Books I Loved Reading This Year – 2022

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”

Carl Sagan
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Last year my post on book recommendations was well received, so I thought I’d share my favorite reads for this year. As you probably already know, I’m a voracious reader across multiple genres and probably read fifty to sixty books per year. This year was no exception. At last count, I’m up to fifty-seven completed books, with three still in progress for 2022.

As with last year, getting the list down to a manageable number was tough. But, after a lot of thought, some novel scoring algorithms (none of which would qualify as scientific), and in no particular order, here are twelve that I’d recommend as a gift to yourself or another reader in your family. (Click on the title for link to purchase on Amazon)

Tom Peters Compact Guide to Excellence

I’ve loved reading Tom Peters’ books since he published In Search of Excellence. I have all his books in print, digital, or audio format. In this, what he has characterized as his last book, Peters partnered with the iconic designer Nancye Green of Donovan/Green to create this guidebook for leaders in the workplace. Peters and Green have packed this strikingly designed little book with exhilarating quotes that urge you to recognize what truly matters at work. You’ll go back and think about these quotes often. Highly recommended for business leaders at every level.

Hacking Healthcare by Tom Lawry

Tom Lawry is the National Director of AI for Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft and previously served as Director of Worldwide Health. In this book, Tom helps readers understand what we learned from fighting a global pandemic and how to apply these learnings to solve healthcare’s other big challenges. This book is about empowering clinicians and consumers alike to take control of what is important to them by harnessing the power of AI and the Intelligent Health Revolution to create a sustainable system that focuses on keeping all citizens healthy while caring for them when they are not. Lawry’s credentials make him an important and credible voice in implementing AI in healthcare.

Human Frontiers: The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking by Michael Bhaskar

Dr. Bertalan Mesko recommended this book as a great read, so I downloaded a copy and was not disappointed. The author explains the birth and development of great ideas throughout history, encompassing all areas from science to politics and the arts. Single ideas from single minds in ages past are now making way for more complex frontier ideas arising from teamwork and critical peer review. If there is a pause in the arrival of genuinely new ideas, the increasing presence of AI may offer a breakthrough in due course. Another great read.

Mobile Medicine: Overcoming People, Culture, and Governance – Edited by Sherri Douville

New technologies can improve healthcare, but not without improved leadership and organization. The authors of Mobile Medicine: Overcoming People, Culture & Governance, a multi-disciplinary team of practitioners and users of Health IT together with researchers, make a significant contribution by applying lessons from the latest technology challenges: mobility, privacy, and security that can best be addressed by developing a learning organization and inspired leadership. A world-class multi-disciplinary team in Healthcare IT, medicine, and business writes this timely work. This type of breadth and collaboration is what’s required to deliver this cross-functional discussion and fantastic action planning resource. This book should be required reading for any organization looking to lead the next wave of healthcare technology to improve care quality, patient safety, and clinician satisfaction to help us save more lives and keep people healthy across the entire care continuum.

How Covid Crashed the System: A Guide to Fixing American Health Care by David B. Nash, MD, and Charles Wohlforth

Dr. David Nash, a founder of the discipline of population health, and Charles Wohlforth, an award-winning science writer, outline why America’s healthcare system failed so tragically during the Covid pandemic and how the forces unleashed by the crisis could be just the medicine for its long-term cure. From the broadest cultural flaws that disabled our health system to particular institutional issues, America’s defenses fell due to racism and poverty, combined with a culture of misguided individualism that tore communities apart. We suffered from failed leadership and crippled public health agencies and hospitals built to make money from services, not deliver health. This is an insightful read highlighting the healthcare system’s challenges, along with intelligent and thoughtful solutions for a better path forward. This is an excellent guide for anyone interested in understanding the system’s inner workings and desiring to make it better for future generations. You can listen to Dr. Nash discussing the book in this podcast episode.

The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places Are Building the New American Dream – by Steve Case

Steve Case, the co-founder of America Online and Revolution and New York Times bestselling author of The Third Wave, shows how entrepreneurs across the country are building groundbreaking companies, renewing communities, and creating new jobs, and in the process, reimagining the American landscape and bringing people together around a shared future. With dedicated venture funds backed by an iconic group of investors, executives, and entrepreneurs, including Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, John Doerr, Sara Blakely, and Ray Dalio, Rise of the Rest also invests in the most promising high-growth startups located anywhere in the US outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. I love the fact that Case concentrated on areas outside of the “traditional” tech centers and showed that they no longer have a monopoly on innovation. You can watch a short PBS interview with the author here.

