Finally, I’m a centurion!

I recently hit the 100-book mark. Since I started keeping count that is. Which was all the way back in January of 2011. Five and a half years ago now. Five and a half years to read a measly hundred books. When the number of books that get published each year has reached north of five million. Five million a year! And I’ve been reading at the rate of just under twenty a year.

I don’t think people can read a lot more than what I’ve been doing. Maybe double the number. Or triple the number at best, in the same duration. That’s still in the same digits minus the rounding error at the second or the third decimal place in percentage. Which is to say, the difference is insignificant. Even if one reads at half the pace, the difference is still insignificant.

So how does one pick the right 0.01% books to read from everything that is available? I’m already reading so little of what is getting published. What if I could have been reading a different hundred books?

Reading serves different purposes. I read for entertainment, I read to be educated, I read to experience worlds that I otherwise can’t, I read to be influenced, I read to be motivated, I read to be inspired, I read to be introduced to something new. But I generally don’t decide what I want out of the book before reading it. I pick up something that piques my interest and once I’m done reading, it does one or more of the above things to me.

Most important of all, what I read shapes how I see the world. So, de facto, books become the most influential mentors in the lives of those who read. Which means there is no going wrong in picking the right hundred books to read. If there was, then that would be saying there is a certain right way of living a life. Which isn’t true. Every life is different.

Although it may not be all that different. For instance, the things I read (and have read) contribute a lot to my personality. I often quote from what I’ve read (and what I’ve watched, which are also stories at the end of the day) when in conversation. And when in doubt as to what I should do, I always fall back on characters (fictional or real life) that have stuck with me, that I’ve been able to relate to and they end up acting as my guide.

In that sense, books are the most influential mentors one can have.

When we have so many options to choose from, we tend to fall back on recommendations from friends to decide what to read next. So, from among the hundred books I’ve read, here are a few in no particular order that I’ve particularly enjoyed reading:

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Small Bachelor by PG Wodehouse
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Inferno by Dan Brown
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • The Happiness Of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • How Google Works by Eric Schmidt
  • Zero To One by Peter Thiel
  • Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  • Two States by Chetan Bhagat

The Harry Potter series and Jeffrey Archer’s Kane And Abel were from before the time I started keeping count, but definitely belong there in the list.

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