|1||Love in the Time of Cholera*||Gabriel García Márquez||Print book|
|2||War and peace*||Leo Tolstoy||eBook|
|3||The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters*||Joseph Sugarman||eBook|
|4||Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking||Susan Cain||eBook|
|5||Graphics Design*||Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole Phillips||eBook|
|6||Little Women||Louisa May Alcott||Print book|
|7||Bourne Supremacy||Robert Ludlum||eBook|
|8||Zen Mind Beginner's Mind*||Shunryu Suzuki||eBook|
|9||Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future||Peter Thiel, Blake Masters||eBook|
|10||The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 1)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|11||The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 2)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|12||The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 3)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|13||Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 4)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|14||The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 5)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|15||The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 6)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|16||The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 7)||Clive Staples Lewis||eBook|
|19||Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life||Anne Lamott||eBook|
|20||Tuesdays with Morrie||Mitch Albom||Audio book|
|21||The God Delusion||Richard Dawkins||Audio book|
|22||The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers||Ben Horowitz||Audio book|
|23||Principles: Life and Work||Ray Dalio||Audio book|
|24||Mindfulness for Beginners||Jon Kabat-Zinn||Audio book|
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 subscribed to Audible’s Gold Monthly plan ($14.95 one book a month) and have been trying to listen
for 30 minutes while getting ready in the morning.
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.
Middlemarch is my favourite book of this year.
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.