22 Books I Listened to in 2022 & Recommendations for You

Ali Tamaseb
8 min readDec 19, 2022

This is now the 7th year I’m writing this blog post, hopefully, it has not become boring and you will find a couple of books from this list that are new and you get to read over the holidays or next year.

Many of you know that I mostly listen to books on Audible while I commute. This year I also picked a couple of hardcover books as the audio version was not available. It was a blessing to read from different authors and about different topics. Check out the end of the post for my top 3.

First, a shameless self-plug here. I spent 5 years collecting the largest dataset on startups and found what are the elements that actually help a startup company become successful and the other factors that are just a stereotype. I also interviewed founders of companies like Zoom, GitHub, Nest, Instacart, and many more and authored a book on the topic which became a bestseller. If you haven’t read or listened to it, I’d promise it would make for a good read over the holidays. Check it out here.

Now without further ado, here’s the list.

1) Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nicholas Nassim Taleb

This is a very famous book by Nassim Taleb. Actually, I wouldn’t say I liked it much. Seemed like Taleb was trying to prove himself mostly. Some of his prior work is better. I won’t recommend this one.

2) Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and The Greatest Race the World Has Seen by Fred Sanders

I read this book as I was preparing to run a marathon race for the first time in my life. The idea for the book is great, but I wasn’t a fan, it went too much into anthropology and was too long for the matter. I would not recommend this one either.

3) Richer, Wiser, Happier: How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in Markets and In Life by William Green

This is an interesting book, interviewing a number of hedge fund managers. The book is a little old and the people don’t reveal much about how they do the work, but it’s interesting to hear their stories and some nuggets of their personal lives regardless. I’d recommend it.

4) Zero to IPO By Frederic Kerrest

This book is written by one of the founders of Okta. Some interesting info about the founding story of the company and it’s path, but the advice to entrepreneurs and other lessons learned are too generic and repeated in other startup books as well. I would not recommend it.

5) The Book on Advanced Tax Strategies by Amanda Han & Matthew Macfarland

This was a great book, going through the advanced tax strategies used by real estate investors and business owners to optimize taxes in the U.S. I’d recommend it.

6) A Life of Learning Through Failure by Jamie Dyson

This is an autobiography by James Dyson (founder of Dyson). It was a good read, but way way too long on things that are less important. I would not recommend it.

7) How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

This is a great read, a history of innovations that have led to the more advanced recent advances in human history. Interesting examples are how the invention of industrial glass and industrial ice changed how the world works. I would recommend this is you like history.

8) Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell

This is truly an outstanding book written by the founder of the Nest Thermostat and the inventor of the iPod. I had to fortune of interviewing Tony for my own book Super Founders. Tony has a great story. Will definitely recommend it, it is a great guide for anyone who wants to advance their career.

9) The Molecule of More by Daniel Lieberman & Michael Long

This is a book about how Dopamine is behind the traits we have, from addiction, love, sex, and creativity. I liked this book, however, some parts of it were pseudo-science. I would still recommend it.

10) The World for Sale by Javier Blas & Jack Farchy

This is a highly interesting book about the history of commodities trading (sales of materials like oil, wheat, metals, etc.) and how this field of finance came about to exist, and how it evolved over time. I liked it, but it’s very niche for my interests so probably not a recommended reading generally.

11) Exit Path: How to Win the Startup End Game by Touraj Parang

This book is actually a great read and the type of content that was highly missed in the startup ecosystem. Touraj is an M&A veteran and talks about the art of selling your startup and planning for it in advance. Definitely read it if you’re a startup founder.

12) Androids: The Team that Built the Android Operating System by Chet Haase

I’m a big fan of tech history, and this book made for a great listen about how the Android operating system came to life and the people and culture involved with building it. Again, very niche to my interests so I wouldn’t recommend it generally unless you like the topic.

13) Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein

This was a fantastic read by Ezra Klein (founder of Vox) about the American political system and how it has gotten more polarized over the last 5 decades and the reasons behind it. Definitely recommended reading.

14) Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know by Noah Kagen

Forge the cheesy title, this is a very short and easily readable e-book about fast techniques for better finance and tax strategies. I’d recommend giving it a read.

15) The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future by Sebastian Mallaby

This is probably the best book written about the history of Venture Capital (VC) and how it was created and how it evolved over time. The author is immensely knowledgeable and has got great stories to tell. Definitely recommend it if you’re in the VC ecosystem.

16) More Money than God: Hedge Funds and Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

I loved the above book (Power Law) so much that I went looking for other books by its author. This book is very similar to power law, instead, he tells the history of hedge funds and brings stories and interviews with pioneering hedge fund managers. I would not recommend it unless you’re in the finance ecosystem.

17) Say Less Get More: Unconventional Negotiation Techniques to Get What You Want by Fotini Iconomopoulos

This is an interesting book about the art of negotiations. There wasn’t much that was new to me, but overall good to listen to a summary of ideas and strategies for negotiations. I would not recommend it.

18) The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings by Nick Gray

I loved this book. The topic is how to host small cocktail parties to grow and cultivate your professional network. Short, practical, and to the point. Would definitely recommend reading it.

19) The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Soni

A lot has been said and written over the years about the PayPal mafia, but none rivals this fantastic book about how Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Reif Hoffman came together through various paths to create PayPal and their fortune from the acquisition of PayPal helped them create many other impactful companies. Great read. I would recommend it.

20) Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind The Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish

This is a unique story about the creation of the company behind Blackberry phones, how it became the most popular consumer electronics brand and the must-have device for professionals, and how it failed to keep-up and eventually lost the smartphone battle to Apple and Android.

21) Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! by Nicholas Carlson

This is a great book about the founding story of Yahoo! and how it evolved over the years as each new CEO took over the executive job. It narrates the story of the great career of Marissa Mayer, how she was selected for the job and the fight she had to keep Yahoo’s shareholder value as it prepared it for acquisition as its last CEO as an independent company before its acquisition by Verizon.

22) Amp It Up by Frank Slootman

This is a book written by the current CEO of Snowflake and the former CEO of ServiceNow. It’s a book about how by raising standards and increasing the execution speed, a CEO can change a company’s trajectory. A short book (which is good) but a little self-promotional.

Top Three Books Recommended For You

Here are my top 3 recommendations for you from the books I read this year:

  1. Build by Tony Fadell
  2. Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein
  3. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party by Nick Gray

If you’re looking for more recommendations, you can find the list of books I read in the last five years and my favorites among them here: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Happy Holidays!

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Ali Tamaseb

Partner at DCVC ($4Bn VC firm) and author of “Super Founders”. #1 bestseller new release VC book on Amazon. https://getbook.at/superfounders