After college, I resolved to read one book a month. It can be fiction, non-fiction, technical, business-oriented, or whatever as the goal was to always be absorbing and digesting new ideas and information, even just for fun. For 2022, I had a more specific goal of 30 books with 12 being non-fiction. Unfortunately due to some personal challenges in the fall, I fell well short of both goals with 26 and 3 respectively.
Here are my top four in order:
- Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade from Robert B. Cialdini
- 1984 from George Orwell
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass from Jim Butcher
- Unshackled from Casey Moores and Jamie Ibson
And here are the 26 books I completed in 2022, sorted by author or series:
I’ve sincerely loved Butcher’s Dresden files for the last decade+ with his most recent “Battle Ground” taking my favorite book spot in both 2020 and 2021. I picked up this book out of curiosity and thoroughly enjoyed it. In a world of airships and pirates, we end up with two kingdoms at war with dark magic, vicious creatures, espionage, and combat happening on all fronts. This is a fantastic story setting up a fascinating world that has exactly one book set in it. I loved it but that drives me up the wall.
In this book, an international group manages to land a mission on Europa to map and explore the planet. It goes horrendously wrong and the bulk of the book deals with the physical, emotional, and political fallout. I initially started this book a few years ago and set it aside for some reason. Picking it up again reminded me why. It’s just not good. Beyond one or two characters, they have little development and are indistinguishable and uninteresting.
- The Frozen Sky (the Europa Series Book 1)
Robert B. Cialdini
I’ve previously read Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and genuinely enjoyed learning how media – of any form – manipulates us towards or away from certain positions through word choice, positioning, questions, and overall approach. This book is a followup that addresses how to effectively frame and nudge someone towards a specific decision long before the decision is even approached. This ended up being my favorite book of the year simply because it better armed me to identify and understand the space around me and how to shape it in general. It’s a fascinating read.
Peter Clines writes great Twilight Zone-ish stories that show the edges of reality where things twist and turn just a little. This isn’t his best – that’s still Paradox Bound from my 2017 list – but it’s still an adventure starting with a little girl escaping a secret lab.
Correia is one of my favorite authors. Between his Monster Hunter series, Hard Magic series, and Son of the Black Sword, he is both prolific and immensely enjoyable. This is another set of his short stories set in a variety of different universes, some his and some not. The best part of this one is you get Correia’s writing and exposure to new worlds. Definitely check it out.
- Target Rich Environment, Volume 2
The Four Horseman Universe
After finding this series in 2018, I’ve devoured it book by book. The premise is that when aliens show up on Earth, humans are completely outclassed in all things and the only thing we’re good at is
dying being mercenaries. Do not start with the ones listed below as I’m 50+ books into the series and instead, follow Chris Kennedy’s (publisher of these series) 4HU Suggested Reading Order.
Unshackled ending up being one of my favorite for the year because of the complexity and layers of the overall battle happening all over the place. This was a great set of characters that you’ve seen snapshots of throughout their years in the books and now you see what happens when they’re at the end with nothing left to lose.
- High Mountain Hunters (Four Horsemen Sagas Book 5)
- Cartwright’s Cavaliers: Descent (The Guild Wars Book 14)
- Mess With the Bull (Rise of the Peacemakers Book 8)
- Unshackled (Rise of the Peacemakers Book 9)
- Harbinger (Rise of the Peacemakers Book 10)
- Three Steps to Oblivion (The Guild Wars Book 15)
- Ally (The Guild Wars Book 16)
- Tempest Rage (The Guild Wars Book 17)
- As My Witnesses (The Guild Wars Book 18)
- The Executioners (Four Horsemen Sagas Book 8)
- The Lyons’ Pride (The Phoenix Initiative Book 1)
- World Enders (The Phoenix Initiative Book 2)
Justin Mares & Gabriel Weinberg
Being with a startup again, I dug back into the basics to refresh my own understanding and spark new ideas. I got a number of tactics and good reminders on how different things work at different times. Not all of them will be useful no matter your circumstances but knowing what’s worked elsewhere is important.
This is the latest installment of what started as a zombie survival series but became a deep ongoing story about espionage, war, survival, and occasionally hope. In this book, Lee Harden is still struggling with hopelessness but sees a potential end in sight and they move towards it. It is never clean and exceptionally messy but moving in how the characters have developed over the years.
- Terminus (Lee Harden Series Book 6)
I picked this one up and while it was more fantasy-based than I expected, it was still an alright read. I’ll probably pick up the next two sometime later this year. If you have to choose, start with the Lee Harden and the Remaining Universe.
- Breaking Gods (Godbreaker Book 1)
I ashamed to admit that I had never read 1984 until early last year. I thought I had – after all, I knew the themes – but once I picked it up, I realized how much I missed. And frankly, the entire book was horrifying as it felt like a documentary of the current day. In the book, the speed at which consensus opinion shifts – gas stoves this week – and forms to attack is a weekly occurrence. The way events are rewritten – “we never locked down” – has become the norm. And words being wiped from acceptable use – like at my last job – is deemed acceptable. The attempt to start a MiniTrue in 2022 was icing on the cake.
This is another episode in the series of Kelly Turnbull. While the series itself starts from the dissolution of the United States into the Red and the Blue, this goes into a military coup organized within one side. The story is harsh with a trail of dead bodies and chaos but it’s a good, simple story with mostly-clear good and bad guys duking it out.
- Inferno (Kelly Turnbull Book 7)
I’ve always enjoyed the Shadowrun universe and the mechanics of how it works. In these anthologies, the authors tackle different themes. Unfortunately, the stories themselves are really uneven. Some are great and introduce fun characters in bad situations while other stories are a hot mess of poorly described characters in confusing situations without much context. Maybe they’d make more sense with other source books and stories but there’s no indication of that going in. If you like the universe, pick it up and if a story feels off, skip it.
- Spells and Chrome (Shadowrun Anthology Book 1)
- World of Shadows (Shadowrun Anthology Book 2)
- Drawing Destiny: A Sixth World Tarot Anthology (Shadowrun Anthology Book 3)
While most businesses try to play to win the deal, the quarter, or the earnings report, Sinek suggests playing to win the Infinite Game is much more powerful and effective. Further, by remembering that business and life are an ongoing activity and based on relationships and understanding, we can all do better off in the long term. It’s a good mindset and if you’re into it – which you should be – I’d recommend checking out “Love is the Killer App” also.
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If you think I missed something great, drop me a note and let me know!