2022 Book Reviews

It’s a sign of the pandemic nearing the end when I no longer have the luxury of time to read and run regularly. But that’s just life, a series of opportunity costs and compromises. At the start of the great lockdown 2020 I managed to read 62 books, in the depth of pandemic year 2021 I read 70 books, and this year? I mixed going out, playing football and watching live music with reading 56 books.

Now, the biggest thing for me this year was that I read 8 fiction books! Eight! And among the rest of the 47 non-fiction books there’s the usual names: Robert Greene, Ryan Holiday (3 books), Tim Ferriss, Steven Pressfield, Thich Nhat Hanh, Reza Aslan, the usual self-rule: 1 book about Indonesia, and a friendly old face in David Graeber in my re-reading portion for this year: his phenomenal book Debt: The First 5000 Years.

Furthermore, along with my core interests of history, business and self-help, in total I read 10 biographies this year, 7 books on religion, a little bit of science with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and since this is a World Cup year I naturally read more books on football (3 books). I also had the priviledge to be approached by the author of The Founders, Jimmy Soni, whom offerred me his book for free in exchange for an honest review (which turns out to be a great book about the history of PayPal). And of course, in an increasing obsession with Ernest Hemingway, this year I read 2 books by him and 1 about him.

But naturally, not all books are great and I also had my fare share of crappy books along the way, like The Power of the Subconscious Mind, seeing what the fuss is all about on the controversial The Satanic Verses, and mercifully finishing my 3rd Steven Pinker book (out of 5 that I have – talking about tsundoku, eh?)

But all in all, it has been quite an interesting journey this year, where my reading list was more determined by the situation or theme of the moment. Like reading a book about football in the Balkans and the kleptocracy of the ex Soviet oligarchs during early days of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, or reading about the Freemasons before I took a tour of Freemason’s sites in my city, or sadistically reading When Breathe Becomes Air (about the journey of a dying doctor who’s also a cancer patient) when I finally caught Covid.

Anyway, here are the complete list for this year’s reading:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  2. A Brief History of the Freemasons by Jasper Ridley
  3. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
  4. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr. By Ron Chernow
  5. Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
  6. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  7. Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
  8. A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report from the Frontline of Humanity by Jan Egeland
  9. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
  10. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  11. Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World by Tom Burgis
  12. Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe by Jonathan Wilson
  13. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
  14. The ABCc of Success by Bob Proctor
  15. Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by Burhana Islam
  16. The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
  17. Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole
  18. Beyond Fundamentalism by Reza Aslan
  19. The Islam Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK
  20. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
  21. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  22. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
  23. The Book of General Ignorance by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd
  24. Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
  25. Zonal Marking by Michael Cox
  26. Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday
  27. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  28. Rimbaud in Java by Jamie James
  29. Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber
  30. Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh
  31. Effortless by Greg McKeown
  32. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  33. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  34. The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
  35. The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann
  36. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (And Your Children Will Be Glad You Did) by Philippa Perry
  37. Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee
  38. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  39. The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
  40. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  41. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl
  42. The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor
  43. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! By Richard P. Feynman
  44. Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be by Steven Pressfield
  45. The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Soni
  46. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
  47. Hemingway’s France: Images of the Lost Generation by Winston Conrad
  48. Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin
  49. Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
  50. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  51. The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
  52. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  53. The Theory of Everything Else by Dan Schreiber
  54. 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest
  55. Angels With Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina by Jonathan Wilson
  56. The Truth About Wuhan: How I Uncovered the Biggest Lie in History by Andrew G. Huff