I read 100+ books for the second consecutive year.
It was an exhilarating journey. I read most of my books in the first half of the year when I had the momentum to read. I do well in bursts – when I get into a groove, I leverage momentum to my advantage. I set myself a goal to read 200 books at the start of the year. Soon into the journey, I recognized that I was enthusiastic in my estimate, and recalibrated my goal to 100 books.
I achieved this target in September – my final count is 110.
This year I intend to re-read the books that impacted me and take home actionable points. And look to take action on the ones that call out to me.
One final note – I believe the number of books you read is a nebulous metric. It is possible to read 300 books half-heartedly. It is also possible to read one chapter in one book – apply it relentlessly – and transform your life. Reading many books has worked well for me, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a holy grail for humanity to adopt. Modifying Drew Carey’s catchphrase from the improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway, the number doesn’t matter.
Without further ado, here is my selection of 10 of my favorite books I read in 2022:
1 -Unburden by Nithya Shanti
Samurai Ravi Trivedi recommended Nithya Shanti’s Unburden to me.
I loved the book.
During peak pandemic days, I practiced a Black Lotus meditation called The Five Minute Miracle, guided by Nithya Shanti. My family was safe during the pandemic – we built an internal bubble and strictly adhered to this bubble. But there were difficulties and tensions at home – being stuck at home meant we didn’t have the outlets we were used to – The Five Minute Miracle gave me hope that the difficulties would melt away with time. And they did.
Black Lotus later came up with a meditation pack by Nithya Shanti – I rather liked it. Nithya Shanti suggests the response “How Wonderful” to anything and everything life brings our way. An application of what Vedanta calls Ishwara Prasada Buddhi – the attitude that everything we get in our life is Prasad from God – we should cherish our life events with the same sentiment we receive Prasad from the temple.
In Unburden, Nithya Shanti gives plenty of wisdom – simple wisdom – that are powerful and can make a huge difference in the path of spirituality.
2 – The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
I love Og Mandino’s style of writing.
He speaks to you as if he’s your kind uncle, gently encouraging you to make the most of your life. This book emphasizes one central point. You are the greatest miracle in this world.
I liked Mandino’s more popular book, The Greatest Salesman in the World. I enjoyed the little-known The Greatest Miracle in the World better. It is too easy to fall into low self-esteem and other mental disorders. Mandino reminds us that we are special and have unlimited potential. Every single human being.
A superb book, to say the least.
3 – Chasing Daylight by Gene O’Kelley
This book was recommended by Chip and Dan Heath in their book The Power of Moments.
Gene O’Kelley was the CEO of KPMG. He was in his fifties and looked to run KPMG for a few more years before retiring and traveling the world with his wife.
A routine checkup at the doctor’s office changed everything. He had multiple tumors in his brain, and the doctors told him he had roughly three months to live.
O’Kelley used the organized approach that helped him ascend to the top of his career to deal with his death – he decided to unwind his relationships. He decided to contact people in all his circles – spend a great amount of time with his immediate family – speak to acquaintances over one phone call – meet friends in person for one last meeting – and say goodbye – giving him and the recipient closure.
And write this book describing his approach in the face of death.
I found this book poignant and moving. And sad.
I did not feel sad when reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – another book written by a person who was handed a death sentence – I felt inspired. But I felt deep sadness on reading Chasing Daylight. I’m nevertheless glad I read this book – this was a reminder of the impermanence of life – and this was a lesson by a brave man documenting the approach he adopted in facing death.
4 – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
I first read about this book in Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.
I have been meaning to read this book for a while and finally got the opportunity in 2022. I listed to this as an audiobook in Susan Jeffers’s calming voice. I loved her thoughts and perspectives.
This is a book that helped me think about one of my oldest nemesis: Fear. Fear has been my constant companion through my life. It is in the last few years that I confronted fear – with many successes and many failures. This book gave me the belief that I can experience more successes in my battle against fear.
Jeffers gave her readers a homework assignment:
Buy an abundance journal and write about all the abundance life has given you
This is intended to combat the insidious problem of scarcity mindset – the feeling that life doesn’t give us enough. I successfully completed the assignment. And surprised myself in ways I did not imagine. But that is an article for another time.
5 – 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
In one sentence: 10X the efforts you put in – because you can – because it is worth it.
I read this as an audiobook and I totally loved Cardone’s energy and enthusiasm. I don’t agree with everything Cardone says – but that didn’t matter – I learned about the power of enthusiasm, and the power of 10Xing my efforts.
6 – A Man Called Ove by Fredrich Bachman
Medha Shri recommended this book as a part of the writing workshop.
“Read this like a writer”, she instructed us.
The book was so good that after 20 pages, I started reading this book as a reader. I rarely read fiction these days – this book reminded me why fiction books have their rightful place.
This book is about a grumpy old curmudgeon called Ove. We have all seen our Ove’s in our lives. This book is a heartrending account of Ove’s lives, the experiences that shaped him into who he is, and the tragedies that affected him deeply. And most importantly – how the presence of an unusual neighbor brings out the kind heart he has.
This is being adapted as a Tom Hanks movie in 2023.
7 – Will by Will Smith (with Mark Manson)
Will Smith is the favorite actor of millions of people.
He could have sat on a pedestal and proclaimed, “I’m the most amazing person there is”, as many other superstars do. And nobody would have faulted him for doing so.
Will Smith decided to share his life in an authentic manner – he talks about his fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities. He has done things he is not proud of – he candidly shares them – and shows us his human side. He has worked on becoming a better version of himself, and this book inspires the reader to work on being a better human being.
We also learn about his (and his friend DJ Jazz’s) work ethic – the common denominator behind every successful performer in any field.
Will is one of the best memoirs I’ve read.
8 – Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday’s latest offering is a super hit. And for good reason – he writes strong words that encourage the reader to cultivate stoic virtues – discipline in this case. Holiday is a master storyteller – he offers examples from all corners to make his points.
I also read Courage is Calling – another masterpiece that instills courage – this book would have made my list on another day.
9 – The Daily Laws by Robert Greene
Robert Greene is best known as the author of 48 Laws of Power and has gained the moniker ‘Modern Day Machiaveli’.
Indeed, in the hand of a nefarious few, 48 Laws of Power can be as dangerous as a knife in the hands of an evil monkey. To anyone who is on the spiritual path, I think this is a great tool – 48 Laws of Power shows the way the world works.
Robert Greene collects his best tips from all his books – 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, Mastery, 33 Laws of War and presents 365 “laws” – one for each day of the year.
I found most of the entries relevant and applicable and the book resonated well with me.
10 – Effortless by Greg McKeown
Busyness and stress are commonly seen as a badge of honor.
This is not necessary, says Greg McKeown. He makes the case for making meaningful contributions with minimum effort. Good in theory but impractical, you say? Read this book, and you may well change your mind.
McKeown divides the book into three parts:
- How does an effortless state look like
- What does effortless actions entail
- How to achieve effortless results
He gives strategies applicable for each section and elaborates on them with copious real-life examples.
This article was inspired after reading Hetal Sonpal’s top 10 picks out of the 125 books he read in 2022.
Photo by Gunnar Ridderström from Pexels