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2022 Year in Review

In 2022, I read 60 books! I thought it would be fun to rank and reflect on everything I've read this year.
2022 Year in Review

This year I read 60 books, or more than one a week! They ranged from the 832-page biography of John D. Rockefeller to Ender’s Game, one of the best science fiction books of all time.

Some of the books got a ByteLeg write-up, such as:

Having read so many books, I thought it would be fun to do a reflection and rank what I’ve read.

Tier List

The ByteLeg 2022 reading list, ranked!

Michael's 2022 Reading Tier List

For the non-image version / a list of the specific titles in each tier, open the following drop downs:


- Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity - Kim Scott

- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - Ashlee Vance

- The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail - Clayton M. Christensen

- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Ben Horowitz

- Blitzscaling: The Lightning Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies - Reid Hoffman & Chris Yen

- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - Ron Chernow

- The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future - Sebastian Mallaby

- Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

- Wilberforce - John Pollock


- Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco - Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World - Adam Grant

- The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron - Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

- User Friendly: How the hidden rules of design are changing the way we live, work, and play - Cliff Kuang with Robert Fabricant

- The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism - Matthew Continetti

- The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis

- The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made - Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas

- Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush - Jon Meacham

- The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure - Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff

- Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

- Thinking in Bets: Making Smart Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts - Annie Duke

- The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis


- Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency out of Silicon Valley and onto Wall Street - Jeff John Roberts

- Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs - John Doerr

- Proof of Stake: The Making of Ethereum and the Philosophy of Blockchain - Vitalik Buterin

- Principles: Life and Work - Ray Dalio

- Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It - Scott Kupor

- CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money - J. Christopher Giancarlo

- Flash Boys: a Wall Street Revolt - Michael Lewis

- Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World's Cultures - Tyler Cowen

- All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings - George H.W. Bush

- From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life - Arthur C. Brooks

- Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide - Amy Sheun

- Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization - John Browne

- How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone - Brian McCullough

- Metaphors We Live By - George Lakoff and Mark Johnson


- The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze - Laura Shin

- System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot - Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, Jeremy M. Weinstein

- The Tyranny of Big Tech - Josh Hawley

- Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

- Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love - Marty Cagan

- The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future - Steve Case

- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike - Phil Knight

- The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas - Jonah Goldberg

- What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture - Ben Horowitz

- Uncanny Valley: A Memoir - Anna Wiener

- The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority - Patrick Buchanan

- Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg

- Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think - Dave Gray


- The NFT Handbook: How to Create, Sell, and Buy Non-Fungible Tokens - Matt Fortnow & Quharrison Terry

- Sh*t, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema - Lindy West

- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - Seth Godin

- The Industries of the Future - Alex Ross

- Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom - Adam Thierer

- The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work - Richard Baldwin

- Cracking Complexity: The Breakthrough Formula for Solving Just About Anything Fast - David Benjamin and David Komlos

- The New Megatrends: Seeing Clearly In the Age of Disruption - Marian Salzman

- Brotopia: Breaking Up The Boys' Club of Silicon Valley - Emily Chang

- The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai's Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom - Os Guinness

- An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination - Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang

- Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do - and How They Do It - Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel

The Best of 2022

Instead of creating a “top 5” list, I thought it would be fun to highlight my favorite books in certain categories. Clicking on the image will take you to the Amazon page!

Investing/Venture Capital:

The Power Law by Sebastian Mallaby

The Power Law is an incredible read. If you are interesting in learning about the history of Venture Capital, how high-growth tech companies get financed, or the nuanced terms that go into a term sheet, this is the book for you. I learned more from this book that I did in a Venture Capital bootcamp hosted by my MBA. Understanding the history of venture capital, why things are the way that they are, is critical to understanding the tech world. If you’re interested in understanding tech, this book is critical.

