Top Reads for 2022 with Rebel Book Club

Image of brunette lady holding a book called 'Finding Your Element'.
Rebel Book Club
Image of Katie Fiddaman
by Katie Fiddaman
9 March 2022

As with most well intentioned New Year's resolutions, our reading lists for the year ahead often start ambitious and hopeful, with a bookshelf full of self-help titles we can’t wait to immerse ourselves in. 

However, if you’re anything like our crew here at Virgin Red, the year seems to flash by and our reading motivation turns to reading procrastination. But never fear aspiring bookworms, our friends over at Rebel Book Club are here to save the day with their top non-fiction Rebel Reads for 2022 that’ll be sure to have you nailing those literary goals this year.

1. The Good Ally by Nova Reid

Image of The Good Ally by Nova Reid
Rebel Book Club

Maya Angelou once said, ”History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

This bold, fearless, fascinating and ultimately galvanising book will take your curiosity and concerns around all aspects of racism and turn it into a mindset and everyday toolkit for positive change. Nova is the teacher and friend we all need on this difficult journey to building a better society.

The Good Ally is an urgent call to arms to become better allies against racism and provides a thoughtful approach, centring around collective healing, to do so. It is a book for those against persistent racial injustice, hungry to expand their knowledge and understanding of systemic racism in Britain and beyond.

If you like this, try:

  • Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge

  • Natives - Akala

  • Empireland - Sathnam Sanghera

2. Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat

Image of Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat
Rebel Book Club

Solve for Happy is the equation for happiness. 

Happiness = the perception of the events in your life minus your expectations of how life should behave. This is a startlingly original book about creating and maintaining happiness, written by a top Google executive with an engineer's training and fondness for thoroughly analysing a problem.

Exploring happiness with a good author is never time wasted. Mo's personal journey from losing his son to finding peace in a busy, ambitious, tech-driven world is full of raw honesty, fascinating psychological insight and helpful ideas that are easy to explore. 

If you like this, try:

  • The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

  • Happy Sexy Millionaire - Steven Bartlett

  • The Obstacle is the Way - Ryan Holiday

3. Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Image of Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
Rebel Book Club

What if you stopped trying to do everything, so that you could finally get round to what counts?

We're obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, the struggle against distraction, and the sense that our attention spans are diminishing. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the question of how best to use our brief time on the planet.

Four Thousand Weeks is an uplifting, engrossing and deeply realistic exploration of this challenge. Rejecting the modern obsession with 'getting everything done,' it introduces you to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing rather than denying your limitations. And it shows how the unhelpful ways we've come to think about time aren't inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we've made, as individuals and as a society. Its many revelations will transform the reader's worldview.

The book kicks the hustle culture and productivity hacking into touch, and zooms in on the bigger question of our relationship with time. The shortness of the average human lifespan in the UK (80 yrs or 4000 weeks) is not a cause for despair, but relief. You get to choose how best to spend it. 

If you like this try:

  • Digital Minimalism - Cal Newport

  • Essentialism - Greg McKeown

  • Time Warped - Claudia Hammond

4. No Filter by Sarah Frier

Image of No Filter by Sarah Frier
Rebel Book Club

Instagram has had a big impact on many of our lives. This is a classic startup story that also explores how small ideas can shift cultural behaviour at scale - for good and bad. 

Sarah Frier reveals the never-before-told story of how Instagram became the most culturally defining app of the decade. Frier draws on unprecedented access—from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers worldwide—to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we show, eat, travel, and communicate, all while fighting to preserve the values which contributed to the company’s success.

If you like this try:

  • An Ugly Truth (Facebook) - Cecilia Kang & Sheera Frenkel

  • Hatching Twitter - Nick Bilton

5. The Missing Cryptoqueen by Jamie Bartlett

Image of The Missing Cryptoqueen by Jamie Bartlett
Rebel Book Club

Where is Dr.Ruja? 175 countries, four billion dollars, one scam. This is the inside story of the world's biggest crypto con and the woman who got away with it.

Jamie Barlett, our favourite author of the dark side of the digital world, brings us one of the wildest business scam stories of modern times. Following the unbelievable rise, disappearance and fall of Dr Ruja Ignatova, kicking off a global investigation into the criminal underworlds, corrupt governments and the super-rich. Gripping, but also a strong reminder as to how and why so many of us can be conned.

If you like this, try:

  • Bad Blood - John Carreyrou

  • Mindf*ck - Christopher Wylie

  • Empire of Pain - Patrick Radden Keefe

6. Race for Tomorrow by Simon Mundy

Image of Race for Tomorrow by Simon Mundy
Rebel Book Club

We've been wanting to read a book on climate that was more story-driven and Simon Mundy's two year global journey hunting down those on the frontline of our rapidly changing world is a whirlwind adventure. In an extraordinary trek through 26 countries, Mundy meets the people striving to tackle the climate crisis, showing how the struggle to respond is already reshaping the modern world – shattering communities, shaking up global business, and propelling a groundbreaking wave of cutting-edge innovation.

There are so many fascinating, frightening but also uplifting stories along the way, that it made us breathless. Hence, the race! But they're all ultimately connected to the science and reality of our changing climate. A remarkable contribution to the biggest story of the century. 

If you like this try:

  • All We Can Save - Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson

  • Speed & Scale: A Global Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis - John Doerr

  • How to Spend a Trillion Dollars - Rowan Hooper

Interested? Join the club!

Rebel Book Club helps curious people improve their non-fiction reading habits. Whether it’s creativity, wellbeing or climate change, everyone can become a lifelong learner. Rebel Book Club is the gathering place for non-fiction fans to read, learn and connect. It’s a fun and fascinating place to hang out, with a global community of friendly thinkers and doers. They do all this through their monthly rhythm of 1 x non-fiction book (voted on by members), 2 x meetups and lots of individual and group conversations. Rebel collaborate with authors, topic experts and organisations to help with learning. Everyone goes at their own pace and joins in as much as they have the time and interest for. Do you read me? 

Rebel Book Club is supported by Virgin StartUp, who’ve been inspiring early-stage founders to start, fund and scale innovative businesses since 2013. Virgin StartUp champions small businesses with big ambitions. By choosing this reward, you’ll be helping shape the businesses of tomorrow. Find out more here.