Back to School, Fall 2022: The 10 Best Non-Fiction Books I Read This Past Year

Back to School:  The 10 Best Non-Fiction Books I Read This Past Year

“Read an hour every day in your chosen field. This works out to about one book per week,  fifty books per year, and will guarantee your success.”  Brian Tracy, personal development guru

It’s September again, time to go back to school. My learning goal each year is to read at least 50 non-fiction books —in my mind the “School of Success” never goes out of session. This is where I get the ideas to help my Financial Advisor clients grow their clientele. Rather than overwhelming you with all 50+ books, here are the 10 best books I read from September, 2021 through August, 2022.

Sales/Relationship Building

Marketing Mess to Brand Success: 30 Challenges to Transform Your Organization’s Brand (and Your Own) Scott Jeffrey Miller spent 25 years at Franklin Covey. He shares the messes he made over the years so that you can avoid making them yourself.

Business Success

Invention: A Life If you think the name Dyson just means vacuum cleaners, you’d be woefully underestimating the prolific inventive genius of James Dyson. His namesake firm is responsible for the invention/design/manufacturing and sales of 25 million products a year. He founded his own Dyson Institute for the development of its students to create future breakthrough technologies. He’s also a major philanthropist, donating millions through his foundation to support design and engineering education.

My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future Indra Nooyi went from humble beginning in India to become the CEO of PepsiCo for 12 years, courting presidents, business titans and world leaders along the way. She overcame sexism and racism while keeping her family intact. It’s a testimony to her determination and humanity.


CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest  Did you ever think, “CEO’s get paid a LOT of money — what the heck do they actually do?” Well, three top McKinzie consultants sure did their homework on this one, interviewing 200 top CEO’s to discover what they do that ordinary CEO’s don’t. After reading this my only question now is, “When do they sleep?”

Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave The first of four books that will be written by Ryan Holiday on what he calls his “cardinal virtues:” Courage, Temperance, Justice and Wisdom. This book includes inspiring “profiles in courage” about the likes of Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and Martin Luther King, as well as people you’ve never heard of who stepped forward in courage when destiny called.


Running With Destiny: An Odyssey of Mistakes, Machetes, and Miracles Let me in introduce you to the extraordinary Toby Tanser, who transformed his talent for running into creating an amazing non-profit: Shoe4Africa. Among other things, it sends free shoes to barefoot children in Africa, funds building of schools and also founded the first children’s hospital in Kenya. Toby’s story is too full of twists and turns to be true — he epitomizes persistence and determination in the face of adversity. Need inspiration? You’ll find it here.

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing… Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice Here is the best advice from 49 accomplished people who just might have something helpful to share with you.


How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America This is an unflinching look from a number of angles about the story of enslaved human beings, how they were an integral part of the founding of the United States, and that slavery was the economic engine that drove our country to independence.

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather This retelling of how the classic movie The Godfather got made has almost as much intrigue as the movie itself, and made me want to watch it again. (Thanks JL!)

The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire The NFL, America’s number one sport by far, is a gargantuan money-making machine, with franchises worth billions. Yet 100 years ago team owners were struggling to even make payroll. Read about the 5 “Founding Fathers” (George Halas, Art Rooney, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell) who took all the risk to keep it going. A must read for pro football fans and a perfect book for the kickoff of the 2022 season.

My hope is that this list will inspire your own reading habit.  I’m not a super-speedy reader but I willingly plowed through these books because absorbing their ideas is a critical part of my coaching job. Audio versions are available on but you don’t even have to spend a dime if you have a library card. There’s no shelf room left for more books at my place so each one listed here was borrowed from my local library.

Why wait?  While it may seem daunting to begin your own reading habit, know that the journey of a thousand books starts with the first one. You can begin by reading one book a month, which is just ten pages a day – that wouldn’t be too hard, would it? Whatever reading goal you choose, go back to school TODAY so you can get to the top of your field.

Question: What are the best non- fiction books you read this past year?

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