Reflecting on My Top 2023 Reads

As we close the final chapters of 2023, I reflect on the profound insights I’ve gained and the meaningful experiences I’ve had this past year. During my (scarce) free time, I always enjoy settling down with a good book. If I don’t have a moment to sit and read, I use a more immersive, on-the-go method and listen to audiobooks! Either way, I make it a point to stay updated with current affairs or dive into the past to better understand the present or possibilities of the future. If you want to end the year with new knowledge or refine your understanding of old pearls of wisdom, check out some of the best books I read in 2023!

Booms and Busts in Business

Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II

This is terrific storytelling about winning WWII, American ingenuity, innovation, and how many engineering and construction firms grew into the powerhouses they are today. I wish this book would have been around when I started Clayco. I highly recommend this, as it shines a light on an endearing and inspiring point in American history when business elites set their sights on collaborating to save the world instead of generating revenue (but they did both).

Read more here.

Crash Landing: The Inside Story of How the World’s Biggest Companies Survived an Economy COVID Crisis

What an interesting exposé about how the world’s most powerful CEOs built the US economy only to watch it fall before their eyes – and never saw it coming. This book puts the reader in the middle of the CEO experience, from realizing how deep the COVID-19 pandemic crisis would be to the strategies companies worked on to save their companies. Featuring original interviews with the people in charge and excellent reporting, “Crash Landing” provides outstanding insight into the inner workings of global markets and what influences them.

Read more here.

Up from Nothing: The Untold Story of How We (All) Succeed

Is America still the land of opportunity? I think so, and so does the author of this page-turner. Through real-life stories and practical advice, this book offers a roadmap for achieving success and economic empowerment. It examines the attitudes and practices that can make it possible for everyone to achieve the American Dream, no matter their current circumstances. The book targets marginalized and underserved communities and explores the principles and strategies that can lead to individual and collective success. I definitely recommend it!

Read more here.

Legends and Legacies

Read these two books back to back! These truly inspiring biographies on American heroes, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham and King: A Life by Jonathan Eig, remind us how heroic behavior and a powerful idea can bring about colossal change and reshape history. Meacham’s book examines how and why Lincoln refused to accept secession, attacks on democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to bring about his vision for America. Eig’s biography of Martin Luther King traces King’s progress from Morehouse College in Atlanta to Crozer Theological Seminary and his doctoral studies at Boston University. These books serve as valuable resources to contemplate our present polarization.

Read more here.

American Prometheus

Although I read it while serving as U.S. Commissioner General at Expo 2020 Dubai, this remarkable book is back in the spotlight! American Prometheus inspired the current box office hit Oppenheimer. At 721 pages, it is tough to read at times but incredibly captivating. Twenty-five years in the making and exhaustively researched, the biography won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. It vividly paints the portrait of Robert Oppenheimer, the charismatic theoretical physicist who led the Manhattan Project and played a critical role in shaping 20th-century history.

Read more here.

Fuel for the Future

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

WARNING: This book can be depressing. It is an exhilarating and terrifying read that explores the impact of artificial intelligence on our future and questions whether AI is the best or worst thing happening to humanity and life itself. Humans have led evolution on earth for thousands of years, but in Life 3.0, technology will exist independently of us, creating its own hardware and software. There is no doubt that the impact on humankind will be profound.

Read more here.

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

How to live longer and healthier is always a topic that draws much attention. This book highlights humans' significant health problems and compares our current reactive approach to a proactive method that promotes longevity. What’s really interesting about it is that it doesn’t just give superficial advice. Instead, you’ll dive deep into topics like eating and exercising, nutrition, sleep, and mental health. Luckily, I already practice much of what’s in the book – but there is always room for improvement!

Read more here.

Reading On

We must continue to seek knowledge and immerse ourselves in diverse perspectives to discover groundbreaking ways to connect, create, and enhance our societies. Keep reading and keep growing!

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