While the TechCrunch crew enjoys a tweet and a post from time to time, we also enjoy reading longer-form materials. So much so that we are compiling a year-end revue of our favorite reads.
This is not just a list of serious business books, or just fiction that was published this year.
Instead, we have put together a list of just our favorite stuff that we read this year. Some of it won’t surprise; I hope that some of it does — but given how literate the average TechCrunch reader is, perhaps I will be contentedly disappointed.
The following list is in no particular order. And while we may earn a dollar or two off of commissions if you buy one of the books below, we’re not doing this for the money. We just love books, and reading, and want to share some of our joy with you. (TechCrunch also has lists of recommendations from founders, and venture investors coming later this month!)
Hugs, happy holidays, and may your 2023 reading crop be fruitful.
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The best books TechCrunch read in 2022
Each recommender’s books are grouped, links go to Amazon. Summaries are via the TechCruncher in questions, at times lightly edited for clarity and format.
- The Secret Life of Groceries: A super fun and interesting book about the history of grocery stores and what their supply chain looks like today. Yes, I’m a jumbo nerd.
- Crying in H Mart: A lovely memoir that made me cry in the Goa airport.
From Harri: “Both my picks are rereads that gently address existential spirals with reassurance, through self love in the case of You Are Here, and through writing in the case of Writing Down the Bones.”
- Anno Dracula: It’s 1888 and Dracula has won the fight against Van Helsing & Co., married Queen Victoria, and turned a lot of London into vampires. And Jack the Ripper is a human who’s cutting up young vampire girls. A grim and stark whodunit featuring a variety of characters from popular fiction as well as real historical figures of the time.
- Little Gods: Love seeing culture dynamics represented through fresh lenses. Educated immigrant experiences in the US are often not written about. The chapters weave between timelines and characters, making picking up the book absolutely addictive.
- Atomic Habits: Okay okay. I know it’s old and basic, but I needed to establish better physical and mental habits coming out of deep pandemic. Recognizing that making 1% changes regularly can lead to big dividends made making daily decisions in line with long term goals, easier.
- Untamed: An absolute must read, especially for people who have felt the constraints of society. An autobiographical collection of stories, the author breaks down toxic standards and encourages readers to identify and pursue their own true vision for happiness
- The Prince: In an era where people believe that principles should be policy, this is a good reminder of the political *science* involved in governance and learning from past mistakes.
Dominic Madori Davis:
- The Color of Law: An interesting look into how the federal government indirectly helped and upheld illegal housing discrimination in the US, and the impact that has had on the Black community in terms of wealth building, access to educational and city resources, and the stereotypes still associated with many Black neighborhoods today.
- Token Black Girl: An honest memoir from a former Black fashion editor as she grappled with her childhood and eventual working life trying to assimilate into, and find acceptance rich, white environments. She talks about the psychological toll this took on her, the mental journey she is still on in unlearning self-hatred, and how she is finally coming to terms with loving her natural Black self.
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: I feel like this is one of those perfectly constructed novels that will be studied in weird (appreciative) liberal arts school fiction classes in fifty years (or, like, fifty days). It’s hard to pull off the kind of story that follows characters from the time they’re small children to fully-formed adults, but it’s a joy (and, at times, agonizing) to watch these two friensd grow from awkward artistic teens to niche-famous game developers who use their craft to navigate murky questions about how and why we make art and how it affects people. Even if you’re not a video game person, there’s a lot to love in this book, so long as you care about… uh…. art and people.
- True Biz: I am always annoyed when people think you can only learn about things by reading nonfiction — case in point, True Biz taught me so much about Deaf culture, disability and the ever-present threat of eugenicist science. I love when fiction can help me empathize with people different from me, yet this book is more than that. It’s just an amazing story in itself, alternating among the points-of-view of various characters from different perspectives in the Deaf community: angsty teens fighting for their right to Deaf education, a teacher navigating her rocky marraige, a hearing parent of a Deaf child who must come to terms with her prejudices. This was the kind of book that I was sad to finish, because I wanted to spend more time with the characters who I so quickly grew to root for and love.
- Ministry for the Future: Near-future fiction extrapolated directly from the present can be very weak, but Robinson is both unflinching and imaginative of what a climate crisis would look like, how it might play out, and what kind of bonkers moonshots might be necessary for us to continue to live on Earth.
- Abolish Silicon Valley: This book is an honest and engaging first-person story that showcases the hubris of Silicon Valley’s corporate culture. Wendy Liu depicts situations that are sometimes so absurd that she will make you laugh. She also takes a step back and looks at the political implications of startup culture and Silicon Valley.
Anna did not provide commentary on her picks, so I have decided that the way to Be Good is to spend Four Thousand Weeks each year having a Very British Christmas.
- The Golden Enclaves: Third book in a breakout fantasy series with one of the best protagonists I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know, and cheering on. I am going to re-read the whole series, again, I think this holiday period.
- Priory of the Orange Tree: You know how they say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? I bought this beast strictly by dent of its heft. More or less it was a hugely chunky paperback, and I thought, well, I like fantasy, and this book must be good to get published at this length, right? Turns out I was right! Huge, interesting, good, and with characters I adored by the end. And dragons.