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The 2023 Book List

I have been relatively inactive on the blog this year. In 2022, I had made the goal of writing at least one blog a week for the entire year. But in 2023 as business turned and shifted, I took a step back from writing to focus on things in my immediate present. However, as the year closes out, I would be remiss to not continue the tradition of putting out my top reads and listens for the year. Since 2020, I have published a list of all the books and podcasts I've listened to throughout the year, and made a recommendation for some I find most people will benefit from.

Admittedly, this year my list has had a lot of repeats from previous years, and with being in a serious relationship (and now engaged), there very well may be a theme to my reading. Additionally, it was noted by my Fiance how "old and white" my bookshelf was towards the end of last year. It was true, most of my bookshelf was written by dead, white dudes who probably lacked a fair amount of perspective. In order to help expand my horizons, I created a new system for this year.

Below is my book list from December 1st of 2022 to December 1st of 2023. This year I implemented a rule: each book had to be written by someone of a different gender, race, or country of origin from the author of the book before it. I have denoted books which were consumed in the form of audiobook (a vast majority this year) with an Asterik. Most of which were consumed on 1.25x speed while I made my breakfast every morning. The 2023 list is as follows:

  1. "Talking To Strangers" - Malcom Gladwell*

  2. "Scary Close" - Donald Miller*

  3. "The Motivation Myth" - Jeff Haden*

  4. "Tough" -Terry Crews*

  5. "Outliers" - Malcom Gladwell*

  6. "The End of Gender" - Debra Soh*

  7. "Black Privilege" - Charlamagne Tha God*

  8. "Wild at Heart" - John Eldredge

  9. "Captivating" - John and Stasi Eldredge

  10. "War On The West" -Douglas Murray*

  11. "Atlas Of The Heart" -Brené Brown*

  12. "Fooled By Randomness" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb*

  13. "Atomic Habits" - James Clear*

  14. "How To Be An Anti-Racist" - Ibram X Kendi*

  15. "The Longest Race" - Kara Goucher*

  16. "Outlive" - Dr. Peter Attia*

  17. "The Body Keeps The Score" - Bessel van der Kolk

  18. "The Power of Vulnerability" - Brené Brown*

  19. "The Black Swan: The Impact of The Highly Improbable" -Nassim Nicholas Taleb*

  20. "I Don't Want To Talk About It" - Terrence Real*

  21. "Dare to Lead" - Brené Brown*

  22. "Modern Romance" - Aziz Ansari*

If I am being completely honest, some of these books had been in progress for more than a year. Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk's book "The Body Keeps The Score" was actually started in 2022 after having been gifted to me by a friend. It's material was dense, and even at times hard to digest, causing it to be the longest hard cover read I'd had in a while. It is also notable, for those who have read or known about my long-standing battle with depression, how this was the first year in creating this list in which I have not read or listened to "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. Perhaps this is a reflection of the last year being one of the best I have experienced to date.

I also listed to a tremendous amount of podcast episodes. Unlike other years, I have found it unnecessary to include them this year, as many were run of the mill episodes which I don't remember much of at all. Therefore, I will only recommend my suggested reads or listens for the coming year, and not bother with recommending anything other. For the readers and avid learners out there, these are my top "3" recommended years for your 2024:

"Outlive" by Dr. Peter Attia

I listened to this one on audiobook this year after its release. I am always a fan when authors read their own work, as I find they can bring out the same emotions they wrote with when they do so. Attia is a doctor with a focus on longevity, and makes a solid case for how small investments in areas of your health can make a drastic impact on how you can improve the longevity of your life. And while it may not be a fool proof way to gain more years, I believe the key areas addressed and the investments into understanding these areas, will lead to more lifefull years. Especially with the goal of Littauer Strength Training being to help individuals build a stronger future for themselves, this book falls in line with this goal.

"The War on The West" by Douglas Murray, and "How To Be an Anti-Racist" by Ibram X Kendi

I cannot recommend one of these books without recommending the other. Especially as someone who has spent most of my life living in the rural Southern Appalachian region, diversity and social justice are not often talked about as deeply. Especially considering there is an alarming lack of diversity in my area. Add on to this, there is often a great disdain in my immediate community for the rising sentiments shared by those who live in cities (which is commonly denoted as "wokeness"). I listened to both of these books in the order they are mentioned, though I would suggest listening to them in the reverse. For both, I think it is important to keep an open mind. Both, are written by two men who are quite clearly angry. One a white man (Murray) who has a particular disdain towards the destruction of history and a certain level of contradiction which often presents itself in the current political climate. The other, a black man who quite evidently only looks at the world through the lens of race, and race being the only factor.

The reason I advise reading or listening to these in the reverse order listed above, is to give Kendi and his perspective a more fair shake. His work is referenced immensely by Murray, who writes with a debate style poking holes into the fabric of Kendi's argument and logic. I think it would do best to hear out Kendi and his perspective before you hear the rebuttal. Nonetheless, I find both of these books are very important to help broaden the perspective one can have on the world. Especially for someone as myself, who by proxy and availability does not have as diverse a peer group of friends as I would like, hearing more of the perspectives Kendi brings into the picture was more needed than I realized. Meanwhile Murray's writing appealed to my very logical and analytical brain.

"Dare To Lead" by Brene Brown

I listened to multiple of Brown's writings this year. Admittedly, I struggled with some of them moreso because of her narration style, as she reads her books as if she's having a conversation with you. It is unique, and can be a challenge to get through. Brown, most noted for her work on shame and vulnerability, breaks down common myths of leadership and sets forth a framework for being a more vulnerable leader. Whether it be in the classroom, boardroom, weight room, or at home. Especially when it comes to productivity and longevity in leadership, Brown discusses several strategies and uses a number of relatable examples to get her point across in this book.

Honorable Mentions

  1. "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari (of Parks and Recreation fame) was a final audiobook of the year. As someone who had gotten engaged recently, and also who lives in an area where getting married 30 will put me about 6-7 years behind the curve (it's a rural southern thing), Ansari provides a very comical and insightful look into the modern dating scene and its struggles. This is a great lesson for any of my single friends out there, or any of those who constantly gets pestered by their relatives at the holidays about being single.

  2. "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl was mentioned earlier as I didn't read or listen to it this year. But I suggest this book nonetheless. Especially for those who are prone to depression or bouts of aimlessness in the world, Frankl's account of his time in Dachua and Auschwitz Concentration camps in Nazi Germany provides a tremendous insight into how the human mind can overcome a tremendous amount of tragedy and hardship when given a purpose.

This concludes the 2023 reading list. I hope you see this list and have some ideas for the coming year for yourself. Reading, in my opinion, is one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal for the clarifying and spreading of ideas. Not all ideas are worth spreading, but they are all worth clarifying and pursing out to determine their worthyness of remaining. For insight into the last several years' lists, you can find them linked below.

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