If You Only Read A Few Books In 2023, Read These

Ryan Holiday
9 min readJan 12

It’d be wonderful if a new year magically marked a new beginning. But 2022, like all years, reminded us that the same things keep happening, that world events continue on in their own unpredictable way and that in the end, we control very little but our own actions and opinions.

One of my favorite quotes — enough that I have it inscribed on the wall across the back of my bookstore — comes from the novelist Walter Mosley. “I’m not saying that you have to be a reader to save your soul in the modern world,” he said. “I’m saying it helps.”

2023 stands before us promising nothing but the same difficulties and opportunities that last year and every year before it promised. Maybe even new and worse ones. What are you going to do about it? Will you be ready for it? Can you handle it?

Books are an investment in yourself — investments that come in many forms: novels, nonfiction, how-to, poetry, classics, biographies. They help you think more clearly, be kinder, see the bigger picture, and improve at the things that matter to you. Books are a tradition that stretches back thousands of years and stretches forward to today, where people are still publishing distillations of countless hours of hard thinking on hard topics. Why wouldn’t you avail yourself of this wisdom?

With that in mind, here are 12 books — some new, some old — that will help you meet the goals that matter for 2023, that will help you live better and be better.

Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be by Steven Pressfield

Before I start any book project, I take a few hours and re-read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, maybe the greatest book ever written on the creative process. Well, on this book I just started, I changed it up a little because I got an early copy of Pressfield’s new book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be. I love the title so much because it’s the perfect advice for nearly every difficult thing. If you want to get in shape, put your ass in the gym. If you want to have a great relationship with your kids, get your ass down on the floor where they’re playing. If you want to write a book, put your ass in the chair. Even when you’re tired. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you don’t see the point. That’s what it’s about. You…

Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ http://amzn.to/24qKRWR