We all love books, don’t we? Whether you speed read to cull the best learnings or savour each word, books are the fodder for the soul. As someone said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before (s)he dies... someone who never reads lives only one.” I think it was George RR Martin, whose book, A Song of Ice and Fire was made into Game of Thrones.
I have six book recommendations for you today. Books that have shaped my life and thinking this year. They have helped me a lot, and I hope you will read them too and experience the magic.
I hope these books will help you enter 2019 with all the confidence, happiness, and all the awesome feeling in your soul. And though you may feel some of the books are a bit pricey, I assure you it will be worth the money.
So here goes.
‘Atomic Habits, An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones’ by James Clear (Price: Rs 699)
This is a phenomenal book because I have read a lot of ‘How to’ books about changing habits but none helped. What registered in my mind after reading this books was, if you want to change the outcome, for example, lose weight or kick a bad habit, then it will be difficult to sustain it. Outcome-based habit changing is difficult to sustain. But when the change is associated with our identity, for example, I want to be healthy or be fit, then it becomes simpler to sustain. “Outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe,” writes the author.
It is very transformative. This book will actually help.
‘Thinking in Bets, Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts’ by Annie Duke (Price: Rs 699)
This book is for all those who are constantly judged on the decisions that they make. Often our lives are defined by two things. One, the decisions we make, whether it is professional or about our relationships, and second, luck.
This book by Annie Duke, who is a professional poker player, shows how to make good decisions in the midst of uncertainty around us. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly dealing with uncertainty whether it is hiring, raising funds, managing team and clients, and so on. This book will prove to be your best companion. I go back to it again and again. I would like to thank Priya from Venture Highway, who recommended this book to me. I hope you will love my recommendation too.
‘Man’s Search For Meaning, The Classic Tribute to Hope From the Holocaust’ by Viktor E Frankl (Price: Rs 299)
I read this book when I was in high school, and I read it again when I was working and during a very low phase in my life.
What is so beautiful and powerful about this book is that there was no reason why the author should have gone to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps at all. He could have fled to America. But he chose to stay with his parents in the camps. This book says that life is not a quest for happiness, power, or money.
It is about how one can derive meaning from life.
Every line in this book is motivating and inspiring. I highly recommend it. It is not preachy. It will live in your soul. And if you want to start your New Year on a good note, buy this book.
‘The Wisdom of Sundays, Life-changing Insights and Inspirational Conversations’ by Oprah Winfrey (Price: Rs 899)
This book should be by everyone’s bedside table. It is a compilation of Oprah’s conversations with some of the best thinkers and scientists. In the chapter, ‘Spiritual GPS’, she writes: “Your life is always speaking to you. The fundamental spiritual question is: Will you listen?” It’s like everything you need help with. Again, not a preachy book, but a book that helps you go deep and pushes you to think. This is a book for all seasons and for all reasons.
‘How To Walk’ by Thich Nhat Hanh (Price: Rs 250)
I am a follower of Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen master and the father of mindfulness. My bookcase is filled with his books. But I highly recommend How To Walk. In today’s modern life, sitting has become a curse. We are sitting for long hours in front of our systems. So take a short walk because that’s the moment when you can live soulfully and practice this attention, this mindfulness. “If we focus all our awareness on walking, we stop the thinking, storytelling, blaming and judging that goes on in our heads...This alone is enough to calm the storm,” he writes.
‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke (Price: Rs 299)
I always feel the need for a mentor, a guide, someone I can trust blindly. And this is one author who fills that gap. The book is a compilation of letters written to a young poet Franz Kappus. There’s this soldier who has gone to the bettlefield to fight for his country but his heart is not in it. This is something we can all relate to. It is like being in a job we do not want to be in. This young poet thinks, ‘Hey, I am a poet and not a soldier,’ but he also feels guilty about leaving the battlefield. There is this amazing converstion through the letters between him and Rilke, and how Rilke guides him. Very powerful. This should also be next to your bedside table, so that whenever you feel lonely and need to hear from someone you trust, you can pick this book up.
(Watch the video of the book recommendations here)
(Photos by R Raja)