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Books Books Books – My personal favorites!

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. [Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Book_Day ]

On the occasion of World Book Day, I wanted to write a post on books which are my personal favorites. After all, Books can be your best friend for life, if only you extend your hand in friendship!

I started reading as a hobby rather late in life.. But once I discovered the magic and beauty in the world of books, I invested significantly in buying diverse books from diverse authors, and voraciously read them. Like they say, Diversity is the spice of life – And this is so so TRUE for books.

The other important observations / discoveries / realizations that I made about books are as follows:
* At what age you read a book makes an ocean of difference in what you take away from the book and how it can impact / change your life. If you read a book in your teenage years it can influence your thinking in unimaginable ways. The same book if you pick up well into your 30′s – you already have amassed a range of personal experiences, which can greatly influence your book take-aways.
* If you like the first book you read from any author, chances are you will end up reading and buying all their subsequent work.
* There are many benefits of reading. Personally, the top one’s are – They enable you to learn, open your mind and world to dreams, options and possibilities that you never knew existed.

So coming back to why I started this post… Well listing below my personal favorites.. Looking back at my reading journey, I think when I read these books made all the difference in my life – And hence they figure on this list..

(1) Mutation BY Robin Cook
This book opened me to the world of Medical Science and Genetics in a way that I could never imagine. Till date, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Excellent story, very well written and above all, it takes you to a world which many of us cannot ever imagine. The book was written in 1990, and I read this book for the first time in 2000. And I fell in love with the subject of Genetics after reading this. Over the years, genetics as a field has evolved significantly and it continues to be a fascinating area for me to read about!

(2) The Other Side of Midnight BY Sidney Sheldon
I loved this book for the excellent story telling skills. While the focus is on the life of 2 women who fall in love with the same man, the book beautifully brings out a range of human emotions which can transform your thinking, your values and your life when in LOVE! A powerful story with powerful characters, and unthinkable actions which drive human behavior. Again, looking back I read the book in my teenage years, and the story stuck in my memory!

(3) The KiteRunner BY Khaled Hosseini
This is by far one of the BEST fiction books I have read till date. While the book has elements of history, war, politics, migration, – the overarching theme is around human relationships. Some of the most important lessons that the book re-inforced are below
(a) that there are very few people for whom we can do anything anytime anywhere – No preconditions, No questions, No thoughts – Just pure action. The underlying emotions are usually love, fear or respect.
(b) Some bonds can never be defined – They just exist. And there is uniqueness in the beginnings, in the evolution and in the conclusion…. Or there is never really an end.
(c) Division and Discrimination are all in the mind.
(d) Honesty is a great virtue. You need courage and strength of character to be honest & stand up for honesty

(4) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull BY Richard Bach
What can I say about this book which simply makes you realize how it is OK to be different,and non-conforming to the masses. That is when you truly discover your calling in life.

(5) Man’s Search for Meaning BY Viktor Frankl
I read this book when I was looking for some answers to deeper questions of life. This book provided insights, perspectives and views from someone who had truly experienced the highs and lows of life. Not too many people experience true highs and lows, but those who do end up TRULY understanding the deeper meaning of life – And this book captures the essence and wisdom from a man who has lived it all!

(6) All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten BY Robert Fulghum
A classic which focuses on things about life that many of us tend to forget as we become adults. And the most important lessons of life are the most basic one’s, those that we learnt in kindergarten

(7) The Secret BY Rhonda Byrne
An excellent book with a powerful message on the “The Law of Attraction”. The basic premise of the book is that whatever happens to you in life is really a function of what and how you think. And I can vouch from personal experience that it’s TRUE!

(8) Outliers BY Malcolm Gladwell
The book opened my eyes and mind to data, facts and information which was truly interesting. And I personally loved the writing style as the book tickled both the left and right brain :). And all of Malcolm’s books went into my Reading List!

That’s all for now.. What are your favorite books, and WHY?

