Be Useful – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Every time I told people I was reading this one, they chuckled, then when realizing I was serious, asked somewhat disbelieving: “Why?”
The reason is simple. I have always been a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just because he is the Terminator or has an awesome accent—although his accent is awesome—but because he has led an interesting life with a great focus on realizing his dreams. Becoming the best body-builder. Becoming a huge action movie star. Becoming the governor of California. But not just becoming the best only for himself, but doing it in such a way that being the best helps other people become their best selves and realize their own dreams. That is what the title of the book refers to. Not just tips and advice for achieving your dreams—although there is plenty of that—but also doing it in such a way that you can be a genuinely positive influence on everyone around you. Considering the times we are living in, with so many supposed leaders acting selfishly or hiding behind management jargon, it is quite refreshing to read seven useful lessons about realizing your dreams and goals that ultimately mean you help other people as well.
The Creative Gene – Hideo Kojima
Hideo Kojima, the world-famous videogame designer of games like Metal Gear Solid, describes in a series of essays the books, movies and music that shaped him as a person. A rich tapestry of reflection of many well-known and lesser-known creative works that will certainly spark your curiosity to seek out the works Kojima discusses.
Infinity Gate – M.R. Carey
I dislike stories that contains multiple universes. The moment you have multiple realities, it all just feels so pointless, as everything that can happen has happened/will happen/might happen, and it feels like all stakes in the story have just been deflated and reduced to another excuse for an MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) after-the-credits scene.
However, Infinity Gate takes the idea of multiple universes and spins it around until it becomes a rather page-turning epic sci-fi opera in which the stakes literally could not become any higher. Amazing sci-fi from an author at the top of his game, I am looking forward to reading the sequel next year, even without an after-credits scene.
He Who Drowned the World – by Shelley Parker-Chan
The sequel to She Who Became the Sun, which was my favorite fantasy novel in 2021, and oh my, does Parker-Chan knock this one out of the park again. The story continues with the girl Zhu, who usurps her dead brother’s destiny to become the greatest in war-torn medieval China. A high-stakes epic fantasy revolving around the question of what one is willing to sacrifice and do to seize absolute power to rule the world.