Books I read in 2021.

As 2021 comes to a close, I wanted to share all the books I read this year. My habit of reading is one of the few things that has benefitted from all my time at home this year.

So here’s the list. This is in the order of how I read them, not how much I enjoyed them. There were so many good books, it’s hard to focus on just a few (and now that I look at them all, I must admit there’s one or two I don’t even remember reading).

As far as entertaining reads, I really enjoyed Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Project Hail Mary, The Soul of an Octopus, The Birth of Loud, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey.

Meaningful and powerful reads included Seven Fallen Feathers, Paying the Land, The Power, Gutter Child, Just Mercy, Five Little Indians, This One Looks Like a Boy, A Fine Balance, and Overstory.

In the end, not a bad list…

  1. Mediocre — Ijeoma Oluo
  2. How To Kill a City — PE Moskowitz
  3. Seven Fallen Feathers —  Tanya Talaga
  4. Stories of Your Life — Ted Chiang
  5. Paying the Land — Joe Sacco
  6. Evicted — Matthew Desmond 
  7. Exhalation — Ted Chiang 
  8. Happy City — Charles Montgomery
  9. Sputnik Sweetheart — Haruki Murakami
  10. Do Better — Rachel Ricketts 
  11. Good Lord Bird — James McBride
  12. 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act — Bob Joseph
  13. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
  14. The Power — Naomi Alderman
  15. Indigenomics — Carol Anne Hilton
  16. Born Standing Up — Steve Martin 
  17. The Devil You Know — Charles Blow
  18. A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson
  19. All Our Relations — Tanya Talaga
  20. Watchmen — Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  21. Peace and Good Order — Harold Johnson
  22. How To Write One Song — Jeff Tweedy
  23. Gutter Child — Jael Richardson 
  24. The Body, A Guide For Occupants — Bill Bryson
  25. The Right To Be Cold — Sheila Watt-Cloutier
  26. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls — David Sedaris 
  27. Year Book — Seth Rogen 
  28. Minor Feelings — Cathy Park Hong 
  29. A Promised Land — Barack Obama
  30. Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
  31. The Day the World Stops Shopping — J.B. MacKinnon
  32. Power, A Users Guide — Julie Diamond
  33. Think Again — Adam Grant
  34. The Premonition — Michael Lewis
  35. DreadfulWater — Thomas King
  36. The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
  37. Willful Blindness — Sam Cooper 
  38. Mission Economy — Mariana Mazzucato
  39. The Bomber Mafia — Malcolm Gladwell
  40. In Search of April Raintree — Beatrice Mosionier
  41. This Is Your Mind on Plants — Michael Pollan
  42. The Red Power Murders — Thomas King
  43. How to Change Your Mind — Michael Pollan
  44. Money — Jacob Goldstein 
  45. Indian In the Cupboard — Jody Wilson-Raybould 
  46. The Birth of Loud — Ian S. Port
  47. Winners Take All — Anand Giridharadas
  48. Just Mercy — Bryan Stevenson
  49. Five Little Indians — Michelle Good
  50. Bewilderment — Richard Powers
  51. Unreconciled — Jesse Wente
  52. This One Looks Like A Boy — Lorimer Shenher
  53. Dune — Frank Herbert
  54. You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey — Amber Ruffin 
  55. Amusing Ourselves To Death — Neil Postman
  56. Lost Connections — Johann Hari
  57. Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut 
  58. Birds Of All Feathers — Michael Bach
  59. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
  60. Out of Office — Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
  61. Overstory — Richard Powers

In the middle of all that, I happily finished my first book and released it, which was definitely one of my highlights of the year.

I haven’t decided what I’ll start 2022 with – likely Indigenous Relations by Bob Joseph & Cynthia F. Joseph.

If you read something you loved in 2021, leave a comment below and let me know.

Happy New Year, all!

PS: Here’s my list from 2020.

My book is now available!

My new book, Everything I Learned About Leadership I Learned From Filmmaking is an exploration of the similarities, overlaps and parallels between the art and craft of making films and the practice of leading people, teams and organizations. At heart, it’s about inspiring creativity at work and in life by harnessing passion and curiosity as a creative approach to leadership and management.

You can buy the book now at the following places:

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I have been working on this book on and off since I gave a talk at a conference in Nashville almost a decade ago about the lessons I learned from my dozen years as an independent filmmaker and draw on everyday as a people leader.

I’m so pleased with how it turned out and think it will be useful to several kinds of people:

  • Leaders who want to bring a more creative approach to their leadership.
  • People who want to move into leadership positions, or have greater influence in their workplace and want a different perspective than they might find in many business and leadership books.
  • Those in the film and creative industries who want to approach their leadership differently, whether they formally lead people, or want to take on a leadership role amongst those they work with.

If you use a different eBook platform than I’ve got it on and want me to upload it there, please let me know in a comment below.

Holding a copy of my new book.

I hope you get the same joy from reading it as I did from writing it. And if you liked the book, please leave a review where you bought it, post it on social media and tell a friend.


Books I Read in 2020.

I made it a goal at the beginning of the year to focus on reading more books. I used to read a lot, but over the last several years I have been distracted by articles and short reads I stumble across on social media and haven’t focused as much on a good book. I began to miss that feeling of small accomplishment I have when I finish a book.

Little did I know that 2020 would give me ample opportunity to hunker down at home and read. This year was a blend of plowing through some familiar comfort books during the pandemic as well as attempts to re-educate myself as a white man on how the world actually functions, plus some other books that felt important to check out.

If I had to pick out a couple of outstanding books, I would say: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is one of the best books I’ve ever read and helped me rethink how our society functions around race and class mobility (or lack thereof). Ministry For The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson is a must-read and frames climate change against a narrative science-fiction structure that brings a sense of urgency that is hard to achieve in non-fiction.

I went through some phases where I couldn’t focus on reading because of how much was going on in life and society, or times when I became frustrated because I had three different books on the go and couldn’t finish any of them because I was so distracted, and then nice, long stretches when I was very focused and just couldn’t stop reading. Ah, 2020.

Plus I almost began and ended the year with a book by a Klein, which feels like a nice pair of bookends. 

Here’s my list:

  1. Why We’re Polarized – Ezra Klein
  2. The Inconvenient Indian – Thomas King
  3. Set The Boy Free – Johnny Marr
  4. The Sport and Prey of Capitalists – Linda McQuaig
  5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  6. The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe – Douglas Adams
  7. Life, The Universe and Everything – Douglas Adams
  8. So Long and Thanks For All The Fish – Douglas Adams
  9. Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams
  10. Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami
  11. Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad
  12. White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
  13. So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
  14. How To Be An Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi 
  15. Why Fish Don’t Exist – Lulu Miller
  16. Policing Black Lives – Robin Maynard
  17. Make Change – Shaun King
  18. Caste – Isabel Wilkerson
  19. Born A Crime – Trevor Noah 
  20. The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
  21. The Martian – Andy Weir
  22. Golden Gates – Conor Dougherty
  23. Creativity – John Cleese
  24. A Good War – Seth Klein
  25. The Ministry For The Future – Kim Stanley Robinson 

If any of these look good to you, enjoy! I’ll start 2021 with Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo, which I’m excited to start.

Happy New Year!