YOU DIDN’T READ THESE 14 BOOKS IN 2016!!

DON’T LET THEM PASS YOU IN 2017.

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”, Sir Francis Bacon.

Because of my poor time-management skills and an average academic performance, I felt a need to pump up my college skills (high school is a joke to college).

One day as I was going through book shelves in our school book store, I bumped into this book called “Win at College”. I said to myself…you know what let me try it … this was exactly the kind of book I needed at that moment.

It took me about a week to read it and as it turned out…it was such a good book…very good book…exactly the information I needed. The book had a lot of college hacks that I never knew about.

Little did I know that by just reading that book I was about to cultivate a new culture in my life.

Cal Newport, the author of the book had another book in the same shelf, and they were next to each other. This other book was called “Be a Straight A Student”. I read that book too. But I must confess that, the title made me read the book at the comfort of my own. Otherwise friends would have ridiculed me… (You know how it is in college) … Anyway, I finished the book in about a week. The two books complimented each other. Exactly what I needed to become a ‘good’ college student.

I was happy for that accomplishment. Two books in two weeks! I had never done that before in my life. To be more precise, two books in two successive weeks and both from the same author. My mind fell in love with that pattern…And from nowhere an idea came and I said to myself “why don’t I just continue this newly established habit?” That I should read a book every week… two books in two weeks… and they should all come from the same author.

When I was done with Cal Newport’s second book I went to the book store again the following Monday. This time I was going through a shelf that had all New York Times best sellers. Immediately one book got my attention. I had heard about this book some few years back in high school and the only thing I knew was that it talked about the 10,000 hours rule and success in the form of luck and opportunity. This was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”. Next to it was another book from the same author, also a national bestseller, “David and Goliath”. I got them both. And my journey or rather my newly found passion for reading officially began.

… That was a bit of a background story.

So here below are the books I read from September to December 2016. I have also decided to rate them as I see fit.

1. HOW TO WIN AT COLLEGE by CAL NEWPORT. 7/10

“Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students”.

This is a good book for college students or for high school students who are just about to begin college. I would say it’s good for parents too so they know what their kids should do to benefit from college. The book talks about tips on how to make the most out of your college experience. I would highly recommend this book for college and high school students alike.

2. HOW TO BECOME A STRAIGHT-A STUDENT by CAL NEWPORT 7/10

“The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less”

This book compliments the first mentioned book. Use both for better results.

Okay! One big thing I learned from this book:

Pseudo-working: You should fear pseudo-work…As the author put it, pseudo work does not only waste time, but it’s also mentally draining.

The magic formula is:

Work accomplished = time spent x Intensity of focus.

“Pseudo-work features a very low intensity of focus. Therefore, to accomplish something by pseudo-working you need to spend a lot of time.”

3. OUTLIERS by MALCOLM GLADWELL 10/10

“The Story of Success”

Now! If there is one book out there that has changed my life, it is this book. If you had to pick just one book from this list, you will never regret reading this book.

Sometimes I feel even saying one word about this would be a spoiler. But let me say that this book is going to give you a new perspective of how you view success and successful people.

So… did the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Rockefeller, Michael Jordan, The Beatles etc. succeed because of how talented, ambitious, hard-working and disciplined they were?

Who gets to the top?…Who becomes successful is a lot more interesting and complicated than it looks. Please read this book and thank me later.

4. DAVID AND GOLIATH by MALCOLM GLADWELL 8/10

“Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants”

Malcolm Gladwell is ma man. I have only read two of his books but I have become a big fan. His approach in writing is very interesting and fascinating (if that makes any sense). He sees the world from a different angle and that is what makes his books so enlightening.

I didn’t like this book as much as I liked Outliers. But I must say …I finished reading the book wiser than I was when I first opened it.

Gladwell says “The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem”. That possessing better qualities might sometimes be a great disadvantage and vice versa.

Choosing Harvard, MIT or Yale over Wesleyan, University of Maryland or Providence College might lower your chances of graduating with a ‘valuable’ science degree.

