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The 10 Best Books I Read in 2022
These are my favorites. What are yours?
Since it’s the end of the year, I wanted to do something a little different this week and share my ten favorite books from 2022. I read non-fiction books almost exclusively, so if you’re looking for fiction recommendations, you may be disappointed.
This list is subjective and incomplete, resulting from one person’s avid yet random reading schedule. Yet these are the books that stood out for me this year.
If you have your book recommendations, please add them in the comments below. Beyond Self Improvement is a growing community; we’re all in this together. Our collective wisdom exceeds anything I can offer alone.
Here’s hoping you find your next great read!
Realizing Your Potential
Mindset. This is one of those rare books I believe everyone should read and one that I wish I had read when I was younger. Realizing our full potential is an intrinsic human motivation, and this book shows us how to do that by cultivating our natural abilities through practice. No human has ever been great at anything at the start—violin, comedy, or giving speeches—until they practiced for years. If you feel like you haven’t realized your potential, or at least not in some regions of your life, I can’t recommend this book enough.
The War of Art. This is a profoundly important and hard-hitting book about doing the one thing you were born to do. While it speaks specifically to art and creativity, the idea applies to any endeavor. Resistance is the universal fear we all face, the fear that we may fail at the one thing we are meant to do, which stops us from doing it. But not doing the one thing wreaks havoc on our lives and robs us of tremendous satisfaction. If fear keeps you from your heart’s errand, read and reread this book until you start.
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. This book reveals the universal human tendency to view spirituality as a process of self-improvement. But there’s nothing to improve because the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. The ego will co-opt anything for its gain, but true liberation comes from letting go of the self rather than striving to improve it. If you’re tired of improving yourself to death and trying to satisfy your ego, this book offers a way to live with less struggle and greater ease.
Emotional Agility. Many books could be better written, some are well-written but not insightful, and few are insightful and well-written. If I were to craft non-fiction books, this is one that I would write. The difference between those who realize personal and professional fulfillment and those who don’t is how well they can navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk. If you want to understand your emotions and how to steer through them with greater wisdom and less turmoil so you can enjoy life more, this book is a comprehensive resource.
Atlas of the Heart. Understanding and labeling our emotions is one of the essential life skills and can transform our lives. Unfortunately, emotions are not a born ability, so we must learn them, whether from our parents or by teaching ourselves in adulthood. Understanding our emotions allows us to know ourselves, stay grounded, and form deep connections with others. This book is intended as a reference manual for understanding the nuances of emotions and their subtle differences, such as envy and jealousy.
Breath. Breathing is not something we tend to think about because it happens automatically through our autonomic nervous system. But breath is vital to our physical and emotional wellbeing, which our ancestors understood, but we are now just starting to learn in the modern era. In this fascinating book, you will discover why breathing through the nose is optimal, the benefits, and what the ideal breath looks like (5.5 count in and out). In my experience, breathing through the nose offers many benefits of meditation. If you’re into health and nutrition, you will wonder why so few people have been talking about breath until now.
How to Do the Work. When I learned that Nicole LePera had gained 6 million followers online within a few years, I wanted to understand why. So I read her book and began following her on Twitter. Unlike most people who prescribe ideas from a limited view, Nicole takes a holistic approach to wellbeing—mental, physical, and spiritual—combining the best of Western psychology and Eastern spirituality. You will learn about developing consciousness, healing trauma, ego, setting boundaries, emotions, and interdependence. She actively engages with her fellow healers, and her posts on Instagram and Twitter are among the best—insightful and practical for everyday living. This is an excellent resource for waking up and doing the necessary work to heal your emotional wounds, connect more deeply with others, and live a more vibrant, authentic, and joyful life.
The Four Agreements. The Four Agreements is a wildly popular book, and for a good reason. It is a short book packed with ancient wisdom in the Mexican Toltec tradition for understanding the causes and solutions to our human suffering. Specifically, the author details four agreements to make with yourself to help you live free of unnecessary drama, conflict, and sorrow. This is a superb resource if you’re seeking greater self-acceptance from a spiritual book written in clear, plain English.
A New Earth. Without understanding the purpose of life, many people struggle and die before ever finding the satisfaction and fulfillment they seek. They are entangled in form and time, believing the contents of their minds, so they fail to experience the timeless bliss of being without the compulsion of doing and accomplishing, which are short forms of happiness. If you want to understand why you are on this earth, this book will illuminate your life’s purpose, just not in the way you have been taught to think about “life purpose.”
The Inner Game of Tennis. Though this book was written forty-eight years ago, it is still as relevant today as it was in the 70s, perhaps even more so given the greater complexity of today’s increased information and choices. Tennis may be the subject, but the book could have been titled The Inner Game of Life because it’s about waking up to your innate happiness and being more successful in life, not just being better at sports.
All right, I hope you found something good to read here. If you loved any books this year, please drop them in the comments below or on the app!
P.S. Substack does not permit or support affiliate sales. The links to Amazon are only for your convenience, and I will not earn a commission if you buy a book here.
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