In addition to the technology and healthcare books listed above, here are some of my favorite reads in fiction this year:

The Omega Factor by Steve Berry

Steve Berry is one of my favorite fiction authors. I have all sixteen of his Cotton Malone novels. So I was delighted when his new book was published this year. In it, he introduces us to Nicholas Lee, who works for the United Nations’ Cultural Liaison and Investigative Office (CLIO). Nick’s job is to protect the world’s cultural artifacts—anything and everything, from countless lesser-known objects to national treasures. The story focuses on the Ghent Altarpiece, which is the most violated work of art in the world. Thirteen times it has been vandalized, dismantled, or stolen. Berry always combines historical fact with a page-turning mystery that keeps the reader engaged from the first page to the last. The topic fascinated me since I saw the Ghent Altarpiece during a side trip to Belgium when I worked with Philips. I also love the epilogue, where he clearly defines fact versus fiction in his story. This is a terrific read. Highly recommended.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

My other “must read immediately” book is Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series of novels. Every July, when the new book comes out (which I’ve pre-ordered on Amazon), I download it and dive in. I’m usually finished in two to three days and lament that I now have to wait a year for the next volume in the series. This is book 22, and legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon has at long last severed ties with Israeli intelligence and settled quietly in Venice. When eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood asks Gabriel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the rediscovery and lucrative sale of a centuries-old painting, he is drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems. Portrait of an Unknown Woman is an entertaining journey through the dark side of the art world—a place where unscrupulous dealers routinely deceive their customers and deep-pocketed investors treat great paintings as though they were just another asset class to be bought and sold at a profit. If you haven’t read any of these yet, start with Book 1, so you can experience Allon’s story from the beginning.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built – by Becky Chambers

This series was recommended to me by a colleague who reads a ton of science fiction novels. A Psalm of the Wild-Built by Hugo Award-winning author Becky Chambers was named Best Book of the Year by NPR. On a planet similar to Earth, humans created robots to work in their factories, the same as we did. But when those robots became self-aware, humanity and robots parted ways peacefully, and humanity changed for the better. It begins a new chapter for humanity, in which they become a better species. Sibling Dex is a monk who is dissatisfied with their vocation. They decide to self-teach as a tea monk, traveling the country, meeting new people, and seeking out elusive crickets, whose song they’ve only ever heard about. The prose is beautifully and elegantly written with insightful examinations into what gives the character’s lives purpose, but at no time does it feel like you are being bombarded with tedious preaching. I enjoyed this first installment and have just started on the second volume in the series A Prayer for the Crown-Shy.

Stranger in a Strange Land – by Robert A Heinlein

After reading the Becky Chambers book described above, I decided to revisit an old friend and pulled out my tattered copy of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, which tells the story of a human who was raised on Mars by Martians. The young man travels to a futuristic Earth, where he struggles to understand human concepts of religion and war. Fun to note that Heinlein’s book correctly predicted some aspects of the future at the time, including “hippie culture” and waterbeds. He also does the classic sci-fi thing of using an obviously fictional setting to ask profound questions about human nature. Heinlein is one of the authors who hooked me on science fiction years ago. Still one of the best books in the genre, in my opinion.

Call Me Obie by Ateret Haselkorn

I was delighted to see that my former Sg2 colleague Ateret Haselkorn’s book was published this year. Fifteen-year-old Obie hates the word “artificial.” It has to be the Most Misunderstood Word of the Year 2100. The media puts it in front of anything. They started with artificial intelligence, and now it goes with housing, law enforcement, and in Obie’s case, her heart. Ateret’s novel explores the future of discrimination and the timeless power of empathy and forgiveness, with a few comedic mishaps along the way. It is the tale of one young woman’s coming-of-age in a future where nearly anything is medically possible, and society must ask: When technology can modify humans, who gets to decide how? A fascinating read.

Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum – Coming, March 7, 2023

One last recommendation for the new year is this upcoming novel by Rachel Barenbaum. If you had the opportunity to prevent one of the world’s most horrific disasters, would you? What if saving thousands of lives meant losing your daughter? Such is the premise of Rachel Barenbaum’s time travel thriller Atomic Anna. Told through the eyes of Anna, her daughter Molly and her granddaughter Raisa, this story explores not only the implications of time travel but the impact of one person’s choices on multiple generations. I’ve had an opportunity to read the book’s galley as a reviewer on Part science fiction thriller, part family drama, I think Atomic Anna is a unique blend of what’s best about these genres.

Hopefully, one or more of these recommendations has piqued your curiosity or aligns with your interests. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have. If you have your own favorites, please share them in the comments section below. I’m always looking for another great read.

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