The Best Things I Read in 2022
Plus: the best of the blog, your recommendations, and a vacation announcement
Today’s post is a little different. First, I’m going to take the rest of the year off from the blog. I’ve never missed a Monday in over six years now, so it’s kinda scary to skip four intentionally. But taking breaks is good, and I think it will help me come back refreshed in January for some new articles.
So for this last post of 2022, I thought I’d do three things:
First, I’ll share what I think were my best posts from the year.
Then I’ll share my favorite books I read this year.
Then if you have any recommendations from books you read this year, please add them in the comments!
My Best Posts from This Year
When the Money’s Just Too Damn Good. This was a more personal piece about how hard it can be to balance doing what you love and wanting to make as much money as possible.
Addicted to Speed. We’re moving faster and faster each year, saddling us with a host of psychological problems. You don’t want a house in the country, you want to slow down.
De-Atomization is the Secret to Happiness. We’ve atomized many of the best parts of life into isolated experiences, causing us to feel like we don’t have enough time for everything a full life entails. We need to reintegrate these experiences to both be happier and get our time back.
Leaving the Church of Science. Science has started to take on an almost religious quality to it, but we need to remember it is only a way of trying to get closer to the truth. And not always the best way.
How to Get Insanely Rich in the Creator Economy. A fun satire on the entrepreneurship & online creator world. Or is it?
The Locus of Entertainment. Screens aren’t necessarily bad, it depends on if they’re weakening your ability to entertain yourself or enhancing it.
What Would Happen to You in a Book? Life doesn’t make sense, but it’s helpful to pretend it does. If a character in a book were engaging in some of your riskier or more admirable behaviors, what would the result of that foreshadowing be later in the book?
Scene and Structure. Even if you’re a non-fiction writer, there was a lot in here about storytelling and narrative that I found very useful. I think it can help a writer of any discipline.
On Writing Stephen King’s part memoir part how-to guide is fantastic, regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction. I’d read it before, but I re-read it earlier this year.
The History of the Peloponnesian War. The first history book ever written, as far as we know. Feel free to skim around, it gets slow at parts, but some of it feels like it could have been written last year.
The Pioneers. If you think your life is hard, read this book. It’s wild to see what the early western settlers of the US went through.
The Revolt of the Public. The rise of mass communication tools has allowed a powerful public to emerge, which is now revolting against the established elites. It’s part history, part analysis of the new wave of nihilistic populism.
The Complete Essays of Montaigne. I’ve been chipping away at this for a couple of years and finally finished it. Not all of them are bangers, obviously, but there is some phenomenal writing in here. You’ll like it if you like Seneca or Marcus Aurelius.
Tao Te Ching. Another re-read. I think you could read this hundreds of times and still get something a little different from it each time, you read what you need into the lessons.
The Analects of Confucius. If you liked Tao Te Ching, read this too. It has a similar aphoristic style but is more direct in its teachings.
Metaphors We Live By. Our relationship with the world is dictated through metaphors. By understanding the metaphors that shape our lives, we can see how we might subconsciously relate to the world in ways we want to change or lean into.
Four Thousand Weeks. The subtitle captures this one well: time management for mortals. Our obsession with productivity and hustle culture is killing us, and we must regain a healthier relationship with work and time.
The Comfort Crisis. A great overview of how being comfortable is killing us, and ways we can strategically bring healthy discomfort back into our lives.
The Happy Sleeper. Incredible guide to helping your infant learn to sleep. Getting through the first few days of crying is tough, but we followed this book to a T, and our 13-month-old daughter hasn’t woken us up in 9 months.
The Alchemy of Finance. George Soros’s book on his philosophy of working in finance and which introduced his idea of convexity. Worth reading more for the convexity sections than the investing sections.
The Money Game. An old book about how Wall Street works, a little satirical and very funny at parts, while also being educational about how the big money gets made.
2023 is going to be the year where I finally balance out my fiction and non-fiction reading. These were some of my favorite fiction reads from 2022 though.
Fahrenheit 451. It’s a classic for a reason, I love the story telling style and how chaotic the narrative feels at times, and it’s so short you can fly through it in a couple sittings.
The Odyssey. Had to read it in high school and was incredibly bored by it, but re-read it this year for Made You Think and loved it. It’s funny, has a really rich narrative (unlike Iliad), and shows how old many of our storytelling tropes are.
All Systems Red. This is the most fun book of everything on this list. It’s fast, light, sci-fi comfort food, and there are five more books after it if you like it.
Alright, I hope you found something good to read here.
If you have any books or articles you loved this year, please drop them in the comments below!
Join 36,000 other reads getting weekly posts when I’m back in January.
Nat, great recommendations. I also loved the Comfort Crisis, reread the Odyssey (after reading Madeline Miller’s Circe), and try to revisit Tao Te Ching annually. Happy Sleeper is also phenomenal for kiddos. Lots to check out on your list.
Based on your choices, and if you’re looking for more fiction, I’d recommend the following:
- Mushasi by Eiji Yoshikawa. Epic Japanese novel, wonderfully written, and packed with wisdom. One of my most recommended books of the last few years.
- Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. Historical fiction climaxing at the Battle of Thermopylae. Awesome.
- Killer Angels by Michael Shara. Historical fiction recounting the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of generals on both sides.
-Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty. 900 pages describing a cattle drive from Texas to Montana — and so much more.
- Circe by Madeline Miller. Greek mythology written from the point of view of Circe. Gives a different appreciation to a familiar trope.
Enjoy the writing break!
Great list Nat. "When breath becomes air" shook me to my core when I read it earlier this year. I dont read many memoirs but this was worth it. Enjoy your break!