2023 – What I’m Reading

This is a running list of books I’ve read in 2023, with the most recent first. I would love any recommendations you might have. First, here’s a link to our firm’s book club list (which goes back to 2011): St. Louis Trust Book Club List.


12. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, by Lynne Twist. This fantastic book explores our relationship with money and how it affects our lives. Twist argues that money is a powerful tool that can be used to create positive change in the world, but it is often viewed in a negative light because of our limited beliefs and misconceptions about it. She emphasizes the importance of shifting our mindset from scarcity to abundance and of using our resources to support causes we believe in. Twist also highlights the harmful effects of consumerism and encourages readers to live a simpler, more purposeful life. Overall, the book offers a thought-provoking and inspiring perspective on how we can transform our relationship with money to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

11. Unstoppable Referrals: 10x Referrals Half the Effort, by Steve Gordon. As the title suggests, this book is about getting more referrals. It highlights why asking for referrals is problematic and suggests new ways of creating a referral engine for your business. A main point is to have a “referral kit” to give out rather than ask an existing client to introduce you. Good idea. Writing a book is highlighted as a great way to create a referral kit.

10. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan. The author is a professor at the University of Texas, where he researches and teaches about happiness. He made happiness the focus of his research after noting that there was little correlation between being smart and successful (“S-and-S”) and happiness. In this book, he hits on the seven deadly sins of the things that impede our happiness and then suggests practices to counter the deadly sins. Good book.

9. The Latecomer: A Novel, by Jean Hanff Korelitz. This novel is about a family — the Oppenheimers — a mother, a father, triplets (2 boys and a girl), and then the “latecomer” who is a sister born 17 years after the triplets. This book is about relationships (and the lack of them) and family dynamics. It’s a page-turner and full of intrigue. The character development is fantastic as the reader becomes invested in the lives of all the characters. I loved this book!

8. Turning Pro, by Steven Pressfield. Turning Pro is a follow-up to the author’s amazing book The War of Art. In this book, Pressfield distinguishes between amateurs and professionals with numerous examples of how amateurs think vs. pros. The gist of the book is that professionals do scary hard things and get out of their comfort zone. From the Amazon description: “What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.” I loved this book and feel inspired to do hard things!

7. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. This classic novel follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, two characters who are initially drawn to each other despite their pride and prejudice. Through witty dialogue and social commentary, Austen explores themes of love, marriage, and class in Regency England. The novel is widely considered to be a masterpiece of English literature and is known for its memorable characters, sparkling dialogue, and romantic storyline. Stunningly good!

6. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan. In this book, the author explores the history and science of psychedelics, particularly their use in the treatment of mental illness and the enhancement of well-being. Pollan presents a case for the responsible use of psychedelics and the benefits they can offer but also highlights the importance of proper preparation, setting, and support for a safe and positive experience. The book delves into the subjective experiences of people who have used psychedelics, as well as the research being done to understand their effects on the brain. The author argues that psychedelics have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the mind and open up new avenues for self-discovery and healing. Very interesting.

5. Whiskey When We’re Dry, by John Larison. In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah–dead or alive.  Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right. I LOVED this book!

4. Bunny: A Novel, by Mona Awad. “Bunny” follows the story of Samantha, a graduate student in a creative writing program. Samantha becomes obsessed with a group of wealthy, eccentric students in her program who call themselves “The Bunnies.” As she becomes more involved with the group, she begins to lose touch with reality and becomes embroiled in a world of dark fantasy and surrealism. The book explores themes of identity, mental health, and the corrupting influence of power and privilege. I loved this beautifully written book, but it was bizarre. Reminded me of the movie “Heathers.” Not for everyone, but I’m so glad I read it.

3. Search: A Novel, by Michelle Huneven. I adored this book. It is styled as the memoir of Dana P., a mid-fifties author and food critic who is tapped to be on her church’s search committee for a new minister. The book chronicles the year-long search and the group dynamics of the church. Ultimately, the search comes down to two very different candidates backed by different constituents on the committee. Riveting read.

2. The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense, by Kevin W. McCarthy. This book was a quick read told as a fable about how to find and live your purpose. Unlike most books that are more hypothetical, the “On-Purpose Person” provides concrete steps for discovering and living your purpose. Good book.

1. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, by Martin E.P. Seligman. Written by one of the pioneers of positive psychology, in Flourish, the author argues that traditional psychology, which focuses on fixing problems and relieving suffering, is incomplete. He proposes an alternative framework called “well-being theory,” which emphasizes the importance of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment in leading a fulfilling life. Seligman provides practical advice and exercises for improving well-being and achieving “flourishing.”

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