
2022 has been quite a prolific year for my reading (my writing, on the other hand…🤪). Read 49 books so far, with 3 weeks to go. These are the ones I enjoyed the most.
Best Books of 2022: Non-Fiction.
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (9/10)
I recommended this in my Books of the Month for October 2022.
As I said there, I don't write (or read) much about fitness. But this is a great book on approaching your body scientifically.
If you want to make fitness a "project", how do you ensure it's successful?
I wrote a thread about it 👇. Read that first, and then check out the book if it's interesting.
Becoming Trader Joe (9/10)
The best book on strategy that doesn’t look like a book on strategy.
I wrote about it in The Secret of Trader Joe’s Lasting Success, back in February.
And here’s a short thread on Twitter. Again, read these first, and then pick up the book if it’s interesting.
Four Thousand Weeks (9/10)
A standard human life is just four thousand weeks. How can you keep calm and carry on, when your mortality is staring you in the face? Lovely book.
PS. Some of my own reflections on the topic of death and mortality here.
Shoe Dog (8/10)
It’s a warm memoir about the early years of Nike, by Phil Knight, the founder.
As a bonus, it’s really well-written. Like, really really well-written.
A couple of passages that had me chuckling to myself:
After shaving, I put on my green Brooks Brothers suit, and gave myself a pep talk. You are capable, you are confident. You can do this. You can do this.
And then I went to the wrong place.
Japan was renowned for its impeccable order and extreme cleanliness, Japanese literature, philosophy, clothing, domestic life, all were marvellously pure and spare, minimalist. Expect nothing, seek nothing, grasp nothing. The Immortal Japanese poets wrote lines that seem polished and polished until they gleamed like the blade of a samurai sword, or the stones of a mountain brook. Spotless.
So why, I wonder, is this train to Kobe so filthy?
Shouldn’t be surprised about that, to be honest. The ghost-writer is J. R. Moehringer, who also ghost-wrote Andre Agassi’s memoir (and is currently helping Prince Harry with his book).
King of Capital (8/10)
A great introduction to the birth of the Private Equity industry, and Blackstone in particular. Loved reading about the execution of some of the blockbuster deals (and some that were massive failures).
I wrote some of my reflections from this in Be fearful when others are greedy..., as well as on Twitter below.
Money Games (8/10)
A book about the takeover and turnaround of a failing Korean bank by a Private Equity firm. Right in the middle of the ‘90s Asian Financial Crisis.
I got completely immersed in the beat-by-beat story-telling. I cringed at every difficult negotiation meeting. I smiled at every breakthrough by the deal team.
We need more such "war stories" of real-life negotiations - one full book about one deal. With all the gory details.
Before we continue, a quick note:
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Best Books of 2022: Fiction.
A Gentleman in Moscow (10/10)
A lovely, sad, yet uplifting book. The first time in the longest that I was looking forward to finishing a book, just so I can start it again. (I’m going to re-read it over the next two weeks).
I’ll treat you to a lovely line from the book.
A solid sequel to Blindsight, which is itself a must-read.
And this follow-up is strange in the same way as the original. Fast-paced, inscrutable, and like a clock ticking feverishly to impending doom.
My head was hurting for two days after I finished the book (and I mean this in the most complimentary way possible).
A Deadly Education (8/10)
Unputdownable. It's like Harry Potter, but much darker.
Apart from the teenage romance stuff (I'm getting old!), it was absolutely captivating.
The sequels are great too, so it’s a series worth starting on.
Hope you like these books. I’d also love to hear what YOU read this year, that you absolutely loved. Just hit reply and let me know!
I had promised to write about ChatGPT today - a new AI chatbot from OpenAI that has taken the Internet by storm.
It reached 1 million users within 5 days. 5 days!
For comparison, here’s how long this generation’s most dominant technologies took.
I’m still thinking through the implications, so will try and write about it next week.
In the meantime, here’s a thread with some of the coolest things that people are doing with ChatGPT.
And another one.
Make sure to take ChatGPT for a spin, if you’re not one of the one million folks who are already using it. It will not disappoint.
That’s it for this week. Hope you like some of the books I recommend.
And I’d love if you reply with your favorite books / articles from the year. I’m always on the lookout for more great things to read!
As always, stay safe, healthy and sane, as one more year draws to a close.
I’ll see you next week.