Nischala’s Blog-o-Review | Book | OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

I picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS on the recommendation of an old friend of mine who told me that I should READ it. And I am happy that I took the recommendation and bought the book. I loved it – One of the most interesting books I have read in recent times..

So what did I really like about the book?
1) The way it is written. As a reader, most of us like to read “simple and easy to comprehend” writings. Though some of my friends claim that there is no fun in simple writing, I honestly think that writing in a “simple” fashion is actually very hard for any writer. Simply because you have to be extremely clear on what you want to convey; and need to have an excellent command on the language and understanding on a particular subject to articulate it well
2) As a person, a large part of me is really “left brained”. So I love books which have data, analysis and logical interpretation. And this book has it all! Along with some radical viewpoints which trigger your “right brain” as well. That’s a double BONUS!
3) The topics which are written about are less known to the most of us (At least to me!). And hence every single concept in the book will amaze you and compel you to think and wonder about the ways of the world, life, human behavior, evolution, etc etc etc
4) The way the book is structured makes it easy to read. Especially for someone like me who reads a in book in several sittings, I find it easy to read a few chapters and then pick up from where I left off, without really missing the “spirit and essence of the message”

Now, the reason why I am even posting this is because there were some interesting points made which I think are worth knowing. Sharing some excerpts from the book below which I really liked.

Excerpt 1
“Parents with a child born at the end of the academic year often think about holding their child back before the start of the kindergarten; it’s hard for a 5-year old to keep up with a child born many months earlier. But most parents, on suspects, think that whatever disadvantage a younger child faces in kindergarten eventually goes away. But it doesn’t. The small initial advantage that the child born in the early part of the year persists. It locks children into patterns of achievement and underachievement, encouragement and discouragement, that stretch on for years”

Excerpt 2
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be be able to understand why some was healthy is all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices or actions in isolation. They had to look beyond the individual. They had to understand the culture he or she was a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town their families came from. They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are”

Excerpt 3
The idea that excellence at performing a complex task required a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise : 10000 Hours

Excerpt 4
What your parents do for a living, and the assumptions that accompany the class your parents belong to, matter!

Excerpt 5
Intellect and Achievement are far from perfectly correlated

Excerpt 6
Cultural Legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play a role in directing attitudes and behavior that cannot make sense of our world without them

Excerpt 7
No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich

Excerpt 8
The School year in the United States is, on average 180 days long. The South Korean school year is 220 days long. The Japanese school year in 243 days long.

Excerpt 9
Extraordinary success are products of history and community, of opportunities and legacy

These are some of my favorite pieces of the book. Have you read the book? Did you like it? Leave a comment to let me know

Nischala’s Overall Rating : A+ [And I've added all of Malcolm's books to my Bookshelf for 2013 :) ]

9 KEY Reasons for you to READ

Reading can be a wonderful hobby and your best friend for life – Provided you give it the required time and commitment over a period of time. Looking back at my own life, I can definitely say that my life transformed after I became an active reader. And by reading I mean just about anything – A book, paper, magazine, blog, research paper, publication, mail, tweet, letter, etc. In this blog, I am listing 9 KEY Reasons why you should READ?

1) Reading makes you THINK
The single most important benefit of reading is that it makes you think, and thoughts are vital in the journey of life. Simply because to think you need to read, analyze, reason, question, rationalize and somewhere try to conclude.

2) Reading makes you IMAGINE
One of the reasons I love reading is that it makes me IMAGINE – And imagination is great for enhancing your own visualization skills and creativity. I don’t know of any “TRUE READER” who enjoyed a movie / documentary better than a book. Simply because when you read, you are free to imagine anything and everything; and the sky is the limit to your imagination! Conversely, I don’t know of any Non-Reader who liked a book better than a movie / documentary

3) Reading makes you LEARN
One of the best parts of reading is that you it presents before you a wonderful opportunity to learn. As you read, you tend to notice, you tend to question and reflect, and truly understand; and all of these contribute phenomenally towards your own learning on one / many topics under the sun!

