No, I won't tell you to read 'How To Win Friends and Influence People' in this post (though I won't deny that it is a good book :p)
Hi fellow readers! I feel nothing is more intimate than gifting or recommending a book to someone. It feels like you are giving a tiny sliver of yourself, things that resonate to you and that you'd want the other person to know. This post is all about that feeling!
For someone who is a beginner and wants to develop the habit of reading, choosing the right FIRST BOOK is essential.
WARNING: Recommending books is a personal opinion and I am hoping you'll like these recommendations but even if you don't, please don't forget that there are a million books out there. Also, unlike high school you are not bound to read things you don't find interesting. So, utilize this power and don't finish a book out of compulsion. (If you are not Sheldon)
Recommendation 1: "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simison (Romance Fiction)
Recommend by Bill Gates in his blog 'Gates notes' and I can totally relate why Bill Gates would have enjoyed it.
For those who have watched The Big Bang Theory this is basically 'Sheldon in love'.
It's a fun, quirky and erudite love story. This book made me laugh and is one of those rare gems that most people could relate to on some level.
"We aren't always happy with what we perceive will make us happy. True, isn't it?"
If you disagree give this book a try and others too.
Recommendation 2: "Art Matters" by Neil Gaiman (Graphic Novel)
"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before."
If you are someone who is remotely interested in art and writing, you'll love this. This was my first graphic novel and I am disappointed at myself of starting too late with this genre.
This little book celebrates everything having to do with reading, freedom of information and ideas, and how to start creating the life of your dreams, even if you don't know where to start.
The book is in form of sketches by Chris Riddell and they are a treat to watch! I wish I could share all the sketches with you but not gonna give any spoilers.
"Ideas spring up where you do not expect them, like weeds, and are as difficult to control. I believe that repressing ideas spreads ideas."
The tiny bit of time you spend reading this book is lopsided. You might finish the book in half an hour, but the stirring manifesto you’ve just read will stay with you long afterward.
When you finish the book and if you can't stop simping on Neil then do check out his podcast with Tim Ferriss. It is phenomenal.
Recommendation 3: "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling (Non-fiction)
The premise of this one is to debunk common misconceptions people have about the world and explain how a mind-set shift toward facts solves a lot of everyday problems. Throughout the book we are presented with a scenario that seems to be explainable with existing conventional knowledge. Then we peel back the layers and find the facts that counter our prejudices.
This book will definitely make you feel good about the world. It puts out a really interesting idea:
Think of the world as a premature baby in an incubator. The baby’s health status is extremely bad and her breathing, heart rate, and other important signs are tracked constantly so that changes for better or worse can quickly be seen. After a week, she is getting a lot better.
Does it make sense to say that the infant’s situation is improving?
Yes. Absolutely. Does it make sense to say it is bad? Yes, absolutely. Does saying “things are improving” imply that everything is fine, and we should all relax and not worry? No, not at all. Is it helpful to have to choose between bad and improving? Definitely not. It’s both. It’s both bad and better. Better, and bad, at the same time.
Recommendation 4: "Anything You Want" by Derek Sivers (Business/ Non-fiction)
Anything You Want is a quick and dense read that will cause any entrepreneur to question whether unnecessary complexity is creeping into their business. Derek shares some of the principles (and anti-principles) he learned and applied during his time as an accidental entrepreneur and how to grow a business without losing your soul.
I loved the how the book is simplistic yet compelling. Do check out Derek Sivers TED talk.
You may also get acquainted with Derek's work in Tim Ferriss Podcast
I found Derek's strategies on treating the customer as the real king riveting. Though the book describes it in detail, you may check out a in this video.
Recommendation 5: "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking" by Oliver Burkeman (Psychology/ Non-fiction)
If you are somebody who despises the ‘cult of optimism’, you should definitely read this book. This book is immensely thought provoking.
In this book, Burkeman emphasizes on the "negative path to happiness": the idea that the more we strive for happiness, and other psychological goods like security and confidence, the less we achieve them. It is the notion that in all sorts of contexts, from our personal lives to politics, all this trying to make everything right is a big part of what is wrong.
Alternatively, to quote Watts, that ‘when you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float’ and that ‘insecurity is the result of trying to be secure’.
He discusses the Stoics, Buddhist philosophy of detachment, how to embrace death and uncertainty, the merits of meditation, how to befriend failure and of our current (misplaced) obsession with setting ourselves goals. In addition, this is a marvelous synthesis of good sense, which would make a bracing detox for the self-help junkie.
Oliver has recently launched a new book - Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals and I can't wait to read it.