2022 in books


The books I read in 2022, in order of date of completion:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter Drucker
  • Stolen Focus, Johan Hari
  • The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
  • Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
  • The Law, Frederic Bastiat
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Data Oriented Design, Richard Fabian
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates
  • Putinomics, Chris Miller
  • The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber and David Wengrow
  • Phreaks, Matthew Derby
  • Master of the Senate, Robert Caro
  • Airframe, Michael Crichton
  • The Passage of Power, Robert Caro
  • Caffeine, Michael Pollan
  • Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe
  • The Black Pages, Nnedi Okorafor
  • Fall, Neal Stephenson
  • Global Brain, Howard Bloom
  • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Ethiopia, Wendy McElroy
  • The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin
  • Mr. Putin, Fiona Hill
  • Measure What Matters, John Doerr

A few of these were audiobooks. I do not anticipate completing any more books this year. I fell three books short of my goal of 30 books. In my defense, a few of them were somewhat long. However, a few were also quite short. It’s still a marginal improvement on last year’s 25 books.

What stood out

Robert Caro’s series on the years of Lyndon Johnson has been amazing. I’m now caught up and waiting for the final volume. It’s fascinating how deeply committed Johnson was to his objectives, and how he worked fanatically and mercilessly towards it. I also can’t help observing that while Kennedy was a visionary, Johnson made it happen. The parallels to Obama and Biden aren’t lost on me.

The Dawn of Everything was a particularly mind-blowing read; one which I shall have to revisit. In particular, it’s had me rethinking a lot of the traditional wisdom about the origins of modern democracy, science, and epistemology. It’s perhaps not as simple as some would have us believe.

I enjoyed reading a second book by Robin Wall Kimmerer, although it was somewhat less directly relevant to my interests than Braiding Sweetgrass had been. However, I notice mosses now in a way I never before did. That’s something.

Finally reading some classics in the spring was fun; The Call of The Wild was a beautiful trip, and Metamorphosis was a wild ride, but the great surprise to me was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which I decided on in large part due to CGP Grey. It was so well written and enjoyable that I have recommended it to several friends since. Must read more Capote.

Between Putinomics, which delves into the successes and failures of economic policy in modern Russia, and Mr. Putin, which looks into the actions, alligences and (despite claiming not to) motivations of the Russian dictator, I feel like I have a slightly better grasp of the internal pressures and forces that caused Putin to think that he should, and could, invade Ukraine, and also why it is failing so hard.

Richard Fabian’s Data Oriented Design was very insightful about how to structure computer programs in such a way as to reduce boilerplate and unneccessary complexity, increase efficiency, and solve hard problems on short deadlines.

The others were largely good too. The one book I read to completion this year that would get hands down poor reviews is Bastiat’s The Law. What a load of bullshit. I also abandoned a few books that just didn’t warrant putting more time into them.

What’s next

I’ve been hideously slowly making my way through a few books. These include “The Starship and the Canoe”, “I didn’t do it for you”, and “Infinite Jest”. I received “Breath” and Caro’s “Working” as Christmas gifts. Many more books will come. The goal for 2023 is again to read 30 books. It’s a good goal.

Suggestions for next year very welcome.