4) Reading improves your LITERARY SKILLS
If you take the time to read, you will definitely improve your literary skills over a period of time. Not only will you learn new words and improve on the Ps and Qs of any language, but you can also learn, appreciate and develop alternate literary forms — from prose to poetry. And the only way to improve in anything in life is to continuously work on it.

5) Reading opens NEW DOORS
Reading can open the door to new friends (I know of people who are exclusively reading friends and those who became friends because they shared views and opinions on topics less spoken by majority), new ideas (Somehow the brain wiring seems to generate more ideas when you read actively – I don’t know why or how? but I have personally experienced this!), new possibilities, new ways to constructively utilize your time, new experiences, new considerations, new contemplations, and new harbingers.

6) Reading makes you DISCIPLINED
One of the best aspects of continuous reading is that it makes you disciplined so that you are able to dedicate some time on a regular basis for reading. It can be once a day or once a week or whatever is suitable in your personal context – But you will start rationalizing some portion of your time on a regular basis for reading! And once you begin to enjoy reading it becomes a habit… a compulsion… a fascination.

7) Reading gives you ME time
Writing gives you time to be with yourself — to connect within, in your own way, at your own pace.

8) Reading makes you view books in a NEW LIGHT
Only when you begin to read, do you begin to truly appreciate books and any reading material. You also begin to value all the books you read in life and also have a new found respect and appreciation for authors / writers! (Both reading and writing are solitary hobbies!)

9) Reading gives you a new BEST FRIEND for LIFE
If you are into reading, you can never really be alone ever in life. All you need to take you through any kind of day / mood / situation, i.e., to cheer up your day, give you some hope, make you laugh, motivate you, give you a solution, break-free from monotony, get a different perspective,……is something to read!

Reading can be your new BEST FRINED for LIFE.. If you only you reach out and pick up the first book – here and now..
So what are you waiting for? Go read something today..

Should you read only ONE book at a TIME?

I picked up reading as a hobby rather late in life – In my 20’s to be precise (I call it late because most serious readers I know started reading when they are less than 10 years old). But over the past few years, I made up for the lost time – Basically by reading anything and everything of interest to me at every single opportunity I got.

Looking back – When I started reading, I used to read only ONE book at a time. And when I was done, I’d move on to the next one.. But today, my reading habits have changed significantly. At any given point of time, I will be actively reading at least 3 books (if not more).

So why and how did this change come about?

Hmm.. Well Looking back, I think there were a few key drivers:

One, it started with me becoming more aware of my own reading habits and every day routine based on my own lifestyle and why reading was important to me.

Two, I usually have more than one topic of interest at any point in time. And somehow can’t seem to wait for too long to dig into it!

Three and most importantly, I go through different phases and moods everyday where I look at reading for different reasons. For e.g.: In the early morning, I like to read anything which inspires me , excites me and gives me positive energy to go through the day. During mid-morning, I like to read something “heavy-duty” as my concentration levels are probably the best. During afternoon, I like to read something light and easy which makes me laugh or just feel good. And late evening, I like to read something which makes me dream or sometime just create a “happy make-believe world in which every possibility is a reality”! So reading has different meaning to me at different times of the day and hence I usually like to read at least 3 books actively at different times of the day! Each of these reading sessions usually are between 15 to 30 minutes. But they make a HUGE difference in what I learn, in what I think, in what I feel and also in what I do!

You may ask “Don’t you get confused with reading so many books at a time?”… Well, honestly NO! It is actually fun because if you pay attention to you reading and think through, you can many times co-relate completely unrelated things , get answers for problems and in my case, also get ideas for my blogs :)

Well that’s my view. And I’ll enjoy this phase as long as it lasts…

What about you? Are you a ONE book reader or MANY book reader? Leave a comment to let me know

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