These Are the Books I Read in 2022

A Christmas present: Aliens - Colonial Marines Technical Manual
Screenshot of my Amazon Kindle reading insights: Days in a row=406; weeks in a row=230.

I have enjoyed reading my entire life, since I was a toddler. For the past couple years, I have typically had at least two books going at the same time: one for learning and one for pleasure. This year was no different.

I was hoping to read over 40 books in 2022, but I counted the Legacy War 9-book series as a single book and several books were pretty massive, taking a while to finish. Regardless, I’m pretty happy with the reading I achieved this past year and I’m looking forward to another great reading year in 2023. I’ve already built quite a backlog in my Kindle library and my Amazon wishlist.

Here are the books I read in 2022:

  1. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Started 2021 – COMPLETED)
  2. Sprinting Though No Man’s Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour De France, by Adin Dobkin (Started 2021 – COMPLETED)
  3. Feedback (First Contact), by Peter Cawdron
  4. Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos, by Jeff Bezos (in progress)
  5. All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries (book 1), by Martha Wells
  6. The Second Ship (The Rho Agenda Book 1), by Richard Phillips
  7. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, by Dave Grohl
  8. Legacy War: The Complete Series Books 1-9, by John Walker
  9. Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life (updated and expanded edition), by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  10. The Language of Emotional Intelligence: The Five Essential Tools For Building Powerful and Effective Relationships, by Jeanne Segal
  11. The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: Fifth Edition, by Steven Ascher, Edward Pincus (in progress – 15%)
  12. Making Movies, by Sidney Lumet
  13. The Filmmaker’s Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition, by Gustavo Mercado
  14. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
  15. On the Meldon Plain (The Fourline Trilogy Book 2), by Pam Brondos (in progress)
  16. The Last Remnant (The Fourline Trilogy Book 3), by Pam Brondos
  17. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  18. Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances, by Leland Melvin
  19. Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries (book 2), by Martha Wells
  20. Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries (book 3), by Martha Wells
  21. Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries (book 4), by Martha Wells
  22. Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX, by Eric Berger
  23. DODO, by Neal Stephenson
  24. Chasing Failure: How Falling Short Sets You Up For Success, by Ryan Leak
  25. Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media, by Brittany Hennessey
  26. Network Effect: The Murderbot Diaries (book 5), by Martha Wells
  27. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, by Seth Godin
  28. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph, by Ryan Holiday
  29. Fugitive Telemetry: The Murderbot Diaries (book 6), by Martha Wells
  30. Into the Black: Remastered Edition (Odyssey One Book 1), by Evan Currie
  31. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business And Influence – And How You Can, Too, by Gary Vaynerchuck
  32. Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers, by Andy Greenberg (in progress – 49%)
  33. One Million Followers, Updated Edition: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days, by Brendan Kane (in progress – 10%)
  34. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (in progress – 10%)

Of the 34 books on my 2022 list:

  • 2 were started in 2021 and completed in 2022
  • 4 are still in progress
  • 28 were started and completed in 2022
  • 1 “book” was actually a series of 9 books (1280 pages total)
  • Several were significantly longer than average – i.e., 700+ pages (e.g., #8, 11, 17, 23, possibly others)
  • Most were in Amazon Kindle format, though some were hardcopy
  • Most were purchases or gifts, though at least one was a library loan and a few were “free” via Amazon Prime Reading

I Launched a New Bike Trials Website!

Rebranded This Is Bike Trials! YouTube channel home page
I’ve re-branded and overhauled my YouTube channel

In part of my effort to re-brand my YouTube channel to focus exclusively on trials biking, I’ve also created a new website to support that new brand. Therefore, going forward, posts of trials videos will be on that website instead of here.

I’ve also re-branded my Instagram account (formerly @tichem, now @ThisIsBikeTrials).

