Wonderful Reads: My 7 Favorite Books of All Time

20170909_202311_WP

So – just like you – I love books and, yes, I do believe that books can transform people for the better. And that’s why I have created this snazzy little list of 7 books that I believe you need to read if you want to witness that change for yourselves. They include some wonderful memoirs and some interesting novels. So, read on and get inspired:

Pick No. 1: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

What matters WP

Why was it picked: We cannot escape the states of aging and death. And what does medicine achieve? Mostly not we want to achieve for our health. Doctors who pledge to spend their lives extending other peoples’ lives perform scary medical procedures on patients that ultimately bring more suffering to the latter. Packed with insightful research and beautiful storytelling, Being Mortal states that medicine can bring in comfort to our existence, assuring us of not just a decent life but also a decent death.

Pick No. 2: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Power of Habit WP

Why was it picked: This insightful book teaches us why certain people and businesses find it very difficult to change, even though they have been trying for years, whereas some others appear to transform themselves overnight. It lends us a look within P&G, Target, Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the country’s biggest medical facilities and shows us the way in which adopting certain keystone habits can bring home billions and signify the difference between failure and success, life and death. Allow Charles Duhigg to demonstrate how making the most of this new science can change our companies, our societies, and ourselves.

Pick No. 3: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

happiness book wp

Why was it picked: This book takes us along on the weirdest adventure of the protagonist (Helen)’s “good girl” life: Almost a month in the extreme wild of the mountains in Wyoming, she emerges a winner through mosquito infestations, an unexpected summer blizzard, and a bunch of sorority girls. Thanks to all her experiences, Helen learns how to make her voice heard loud and clear. Most importantly, she learns that there are times when being lost is quite important to being found.

Pick No. 4: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The diary WP

Why was it picked: This book was published in 1947. Right since then, it has been a favorite of many readers who see the work as an ode to the unbreakable stuff that the human spirit is made of. The book has been read by millions and already translated into over 55 languages. Anne Frank was just a teenager when her family had to remain contained within the “Secret Annex.” It is during this phase of her life that we see her grow up to be a young woman and become a wonderful connoiseur of human nature.

Pick No. 5: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Last lecture WP

Why was it picked: Think about your death and reflect upon what matters the most to you: This is what a lot of professors are asked to do. The same was expected of Randy Pausch –  a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon. Upon being asked to deliver his “Last Lecture,” Pausch didn’t have to use his imagination much, as – unfortunately – he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the actual talk he delivered conveyed a summary of all things that Pausch had come to believe in about life – not about death. This book is here to stay. This book will be loved and shared by every generation.

Pick No. 6: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously WP

Why was it picked: Terrible ideas? Yes, this book is full of those! In this book, Lawson says: “Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free.” And there’s more of these adorable gems in there. I love every single line in this book!

Lawson is massively adored around the globe for her undeniable humor and sincerity. With Furiously Happy, she has delivered her funniest best. And this book makes perfect sense, ‘cuz hey, at times crazy is the only way to be.

Pick No. 7: It’s OK to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort

It's OK WP

Why was it picked: Purmort gets engaged to Aaron – a charismatic comic-book enthusiast. Where does the engagement take place? In Aaron’s hospital bed when he gets diagnosed with brain cancer. They also have a baby while Aaron is on chemo. They publish an obituary on Aaron during the period of his hospice care, which announces his real identity: he is Spider-Man. Truly touching.

The book reaches out a hand to life and accepts it with all the tears, pains, and joy. The book reads like someone is conversing with a BFF, and sends some magic pixie dust our way. All you people in this world who have had their life do a 180 out of the blue and have learnt to live with it? This book is for you.

Well, that’s just my short list. If you have more books to recommend to me, please drop a line below and let me know.

Happy reading, beautiful world!

