My 2023 Book List

As I mentioned last year, I went years without reading a book. I’d still read — Twitter, Reddit, blogs, newspapers, etc — but didn’t finish a book. That was a mistake. There’s something special about sitting down with genuinely long-form content, especially content that is much less reactionary than what we consume online.

In 2023, I read 47 books. I mostly chose these based off of recommendations (primarily from in-person conversations), and keep a running list of books that I may want to read next. The recommendations I get are (normally) good, and it’s fun to be able tie a book to how you first heard of it. Given I rely so much on other people’s picks, I thought it’d be helpful for me to share my own.

I mostly read non-fiction. These are books that were new to me in 2023, so plenty of them are years (or even decades) old. I’ve highlighted five books were lesser known to me (e.g no cultural phenomenons or TV/Movie adaptations) that I particularly liked. Beyond that, I’m going to avoid including authors, blurbs, or my own personal thoughts. That’s partially laziness, but partially because it’s fun to pick books just off titles. It can also lead to happy accidents (like when I read two great books called “Last Call” since that is all I wrote down, and I wasn’t sure which one it was)

My Five Picks

  1. Hotel Splendide
  2. Brutalities: A Love Story
  3. American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down—My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off the World’s Casinos
  4. Among the Thugs
  5. Up in the Old Hotel: Reportage from “the New Yorker” 

The Rest

  1. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
  2. To the One I Love the Best
  3. How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir
  4. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
  5. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood
  6. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
  7. A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them
  8. Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon
  9. The Cap: How Larry Fleisher and David Stern Built the Modern NBA
  10. Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk
  11. What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
  12. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
  13. Manhattan Cult Story: My Unbelievable True Story of Sex, Crimes, Chaos, and Survival
  14. Casino-ology: The Art of Managing Casino Games
  15. Heat: An Amateur Cook in a Professional Kitchen
  16. The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood’s Kings of Carnage
  17. Billionaires’ Row: Tycoons, High Rollers, and the Epic Race to Build the World’s Most Exclusive Skyscrapers
  18. The Boys on the Bus
  19. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World
  20. The White House Plumbers: The Seven Weeks That Led to Watergate and Doomed Nixon’s Presidency
  21. Whitey’s Payback: And Other True Stories: Gangsterism, Murder, Corruption, and Revenge
  22. Dealt: Stories from My Life on the Felt
  23. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder
  24. Eli and the Octopus: The CEO Who Tried to Reform One of the World’s Most Notorious Corporations
  25. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot
  26. The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream
  27. Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
  28. Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy
  29. The Dispossessed
  30. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
  31. Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York
  32. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
  33. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
  34. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
  35. Boundless: The Rise, Fall, and Escape of Carlos Ghosn
  36. St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street
  37. Money Men: A Hot Startup, A Billion Dollar Fraud, A Fight for the Truth
  38. Then One Year…: History’s Craziest Year as Seen by a Las Vegas Bookmaker
  39. Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
  40. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
  41. Barnum
  42. Freedom


Read any of these? Have any more recommendations? Please send thoughts and new book recs my way!