Owning Your Life

Card that states, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Kurt Cobain
Photo by Annie Spratt from Pexels

As I was skimming through my newsfeeds today (yes, I still us an RSS reader), I came across an article title that reached out and grabbed me: ‘Most of Us Look for Ways to Feel Offended’: How to Break Out of Toxic Patterns and Start Living. What caught my eye was the first part, since too often I have noticed exactly that: often people seem like their trying to be offended.

Interestingly, I had a discussion just today with a colleague who was put off by the manner and tone an individual was using to provide valuable insights during a teleconference. I had previous interactions with the individual who was providing the feedback, so I understood that right or wrong, that was his style. I told my colleague that the person was providing valuable feedback, probably earned through some painful lessons, despite the somewhat tactless approach he used to convey his points.

One of the reasons I’m able to work with just about anybody, is that I realized that everyone has their own set of ‘filters’ through which they experience the world. These filters not only bias the way in which people perceive the world, but also the way the interact with it, including with other people. Additionally, not everyone has learned how to communicate effectively. Top it all off with individual quirks, some more pronounced that others, and you can get some rather interesting interactions.

I’ve found that the trick is to separate the personality from the message. While some people are utterly toxic, others just have certain idiosyncrasies to their approach. Once you understand a person’s style, even if you don’t particularly like it, you can still work with them effectively. Maybe you don’t want to invite them over for dinner, but at least you can interact with them and not get all bent out of shape. Another key is to realize that most of the time, it’s never about you – even if the person you have to deal with is somewhat obnoxious. Finally, it’s just not worth the energy to get all bent out of shape over someone’s personality, particularly is you have to work with them (of course harassment, bullying, threatening, etc. is never acceptable, but that’s a different story altogether).

The part of the title that mentioned being easily offended is why I clicked the link, but that was only one little piece of the article; the author offers 7 additional maxims that amount to the fact that you need to ‘own’ your own life, control what is within your control, and don’t cede control to other people or things you cannot change. I highly recommend reading the entire article, and really reflecting honestly on the 8 points. They are proven concepts that increase the likelihood of living a happier, more fulfilling life.

“Everything we think, say and do in life is a choice. Regardless of what’s happening to us, we always have a choice in how we respond, and when we leave our focus and energy there, we find ways to win and succeed.”

Amy M Chambers 

Do You Sell Yourself Short?

Man holding up a glowing lightbulb
I’ve had a realization… again (Photo by Clement Eastwood from Pexels)

There are at least three types of people when it comes to self-assessing capabilities: (1) those who are either arrogant or defensive, always bragging about their ‘accomplishments’ and covering up their weaknesses, (2) those who focus on their weaknesses, often failing to notice their strengths, or downplaying them, and (3) those who are self-aware and accurately assess both their strengths and their weaknesses. I often represent the second group, selling myself short.

I recently had my performance review with my manager. During the review, we discussed my performance this past year with respect to employee development. When I wrote up my self-assessment, I had in my mind a very narrow view of what ‘developing my employees’ meant, hyper-focusing on a single dimension of this role. I had failed to recognize not only that the scope was much broader, but that I had actually performed significantly better in both the overall role that I had failed to consider, but also in the specific facet that I thought I’d neglected.

It wasn’t until my manager starting asking me some questions about it that I realized I’d had blinders on! This brings up a good point though: if you relate to Type #2 above, you might discover that other people rate your proficiency much higher than you rate yourself. It’s interesting, because I’ve noticed this tendency in the past, but apparently I forgot. While I certainly don’t consider myself to be ‘Mr. Perfect’, I do think that I often sell myself short for probably a number of reasons, including failure to frame the context and criteria properly. This is why it’s so important to have frank discussions with people whom you trust – people who will give you honest feedback regarding both your strengths, achievements, weaknesses, mistakes, failures, blind spots, personality quirks, ‘super powers’, whatever. If you notice that you’re a #2, get a second opinion!

