“Guys, start reading, seriously! It helps.” A valuable piece of advice given by a friend made an imprint on my mind. 2020 started with a lot of motivation on top of ARAI hills; the chilly, fresh morning was enticing me to set up my goals; reading a lot of books came as the first thought. I did not have a specific reading list, but I thought of choosing to read whatever would come my way.
I remember, I loved reading as a kid, but eventually, that faded away when I was bogged down with the educational books and texts. Finally, 2020 was here to give me a good start; following are the 14 books that I got high on~
It was time to start the decade with a strong determination and I fetched the book: How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie. As I started I could relate to a lot of tiny details that are described in the book and I was unknowingly trying to implement. For eg. It is mentioned in the book that if you want people to like you, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. So, while in a conversation I started asking people questions related to their lives. This made the other person feel important. Building relations with people is truly an art and we all can learn to master it through this book.
Pro Tip: You will have to revisit this book time and again to comprehend completely. But in case, you don't have the time to read the book again, you can simply listen to it on Audible as many times, and you will learn new things with each hearing.
Tim Brown’s book Change by Design was next on my list. The book discusses the practices of IDEO, one of my favorite think tanks. I urge you to check out their work and I am sure even you will be drawn to read the book. This book is all about how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. It also talks about the myths of innovation and the realities of developing great ideas.
I started with The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand in the initial phase of lockdown. I was a little light on my office work and naturally got a lot of time to get engrossed in Roark’s life. His quick decisions, positive way of thinking and confidence made me pause and rethink about my life. The character is said to be partly inspired by Architect Frank Llyod Wright and his way of designing. Not to forget, the other characters- the maverick Dominique Francon, the influential Ellsworth Toohey and the powerful Gail Wynand were equally appealing. The book, being fat, took me almost 4–5 weeks to complete, but it was worth the read.
After finishing the Fountainhead, I wanted something light and exciting. Hence, I started my journey with the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main protagonist- Santiago sets on his journey to find a treasure in the Egyptian desert and encounters several people on his way. The physical and spiritual journey of Santiago brings about a set of learnings we can apply in our daily lives to strengthen our beliefs and aspirations. The book is written in an engaging manner, and it sends out an inspiring message of following your heart. I could hardly keep the book down and finished it in three sittings. My favorite quote from the book: “You will never be able to escape your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
It was quite surprising for me to know that I had steadily picked up a good pace at reading. This motivated me to read more.
It was still lockdown and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were showing up every day on TV. I ordered Amish Tripathi's Ram and Sita to gain a different stance of the same tale. The book gives a fresh perspective to the original story that we all are aware of. The characters Scion of Ikshvaku-Ram and Warrior of Mithila-Sita are portrayed in the most convincing manner and keep the readers engaged.
I picked up The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown next, and it was just the perfect time to indulge myself in a thrilling series of sequences. The plots and sub-plots are a blend of fiction and reality, giving the readers goosebumps at the end of each chapter. This page-turner became my favorite of the whole lot.
Next up, I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. The two tales, the characters and the story line reflected deep emotions, human relations and vivid impressions of life events on young minds.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari has profound insights and one must read this book to know the basis of Humankind. The concepts of history, biology, philosophy and economics discussed in the book is an eye opener. It is amazing to see the how the author brings about this book with collating deep research and theories.
So far, I have been only praising all the books that I read, but to be honest none of the above is half-hearted. Maybe, this is because the world of books is genuinely the best world and I had not explored it enough.
Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelly was next on my wishlist! You can discover the hidden potential in you with tricks and tips this read offers. This is a book that I often visit whenever I have anxiety attacks, low confidence or just like that and with each visit, I feel much better. I also gifted this book to an anonymous person in a book exchange initiated over Instagram. I am sure that person is thanking me for doing this.
I had no plans for the New Year’s Eve but to finish off 2020 with an intriguing book- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Sitting on my couch I traveled the rest of the amusing series of cities with Monte Carlo and Kublai Khan.