2 to 3 minutes to read
#1: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
The clear winner of #1 for 2021. I have vivid memories of reading it while in Costa Rica, days or weeks prior to asking Nana to marry me there. It was a book I felt genuine sadness for its ending. It’s profoundly pertinent it is not only to society at large but to my specific, obsessive personality. 2021 was a year of considering many things around focus, attention, priorities, and presence and the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry was a capstone in it.
This book also got me started for real on the John Mark Comer train, which led to a great number of sermons in the years following, as well as the decision to systematically read everything John Mark has written/will write. John Mark is one of the most gifted writers in the modern world at connecting the ideas of Jesus/the Bible to the broader culture and his style has made a real imprint on me.
#2: The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
Classic Timothy Keller. I’ve always said he’s thorough. Among his topical books, this is certainly one of the very best. It’s so good that among the countless relationship, dating, and marriage books, it very clearly distinguishes itself as one of the select few must-reads. His depth of insight on both the human condition and institution marriage are unmatched.
#3: Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Writing this 2.5 years later, it’s been a little too long for me to write an articulate review, but I’ve needed to reread it anyway. Clarity of thought and genuineness of insight is very strong with this one. It’s a legendary book in tech startups.
#4: Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton
Great book. Very needed subject.
#5: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Good book. Important ideas. As with many in the category, it can get fluffy, but it does seem to differentiate itself from the rest of the gigantic category of self-help. For me, I felt as though I’d arrived at the majority of the ideas through experimentation over the years prior, but it still helped to increase conviction.
Honorable Mention 1 of 2: Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Important book. Bought it for a few people. Another sort of antidote book to modern plagues. Definitely was fluffed up at times though.
Honorable Mention 2 of 2: 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
I don’t stand too closely by this book. It makes much effort to essentially abstract all major worldviews (both religious and secular) into a set of higher ideals. It deserves some flowers for its insight and style, though, and there are a great number of worse popular books people could be reading. 12 Rules for Life is filled with counternarratives to the chaos, entitlement, and lack of purpose of today, so it’s no wonder it’s been a bestseller. I personally think there are stronger models than those it presents, but they are strong ones nonetheless and worthwhile to read.
Others of Note:
What Happened in 2021?
In 2021 I moved to the Dallas area (technically Grand Prairie suburb ish) since my then girlfriend now wife, Nana, was finishing her final year of undergrad double majoring in Spanish and communication. I was working for Unagi Scooters from start to end, learning much about marketing/growth and more. Over the summer, I was in Costa Rica for a month (Nana was there 3 months) and worked during it — and I proposed in a cloud forest! Then we had a wedding to prepare in 5 months for. I didn’t help enough :( and Nana really put the team on her back and carried. She has incredible taste in every way. She did it all very reasonably without throwing any money around needlessly (we believe weddings are very special but don’t need to cost $30K+, as many report). And COVID raged on this year, with many rounds of vaccines and the Omicron spike happening very late in the year (unfortunately with the worst possible timing leading into our January 8th 2022 wedding).
Previous years list → 2020
Next years list → 2022