Shooting the Moon

Gibbous moon, photographed through a telescope using a smartphone camera
The Moon, photographed December 13, 2021 using my telescope and smartphone camera

The moon is probably my favorite celestial object to photograph for a few reasons. It’s very relatable – everyone can see it with the naked eye. There is plenty of detail and nuance, that can provide endless hours of viewing, study, and appreciating. Every month, the moon goes through its phases, so every night offers a slightly different view, with different lighting and shadows offering different perspectives of the same features throughout the cycle. You can photograph it with a telephoto lens to get some decent photos. Or you can use a simple smartphone camera to shoot through a telescope to get better detail.

Photographing the Moon Using a Telescope

Even with a simple telescope such as my Orion XT6 Dobsonian, you can get some pretty amazing views and photos of the moon, such as the one above. The Dobsonian mount doesn’t allow motorized tracking, so the moon slides through the view in a short time, but since it’s so bright (even using a moon filter to dim the exposure), even a smartphone’s camera can get some decent shots, though it does take some finagling.

There are some interesting details in the photo above that I find fascinating to look at. The mountains just past the terminator (the line of shadow) are high enough that the sunlight hits their peaks. Also near the terminator, the sun angle provides some great contrast of the crater walls, making it easier to see their details. In the lava plains, you can see that the moon’s surface isn’t smooth completely; it almost looks like waves in some places. In some locations, you can see striking variations in color and light/dark shading. And of course you can see bright rays of material that have been ejected by high speed meteor impacts.

Lunar Photography Using a Handheld Camera

While the telescope views yield fantastic details, I have been able to take some pretty decent photos using a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a 300 mm zoom lens. The photos below give an example of what is possible with a handheld camera and a fairly steady atmosphere. It usually takes several attempts to get the focus, ISO, and shutter speed settings optimized, as well as to hold my breath and keep still enough to avoid blurring.

Half Moon
Half Moon, photographed with a handheld DSLR and 300mm zoom
Crescent Moon
Crescent Moon, photographed with a handheld DSLR and 300mm zoom

I Read Over 30 Books in 2021!

My Kindle reading metrics: 178 weeks in a row, 41 days in a row
Apparently I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading

I pushed myself this year to read more books than ‘normal’. I wanted to hit 40 books, but fell a bit shy at 31 books completed and 3 others partially read, as shown in the list below (in reading order). While I have read some hardcopy books, most of these have been on my Kindle or the Kindle app on my phone. I have tried to maintain a balance of books covering self-improvement (or business), science fiction, and space. I also started a book club with people from work, so some of those titles are included in the list. This has been an interesting and enjoyable journey. Let’s see how long I can keep up this pace!

Reading the self-improvement/business books provides facts, strategies, and techniques to improve your performance at whatever you do – whether professionally or personally. It’s an investment in yourself. Indulging in fiction provides an enjoyable escape – for me, a way to unwind every evening.

I make reading a daily habit. Even reading just a few minutes a day compounds greatly over time.

Here is this list of the books I read this year, with the uncompleted books indicated as such:

  1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck
  2. Endurance: My Year In Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, by Scott Kelly
  3. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
  4. The Last Campaign (The Near-Earth Mysteries, Book 2), by Martin L. Shoemaker
  5. Everything Is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo
  6. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, by Seth Godin
  7. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America, by Annie Jacobsen 
  8. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
  9. Start With Why, Simon Sinek
  10. The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle
  11. Night Train to Rigel, by Timothy Zahn
  12. Guerilla Publishing, by Derek Murphy, Ph.D. (STARTED – 11%)
  13. The War of Art: Break Through Your Barriers and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield
  14. The Triton Disaster, by Brandon Q. Morris
  15. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain For Happiness and Success, by Amy Morin
  16. The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller (The Origin Mystery Book 1), by A.G. Riddle
  17. Start: Punch Fear In The Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters, by Jon Acuff
  18. The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Op In History, by Josh Dean
  19. Radical Candor: Fully Revised and Updated Edition: Be A Kick-Ass Boys Without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott
  20. The Enigma Cube (Alien Artifact Book 1), by Douglas E. Richards
  21. Just Listen: Discovery the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, by Mark Goulston
  22. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
  23. New Eden, by Tipimeni Kishore
  24. Artemis: A Novel, by Andy Weir
  25. The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, by Christian Davenport
  26. The Fossil: Science Fiction Thriller (Secrets of Mars Book 1), by Joshua T. Calvert
  27. Marchenko’s Children: Hard Science Fiction (Proxima Logfiles Book 1), by Brandon Q. Morris
  28. Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by Jim Donovan
  29. Constance, by Matthew FitzSimmons
  30. The Far Shore, by Glenn Damato
  31. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (STARTED – 55%)
  32. 3zekial (First Contact), by Peter Cawdron
  33. Starman’s Saga: The Long, Strange Journey of Leif The Lucky, by Colin Alexander
  34. Sprinting Though No Man’s Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour De France, by Adin Dobkin (STARTED – 36%)

