2022 was a fruitful year of reading for me. Although I read fewer books than the year before, I retained them better and applied them more. Here are my top five, all rated 5 stars in Goodreads:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Amazing book. I was hesitant to pick it up because habits are just not a very compelling topic for me. Or, they weren’t until I read this book. One big takeaway, for me, was that creating a result that you want (becoming more fit, learning to play piano, improving as a photographer) does not need to rely on willpower or any activation energy. It’s about committing to and taking small daily actions towards those areas, and integrating these small actions into your life so that they actually happen. The book covers how to make habits happen (make the action you want to take obvious, make the action you want to you take attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying), but I found some of the other ideas (such as the willpower idea above, and another idea around identity) to be the most powerful parts.

Death by Meeting by Patrick Lancioni

A business book written in the style of a fable (a format that I’m very into). This is a super short and fun book about how one CEO transforms the culture at his company by figuring out how to run much more effective meetings. The premise is that meetings are critical for our work, but they tend to be wasteful, can be soul-sucking, dreaded by attendees, and lead to bad decisions and outcomes. All of which I’ve (of course) experienced. The two main ideas are that meetings should have conflict and drama. And they need to have specific purpose and not mix purposes.

The Power of TED by David Emerald

This one is also written in the style of a fable, and covers the drama triangle and how to shift from the role of Victim to that of Creator, from Villain to Challenger, and from Hero to Coach. I find these concepts to be very empowering and useful in leadership. The victim-to-creator shift in particular is very related to book #5 below.

Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet

Such a fantastic leadership book, detailing how the author (a Captain in the Navy) took his ship from one of the worst-performing submarines in its fleet, to one of the best performing within 3 years. He did this by replacing the conventional command-and-control style of leadership (or leader-follower, where one hopefully-competent leader barks orders that everyone else follows) into leader-leader style leadership, which empowers every individual. I’m not normally into military books, but the setting turned into a really cool self-contained setting in which to run leadership experiments.

The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi

Written in the style of a Socratic dialogue, this is a journey through Adlerian psychology (Alfred Adler was one of the three “fathers” of modern psychotherapy, along with Freud and Jung). One big idea in this book is that your past (such as any “trauma” you may have experienced) does not determine your future; characteristics of an individual are not fixed, and we each have the capacity to change who we are at any moment. If anyone reads this book, hmu, I’d love to discuss, there is a lot in there.

One fiction book also got 5 stars in Goodreads from me in 2022, but I will only be sharing that one with trusted friends who won’t judge :)