Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books I read in 2017


S. No.BookWriterFormat
1Love in the Time of Cholera*Gabriel García MárquezPrint book
2War and peace*Leo TolstoyeBook
3The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters*Joseph SugarmaneBook
4Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingSusan CaineBook
5Graphics Design*Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole PhillipseBook
6Little WomenLouisa May AlcottPrint book
7Bourne SupremacyRobert LudlumeBook
8Zen Mind Beginner's Mind*Shunryu SuzukieBook
9Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the FuturePeter Thiel, Blake MasterseBook
10The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 1)Clive Staples LewiseBook
11The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 2)Clive Staples LewiseBook
12The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 3)Clive Staples LewiseBook
13Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 4)Clive Staples LewiseBook
14The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 5)Clive Staples LewiseBook
15The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 6)Clive Staples LewiseBook
16The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 7)Clive Staples LewiseBook
17MiddlemarchGeorge EliotteBook
18BossypantsTina FeyeBook
19Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeAnne LamotteBook
20Tuesdays with MorrieMitch AlbomAudio book
21The God DelusionRichard DawkinsAudio book
22The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben HorowitzAudio book
23Principles: Life and Work

Ray DalioAudio book
24Mindfulness for Beginners

Jon Kabat-ZinnAudio book
* These books were started in previous years but finished in 2017.

I did better this year, if I just go by numbers of books. I finished 24 books this year compared to 15 books of last year.

Settling on a book format

I experimented with all three formats this year -- Paper books, eBooks and Audio books.

But, I have more or less settled on Audio Books as the primary format. With so many professional and personal
commitments clamoring for my attention, it is increasingly becoming difficult to squeeze in time for reading eBooks or Print books.

I have recently subscribed to Audible and have been trying to listen for at least 30 minutes daily.

Going for "Tough Reads”

I have started including a few “Tough Reads” in my reading list.

L&D practitioners swear by 70:20:10 model, which posits that 70% of lessons learned by effective managers comes from working on challenging assignments i.e. “Tough Jobs”. In the same vein, I define “Tough Reads” as those books which help us to grow by broadening our horizon and getting us out of our comfort zone.

Tough Reads help to crystallize our thoughts, change our opinions, inform us of the opposing viewpoints, develop fortitude to weather out difficult life situations, foster empathy for people different from us and inculcate tolerance for dissenting opinions. They may be like Middlemarch, which dissects the motivations and psychology of its characters (Dorothea, Casaubon, Lydgate, Rosamond) so minutely and elaborately that you get some kernels of universal truth about human nature. Or, they may provide you a research-level exposition on a topic, say “Atheism” in “God Delusion”.

To figure out such books, I started researching more while choosing which books to go for. Trawling through Goodreads reviews is an excellent way to help pop out the next challenging read.  

Favourite book 

Middlemarch is my favourite book of this year.

Favourite quote

There couldn’t be a more sobering and liberating sentence than George Eliot’s concluding sentence in Middlemarch.

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

It makes one wonder whether the underlying assumption prevalent among today's achievers, that you matter only if you are able to make a Jobsian scale “Dent in the Universe”, is blindsiding us of other ways of mattering in the world.

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