I write down a list of goals at the start of every year. I choose five goals in different areas where I want to improve. My reading goal last year was 12 books.
I’ll do the easy math for you – that’s a book a month. My total number of books read the previous year was eight.
I read 24 books this year without really trying. I surprised myself and had to double-check to make sure the number was correct.
Thankfully, the number isn’t too high, and I have enough fingers and toes to double-check my math.
I’ll explain my reading habit in a bit, and unironically, one of my book recommendations helped me develop this reading habit. As you’ll see from this list, my reading choices tend to lean towards personal development and self-help.
In my opinion, every non-fiction book can be labeled as such.
For example, one frequently recommended book to me is Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson. This autobiography tells Branson’s life story and how he launched hundreds of successful business ventures in just a few decades.
Everyone can find inspiration in this book, even though it’s not exactly a blueprint of what to do or how to do it. At least I don’t think it is, I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my 2022 reading list.
In other words, inspiration and motivation can be found in just about any text if your mind is open to the possibilities.
HOW TO READ MORE BOOKS
Before jumping into my list of the must-read books for 2022, let’s take a minute to discuss your reading habits.
How many books do you read a year, and more importantly, are they the right kind of books? I have nothing against fiction books and think they’re just as important to read, especially for younger readers. However, reading personal development books is crucial to getting ahead in life.
And now here come the excuses…
“….but Chris, I don’t have time to read books.”
“…but Chris, I can’t concentrate on books for longer than five minutes without getting distracted.”
“…but Chris, I’m not allowed back in the library after that incident.”
I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to send you’re bullshit sandwich back to the kitchen and allow you nothing but a tall, cold glass of fucking reality.
You’re lying. You have time. You just don’t want to find the time to read or give up all the other dopamine-delivering distractions that consume your day.
Do you have games on your phone? Then you have time to read.
Do you watch Netflix? Then you have time to read.
Do you have social media on your phone? Then you have…
Look, if you’ve got time to do any of the things I mentioned above, you have time to crack open a book and better yourself. Since you can’t figure out how to accomplish this yourself, here’s how to read more books in 2022.
- Wake up earlier and read. All you need is an additional fifteen minutes. Waking up 15 minutes earlier isn’t difficult. If you’re already getting up at 5 am, go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake up at 4:45 am.
- Read first thing in the morning. Your brain is well-rested and can focus on ingesting the information, plus the rest of the world is asleep and can’t distract your squirrel brain.
- Find books you enjoy reading. This sounds like “yeah, no duh” advice, but people are sometimes duh. If you’re not enjoying a book, stop reading it. You’re not in school. No one will know you couldn’t get through Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations for the tenth time in your life. If someone recommended a book, and it sucks, stop reading it and find one that keeps your attention. You wouldn’t watch the first two episodes of a show and say, “this show sucks, but I’m sticking with it,” so why do that with a book?
- Always have a few books ready. In case one sucks and you need to bail.
- Just read ten pages. That’s it, just ten pages. That’s all you have to read every day. There’s a strong chance if you read ten pages, you’ll keep reading, but if you don’t, you’ve at least read ten pages. Let’s assume the book has 300 pages. Ten pages a day for thirty days works out to a book a month and 12 books in a year.
- Bathroom reading. Do you bring your phone into the bathroom during your “morning meeting”? Stop. Bring a book instead. You can quickly bang out 4-5 pages, depending on how fast you read and your fiber intake.
And finally, audiobooks don’t count. Sorry, not sorry. You should absolutely listen to audiobooks, but they don’t count as “books read.”
Following those six steps will easily increase the amount of reading you can get done in a day, week, month, and year.
And now, my list of the books you should read in 2022…
8 BOOKS TO READ IN 2022
About the author: Steven Kotler is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, and one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.
What is this book about? “Kotler decodes the secrets of those elite performers—athletes, artists, scientists, CEOs and more—who have changed our definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us.”
Why do I recommend this book? Kotler breaks down why nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible. Look around the room you’re sitting in right now. Every single item in that room was once an idea in someone’s head, from the furniture to the light bulbs illuminating the room. If you can imagine it, you can do it.
About the author: “The Ultramarathon Man,” Dean Karnazes has run more miles in his life than you probably drove this year. Among his many accomplishments, Karnazes ran 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days. He’s a bestselling author and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.
What is this book about? “In A Runner’s High, Karnazes chronicles his extraordinary adventures leading up to his return to the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in his mid-fifties after first completing the race decades ago. A Runner’s High is at once an endorphin-fueled adventure and a love letter to the sport from one of its most celebrated ambassadors that will leave both casual and serious runners cheering.”
Why do I recommend this book? First off, you don’t have to be a runner to read this book. This book is about so much more than running thousands of miles and pushing the human body to the extreme. When I interviewed Dean back in July 2021, one of the first comments I made to him was that A Runner’s High is just as much about relationships as it is about running ultra marathons. In the book, Dean details his relationships with his kids, parents, and wife and how his lifetime obsession with ultra-running affected those relationships.
About the author: Tim Grover is a robot. That’s a compliment. The guy is laser-focused on helping people reach their highest potential and not just regular folks like myself and Squat Rack Sammy down at the gym. Grover has trained elite athletes for the last 30 years, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade, and those are just the clients Grover can mention publicly. He is the preeminent authority on the science and art of achieving physical and mental dominance.
