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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

Wrapping Up My 2023 Reading Journey Of 106 Books

Updated: Jan 25

From Philosophy To Management, 2 Books Each Week


In 2023, I read 106 books over nine months, averaging 2.7 books per week. In this post, I reflect on the year 2023 through the lens of these books, similar to Spotify's annual wrap-up. Here, I will highlight my top reads and share aggregate statistics.


In the next post, I will share the impact each of the 100+ books had on me.

Wrap of books of 2023 illustrated as a Spotify-style year in review with a bookshelf.
Wrap of books of 2023 illustrated as a Spotify-style year in review with a bookshelf.

Thumbnail credits to Business Insider for the Spotify illustration, Image by upklyak on Freepik, and www.remove.bg for transparency.



2023's Top Picks: My Favorite Reads Of The Year

Choosing my top picks from the 106 books I read in 2023 was no easy task. Each of these books stood out for its unique impact and memorable content. Here, I'll share why these top 3 books earned their special place in my year.


The top 3 books I liked or re-read the most were:

  • The Good Life (Philosophy and Thought): I read this book twice. It shows how important family and friend relationships are for your health and long life. The book is about a long study, over eighty years, on hundreds of people. 83% people stayed in the study from start to finish. My wife and I love this book. We're thinking of using some ideas from it. It gave me new energy to make friends in our new home in Ireland.

  • What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How successful people become even more successful (Leadership and Management): I've read this book many times, despite its unattractive cover and unappealing title. It describes 20 behavioral mistakes common among professionals, particularly those who become successful executives, but face a ceiling to their growth due to interpersonal issues. The book clearly explains these challenges and offers practical solutions. I began using these solutions in my daily life.

  • Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World (Scaling Tech Company): I've read the same book many times this year. It challenged many common beliefs about work. The book covered work-life balance, performance evaluation, interviewing, 360-degree feedback, project planning, and OKRs. It turned these ideas upside down. I knew about some of these issues before, but this book tied them together.


See the 100+ books I read in 2023 here.

You can watch a video walkthrough of the statistics and book covers here.


Runner-Ups: Noteworthy Reads Of 2023

While my top picks were hard to beat, several other books also left a lasting impression on me. Here are runner-up mentions:

  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals (Philosophy and Thought): I read this book two times. It blew my mind because it discusses our limited life span and so limited time. This means I have to make the best choices each day, each week. I need to say no to many things. I should spend more time with my family and less on other things. I won't sacrifice family time for money, career, or public appearances. This is important to me.

  • The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years (Parenting and Family): I learned how to apply organizational best practices of management, planning, and decision-making in your family. Your family is also an organization where you want to put your best foot forward and use research backed approaches. Pairs well with the book Fair Play.

  • The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Friendships and Community): I read this book and it was a great next-level supplement to "The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings" by Nick Gray. It got me thinking about the purpose every time I invite friends. I learned to arrange all parts of an event to meet that purpose. For example, is your wedding about honoring your parents' contributions? Or is it a celebration of your love with friends? Another thing is deciding who to invite for a lunch get-together. Think of the purpose to decide whom to invite. Think of the difference between a cocktail party, a formal dinner, and more.

  • The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science (Food and Cooking): I really enjoyed this book. It taught me cooking in a way that makes sense to me. It uses a scientific method. The book does things like blind taste tests. It make hypotheses then tests them. This helps find out what works and what doesn't. For example, if someone says, "Cook pasta in a rolling boil," this book will test different ways to boil pasta, cook chicken, blanch vegetables, and more. I learned so much from this book. This is a book I wish someone would gift me because its paperback is too expensive.


See the 100+ books I read in 2023 here.


Timeless Favorites: Most Revisited Books

Some books are like old friends, offering comfort and wisdom time and again. In this section, I highlight the books from previous years that I found myself returning to in 2023.


See the 100+ books I read in 2023 here.


2023 By The Numbers: Statistical Overview Of My Reading

Numbers tell a story of their own. I tracked my reading habits to share a statistical overview of my 2023 reading.

Collage of all book covers read in 2023.
Collage of all book covers read in 2023.

Aggregate statistics:

  • I read 106 books in 2023.

  • I spent a total of £578 ($735) in 2023 on books.

  • My rate of reading and spending was equivalent to reading 2.7 books per week for £14.44 ($18.40) each week. I adjusted this number for my break from reading to help me understand my speed. I took a break from reading for 3 months from March to May 2023.

Split of books purchased by spend and count across formats and months of the year.
Split of books purchased by spend and count across formats and months of the year.

Audiobooks were the most convenient for me, so I preferred those over ebooks or paperback. I used the Alexa app to read ebooks aloud, as described here. I used Audible to listen to audiobooks.


A challenge in the data is it does not show the books I re-read a dozen times. It also doesn’t segregate books I purchased but didn’t complete reading. I manually reviewed every book and counted 106 books read and 6 books not read. The 106 books includes some I read multiple times. See the 100+ books I read in 2023 here.

Audible stats on listening time and listening speed from 2022 and 2023.
Audible stats on listening time and listening speed from 2022 and 2023.

Genre Insights: Categorizing My 2023 Reads

Categorizing books by genre reveals my reading patterns and preferences. Here's how the genres played out in my 2023 reading list.

word cloud of the genre of books or content I read the most shows majority were business, psychology, and personal development.
word cloud of the genre of books or content I read the most shows majority were business, psychology, and personal development.

Some inferences from the top genre tags:

  1. Non-fiction guides: 96% of all books I read were tagged as Non-fiction. Since almost all books were non-fiction, this doesn’t help understand more. 72% of my book reads were Self-help. 45% were also tagged as Personal development, which overlaps with Self-help.

  2. Business: 68% tagged as Business. This is a reduction from 2022’s 84% business books. See 2022 review of 90+ books here.

  3. Psychology and Leadership: 50% tagged as Psychology. 38% tagged in Management.

Behind The Scenes: How I Analyzed My Reading Data

I used the same process as last year to get the data and visualize it. The only difference was I took ChatGPT’s help to clean up the Audible web scrap data faster. If you’d like to replicate any part of this analysis, you can read the steps I shared in 2022’s post.

Process to analyze, synthesize, and visualize the data of 100+ books read in a year.
Process to analyze, synthesize, and visualize the data of 100+ books read in a year.

Yearly Comparison: 2023 Vs. 2022 Reading Habits

In 2023, I read more books than in 2022, even though I took a three-month break from reading. I managed to read more by not listening to podcasts, reading news, or checking newsletters.


I chose this because

  • books offer higher-quality content than podcasts or newsletters.

  • Reading 10 books is more impressive than listening to 100 hours of podcasts.

  • News offers value with a short expiry date. It rarely lifts my moods or is actionable.


Looking Ahead: My Reading Aspirations For 2024

For 2024, I'm setting some goals. I haven't decided on them yet, but here are my thoughts:

  • Read 10 or more books in the year. This might seem low compared to 100 books. But my reading isn't about hitting a high number. Even though I have 40+ books on my wish list, I don't need to read too many in one year.

  • Read one or more paperback book in the year.

  • Create a list of books from 2023 that I want to reread. Read these books.


You can watch a video walkthrough of the statistics and book covers here.

In the next post, I will share the impact each of the 100+ books had on me.


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