If you had to choose to enroll your kid into a class which class would you like your kid to be in? A class of 12 students, a class of 30 students or a class of 50 students. If you pick 12, you are in for a big surprise when you read this book.

“We always assume that being bigger, stronger and richer is always in our interest”.

The reality is what not a lot of people think.

5. AS A MAN THINKETH by James Allen. 10/10

This one is a classic. It’s one of those development books that has got no ‘BS’. It’s short and clear, you would finish it in less than an hour, yet it contains a lot of valuable information.

As the name of the book suggests, your thoughts govern your actions and your thoughts make or destroy you. “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

If you want to change the circumstances in your life, you must change your thoughts.

This short passage from the book is my favorite:

“Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.”

6. THE ALCHEMIST by PAULO COELHO 10/10

This one I read in 2016 too, but it was about a month or two before I started my routine. Without this book my list is not complete.

The Alchemist is a truly fascinating book. The book talks about following your personal legend. In layman’s language that is ‘having the courage to follow your heart and pursue your dreams’.

Honestly, I think this is one thing that everyone in this world should attempt to do before they die — have the courage to follow your heart.

Be true to yourself…What do you really want? What makes your heart jump? What gives you pure joy? What could you do even if you know you won’t get any monetary gains?

Paulo Coelho talks about this secret in this book…

“… When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

7. FIVE POINT SOMEONE by Chetan Bhagat. 8/10

What not to do at IIT”

Now I must confess one more thing in here. I love Bollywood! Yes… Indian movies. And one of my favorite Bollywood movies ever is “3 Idiots”. Please don’t form a preconception before watching this movie. I would say this is a great movie for students and parents alike. It talks about a journey of three college friends through adventures in college and finding their true self.

It wasn’t until few years ago when I found out that the movie was inspired by this book by Chetan Bhagat. So, I had to get the book. It’s a marvelous book that talks about battles students fight with school, parents and life in general. But amid all this you learn about the nature of true education and how should one acquire knowledge.

Greatest lessons from both the movie and the book:

1. It’s more important in life to do what you love than to just follow the crowd.

2. The heart scares easily, you have to trick it. However big the problem, tell your heart, ‘All is well, pal’. This has almost become a mantra in my life.

3. “We’ll study with all our heart, but not just for grades. To quote a Wise One — Study to be accomplished, not affluent. Follow excellence. And success will chase you, pants down!”

I have a deep appreciation and respect for people who come up with movie scripts. This movie had great song lyrics and dialogue.

I have just listed the rest of the books…

8. THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD by OG MANDINO 9/10

“Transform Your Life and Find True Fulfillment with The Priceless Wisdom of Ten Ancient Scrolls Revealed Within”

…Fascinating book

9.EAT THAT FROG by BRIAN TRACY 7/10

“21 Great ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”

… Just eat that frog, don’t think twice

10. NERVOUS CONDITIONS by Tsitsi Dangarembga 7/10

… I read this book over the summer of 2016. It’s a great novel that I could personally relate to. This is how most African societies live till this day. Please read to get an insight on how it looks like in other parts of the world.

11. GRIT by ANGELA DUCKWORTH 7.5/10

“The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

… This book is about understanding the underlying reasons of predicting success if all other factors remain constant. Great book.

12. THE POWER OF HABIT by CHARLES DUHIGG 8/10

“Why we do what we do in life and business”

… A great book about forming good habits and breaking bad habits backed up by scientific evidence. Some stories in here are moving and heart breaking.

13. THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON by GEORGE S. CLASON 10/10

“The success secrets of the ancients — The most inspiring Book on Wealth Ever Written”

… This book is the Real McCoy on the subject of wealth. I LOVED it.

14. GETTING THINGS DONE by DAVID ALLEN 6/10

“The art of stress-free productivity”

I must admit…I only read half of this book. From the beginning, I wasn’t so impressed or at least it didn’t meet my expectations because I heard so much praise for the book beforehand.

I felt as if the author could have made the book shorter. A lot of trivial information is mixed up with valuable information. But don’t take my word for it, read it and find out for yourself. I would recommend checking out other books in the list instead.

…. And how about that as my first Medium post, wasn’t bad, Was it?