What are these books about? “In Relentless, Grover breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable: you keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure, you never let your emotions make you weak. In the follow-up book, Winning, Grover reveals the truth about the obstacles and challenges that stand between you and your goals: Winning never lies. Winning knows your secrets. Winning wages war on the battlefield of your mind. Winning wants all of you. And more.”
Why do I recommend these books? Both of these books will make you want to run through walls and move mountains through sheer will. Grover is direct, blunt, unforgiving, and brutally honest. He’s that coach you fucking hated because you knew he was right about you. He’s that voice in your ear whispering, “just give up like you always do,” but then gives you all the reasons why you’re stupid for doing so.
About the author: Jen Sincero is a New York Times bestselling author, success coach, and motivational cattle prod who’s helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives. She’s also, and maybe most importantly, funny as hell.
What is this book about? “You Are a Badass at Making Money will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable best-seller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.”
Why do I recommend this book? I never read You Are A Badass, Sincero’s first book which was not only a best-seller but got turned into calendars and a ton of other products. I can’t go anywhere without seeing the book, so her name and book cover were familiar when I found You Are A Badass at Making Money at my library.
Sincero is knowledgeable, funny, and completely relatable. Many of the stories in this book about her money woes felt as though they were stolen from my life. Every reader can take Sincero’s advice and turn the words into a workable plan to make more money and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
About the author: James Clear is a writer and speaker focused on habits, decision making, and continuous improvement and a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies. This book, Atomic Habits, has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
What is this book about? “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”
Why do I recommend this book? I mentioned earlier that my reading habit started with advice from a book. Yup, this is the book. I read the book in 2020 and again in 2021. I gave my copy to someone, but I’d probably reread it this year if I still owned the book. Atomic Habits helped create some of the daily routines and rituals that make every single one of my days feel productive.
About the author: Ryan Munsey is a sought-after thought leader specializing in high performance and the development of both individuals and organizations. An athlete and outdoorsman, Ryan personally coaches Olympic and professional athletes, Special Forces Operators, Hollywood celebrities, and leading entrepreneurs and C-Level executives while speaking and hosting leadership workshops worldwide.
What is this book about? “Roughly 95% of decisions are based on feelings. Not logic. Not rational thought. Feelings. Can you feel the pull of emotions, hunger, guilt, pain, jealously, depression, and everything else weighing on every decision that you make? You cannot control your instincts until you understand how they work – PERIOD. F*ck Your Feelings will teach you how to apply the fundamentals of emotional control so that you can uplift yourself ON COMMAND, fight through periods of stress and torment, and give yourself long-term satisfaction and peace.”
Why do I recommend this book? Just from the title alone, this book appears to be about our feelings, but it’s much more than just ideas about how to put on our big boy pants and deal with life. Doing the hard things in life will make your life better. You want to write a book, but you “don’t feel like it today.” You want a better body, but you “don’t feel like” putting on your sneakers and going to the gym.
Munsey walks readers through specific mind-control techniques designed to compliment how the brain is wired and gives tips on how to feel more pleasure throughout the day. This book is essential for anyone who isn’t terrified of tough love.
About the author: For the past three decades, Dr. Ross Ellenhorn has been a pioneer and leader in developing and promoting community integration services, the types of care for people diagnosed with psychiatric or addiction issues.
In addition to writing two books, Dr. Ellenhorn gives talks and seminars throughout the country and provides consultation to mental health agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and addiction programs.
What is this book about? “In How We Change (and the Ten Reasons Why We Don’t), Dr. Ellenhorn suggests that we’re often looking in the wrong direction when we try to decipher the factors that support human change. Ellenhorn believes that it’s much more fruitful to look at why we don’t change than figure out why we do. By looking at the reasons we don’t change, we give ourselves the best chance of actually changing in meaningful ways.”
Why do I recommend this book? The book’s synopsis says it all, but I’ll try to put it in my own words. We all have things about ourselves that we want to change but try as we might. We just can’t implement the necessary steps to provoke change. Ellenhorn explains that digging into why we don’t change might be the key to eliciting real change.
About the author: Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books.
What is this book about? “The Obstacle is the Way draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: ‘The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.'”
Why do I recommend this book? I stumbled upon Holiday’s work on stoicism thanks to his popular YouTube channel. I enjoyed his videos so much that reading his book seemed like a no-brainer. Using the true stories of celebrities, philosophers, war heroes, and historical figures, Holiday’s book can help turn your most significant problems into your biggest advantages.
For example, I read this book during a recent bout with Covid. My case was incredibly mild – just a head cold and one day with an intense headache – but while reading the book, I realized I could turn the bad situation into a positive. Self-isolation for fourteen days sounded boring and dreadful, but I used those two weeks to get ahead on several projects instead of sitting around complaining about being sick.
Here are a few books I read last year that I enjoyed but don’t consider required reading for everyone. (Warning, several fucks ahead.)
- Calm The Fuck Down
- No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Unfuck Yourself (read it for the second time)
- Buy Yourself The Fucking Lilies
Thanks for reading this article. Now, go read a book.