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Books 2022

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Books 2022

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adler

 

This past year I read 43 books, more books than in 2021 but fewer pages. As usual, I left halfway or less other 10 books which did not capture enough of my attention to finish them. This year was unique to reading over 20% through audiobooks. A true convenience to take advantage during  my business travelings.

Top book of the year

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

I probably savor anything Tim Keller writes. This book which took me a while to read and digest spoke to me both intellectually and to my soul. Pain and suffering are a topic that is spending millions of dollars to prevent or explain through therapy, stoicism, fatalism, etc. Tim lays out the main worldviews about suffering and how they instruct us to deal with it. Pain and suffering after all might be more meaningful than we expect. We need not walk alone. We need a trustworthy companion that could help us get through.

I will let him speak through the below quotes and highly recommend the book.

No amount of money, power, and planning can prevent bereavement, dire illness, relationship betrayal, financial disaster, or a host of other troubles from entering your life. Human life is fatally fragile and subject to forces beyond our power to manage. Life is tragic. Location 240

When pain and suffering come upon us, we finally see not only that we are not in control of our lives but that we never were.

Christianity teaches that contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine. Location 640

-Second most meaningful 

A Non-Anxious Presence – Mark Sayers

The second most impactful book is not far from the first in affecting me. Mark Sayer tries to capture the epoch we are living in and how should we think and act. The most needed skill and attitude in  a post-covid, fast pace, uncertain days is a calming presence. Not a fake one, a non-anxious presence that comes from one who understands the times and leans with hope into the future.

Quote;

We have not entered a new era; instead, we have entered an in-between phase, a gray zone. Gray zones exist in the overlap of two eras. They contain the influence of both the passing and forming era; this makes gray zones confusing and contradictory. The gray zone will be the context in which you will live and lead. We must understand it and learn to flourish within it.

On society and modern issues


Why liberalism failed. Don’t be fooled by the title the author makes the point that both classical liberalism (Conversatorism) and Liberalism(progressive liberalism) spring and want to feed individualism. The theory of progressive liberalism of a global village stripped of national and local identity is challenging to live out.

“Among the greatest challenges facing humanity is the ability to survive progress” (page 29).

 

Love thy body – Nancy Pearcey argues in the condensed book takes on the hot topic of gender issues.

The postmodern narrative treats body and soul as two separate entities where the natural born body holds a changing value. She speaks from a Christian worldview taking into consideration philosophers, atheist perspectives and draws from several encounters she hasdwith her students regarding matters of sex and gender. She makes a well-researched point that body and soul are integrated as one. 

“Instead of moving out of the state of nature populated by lone, autonomous individuals, we are moving into a state where adults are isolated individuals, connecting with others temporarily and only when it meets their needs. We are regressing to a pre-civilized condition” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 248).

-On Leadership

Smart Leadership: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact Mark Miller.

A comprehensive book on theory and practice of leadership. Most impactful leadership book of 2022.This book revolves around four categories (smart Choices):

  • Confront Reality.
  • Grow Capacity.
  • Fuel Curiosity.
  • Create Change.

I like that the author starts with the category named Confronting Reality. One of my favorite leadership questions is what type of problem are we trying to solve?

Quote

Management and leadership are both required for an organization to succeed. However, the role of the manager and leader are different. A manager’s responsibility is generally focused on control while a leader is focused on growth. Managers are focused on today whereas leaders are primarily concerned with tomorrow.

Worth reading for anyone in a senior leadership role. I gave a copy to the leaders I work with.

Leading at a higher level by Ken Blanchard

I started to read this book out of a suggestion from one of the senior leaders I respect the most in my org. It is a worthwhile read for those who work in a senior leadership position. Ken Blanchard and several other authors take in 40 years of global experience  that covers leadership principles and practices that are tested to work in several contexts globally.

Quotes;

For example, Mother Teresa —a minority Albanian who spoke broken English— did not begin her amazing career with a high position and authority. She used her personal power to achieve her goal of bringing dignity to the destitute. Status and recognition came later.

The most important skill for a team leader at the team’s beginning is to ensure that the team has a clear purpose, as well as clear goals, roles, strategies and expectations.

The days of top-down management are over. “As companies replace hierarchical management with a networked team structure, we are going to be using new tools purpose-built for teams,” Bersin notes. “Companies want management tools that help enable and empower teams, drive team-centric engagement and performance, and support agile, network-focused HR practices.”2

Fast-paced, agile work environments require teams to operate virtually around the world. These geographically dispersed teams face special challenges in building trust, developing effective communication, and managing attentiveness. However, with the proper leadership and technology, virtual teams are every bit as productive and rewarding as face-to-face teams.

-Worth reading in the same Category 

Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney (Good for perspective from a old company) 

Lead develop care by Terry Cook (Great for leadership coaches and mentors)

-Literature

The siege– Ismail Kadare

I read The siege (Kështjella) in Albanian. Ismail Kadare is probably the most known Albanian author in the world being several years in a row Nobel Price candidate. I like how he uses rich Albanian language and also the depth of depiction of his characters and the subtext.

-Biography 

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel by Kati Morton 

16 years chancellor of Germany. Angela was  born in eastern Germany, she at once was considered the leader of the free world. A reserved, cautious, meticulous relentless negotiator. A lady who stood up to the world’s autocrats. Neither dad (a pastor) nor mom ever voted for her, so did so her first husband. Despite that, she admits that her faith helped her for inner strength and german people put her trust in her for 16 years in a row.

In 2020 was named the most trusted leader in the world. A good biography, although in Merkel’s fashion there were not revealed much personal details.

-Meaningful reads 

-My own book SODIT

Pondering- Stirring thoughts in understanding yourself, others, and reality. 

Year 2022 marked the milestone of my first book published, in Albanian Sodit (Pondering).

You can order it here in paperback .

There are 26 essays on youth, the future of Albania, and Europe. The English version will be published by early spring 2023.

From the foreword

We live in the days of the great exodus. In the days of great confusion, unclear about who we are and where we want to go. The only clarity seems to be the desire to escape from reality, to avoid pain, to run away.  It is enough just to be somewhere else.  Among Albanians, the hope for the future of our country is fading. Our journey is driven more by the instinct to escape than by the destination we want to arrive..

Maybe this human desire is not exclusive to Albanians.   It is a human desire….

 

What are your books of 2022 ? Share in comments your most meaningful reads.