With 2023 right around the corner, I wanted to give credit to some of the best books I read in 2022. Then I started thinking, who cares what I read? I want to know what my friends read! Hopefully this list inspires you to pick up some books or download Audible in 2023. Each book title has a live link (no, we do not get any affiliate fees here), so fill up your cart in time for Christmas!
“It’s a Long Story: My Life” by Willie Nelson and Contributor David Ritz
In a year of reading some books and news articles with deep subjects, I looked for something a little lighter to take my mind off all that was keeping me up at night. But I didn’t expect to find my favorite book of the year when I downloaded this 2015 audio book. Great songwriters are usually great storytellers, and this book is a good example of that.
Willie’s story includes amazing details of his first eight decades of life, music, business, love, faith, philosophy, success, and failure. The backstories of his songwriting and the music business are extensive and fascinating.
“Songs come easy to me. I’ve written hundreds of them. I see them as little stories that fall out of our lives and imaginations. If I have to struggle to write a song, I stop before I start. I figure if it don’t flow easy, it’s not meant to be.”
Willie is deeply devoted to his roots in Abbott, Texas, his faith, his family, his lifelong friends that he considers family, and sometimes too many women at the same time, but he admits his failures with no self-pity or blame on others.
The book is hilarious at times, and heartwarming at others. He is not the caricature that most people would imagine; but he is a character! He has been a Bible salesman, hog farmer, a radio disc jockey, a Sunday School teacher, and a devotee of the power of positive thinking. The book will make you want to take up dominoes, card playing, golf, and guitar picking with Willie.
I can’t recommend this book enough if you enjoy a good human story with a lot of honest history thrown in.
“Redeeming Your Time” by Jordan Raynor
I read so many great books in 2022, but this was one of my favorites! Jordan was a guest on our “Something Extra” podcast and has such a talent for inspiring his audiences. He has also written a children’s book called “The Creator in You” for those of you with littles – it is a very sweet and thought-provoking book with a cool story behind it.
“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
It’s a quick and easy read that combines great storytelling with fun, simple “habit loop” diagrams that explain the science behind why we do what we do. While reading the book, I frequently stopped to evaluate my everyday routines while asking myself “what habits can I change to be better both personally and professionally?” I even started creating new habit loop diagrams for myself and our corporate team to help improve our daily and long-term work and strategic planning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a must read for anyone looking to challenge themselves (or their company) to grow by transforming their bad habits into good.
“Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami
This was my favorite book of the year because of passages like these that are so deep that you keep reading them again and again: “And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.”
Marketing Technology Leader
“The Power of Conflict” by Jon Taffer
Jon says things the way I need to hear them. His no-BS attitude in all his books have helped me develop more confidence. He challenges you to look at the world in such a way, where you don’t lose focus on remaining in the driver’s seat.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
The writing is tremendously descriptive. Makes the swamp come alive. A coming-of-age novel that teaches everyone something. You race to finish and then lament the fact that there are no more pages.
Corporate HR Leader
“The Things We Cannot Say” by Kelly Rimmer
This fiction is a seesaw novel between the modern-day challenges of raising a child with autism and the WWII invasion of Poland.
“The Unseen Realm” by Michael Heiser
Michael Heiser masterfully explores the weird aspects of scripture that 90 percent of other theologians conveniently neglect. Heiser’s rule of thumb concerning the study of scripture is this: “If it’s weird, it’s important.” As a result, you’re left with a revelation that makes the Bible more interesting than you could ever imagine.
Linda T. McGuigan
Enterprise Sales Executive
“The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday
Timeless and sage read on how to look at obstacles as opportunities. I am a huge believer in positivism and this read is a must for those of you who align with me on the sunny side of life. Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, outlined when he described what happens to businesses in tumultuous times: ‘Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.‘ This book is rich with anecdotes and examples of relatable people as well as famous folks and how they turned rotten apples into applesauce. Great read and one that I know I will be referring back to certain chapters for inspiration and timeless reminders.
“Milo Imagines the World” by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson
A book that challenges preconceptions and invites us to imagine unimaginable versions of the world around us. This picture book is a gem for kids and grown-ups. I have gifted this important book to HR and organizational leaders in my network. Check it out!
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni
I love that it was a leadership book written as a fictional story. There are great practical lessons for leaders and team members in this book and Lencioni lets the reader discover these through a fable that’s relatable to a lot of our work environments. It’s a classic book and I enjoyed reading it with a Mastermind Group and a team that wanted to develop their strengths. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to create and support better team relationships and outcomes.
Sales & Support Leader
“48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene
The book was informative, educational, and above all else, empowering. Really opened my eyes to the world of power.
Creative Services Leader
“The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
This was a bucket list read for me because of the literary artistry, its willingness to discuss deep questions of God and ethics, and the sheer size of the novel. There are love triangles, madness, and murder ending in an epic trial. All this while pulling back the curtain exposing Russian culture during the end of the 1800s.
Social Media Leader
“Game Changer: How to Thrive When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan” by Sam Kuhnert
Sam is a local Author and speaker that has taken a challenge in his life and channeled it into an incredible non-profit helping kids across the nation to see no boundaries or obstacles, only solutions. His book connects with anyone going through challenges in life and what our role is in making the most of it. He has a chapter about trusting God and letting Him take care of the details. That can be hard, but Sam shares how that trust in the Lord opened doors for him to take action.
About The UpWrite Group
The UpWrite Group is a strategic communications firm supporting executive and enterprise clients across the world. Our specialties include communications consulting, executive branding, and public relations. Led by Owner & Chief Strategist, Joe Szynkowski, our group is comprised of storytellers, copywriters, digital media professionals, and content specialists ready to strengthen your company’s market position.