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Looking for inspiration for your 2022 reading list?
Or if you’re like … what reading list? But maybe you want to start reading more in the new year, and have no idea where to begin. There are literally hundreds of millions of books out there – 129,864,880 according to the Google search I just did – and that apparently doesn’t include any self-published titles or anything more recent than the early 2000’s. Anyway, there are a lot of books. And if you’re like me, you have interests across a wide range of topics. So I wanted to share a random sampling of books I’ve read (sometimes more than once) that you might also enjoy!
Before we dive in, some 2022 reading list pitfalls to avoid
First, you will notice that there are twelve books on this 2022 reading list. Perfectionist brains will automatically allocate one book per month, fall behind in January because you have other stuff going on in your life, and then give up entirely because the plan is derailed. Do not fall for this trap! You are in charge of your own mind and your own schedule, so don’t add more drama to the situation by beating yourself up if you don’t read all of these books and more in the new year.
I actually seriously considered trying to cut one from the list so that there would be fewer books than months in the year, but honestly they’re all really great in their own ways and I just couldn’t do it. So my message is, Just Chill.
Next, you might scan this list and think ugh, I hated that book, this whole list is trash or that literally sounds like the most boring book in the history of this Earth. That’s fine! You don’t need to read all of them. Or any of them. You can do whatever you want! The 2022 reading list is available for you to take what works and leave what doesn’t – that’s always my motto.
Without further ado, the 12 books you should add to your 2022 reading list
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I had heard about this book so many times over the years and eventually bought it for myself because it was always checked out of the library. ALWAYS. It came out in the 90’s AND I think I read somewhere that Julia Cameron actually started out just selling photocopies of the text as an early form of self-publishing before it got picked up. It went on to sell millions of copies and change lives, and it’s probably my most frequently-referenced book when I work with clients who are feeling creatively stuck or stifled.
2. Its companion, Walking In This World, also by Julia Cameron
This is basically the sequel to The Artist’s Way and I actually read this book first, because it was at the library (I love the library) and The Artist’s Way was not. I loved it so much and uncovered a lot about myself through doing the activities! And that’s saying a lot, for someone whose profession relies heavily on introspection. One random key takeaway was that I’d always wanted to learn hip-hop dance; I laughed out loud when I called a dance studio and asked about private lessons. They asked how old my child was, and what type of dance lessons they wanted to take. I took a deep breath and said “I’m a 34-year-old woman, and I want to learn hip-hop dance.” I’m starting lessons in the new year, so get ready for some fun updates on how that progresses!
3. Grit by Angela Duckworth
This was a fascinating read on how we can actually assess “grittiness” as a trait, and how it’s able to be developed. I also thought it was really interesting to see what the research shows around how long to stick with a hobby (or have your kids stick with trombone lessons or whatever) to help cultivate grittiness that then influences other areas of your life. Sciencey but personable, and very inspiring!
4. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is another one that had been on my reading list for so long but I never got around to it, and finally I found an old copy (probably at a library book sale? who’s to say – but the stars aligned) and read it cover-to-cover. A lot of it is grounded in motivation and habits, but I thought it was SO interesting that Hill described “communing” with Lincoln and others on the “other side” as he pursued endeavors. Since my work often crosses that threshold between temporal and spiritual, I thought it was really cool that he just straight-up shared that insight in this wildly popular book.
5. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
I confess I’m still working my way through this one – it is gigantic. But much like the rest of the world, I was/am obsessed with the Hamilton musical, and I know all the words to all the songs. Original Broadway Cast Recording and the Remix, thank you. My mom bought this for me as a gift and I carry it with me everywhere! It’s my purse book that makes me feel super intellectual – reading a very thick historical biography – and it’s something I can just chip away at when I’m waiting at the dentist or avoiding going to Whole Foods on Christmas Eve.
6. Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
The most awesome book about the “fixed” vs. “growth” mindset, and how we can cultivate it. Reminded me of Grit, but is different and equally valuable. Since mindset coaching has everything to do with how you choose to view things and use your mind to change your outlook and ultimately your experience, I find it super relevant to my work and definitely worth the read no matter your profession!
7. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Hands-down the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. I saw somewhere that apparently Gibran carried the manuscript around with him for five years before publishing it – wanting to make sure every single word was necessary. It’s ultimately a tiny book with a huge impact, so I’d say he nailed it. I bought it for my whole family, and you can read it in just a few hours. I can’t say enough good things honestly. Just writing about it is making me want to go read it again over the holiday break!
8. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
This is me geeking out a bit but please humor me – this came out in the 90’s as well (wow, 90’s business/self-help books are making a strong showing on my 2022 reading list) and it’s VERY data/chart/graph heavy about every facet of millionaire (and multi-millionaire) demographics you could ever care to know. I wish they would write an updated version because obviously the world is very different than it was in the 90’s. But the point is the lifestyle we aspire to is not always grounded in financial stability (gasp!!) and that the mindset of a millionaire is not always what we might expect. I literally keep this one on my nightstand and for a while I was reading it every year to keep my financial goals top-of-mind.
9. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This one hit me in such an unexpected way, and it was the first Glennon Doyle book I’d read (I have since read her others, and they’re good and worth a read too, but IMO this is her best yet). Before that, I’d listened to lots of interviews on lots of podcasts and always loved her energy but didn’t know much about her history. Untamed happened to be at the library one day (apparently I’m only ever at the library you guys) and I took it home with, like, 10 other books. And I read it cover-to-cover that first day, it was just great. It brings up a lot of mindblowing points about how we’re socialized to behave as women, how to ask ourselves what we actually want, and then how to go get those things that we want. As a mindset coach, those are my favorite questions to help clients answer.
10. Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam
While this is a fictitious book, it could very easily happen today. Maybe not the global catastrophe/apocalypse part (sorry semi-spoilers), but Alam builds a world where there are way more questions than answers, and weaves in commentary on race, class, and all the ways we try to categorize ourselves and others, often to our detriment. Not the most uplifting, but very impactful and one I think about often.
11. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Similar to The Prophet, this is another very tiny book that has an outsize impact. There’s a reason it’s such a huge bestseller! AND Coelho could NOT get anyone to publish it initially. I think it sold exactly one copy (maybe to Coelho disguised in Groucho glasses?) when it first came out and was unceremoniously dropped from its publisher. Years later a US publisher picked it up, and sales went wild. It’s a beautiful story about following signs, believing in your dreams, and doing whatever it takes to fulfill your destiny, even when it seems that all is lost. I’ll probably reread this one over the holiday break too.
12. Calypso by David Sedaris
In case you need some levity after my very business/personal-development-focused 2022 reading list, please pick up a copy of Calypso (or any David Sedaris book – I honestly could make a whole list of just his books I’d recommend…a sequel to the 2022 reading list canon, perhaps?). I was introduced to Sedaris’ work about 10 years ago and found myself laughing out loud on crowded flights to and fro. Those days are long over, and now that we’re all at home most of the time, at least for now, Calypso is an excellent choice for fireside reading on a snowy night (or any night – weather conditions are not relevant). I laughed and cried and pondered, and felt grateful that Sedaris exists.