2022 Book Recommendations for Learning, Leadership, and Leisure

I, like always, resolve to read more in the coming year. If you’re looking to do the same, I’m sharing my own list of books I read this year and recommend for 2022. These are both books on leadership for women, biographies, self-improvement, and books for fun because we need to read for pleasure too.

Reading for Learning

Here are my recommendations on books for self-improvement, leadership for women, and personal branding in no particular order.

The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialogue – We live in a pervasive warlike atmosphere that makes us approach anything we need to accomplish as a fight between two opposing sides – urging us to regard the world in an adversarial frame of mind. Tannen explores the roots of this argument culture, the role played by gender, and how other cultures suggest alternative ways to negotiate disagreement and mediate conflicts so that we, as a society, can find constructive and creative ways of resolving disputes and differences.

KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age – Mark Schaefer

In today’s world, there is a permanent advantage to becoming known in your field. Those who are known get the customers, the better jobs, and invitations to exclusive opportunities. But can anybody become known? In this path-finding book, author Mark Schaefer provides a step-by-step plan followed by the most successful people in diverse careers like banking, education, real estate, construction, fashion, and more.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, impeccably researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. 

Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold – Dr. Patti Fletcher

Disrupters shows what different women in business have done to reach success as they define it. From board members to CEOs to freelancers, the business world is stacked against women because they follow the unspoken rules of business culture made long before women entered the workforce.

White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement — and How I Got Out – Christian Picciolini

White American Youth explores why so many young people lose themselves in a culture of hatred and violence and how the criminal networks they forge terrorize and divide our nation. 

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job – Sally Helgesen

Leadership expert Sally Helgesen and bestselling leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith have trained thousands of high achievers — men and women — to reach even greater heights. Again and again, they see that women face specific and different roadblocks from men as they advance in the workplace. In fact, the very habits that helped women early in their careers can hinder them as they move up. Simply put, what got you here won’t get you there . . . and you might not even realize your blind spots until it’s too late.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones  – James Clear

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Teams – Harvard Business Review, Jon R. Katzenbach, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Lynda Gratton

HBR has combed through hundreds of articles in the Harvard Business Review archive and selected the most important ones to help you assemble and steer teams that get results.

2022 Leisure Reading Recommendations

I’ve learned so much from reading fiction and from personal biographies, which can tell the story of our world in a way that non-fiction can’t.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah tells his wild coming-of-age tale during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa. It’s a story that begins with his mother throwing him from a moving van to save him from a potentially fatal dispute with gangsters, then follows the budding comedian’s path to self-discovery through episodes both poignant and comical.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee – Casey Cep

This “superbly written true-crime story” (Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review) masterfully brings together the tales of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama and of Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who tried to write his story.

Dan Rather: Stories of a Lifetime – Dan Rather

In this deeply personal show, the legendary Peabody Award-winning journalist takes audiences through the most pivotal moments of his life, from surviving a debilitating illness as a child in Depression-era Texas to covering monumental moments in American history such as the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of JFK, and Watergate. 

Exhalation – Ted Chiang

One of the New York Times 10 best books of the year. In these nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories, Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine.

A Promised Land – Barack Obama

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency – a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Stories of Your Life and Others – Ted Chiang

What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven’s other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.

Later – Stephen King

The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave. 

The Power – Naomi Alderman

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family.

But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power: they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

Note: While I liked the idea of this book, Stephen King did it much better in Sleeping Beauties. If you haven’t read that I highly recommend it.

Billy Summers – Stephen King

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

Klara and the Sun: A novel – Kazuo Ishiguro

Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

You can buy any or all of these books in my merchandise store here – happy reading!


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