Table of Contents
At the start of 2023, I set my Goodreads goal to read 24 books. In 2022 I read 21, and it felt doable to read 2 books a month. I wanted to read more to reduce my screen time, build my habit of consistent reading, and broaden my horizons.
Even though there were plenty of days when I used my phone or tablet in bed, I still managed to crush my goal. Instead of 24, I read 35 books!
In this blog post, I will share my rating and notes on all books I read in 2023.
Harry potter series
I gave the Harry Potter series a different category. I read the series several times as a kid. And since Hogwarts Legacy came out. I had a Harry Potter itch to scratch. I used the Harry Potter books whenever I did not have anything else lined up to read.
In 2023 I read the first 4 books. And I most enjoyed the Goblet of Fire. I re-discovered a few storylines I forgot (and were not in the movies).
Almanack of Naval Ravikant
Eric Jorgenson collected all kinds of gems of Naval’s wisdom from Twitter, Podcasts, and Essays over the past decade. Learn to walk your own unique path to a happier and wealthier life. And the best part? It’s completely free: https://www.navalmanack.com/
Where the crawdads sing
Where the Crawdads Sing has been on display in a bookstore near me for ages. I finally got around to reading it. I first had the feeling it was more of a typical book targeted towards women. But it grew on me. A mystery with a murder and it had me on the edge of my seat for the good second part of the book. At the beginning of the year, a Netflix adaptation came out. Which kept true to the book.
Becoming Michelle Obama
What is the life of the First Lady like? I enjoyed reading Michelle’s personal stories. Not only the struggles of a first lady and her duties. But raising two kids at the same time? I can’t imagine what it must be like having playdates bring their passport for the security guards.
The Art & Business of Online Writing
Nicolas Cole is one of those creators whose content I binge. He’s a writer. Not an old dusty typewriter kind of writer. But a modern one who knows how to use the internet. He shares a ton of personal experience. He started his online writing by answering questions on Quora.
Besides writing tips, and how to distribute your content. Nicholas teaches you how to run the business side of your writing as well.
I’m not a big history geek. But Sapiens pulled me in. Take a look at humanity, where we come from, and how are we the way we are. Explaining concepts like the agricultural revolution. Where religion, money, and conflict came from. The first part looking back into the Neolithic era was very interesting. The modern and future part grabbed me a bit less.
I loved the Inheritance cycle as a kid. I can’t recall how often I reread the series. Imagine my surprise that a new book was coming! 12 years after Inheritance was released. Murtagh is a nice change of scenery to not follow the golden boy hero, but someone who struggles. And very interesting to get a different perspective on several events in the first 4 books.
I wanted to put it down to go to sleep but led me to 2 late nights because I could not put it down.
The Millionaire Fastlane
Not as mindblowing as I expected, but it contained a few good tips. Not taking the more traditional route of working 30+ years and enjoying your pension. According to the book, there are 3 ways to get rich. The sidewalk, slow lane, and fast lane. My key takeaway was to become a producer instead of a consumer. And to separate your time from your wealth. For example by selling an ebook instead of your hourly rate.
The Witcher 1: The Last Wish
I enjoyed the Netflix show and PS4 game. Thought I might give this a shot as well. I enjoyed reading the scenes I saw on screen.
Can’t hurt me
David Motherfucking Goggins. What a beast. Reading the chapters on his difficult youth hurt as a new dad. Inspiring to see how he turned his life around. Where mental toughness is something I would like to be better at. David gives some great tactics to achieve this. Personal favorite? The cookie jar!
Zero to One
A must-read for folks who want to start their own business. General tips on starting your business. I enjoyed the concept were most great companies (Meta, Google, Microsoft, etc). All were a business that was the first to do something well. Not in an already saturated market.
This book hooked me until the end. Plot twists, a mystery that slowly gets resolved. This was one of those books I could not put down and insured a few late nights.
Recommended to me by Goodreads. I enjoyed the read. But throughout the story, the obvious way the main character acted distracted me. The neuro-divergent traits were too obvious and too stereotypical.
How to win friends and influence people
A classic. Some great examples and practical tips to apply in your conversations. The book is pretty old, but most tips are timeless.
This book popped into my timeline on Twitter. A few screenshots of chapters intrigued me. This is one of those books on management that you keep on your shelf and re-read a chapter in a specific situation. For me a bit tough to relate to all scenarios. Working in a smaller company with “only” 40 engineers makes the scenes of big companies a bit hard to relate to.
Zero to Sold
I enjoy reading and following Arvid’s work. A while ago, he had a birthday sale where all his books were 1 dollar. A great time to buy all his work. Zero to Sold tells a story of how he built and sold his first company. Arvid shares his experiences, actionable tips, and how to start & sell your company.
The Fall takes place 400 years before the events of Blood & Fire. Great prequel into a new series, big fan of the Eragon/Inheritance series. This prompted me to buy the 1st book of the series.
A late Christmas gift from work. An enjoyable read. Combining hard-learned lessons with humor. Flew through this book and learned a few things. And I discovered a great Slack community of engineering leaders.
7 Tools for Life; be useful
If you’ve seen the Netflix documentary on Arnold you know a good part of this book. Nonetheless, he is an absolute inspiration. He went from a small village in Austria to being the absolute best in 3 separate categories.
Not all writers can make a book about writing fun. The combination of personal backstory and witty writing had me laughing throughout. Stephen does a great job of telling the story of how he became the writer he is. The second part of the book shares his toolbox on writing.
Psychology of Money
I’m not sure if it is because I already read a ton of personal finance books, but this well-praised book did not grab me. I did not have the feeling I learned a ton of new stuff.
The richest man in Babylon
The book has some life tips that stand the test of time. Shared in stories of ancient Babylon. Don’t expect anything crazy, just simple stuff that works.
War of art
The big takeaway was to never read Dutch-translated versions of self-help books ever again. The poor translations made me enjoy this book a whole lot less. I might give this another chance in the future.
How to do the work
Not my default cup of tea, a psychology book. While Nicole is a bit controversial, the book has the potential to help you at some point in your personal development. But take the advice with a grain of salt.
Spending time alone is an underrated skill. Can you remember something you wanted to do, but didn’t because no one could join you? Alonement teaches you to be better at being alone, and all the benefits. Something the pandemic might have rushed us, to learn.
Ga gewoon iets leuks doen / Just go do something fun
I follow Aafke on social media and her personality makes me laugh pretty often. A book on depression with a funny note. How many people still have no idea about depression. And how well-intended remarks like “Just go do something fun” are not the way to go.
A Manual for Living
I Liked this stoic philosopher a bit more than Marcus Aurelius. But still found it tough to wrestle through.
Art of Possibility
A partnership between a conductor and a psychotherapist. An unusual combination wrote this book on how to bring more creativity into your life. I enjoyed the personal stories in the book. But found the rest of the book to be a bit all over the place, and doesn’t feel like it fits together as one.
Of Blood & Fire
The first book in the series The Fall was a prequel. I could tell this was the first book the author wrote, found it much less interesting than the prequel. Enough to stop me from reading part 2. At times it felt like a mashup from several well-known fiction books.
Some great tips for new managers, but a bit too short for my taste. Loved that it had articles to read at the end of each chapter.
Been on my list for quite a while. Several inspiring people read Marcus Aurelius. But it’s not for me. Struggled to get through it.
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Want even more books? Read my other reading lists
I’m currently reading Thinking fast & slow by Daniel Kahneman. I might make it to 36 books read this year.