2020 has been a year which will go down in our history books as a mammoth challenger to the might of human evolution. And our lives will not be the same as before. Work from home brought some extra time with it as the travel time was saved. In the old normal, reading books was a routine during the 30-45 minutes of tube travel. In new normal, it’s filling some pockets of time here and there.
I read around 12 books this year, fair guess if I recall all names. The range is from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher to Harari’s Sapiens to Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders. I also joined a Book reading club dedicated to Black authors. As I still try to get a daily time slotted for reading, here is a short snapshot of the most impactful books I read in 2020 and recommend to everyone.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens is an epic tale of the history of Humankind. From the evolution of humans, to the discovery of fire, to languages, to settlements to genetic engineering. Harari poses the most interesting arguments that will make you question all your history classes. He says “the agricultural revolution was history’s biggest fraud” and “we did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us”. Sapiens is not meant for everyone, it isn’t a light read, it isn’t your evolved history textbook. Sapiens is serious, its sensational and a very interesting journey of the cognitive revolution of humankind.
The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz
Dr Schwartz is an amazing teacher. In his book he teaches us to rise from the ordinary by changing our thoughts. He uses storytelling patterns, anecdotal examples, conversations to remind us to think positive and think big. Schwartz says,
Believe you can succeed and you will
Practice uplifting self-praise. Don’t practice belittling self-punishment
While this may seem as another self-help book, I can say it’s a damn good one. It gives you that big kick and fills you with a whiff of confidence and positivity.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I was too late to read this amazing book by James Clear, I would recommend everyone to read it in their University days or early in career. As a tiny atom stores a reservoir of nuclear energy of unfathomable magnitude, likewise small habits and changes to them holds the power to transform our lives. Every chapter presents tips, tricks and easy frameworks to follow in daily life to make these small changes. The book screams out the message; small change in habits leads to phenomenal success in life. A must read if you are battling consistency, discipline and struggling to develop good habits.
Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
There is no magic wand of success, there is no get rich overnight formula, in real life there is no microwave. Darren talks about the power of Compound Effect on Habits, Behaviour and choices which leads to exponential results. The Compound effect is simple, with tangible results and works every second provided you exercise small consistent moves throughout your life. Darren says Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE. I read this book after Atomic Habits and it’s a match made in heaven. The strong powerful messages from both the books come together very well and if you follow even few of them, it will change your life.
The Art of making memories by Meik Wiking
I came across this book while reading an article where a reference to Wiking’s book was made. Mark Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark. One of its only kind, his mission is to teach the world how to create happy memories. In this book Wiking illustrates very poignant ways to lock happy memories; Harnessing the power of ‘firsts’ of life, making experiences multi-sensory, creating moments, making journey as part of the experience and ‘outsourcing memories’. Wiking gives us ‘Happy Memory tip’ in every chapter which will make you smile and think how easy it is to be happy and create everlasting memories. A great book to understand the human psychology behind experiences and learn some easy and powerful tools to create memories.
And the 2021 line up?
I still don’t have the entire list in my mind, it really evolves as I come across some interesting recommendations. I would really strive hard to inculcate the good habit of reading daily. So far few books are already on the list:
- Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
- Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
- We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
- The Secret Lives of Introverts by Jenn Granneman
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As we draw 2020 to a close, clinging tightly onto hope for a safer and better New Year, here’s Wishing everyone a very safe and Happy New Year 2021. Keep reading!