I used to keep detailed notes about every book I read. Then, since I didn’t get to revisit those, I gave up and just enjoyed reading.
I’m coming back to writing a few thoughts about each one: there’s no particular order since I’m just looking at my bookshelf while writing these few lines.
There’s also no rationale behind what I choose to read: I just enjoy it, so if something looks interesting it gets added to my never-ending reading list. To make things even fuzzier, I usually mix Italian and English: I’ve added to these notes a translation of the Italian title when needed.
Without further ado, here are the books I’ve read in 2022 - plus a final bonus.
by Eric Jorgenson
If you’re not following Naval, you should. The guy has some great gems, plus a clarity of thinking that I find remarkable. This book is a collection of his tweets, interviews and thoughts. I didn’t find anything new in here, but I had already read lots from Naval - it’s a good primer on navalism.
by Pier Giorgio Perotto
Title translation: When Italy invented the PC
It’s the story of how Olivetti’s P101 machine came to be, told by its creator. A few years ago, I listened to a podcast about the same topic and I was shocked at what a gold mine Olivetti was sitting on. This book left me with the same feeling: I don’t think it’s a literary masterpiece at all, but a useful insider look on the events that happened.
It’s a sad story: no support from the Italian government, both Adriano Olivetti and Mario Tchou - the head of Olivetti’s electronics division - tragically dying, myopic managers not realizing what was there.
Classic innovator’s dilemma at play, where the electronic calculator disrupted the mechanical one: it’s quite telling that none of Olivetti’s competitors named in the book is in business today.
by Carlo Cottarelli
Title translation: Elephants and parrots
Fake news on the economy debunked by a former IMF manager. I usually appreciate Carlo’s detailed and documented writings, but this didn’t quite flow. Not giving up on the author though, I’m definitely going to read more from him.
by David Ogilvy
This year I decided to pick up some marketing, so I bought this book together with The Boron Letters (reported below). I’m suspending my judgment on these two until I re-read them: on a first pass, I enjoyed the chapters on copywriting.
by Gary Halbert
See Confessions of an advertising man above. This one is way shorter, so read this one first if you’re just feeling the water.
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
First book I read from Taleb and I have mixed feelings. The ideas in it are valuable, that’s for sure. His writing style is not my cup of tea though: it just comes off as a bit arrogant.
I’m giving him another chance in the future - I’m probably going to read the entire Incerto trilogy - before forming an opinion.
by Clayton Christensen et al.
I am familiar with Christensen’s work and I knew this book would have been different. The TLDR version is this: don’t go to jail, remember that relationships are important. This book was based on a speed Christensen gave and it shows: it’s not bad, just way too repetitive.
by Stephen A. Mitchell
I bought this book after hearing Andrew Huberman recommending it. In my opinion, it starts quite well - then it fades and starts to repeat the same concepts over and over again. The worst thing is it never gets to a conclusion: this book could have been reduced to a page with “yes/no/maybe” followed by some analysis. It didn’t resonate with me.
by Gregory Zuckerman
When I was studying engineering, I thought for a moment about changing course and getting a degree in math for quantitative finance. Then I asked myself: do I actually like it or do I just think I could make lots of money doing this?
Over the years I watched all the (few) Jim Simons interviews available on Youtube, but this book went deeper into how Renaissance Technologies came to be. Very well written, one of the best books I read this year.
by Tommaso Ebhardt
One of my favourite books of the year. It describes the man who transformed Fiat from a domestic company into one of the biggest automotive groups in the world. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed working for Sergio to be honest, but he would have had my vote if he were running for president.
Read this if you want to understand how company turnarounds should be carried out.
by Robert Iger
By now, you should have understood that I like autobiographies. The story of Bob Iger, long-time Disney CEO, is well written. Ironically, he was brought back as Disney’s CEO shortly after I finished reading this book.
by Tony Fadell
On my first flight to the U.S.A., I watched a movie about General Magic. Build is a great book, where Tony Fadell touches on his experiences at General Magic, Philips, Apple and Nest.
I was astonished at how the iPod was developed in a very short time, by a small group of people. Remember, at the time Apple was only selling Macbooks and was a financially fragile company: giving the iPod team the necessary air cover and understanding the iPod would have been essential for Apple’s survival was, in my opinion, one of the best feats Steve Jobs ever achieved.
by Marc Levinson
I would have never assumed I would have been interested in a book about containers. This one was a slow starter, but it just kept getting better. Read it and you’ll never look at containers in the same way.
Key takeaway: standards are powerful. Thinking that the rise of containerization was a key element in China’s rise as a superpower makes you think about the power of second-order effects.
I try to finish every book I start, but sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it. It is not necessarily the book’s fault, obviously.
This year I didn’t complete:
That’s it for 2022. Any ideas for books I should read in 2023? Let me know!