Passion for Your Job

Man standing beside a projector screen in front of workers
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Prior to retirement, we spend roughly ⅓ of our waking life at our jobs. Given the amount of time we spend in the workplace with our colleagues, why would anyone choose not to be actively engaged? Even if the work you do at your job isn’t exactly what you want, you’re spending a large portion of your life doing it. You’re also probably interacting with the same people every day as well. If you’re going to invest such a large percentage of your life there with those people, why simply trudge through it or just let it happen to you?

Regardless of what your job is, make it your own and make the workplace better through your efforts. You can do this by building relationships, getting to know your colleagues and teammates, exuding positive energy, initiating and participating in healthy dialogue, generating and implementing new ideas, sharing lessons learned, coaching and mentoring others, and generally leaving your (positive!) mark on the workplace. It’s not about the job per se, it’s about pursuing excellence, exercising your inner genius, and supporting your team. It’s about being the best you can be at whatever it is that you do, as well as making the world a better place through your sincere, personal touch. 

Conversely, if it’s not worth the effort to become deeply engaged with your work and with your team, or worse – you hate what you’re doing – then why are you still there?!?

What’s Your ‘Awesome’?

Everyone has their ‘awesome’ – their unique set of gifts and talents. What’s yours? How are you leveraging it to bring your gifts to the world, both in your professional and personal life? Even if your job isn’t your ideal dream job, how are you bringing your ‘awesome’ to the table in the workplace? What’s holding you back? What if you shared your ‘awesome’ with the world?

This Is Why I Share My Trials Biking Experience

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

The other day I stopped to chat briefly with an acquaintance. During our discussion, he asked whether I was still doing bike trials (he had seen some of my videos). I responded that I was definitely still riding trials, and absolutely loving it! He replied that not long ago he had considered starting a new hobby, but was wondering whether he was too old to begin that specific type of thing. Then, he said, he reflected on the fact that I had started trials biking at almost 50 years old (he’s probably 15-20 years younger than I am). He caught me off guard (in a good way) by saying that my trials biking had inspired him. If I could start trials at my age, then certainly he could certainly start his new hobby. So he did!

There are two reasons I share my trials experience with anyone who will listen: (1) I want to grow the sport here in the US – both overall awareness and the number of riders, and (2) I want to inspire people to chase after their passions and do things that are challenging, regardless of their age!

Learning that my experiences in trials biking had inspired someone to take action, to stretch and try something new lifted my spirits that day. My hope is that this blog and my other social media channels (YouTube and Instagram) will inspire others as well, whether they decide to ride trials or do some other difficult thing (if it does, let me know with a comment or via the ‘contact‘ page).

Reaching ‘middle age’ doesn’t mean you have to stop learning or doing things that are physically or mentally demanding. I would encourage you to stretch yourself. Try something new. Do something different. Push yourself to grow and excel. Pursue new goals, or chase dreams that maybe you thought were out of reach. You still have plenty of life left at fifty.

