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The Top Reads of 2023: Standout Page-Turners

Best Books 2023

In 2023 I cracked a lot of books and ultimately I finished fewer than usual. That’s a good thing, particularly because it means every book I finished truly satisfied me.

Reading often serves as my “productive procrastination” from projects or activities that might have gotten stuck. That means reading less signals that I stepped up to bat for more swings. And that’s ultimately the secret to hitting home runs.

I’m tempted to also share a list of all the books I gave up on part way through to save you the time. Instead I’ll politely say, “They were not for me. Not right now.”

Because hey, who knows? I didn’t like coffee the first time I tried it but now I call it the gasoline of life. Er, um, wait. Maybe that’s not very mouthwatering either?

Top Non-Fiction

Quit by Annie Duke – actionable insights and stories to teach better decision-making, particularly around walking away

Masters of Change by Brad Stulberg – embrace rugged flexibility because we all face change, even just the inevitability of getting older

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant – inspiring examples of finding talent among the privileged and lots of emphasis on character skills

Top Autobiographies

Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman – a fascinating story with lots of insights into the differences between males and females in sport

Life Lived Wild by Rick Ridgeway – full of wonderful stories and photos, particularly the history of The Seven Summits with Richard Bass and Frank Wells

This Is Not A T-shirt by Bobby Hundreds – the building of a streetwear brand that at its peak was nearly purchased by Tommy Hilfiger

Top Fiction

The Priority of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – an intriguing fictional world with a fresh take on dragons and a female-protagonist plot

The Son by Phillip Meyer – badass western novel following three generations of Texas ranchers

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – fascinating characters in a story of ambitious young go-getters moving to New York to chase creative success

** You might also like Top 15 Fantastic Books of 2022 **

One Final Thought + Bonus

Sometimes it’s worth sticking with a book even if it requires a bit of patience and… dare I say boredom?! You never know what it might lead to.

In the words of Walter Benjamin:

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.”

And in case you need more, here are a few others I really enjoyed:

  • Setting the Table by Danny Meyer – fascinating story from the founder of Michelin star rate NYC restaurants and Shake Shack
  • The Pathless Path by Paul Millerd – wonderful glimpse into a life swerving away from the social expectations
  • How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson – terrific overview of innovations that stacked up to lead us to modern technology
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor – the benefits of positive emotions in work and life
  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett – hilarious and fun fantasy novel