Welcome to the 2022 edition of my Top 10 Books of the Year list. This year, I have decided to divide the fiction books into an additional category and have given you two additional books for your consideration written by close friends of mine. With the launch of the Hack Factory this year, I have been very focused on business, technology creation, and investment style books. As a result, that is an important theme for this year. Conspicuously absent are books on Blockchain/Cryptocurrencies as that industry is in the midst of a Creative Destruction phase, and I continue to view cybersecurity as being stuck in a Cyber Winter.
It was particularly difficult to narrow the list down to the top 10 this year, so if you like these recommendations, I’d really appreciate it if you would subscribe to my weekly global frequency mailing list. I read over 100 books a year and review one a week at Global Frequency, which also includes my handpicked picks for the week’s top tech and security news. I maintain a running list of recommended books on the Global Frequency Idea List on Amazon.
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Here’s the 2022 roster:
“The Law of Power: Venture Capital and Building the New Future” by Sebastian Mallaby
A great look at the venture capital industry and the underlying dynamics of venture investment success. Mallaby provides compelling and compelling case studies and reveals that large VC firms rely on the Power Law, where one or a small handful of investments cover the returns of an entire fund.
“Decision Advantage: Intelligence in International Politics from the Spanish Armada to Cyberwar” by Jennifer E. Sims
A definitive examination of the value that intelligence plays in the decision-making process that draws on historical and current examples. Useful for anyone making decisions or seeking to understand how to derive value from intelligence.
“The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything” by Matthew Ball
Given the money flowing into metaverse investments, it’s helpful to keep track of the overall opportunity space. Ball provides the most comprehensive and thoughtful review of the current and future potential of the metaverse that I have read in several years.
“Where is the Money: Value Investing in the Digital Age” by Adam Seessel
Seessel offers an interesting look at how to view value investing in an age of disruptive technology. How does one reconcile the kind of value investing perspective made famous by Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett in an era of high-growth stocks? Seessel provides his perspective.
“Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital” by Spencer E. Ante
I was so impressed by the story of Georges Doriot that I commissioned his portrait as part of the Hack Factory offices. Doriot is seen as the father of modern industrial business management through his work at Harvard Business School, but he was also a World War II hero, lauded for solving several critical supply chain problems for companies. US troops and then started the first venture capital firm. The nexus with academia, national security and investment was incredibly attractive.
“Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail” by Ray Dalio
I’m certainly in the “echoes of history” camp, but I was never convinced by the long-term cyclical themes that run through many national security and economic studies. Dalio makes an incredibly compelling argument for these cycles and with a focus on modern times they can make you interpret that big changes are inevitable any time soon.
“The Modern World: A Prehistory of Social Media” by Kevin Driscoll
Before the web and social media, we had modems and online communities that sprang up based on geographies, topics, and communities of interest. The Modern World is a great historical exploration of this space, providing not only a great account of what was built, but also how some of the community models of that era might apply today.
“Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Doing” by Tony Fadell
If you are a builder, or want to be, you must read this book by legendary creator Tony Fadell. With successful companies, the business management perspective is often highlighted to us in dozens of books, but rarely do we get insight from a classic tech developer like Fadell, who gave us technologies like the iPod, iPhone, and the Nest thermostat.
“The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects” by Andrew Chen
Understanding the network effects that affect a company’s ability to capture market share is important in modern business, and Chen, who helped scale Uber and now works at A16Z, provides insight into this critical growth dynamic.
“The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley” by Jimmy Soni
The nickname “Paypal Mafia” is often used to describe the core team that built and operated Paypal more than two decades ago. This cohort went on to generate incredible value in the marketplace and continues to have a disproportionate impact on business, politics, technology, and society today. This is one of the most comprehensive and interesting explorations of PayPal’s early days I’ve read, and it provides a great character study of today’s influential operating personalities.
“When we stop understanding the world” by Labatut Benjamin
This somewhat dark and bizarre fictional examination of real-world personalities at the forefront of scientific and mathematical discovery is unsettling in a good way. What if some discoveries are so disruptive that they become dangerous to society and the discoverers decide to hide them and go into seclusion? Drawing on real-world discoveries and taking great liberties with the underlying characters, this is a fascinating book for a winter fireside read.
“Undermoney” by Jay Newman
Undermoney was my favorite fiction read of the year and highly recommended. Newman combines multiple ecosystems in a creative and incredibly compelling way to include the world of finance, special operations, and espionage. This is a fun read with lots of creativity and brilliantly developed characters running against the best plot of the year.
“Rabbits” by Terry Miles
Terry Miles’ Rabbits was my favorite near-future sci-fi read of the year and a great book to consume via audio. Explore a scenario in which a reality-bending conspiracy game is played below the undercurrents of society and in a way that may endanger the participants who find the entrance ramp to play. Lots of fun and a great story.
“Ave Maria Project” by Andy Weir
Pure sci-fi joy in the form of a space exploration story where the fate of humanity rests in the hands of a single scientist. Compelling science, a funny story, amnesia, and aliens. What more could you want?
These two books were written by longtime friends, so I feel conflicted about including them in the Top 10, but each is a must read.
“Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior” by Ric Prado
Ric is a legendary CIA officer and one of the highest ranking clandestine operators to ever write a book. This is an amazing read, as we learn not only about Ric’s career in the CIA, but also how his core patriotic beliefs contributed to his success. You can view the OODAcast that contributed to this book: Ric Prado OODAcast.
“American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Doing Great Things” by Will Hurd
Will Hurd draws on his experience in the CIA, in the private sector, and as a congressman to share his vision for rebooting America to enable more bipartisan approaches to governance and future American national success. You can watch our OODAcasts with Will here – Will Hurd OODAcast #1 – OODAcast #2