THC Books of 2022

We asked a bunch of interesting people to share what they read and loved in 2022. We hope this reading list provides you with inspiration and joy for the holidays.

Empire of Pain

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Recommended by Chiki Sarkar, Publisher & Founder, Juggernaut Books

“The story of the immensely wealthy Sackler family and how they created the opioid crisis in America. A book of gripping non fiction, ( I read it in more or less a single sitting on a flight from Chicago to Delhi, when I usually would have binged on romantic comedies and drunk too much wine), it reads like a Victorian novel and covers big themes – about wealth, the arts and personal and professional morality.”

Cover of Empire of Pain

Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir

Recommended by Gautam Reghunath, Co-founder, Talentd

“I am a sci-fi nerd but even I’ll admit that the genre can be split into two categories: there’s the Cixin Liu/Three Body Problem sort of category where things are so far-fetched (which is amazing) but the explanations still leave you reeling a bit, OR there are stories like Project Hail Mary, my recommendation, where narratives are based on not-hard-to-believe science with relatively imaginative explanations for everything. The second is my preferred type. Not only is the premise ingenious, but the science is plausible and simply makes sense.

It’s easy to tell how wonderfully nerdy the author is. You can tell how happy random science stuff makes him – and he transfers that happiness to us. This is a survival story, just like his previous work, The Martian. And just like The Martian, it’s full of self-deprecation, humour and weirdness – the kind of story that restores your faith in humanity, though the human bit is mostly just our protagonist Ryland Grace.”

Cover of Book Hail Maary showing man in spacesuit falling

No Self No Problem: How Neuropsychology is Catching Up to Buddhism 

by Chris Niebauer

Recommended by Jaydeep Dutta, Head of Product Design, Udaan

“I found it very interesting and have re-read and quoted extensively from this book, because it made me rethink how I view myself and the world.”

Cover of book No Self No Problem showing a half Buddha face

User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the Way We Live, Work & Play

By Cliff Kuang, with Robert Fabricant

Recommended by Prashant Singh, Head of Product, Jar

“Most design books are craft, process or medium-centric. This is one of the very few books I have read which talks about the last leg of the process – the part where users interact with the things we design.

It talks about how to communicate affordance and feedback; how to think of the right metaphor and embody empathy. As we move to the age of AI, AR, voice and ambient computing, we are no longer designing with pixels, clicks or taps. The truest material for making new things in the future is not aluminium, carbon or pixels – it is behaviour. This book deconstructs behaviour.”

Cobver of Book User Friendly with Title underlined and  4 randomly placed blue dots

Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman 

Recommended by Sajith Pai, Director, Blume Ventures

“I felt as if the book was written for me:) TLDR; life is short, absurdly short (the title of the book is our life span essentially). You can’t do everything in this brief life. So choose – and what you choose becomes richer and more meaningful, because you have rejected many alternatives, and enjoy it. Productivity is not so much trying to do x work in y hours, for it will always spill over, but more about what you should work on.”

Cover of Book Four Thousand Weeks, with illustration of clock


By William Darymple

Recommended by Simeran Bhasin, Business Head, Alternative Protein, Licious

“I’ve only recently begun the book. It is a fascinating account of India’s colonisation by a corporate power. The author’s style of writing just transports you back to that era – especially through the language used back then.”

Competing Against Luck

By Clayton Christensen

Suchita Salwan, Co-founder, LBB

“I think I’ve re-read and referenced this book at least 10-12 times since I first read it four years ago. ‘Competing Against Luck’ is the kind of business and marketing book I enjoy – rooted in first principles, fantastic examples of the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ theory, and a refreshing take on why customers choose products and brands. My favourite line from the book is: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Cover of Competing Against Luck book by Ckaton Christensen

Recommendations from THC Writers

The Creativity Code

By Marcus Du Sautoy

Recommended by Anoopa John, Designer

“I had picked up this book way back in 2020 and came back to it in 2022 during all the discussions about AI and the legitimacy of AI-generated images. Marcus du Sautoy is a mathematician with a keen interest in AI and art. In the book, he is constantly asking if AI can ever be as creative as humans. Can qualities that make humans creative be taught to an AI? He has a refreshingly positive outlook of what AI could achieve for creativity, one where AI doesn’t take over human creativity, instead augments it. The book is full of historical and contemporary evidence that lets you appreciate the depths of human creativity and the true potential of AI. (Not one that suggests that people should become experts in prompts.) ”

Cover of Book The Creativity Code showing hand touching cursor

The Anthropocene Reviewed

John Green

Recommended by Deepak Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder,

“There are few books I can describe as ‘delightful’ and this is one. Written by the author of The Fault In Our Stars and one half of the YouTube duo, Vlogbrothers, the book is a collection of 20 odd personal essays, where Green ‘reviews’ various things from his lived experience. From Teddy Bears to QWERTY keyboards to Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League win – these are chapters of his life as much as a book. It is endearing, informative, hilarious and of course, delightful. I cannot recommend a better read to uplift you.”

Cover of Book Anthropocene with red and purple abstract shapes

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars

by Francesca Wade

Recommended by Gowri N Kishore, Writer

“Did you know that Virginia Woolf, Dorothy L Sayers, historian Eileen Powers, poet Hilda Doolittle, and classics scholar Jane Harrison all lived in the same area of London (Mecklenburg Square) between the world wars? This book takes a look at these five women during a transitional period in their life as they move into rooms of their own, try to find their voice, and make their own living. Partly biographical, partly an exploration of the realities of a creative life, it’s a fascinating read.”

Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh by Shrayana Bhattacharya

Recommended by Meeta Malhotra, Founder, The Hard Copy

Cover of Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh

“I read mostly fiction this year, actively shunning any productivity or self-improvement books and instead seeking an escape into other worlds. ‘Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh’ was an exception. I picked it up out of curiosity and found myself intrigued enough to finish. It wasn’t the craft or the writing that impressed me – it was the strong female gaze. So many of the scenarios were familiar and yet there were constant reminders of how much I take for granted. The author does a good job of combining the country’s economic and political evolution with an SRK-based narrative and she uses both deftly in this insightful commentary on Indian women. Make the men in your life read this.”

Have a book you would like to recommend to the THC community? Tell us in the comments please.

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