pragmatist
Patrick Joyce

January 1, 2023

What I Read in 2022

January

February

  • Dilla Time - This is one of the best books I have read in the last 10 years. It is about J.Dilla, possibly my favorite producer of all time, but it is also about the history of Black music in America, technological development and disruption, the entire neo soul movement, and the cost of enabling a single minded obsession. This book left me speechless.

March

  • Cien Años de Soledad - This was a bucket list book for me. After I got back from Spain and my Spanish was at its peak I started this book. Then the semester started back up, and I had to set it down. Then on the next break I tried again. I’d probably read the first 75 pages 3 times, but had never gotten through it. This time I did. Technology helps: I’d read the kindle book, while listening to the spanish audio book with Audible. Then after finishing a chapter in Spanish, I’d read it in English, then re-read it in Spanish. It’s a difficult book and probably wasn’t a wise choice for my first foray back into reading in Spanish but I’m glad I did it.
  • The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly Others Don’t - Essentially a book long exploration of how to defeat confirmation bias.
  • Scorecasting - This was a fine beach read but nothing special. It had a “freakanomics but for sports” vibe but wasn’t as engaging as I remember Freakanomics being (althogh it has been 15+ years since I read that)

April

May

June

  • Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World - Interesting and thought provoking read. But I was left with the feeling that the specific techniques suggested by the authors wouldn’t necessarily generalize to normal recruiting without some additional guardrails. Tyler Cowen is a professor and a lot of his interviewing is part of grantmaking and Daniel Gross is an early stage VC who is interviwing founders. In both of those scenarios you’re seeking outlier performers and high variance is fine (it is fine if most grants / investments don’t pan out if you find one or two “hits”). But in interviewing at a normal company, even a top notch company with very high standards, your downside risk is higher.

July

  • Locos, Ricos, and Asiáticos - After Cien Años de Soledad I needed something lighter so went with the Spanish translation of Crazy Rich Asians. Wasn’t quite as easy as I was hoping for as there is a ton of luxury goods vocabulary that I didn’t know. Fun read though overall. I had enjoyed the movie, but, as always, the book is better.
  • Hábitos Atómicos - Now this was more my speed. Turns out that mass market business / personal development books are written with relatively clear language so this was a way easier read. Also a good book. Emphasis on
  • Rome: An Empire’s Story - We went to Italy in July and I like to learn a bit about the places I went. This wasn’t a comprehensive history of the Roman Empire, but was more a history of the development of the concept of empire.
  • The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo: The Transformation of Western Civilization - This I found more compelling. It is a history of the emergence of the Reannaisance in Florence focused on specific people.

August

September

  • The Anarchy - A history of the East India company and more specifically the 100 year period of chaos following the East India company’s toppling of the Mughal empire. Almost everything in this book is insane, from a private company essentially acting as sovereign of one of the largest nations on earth to descriptions of torture more depraved than anything in Game of Thrones.

November

  • Net Gains - I’m a sucker for analytical soccer books. I really enjoyed that this book was written by an American who came up in our youth development system and played through college. Good overview of the evolution of an analytical understanding of the game. Not a ton here that is new if you’ve read “Football Hackers” but I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend.

December

  • Mindset: La Actitud del Éxito - I’ve been familiar with the concept of Growth Mindset and have found it a useful tool for thinking about how I approach challenges and how I attempt to steer my children. The book is a bit of a mixed bag, particualrly because I was already coming convinced that Growth Mindset was a real thing (they even did a well [designed replication study(https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/03/growth-mindset-replicates.html)]). There are some good examples of how to phrase praise to. But I think the book at time veered into labeling anything the authour liked as “Growth Mindset” and anything they didn’t like as “Fixed Mindset”. In particular, I found the chapter arguing for Jack Welch—famous for living in an $80,000/month GE owned apartment even after he retired—as a down to earth, man of the people, Growth Mindset CEO boderline hilarious because he cut the executive dining room. Reading it in Spanish I learned a lot of synonyms for “challenge”

More Year End Book Lists

What I Read in 2021
I read 39 books in 2021.
What I Read in 2020
I read 10 books in 2020.
What I Read in 2019
I read 41 books in 2019.
What I Read in 2018
I read 28 books in 2018.
What I Read in 2017
I finished 14 books in 2017.
What I Read in 2016
I finished 18 books in 2016.
Looking Back at 2015
I finished 14 books in 2015.