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Bookstrapping: 10 must-read books released in 2022

Its time for that compelling compilation. Our year-end compilation of books is specifically focused on non-fiction and on genres such as productivity, efficiency, psychology, science, biography and marketing.

By  Reeta Ramamurthy GuptaJan 4, 2023 2:54 PM
Bookstrapping: 10 must-read books released in 2022
We are specifically focussed on genres such as productivity, efficiency, psychology, science, biography and marketing. And of you missed the news about these books , we hope our column will serve as a reminder. (Representative Image: Amazon, The Morning Books Show)

At BookStrapping, we have been keeping a hawk’s eye out for book releases that have the potential to rescript your life and add value. And we know that value means different things to different people. For instance, a work of fiction can bring the incontestably divine joy of pure entertainment, the soulfulness of a moving story or the pizzazz of a thriller. However, this compilation focusses on non-fiction. We are specifically focussed on genres such as productivity, efficiency, psychology, science, biography and marketing. And of you missed the news about these books , we hope our column will serve as a reminder. Are you READy?

1. Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers’ Hearts by Neil Hoyne

Marketers must get their hands on this! Author Neil Hoyne is Google's Chief Measurement Strategist. He laments that corporations never really see success because they are always one software platform, one tool away from unlocking the value of their data.Having led over 2,500 engagements with the world's biggest advertisers, Hoyne has seen it all. From mid-cap companies saying, “If we just had as much data as the large companies, imagine what we could do,” to the large companies actually stumbling over their own feet, saying, “We have a lot of data, but if only we can get a little bit more. If we can only answer this one question, then that will unlock all the value,” no amount of data is enough. What then is the answer?

2. Free Time by Jenny Blake

Misleading title? Lets get right into it.‘Free Time’ is not about working as little as possible. Nor is it about creating a lifestyle business purely for one's own gain. Free Time is about making small investments now to create greater ‘optionality’ in the future.

Jenny Blake has won awards in business writing and hosts her own Pivot Podcast. Haven't heard of it? Well, you have now. She reiterates the known in a fresh way- ‘your time is far more precious than money. It is your presence, your memories, your quality of life.’ She urges business owners, who are already paying a risk and pressure tax, that growth fuelled by added stress is not worth the trade-off!

3. Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again

Marketers; you're in for a treat again. Author Yohann Hari has an unmistakable touch of Malcolm Gladwell. In his avatar as an author after a smeared stint as a journalist, Hari once again delivers a beautifully researched and argued exploration of the breakdown of humankind's ability to pay attention.

Answer this; ‘do you think your inability to focus is a personal failure to exert enough willpower over your devices?’ Hari believes that our focus has been stolen by powerful external forces that have left us uniquely vulnerable to corporations determined to raid our attention for profit. He outlines twelve deep causes of this crisis and introduces rapt readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention. Ok, buy this one already!

4. The Empress and The English Doctor:How Catherine the Great Defied a Deadly Virus by Lucy Ward

You've read enough coverage about COVID to know that this was not mankind’s first health crisis. But how did we become so amenable to getting ourselves vaccinated? Except Novak Djokovic of course!

In this book, you discover that when smallpox ravaged Europe in the 1700s, Russia's Catherine the Great not only submits to inoculation but publicises the treatment so her subjects will accept it too! Author Lucy Ward, a journalist,expertly unveils how Catherine’s act kickstarted a trend of inoculations all over Europe. This is a gripping tale of female leadership, and the fight to promote science over superstition.

5. The Song of the Cell: Siddhartha Mukherjee

We need to read more science. Really! Physician, biologist and author Siddhartha Mukherjee has questioned our lack of knowledge of our own body before. He does it again by telling us the story of how scientists discovered cells, began to understand them, and are now using that knowledge to create new humans. He does the improbable- makes complex science seductive and thrilling. The book is divided into six parts and embellished by the author’s own experience as a researcher, a doctor, and a prolific reader.

6. The War Diary of Asha-san (Translated by Tanvi Srivastava)

Written in Japanese between 1943 and 1947, and translated into English for the first time by, this is a truly unique book. It is original, it is shocking and it is the kind of book that you salute, in that brief moment between a million things that occupy your mind. Who is Asha? Meet seventeen-year-old Bharati 'Asha' Sahay, a headstrong Indian teenager living in Japan during the Second World War, who decides to join the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army after meeting Subhash Chandra Bose. This is her diary, one of the most significant personal accounts of the Indian freedom movement.

7.‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’ by Jennette McCurdy

What a way to name a book! Jennette McCurdy was a rising star on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Sam and Cat.Dwelling a moment on the phenomenon of child stars itself, one cannot help but wonder how much of their childhood is preserved in the first place. Or are theytrapped in a system made by the very adults meant to nurture them.

This untold darkness and dilemma is the subject of this book! McCurdy vividly recalls the horrors of adolescence with a mother who saw her more as a commodity than a child.

8.‘Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) From an Ink-Stained Life,’ by Margaret Sullivan

Former Washington Post media columnist and New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan is worried. She argues that media outlets may be failing in their role as conscience keepers. By not being able to adapt vigorously to the distortions of reality in the nation’s daily discourse, they are putting a fragile democracy in grave jeopardy. Now she is talking about the US, but such oversight is a warning bell for any country.

9.Strangers to Ourselves by Rachel Aviv

Mental health is an important subject not just for teens but also inside boardrooms and HR departments. And award winning author Rachel Aviv is out to challenge the way we understand and talk about this illness. For instance,a mental health diagnosis becomes a label, an identity for the patient. While it gives their experience a name, it also creates a sense of a future life they wish to question or resist. Aviv connects unlikely dots as she opens up fresh ways of thinking about illness and the mind, in a book which is curious and profoundly empathetic.

10. Golden Rules for Living your Best Life by Swami Mukundananda

No reading list should be complete without a spiritual one. ‘Golden Rules for Living your Best Life’ is the feel-good Christmas movie you want to watch after a year of political and espionage thrillers. In this book, the wise Swami Mukundananda delivers a polite but resounding slap- ‘the untapped potential of every individual is the biggest tragedy of the human race. And the primary reason for this is our lack of awareness of the processes, tools and techniques needed to unleash it.’

He quotes the Atharva Veda which states,‘dve vidye veditavye … parā caivāparā ca’( to triumph at life, one must possess both spiritual and material wisdom.) Now successful people are either already blessed with this wisdom or have acquired it. This book aims to bridges this gap. And it is a gap worth bridging!

As you can see, we have steered clear of the books we have reviewed on BookStrapping this year to cover as many new books as possible. But if you think we’ve missed an important book, please write to me on reeta@reetaramamurthygupta.in

I’m waiting to hear from you!

Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta is a columnist and bestselling biographer. She is credited with the internationally acclaimed Red Dot Experiment, a decadal six-nation study on how ‘culture impacts communication.’ On Twitter @OfficialReetaRG

First Published on Dec 31, 2022 12:23 PM