52 books for 52 weeks. The books that changed my life.

Ashana Jha
Retain A Book
Published in
4 min readOct 7, 2019

For me, reading is living multiple lives simultaneously. I was introduced to reading via comics, followed by romance novels. I didn’t realize when I was finishing two books in a week.

Here are my recommendations for a year filled with books.


  1. When breath becomes Air: A personal memoir of Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s struggle with cancer and life.
  2. Man’s search for meaning: Viktor Frankl’s classic tale of his days during the holocaust and its aftermath, Introducing logotherapy.
  3. Born a Crime: Stories from the childhood of Trevor Noah during Apartheid and the rise of a star from nothing but the love of his mother and her lessons.
  4. Shoe Dog: Autobiography of Nike’s Phil Knight.
  5. The subtle art of not giving a F*ck: Mark Manson’s kickass book on how to deal with life when it gives you lemons.
  6. The motorcycle diaries: A memoir of Che Guevara’s motorcycle trip with his friend across South America.
  7. Into thin Air: Jon Krakauer’s account of 1997 Mt. Everest Disaster.
  8. Confessions of an Advertising Man: David Ogilvy’s path-breaking advertising concepts and their know-how.


  1. Norwegian wood: A novel exploring a teen’s sense of loss and sexuality by Haruki Murakami.
  2. Shantaram: A story of an Australian bank robber and how he led a dual life by Escaping to Bombay.
  3. To kill a mocking bird: The story of courage, compassion, and patience in an orthodox world.
  4. A Thousand Splendid Suns: Story of an illegitimate female child in a world dominated by males and her struggles with life. It’s by Khaled Hosseini
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale: It’s a deeply disturbing book, written by Margaret Atwood. Based on a woman who has been separated from her family, it throws light on the life of a handmaid and series of events that follow.
  6. 1984: By George Orwell, published in 1949 it presents the idea of a dystopian future that is still pertinent.
  7. Animal Farm: Written by George Orwell, this book is still relevant and will be relevant in the coming times pertaining to politics and human behavior.


  1. Sapiens: History of humans by Yuval Noah Harari.
  2. Homodeus: The future of us, by Yuval Noah Harari.
  3. Trillion Dollar Coach: A tribute to silicon valley’s most loved coach Bill Campbell, his life and lessons.
  4. The Everything Store: Conceptualization of Amazon and how it became the cash cow.
  5. Enlightenment Now: A positive flow of content in a world surrounded by negative information.
  6. The Decision Book: Tactics/Strategies to take important decisions in life.
  7. Switch: Research-backed stories of changing necessary habits when you have minimal options. It’s by Chip and Dan Heath.
  8. The Power of Habit: The science behind our habits and behaviors as a person and as a product of the capitalist economy.
  9. The Perils of Perception: A book on why we are wrong about nearly everything.
  10. Not just an accountant: Ex-CAG Vinod Rai’s narrative of India’s major scams.
  11. The theory of everything: Stephen Hawking’s understanding of the world.


  1. Start with why: By Simon Sinek, Although this book is longer version of his ted talk on the same topic, it makes a good case of relevancy and brand inspiration.
  2. The $100 Startup: Short stories of mini-entrepreneurs.
  3. Zero to One: Peter Theils’ notes on startups and how to create business of the future.
  4. The Lean Startup: Eric Ries’ great method of testing and turning in a consumer-oriented world.
  5. The Hard things about Hard things: Best and wors scenarios while running a business and how to deal with them by Ben Horowitz
  6. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to stand out when the competition is tough, a marketing book by professors of INSEAD
  7. Fault Lines: 2008’s financial crisis and the science behind the depression.
  8. Freakonomics: The hidden economics behind the major shifts of society, written by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.


  1. Gettings things done: Hands down, the best strategic productivity book by David Allen.
  2. Barking up the wrong tree: Eric Barker’s notes on life and career backed by research of everyday hustle.
  3. The Startup of You: A career manual by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman
  4. The war of Art: How to defy the creative blocks and do the work by Steven Pressfield.
  5. The theory of Karma: Why and when karma hits the right chord.
  6. Ikigai: The Japanese principle of living with a purpose.
  7. A brief history of time: Sir Hawking’s research and theories from Big Bang to Black Hole.
  8. This is water: David Foster Wallace’s writings on young minds and their way of perception.
  9. Blink: By Malcolm Gladwell, he explains the behavioral economics of our thoughts.
  10. Pitch Anything: Oren Klaff’s explains the hidden factors of a perfect sales pitch.


  1. Factfulness: The positive sides of our world.
  2. The myth of the strong leader: What makes a leader? Domination or Co-operation?
  3. Bad Blood: The scam of Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes.
  4. Lost and Founder: An honest approach to the wisdom of Silicon Valley.
  5. Hooked: Nir Eyal’s take and findings from the most addictive tech products of the world.
  6. Corporate Chanakya: How to stand out as a leader in your career, the Chanakya way.
  7. Traction: A detailed guide on how to market your product online. Hope this helps.
  8. Delivering Happiness: Zappos’ rise and the founder’s struggle days.

Hope this list helps. If you have come across a life-changing book, do drop in your recommendations in the comment section.



Ashana Jha
Retain A Book

Goal Digger |Marketer at Airmeet| SaaS Marketing | Podcast Producer | Avid Reader | Backpacker |