Sci Fi:

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Unfortunately I didn’t read as much Sci-fi this year as I would have liked, something I’ll definitely need to change in 2023. While I reread Ender’s Game and wrote about it for ByteLeg, it’s my 10th or 11th time reading it, so I feel like it’s unfair to pick it as a “highlight” of this year. Instead I’m highlighting the Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. This book follows two set of characters – one fighting the Nazi’s in World War 2, the other a libertarian computer hacker group in the 1990s.

What’s incredible about this book is the true technical expertise that is woven into the story. There are entire pages of long, drawn out math equations explaining exactly how a fake cypher would work. This book oozes 90s hacker vibes without falling into the fast-typing, “we’re in” tropes of movies like Swordfish:

This book is a favorite of Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and the PayPal mafia. This book defined what “cypherpunk” meant. If you’re into crypto, this is a book you should read.

Business Strategy

Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

In a tough three-way race between the Innovator’s Dilemma, the Hard Thing About Hard Things, and Radical Candor, I have to give it to the OG strategy book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. While the Hard Thing About Hard Things created the frameworks for understanding today's Silicon Valley, the Innovator’s Dilemma remains the essential tech strategy book. The Innovator’s Dilemma focuses on systemic reasons that new entrants are always able to disrupt legacy businesses – the things that make a business successful are ultimately the things that make it collapse.

In bullets:

  • Innovator’s Dilemma – why is the tech market structured how it is? Why does disruption and tech innovation continue?
  • Hard Thing About Hard Things – Strategies for navigating and framing an industry in which disruption and innovation are occurring. As a business, how should you actually approach the paradigm outlined in the Innovator’s Dilemma? What should you prioritize?
  • Radical Candor – How to be a good boss, manager and ensure that you organization is operating at 100% efficiency in pursuit of the steps outlined in the Hard thing About Hard Things.

These books blend together, addressing different layers of the fundamental challenges outlines in the Innovator’s Dilemma. 25 years later, the Innovator’s Dilemma is still king!


Titan by Ron Chernow

What do you know about the period between the Civil War and the Great Depression? I’d guess it’s not much. In history books we tend to teach a lot about Lincoln and the Civil War, skip 50 years, and then start talking about the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. If you know anything about the late 1800's, you it as the era of the “Robber Baron’s,” but what does that actually mean?

Titan is the biography of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, the world’s largest oil company (later split into basically all of today's oil companies). Rockefeller was the richest American, possibly ever. For example, at his death in 1937, Rockefeller owned roughly 5% of ALL wealth in the United States. Today, people are upset that Bezos and Elon own roughly 0.5% of the United State Wealth – Rockefeller was 10x wealthier!

Rockefeller was both a cut-throat businessman and a devout Christian, giving away more of his fortune than any person in history. The contrast between Rockefeller’s two sides - brutality in business and excessive philanthropic giving - is both inspiring and scary. Rockefeller is arguably the greatest businessman to ever live. If you’re interested in business, Titan is a masterclass in negotiating, operating leverage, and the creation of profit moats.


The Right by Matthew Continetti

For anyone interested in understanding the Trump’s takeover of the Republican party, I highly recommend The Right. Beginning in the 1920s and concluding in 2020, The Right traces 100 years of the ideas driving the “right.” From opposition to FDR in the 1930s to Cold War hawkishness in the 1980s to democracy promotion and globalization in the 1990s and 2000s, the Right traces the ideological history of both America and the Republican party. The growth of populism or isolationism isn’t new, but is a longstanding thread of the American right which is coming back to the fore. The Right is a great book if you want to understand today’s Republican party!

Finance Honorable Mention

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

As part of my MBA, this fall I took Finance 1 which focused on bond pricing and all the basic ins and outs of what happens on Wall Street. During this class, I reread Michael Lewis's The Big Short and wow - it is an incredible book. After taking Finance 1, the amount of information that I got out of this book increased 10x. Everyone should read this book if they want to understand the way the world works. At the very least, everyone should go watch the Big Short movie.

That's a wrap for ByteLeg in 2022! As always, if you made it this far, you should subscribe for free below! I have plans for 2023 that I think you'll enjoy. If you have any feedback, I'm always happy to hear it. Reach me at Michael@byteleg.com.