 

Advertisements

Be your own work of art

Some of us on this planet are too passionate for our own good. Passionate about stuff to do, passionate about stuff to buy…You name it, we are excited! View us from any angle, we do look like normal people. Then why the ten dessert spoonfuls of overenthusiasm?! We are even excited to be excited all the time! Yes, paint me guilty with a wild pink — I AM one of them. I am someone who sees the CEO of her company walk past her and happily chirp out “Hello!!” with a goofy smile. The poor lady probably spends weeks wondering who I actually could be and why I am so enthusiastic every time I see her! But hey, I genuinely can’t contain the excitement (No, I am yet to reach stalker levels). But then again, not that bad a deal sometimes.

Enthusiasm and passion leads to the most extraordinary creations ever known to man. For many, the products of their enthusiasm leave a highly significant mark on people’s mind. These people make a difference.

Image

The person on my mind as I write this piece is the world-renowned Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. An artist par excellence whose work we yearn to absorb into every pore of our mind and body. He who had a dreamy, magical reflection and an unrestrained ardor for everything “life!”

Since the 1880s, Van Gogh was intent on creating on canvas the magic of “night effects,” which he believed would present a greater drama to the eyes than a typical sunny day. The thought haunted him day and night—he just had to showcase to the world the beauty of a night sky from his perspective.

Image

The painting did get created in 1889, and what a marvel it was! Van Gogh’s La nuit étoilée, aka to those of us who call our beloved darling instead of mon cheri as “Starry Night,” was an instant hit among art connoisseurs around the globe. Sure, it was a painting he always wanted to make and he HAD to get it out of his system. But what made this particular painting the all-time favorite of all who had the privilege of seeing it? One, as the name implies, it’s all about the stars and the fantasy land it transports you to, as if on an expensive silk magic carpet. You don’t feel a bump, definitely no thud. Even those of you who don’t seem to get that HIGH after seeing the painting just can’t deny the fact that they feel themselves to be a part of that scene…looking up at the star-studded sky, feeling all warm and peaceful within. Yes, one does admire the town structures below the sky, and more so as the dark hues reflecting from them further highlight the mystery presented by the celestial bodies above. Everything about the masterpiece is an enigma and pulls you toward it as you gaze utterly spellbound.

Image

Unfortunately, Van Gogh had already settled comfortably into a mental asylum by the time he finished perfecting the last stroke of his painting, completely oblivious to the millions of “Starry Night” replicas that were being created outside the claustrophobic prison walls. But, the Starry Night shines on!

We may never really know what led this great artist to commit suicide so early in life. But one thing is for sure, he sure lived his life fully being his overenthusiastic, passionate self. Plus, he left behind his works of art that touch and soothe the soul of millions across geographies.

So, I think it is perfectly fine to live with overenthusiasm and passion. If it makes us happy, who cares what the others think? We will just continue to live our happy lives in our own quirky little way and make people wonder what made us mutate so badly. ‘Cuz in the end, all that matters is life and the way we lived it. And who knows what little masterpieces we may create along the way!

Why thirst for 360-degree approval?

image

Do you seek constant approval from people? Do you want to be liked/loved by everyone around you? Do you put your thoughts, energies and feelings into this? If yes, then could you please take some time off to think why you are so into gaining all-round approval? Why, you may ask. Let me tell you why: It’s just not too healthy.

I am not saying that accepting any kind of criticism from people is unnecessary. No. People who really matter to you – your close friends, your family, your manager – their opinions do matter. Cuz they contribute, in one way or another, to shape you into the person you are. But the one who sits next to you in a train, your cubicle neighbor at work who talks loudly, the team that gossips in hush-hush tones behind you 9 out of the 9.5 odd hours you spend at work? No, their thoughts and opinions don’t actually matter.

image

Invest your energy and beliefs into loving yourself, loving your body, mind and soul. Look into your heart and do what it tells you. Work wholeheartedly toward achieving your dreams. Just do everything to make your life happy and fulfilling. Just remember to never hurt someone in the process and you are well on the way to be a better life ninja. Power to you.