I Started a Book Club at Work

Woman wearing glasses reading a book titled The Making of a Manager
Photo by John Ray Ebora from Pexels

Earlier this year, I had been spending a lot of time thinking about how to better engage my team as well as how to better support them. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been reading a lot of books lately. As I was reading some good books in the beginning of this year, a few neurons fired, sparking an idea: what if there was a way to get other folks at work to read similar books and to multiply what they learn by meeting to discuss the books? It’s hardly a novel idea, but something about it really resonated with me.

In order to gauge reception to the idea, I asked a number of colleagues and direct reports whether they’d be interested. Only a handful of people expressed a desire to participate, but that’s all that’s necessary to get started. I figured that if nothing else, at least it’s a worthy experiment.

Our Team’s Approach

Over the past 6 months or so, we’ve read and discussed 3 books and have selected the 4th. Our group’s approach is pretty simple. We read a book every 2 months and meet to discuss it. I start the process by requesting 1-3 book ideas from the group based on a previously selected theme, as well as what the group members would like to have as the theme of the following book. Once the deadline for inputs has expired, we all vote on the books and themes. For books, everyone picks their top 3 choices in prioritized order, so the votes are weighted accordingly; for themes, we all get a single vote. Once the voting deadline has passed, I announce the results.

Since we can’t meet during work hours, our group meets in the evening via Zoom. Our meetings have been pretty laid back, but always interesting. We follow a rather loose format – in other words, we haven’t used a structured set of questions.

Book Club Best Practices

When first getting started, I did some simple online research to see what others have done to build successful book reading clubs. I’ve summarized here what I learned from my research.


  • Set expectations up-front, including the purpose of the group, genres / themes that will be covered, etc.
  • Schedule meetings regularly. Best frequency is about every 2 months; quarterly is probably too long. Alternatively, meet weekly and discuss one or more chapters (two chapter is a good number per week) at each meeting vs. the entire book.
  • Meeting times
    • The time of day should be consistent
    • Lunchtime (“brown bag”) is a good time
    • 3PM is a good time for afternoon sessions
  • Consider inviting experts on the topics occasionally
  • Keep it informal; there are different approaches that can work
    • Can ask some questions for conversation starters (email them beforehand), then let it flow
    • Can have a ‘standard’ set of questions that the group discusses for every book
    • Can select a different person to start the conversation each meeting
    • Can ask each person to choose a passage from the week’s chapters and read it aloud;  then the group discusses their thoughts on the passage
  • Keep the tone of the discussions cordial & arbitrate if necessary
  • Keep two lists: what was read and what possible future options are
  • Consider asking HR or training group if the cost can be covered by the company
  • Discussion should cover how the reading applies to your work / business
  • Invite new members each time
  • Switch up themes each time
  • Consider doing something thematic at each (or some of) the meetings related to the book theme
  • Listen to your members – what do they want?

Book Selection

  • Get suggestions (e.g., 10 suggested books) from each member
  • Allow members to vote on the books. Use an online survey for voting or draw from a hat, etc. Alternatively, consider delegating the book selection each time to someone different, either to select the book or collect suggestions and run the vote.
  • Consider book length – too short could be difficult to have enough to discuss; too long might not allow people to finish reading
  • Books should be widely / easily available (and low cost – e.g., paperbacks)
  • Keep it work appropriate and focus on strengthening the group, not dividing it


  1. The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Book Club At Work, By Nicole Gulotta, January 16, 2017,, accessed 2/23/2021
  2. Implement a Book Club at Work, by  Susan M. Heathfield, Updated September 17, 2020,, accessed 2/23/2021
  3. 6 Tips for Running a Book Club at your Workplace, By Dawid Bednarski, updated in March 2019,, accessed 2/23/2021
  4. Tips on Creating a Book Club, Penguin Random House,, accessed 2/23/2021
  5. The Art Of Picking Books For A Book Club, By Elizabeth Allen, Aug 22, 2017,, accessed 2/23/2021
  6. How Does Your Book Club Choose Books to Read?, accessed 2/23/2021
  7. How to Pick the Perfect Book Club Book in 7 Steps, By Julianna Haubner, July 30 2018,, accessed 2/23/2021