Things I enjoyed in 2022
2022 was a challenging year, but there's a lot to be thankful for
Due to supporting vulnerable family members (which meant my wife was away 50% of the year), plus me starting a new full-time remote job, I was on my own a lot in 2022.
I spent a lot of time online, both socially (in Slack and Discord groups) for human connection and read, listened and watched a lot of things, and the following are some highlights.
I read 20-30 books, but these were the standout ones:
- Shape Up by Jason Fried, Ryan Singer. We have started using this framework at work, and it's helped how we ship software.
- The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. A game-changer for user interview questions.
- Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick. A wonderful book on audience-driven feedback for writers.
- Learning to Build: The 5 Bedrock Skills of Innovators and Entrepreneurs by Bob Moesta. Reframes how you see innovation and helps understand customers for the better.
- How Design makes the World by Scott Berkun. Super clear and enjoyable book on why design matters.
- The Practice by Seth Godin
- The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Lynch, Scott. Cracking page-turning fantasy set amongst a magical world of con-men and thieves.
- Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett. Another heist based fantasy series with an interesting take on a magic-system.
- The Blade itself by Joe Abercrombie. Think Conan the Barbarian meets Game of Thrones meets Tarantino. Great characters that had me laughing out loud more than once.
- Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Book 1 of the Expanse series, which I came to via the Expanse TV show on Amazon Prime.
- Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. New to Brandon Sanderson, and he's a master of epic high-fantasy novel series. Incredible world building, and completely sucked me in.
- Jade City by Fonda Lee. Really fun. Think Hong Kong gangster film but set in a fantasy metropolis.
- The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper. I'm a sucker for good young-adult books, as they are often an enjoyable easy read, and this is a classic series I read as a child, enjoyed, and reread.
I got myself a YouTube subscription, and it's made a night and day difference to sheer enjoyment of online video.
I probably consume way too much, but these are a few folks I subscribe to that I've enjoyed.
- Magic: Chris Ramsay - I used to do a lot of close-up magic and both Chris and Penn and Teller on YouTube have been such a joy and rekindled my love of magic.
- Photography: Sean Tucker for his philosophical approach to creativity. Faizal Westcott - Faisal has a really nice editing style and his sheer enthusiasm for Street Photography is great. Also enjoyed James Popsys a lot. So many good photography YouTubers out there too many to list.
Music Making: Ricky Tinez, TAETRO and True Cuckoo - I've set myself the challenge of learning Ableton this year, and thoroughly inspired by watching this guys make beats.
- Coding: Joy of Code has been great for learning Svelte and SvelteKit.
- Design: Figma, Motion Hatch and CharlieMarie TV have all been great.
We seem to be in a golden age of TV and music at the moment, and there have been so many best-of posts, but the following were highlights for me:
- Slow Horses (Apple TV) - comedic London-based spy series - love Gary Oldman.
- For all Mankind (Apple TV) - a history rewrite of the space race, set over several decades.
- The Rings of Power (Amazon Prime) - a big budget Lord of the Rings pre-cursor.
- His Dark Materials S3 (BBC iPlayer) - a wonderful and emotional final series of Philip Pullman's beloved trilogy.
- Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime) - classic Tom Clancy popcorn thriller stuff.
- The Peripheral (Amazon Prime) - incredible time-bending sci-fi - hard to believe this was written in 2014.
- Mosquito Coast (Apple TV) - dark drama about a family fleeing the U.S. Government through Mexico - S1 and S2 equally good.
These aren't all new in 2022 but new to me - lots of folky stuff and ambient electronica.
Anything on NPR Tiny Desk Concerts - it's all good.
Scary Pockets - great guests and solid funk.
So many playlists on Apple Music - Living in the Library and Piano Chill are great as background music.
Ludovico Einaudi - incredible composer and his latest Underwater is amazing.
Svaneborg KardyB Wurlitzer and percussion - danish and scandi folk/jazz - think distilled sunshine - joyous.
Truth by Shallou - chilled and great for driving at night (Spotify and Apple Music)
Once by Ben Böhmer (Apple Music) - beautiful German electronica.
He also has a great Live at the Roundhouse set:
...As well as an incredible set from a Hot Air balloon above the Turkish desert.
Rosewood by Bonobo - there's something about Bonobo that''s just magical - I think the fact that he's a multi-instrumentalist is what gives his music such depth.
Home by Maribou State
Coastline by Hollow Coves - more on the folk side, with lots of mellow guitar.
Colly's Music Weekly - as someone who's not up on the music scene, I found Simon's weekly list is a great way to explore what's cool out there.
Site Nonsite and links - thoughtful and interesting electronic music with Japanese ambient aesthetics.
Music for Sushi Restaurant by Harry Styles. Never thought I'd be a Harry Styles fan, but here we are - I loved this song (and the album it's from) - very funky.
Slack: Designer Hangout and Discord: Frontend Horse, Friends of Figma, Svelte and The Happy Place.
Twitter used to be where I spent a lot of time but I've moved over to Mastodon and Micro.blog since Twitter's takeover and I think it's time I started posting more in places where I'm not the product - Much like Andy I'm hoping folks blog more on their own sites in 2023.