Books every Indian should read in his early twenties

According to me, if you are in your early twenties and looking for some enlightening books, you must read following books. I strongly believe ten years from now, you will attribute a lot of your success to some of these books. Having read all of them and being influenced by every one of them, I call myself fortunate that I had a company of these great books when I needed them most. I have given online link of every book from where they can be purchased.
I hope you find them useful.
Best wishes.

Wings of Fire: An Autobiography 1st Edition – If you are an Indian, in your early twenties then you must read this book.
This book is an autobiographical novel that tells the  readers a story about unlocking their inner potential. APJ Abdul Kalam does a  great deal to throw light on his journey to igniting the fire within  himself. This book is divided into seven parts. This is then followed by an Orientation, which  contains a quote from the Atharva Veda. After that, the readers are  also enlightened on the incidents that made Kalam what he is today.

  • Unposted Letter – is a collection of short articles that contains deep and profound  reflections on many topics related to life, work, situations, and  attitudes. Each page contains ideas and concepts that can change your view on many things and make your life richer and more  enjoyable. A good read recommended for young readers.

 

  • Letters From a Father to His Daughter – These letters reflect on a variety of topics. Starting from  natural history, the beginning of the earth, and evolution to the varied races of the world, the genetic make-up, the  differences in communities, and races, how these races were formed, and  why people look different. Book also touches upon the topic of civilizations. It discusses the  ancient civilizations, the great cities of ancient times, the origin of  language and religion, the growth of mankind, and the changes in  religion and its current manifestations. Nehru also elaborately  discusses the history of India, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the  great kings of the past and their kingdoms.

 

 

  • Gitanjali – One of the greatest writers in modern India, Rabindranath Tagore became  the first Indian to be awarded the Nobel Prize, which he received for  his outstanding contribution to Literature. Known for his elegant prose  and magical poetry, Gitanjali captures the essence of Tagore’s poetic  spirit. The poetry of Tagore is soothing to the spirit of the  person who reads it. These poems look at the deepest and the most  spiritual aspects of life with a simplicity and grace that touch your  soul. They encourage you to look at the world around, in a fresh light,  and experience the beauty of creation.

 

Siddhartha – Siddhartha’ is a novel by Hermann Hesse which deals with  the spiritual journey of an Indian boy called Siddhartha during the time  of the Buddha. The book was written in German, in a simple, yet  powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse  had spent some time in India in the 1910s. The story revolves  around a young man who leaves his home and family on a quest for the  Truth. Embarking on a journey that takes him from the austerities of  renunciation to the profligacy of wealth. That leads him through the  range of human experiences from hunger and want, to passion, pleasure,  pain, greed, yearning, boredom, love, despair and hope. A journey that  leads finally to the river, where he gains peace and eventually wisdom.  This is the story of Siddhartha as told by Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse  in his most influential work.

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How our body language shapes who we are.

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

power-pose-visualization

How our body language shapes who we are.

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Mind Wondering is making you unhappy.

Initially Mind wandering was thought to be a evolution’s gift to mankind. It allows us to wander wherever we want. Our thoughts travel faster than anything and we often treat this as a blessing to us. However mind wandering may have an emotional cost.

While most people think of mind-wandering as a lifting escape from daily drudgery, research shows that this may not the case. In fact, mind-wandering appears to be correlated with unhappiness. When people were mind-wandering, they reported feeling unhappy most of the times. Meanwhile, when they were focused on the present moment, they reported feeling more happy.

Live-for-Each-Moment

Happiness is one of the most complicated human emotions and there has been substantial research done on it. Matt Killingsworth while doing his PhD research at Harvard invented a smart tool: an iPhone app called Track Your Happiness that captured user’s feelings in real time. The tool alerts the user at random times and asks: How are you feeling right now, and what are you doing? Matt captured the data and analyzed it which later became the main source of knowledge for the notable paper “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind”. Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all. Indeed, “stimulus-independent thought” or “mind wandering” appears to be the brains default mode of operation.

Escaping mind wandering

Building focus and increasing our mindfulness are an ultimate ways to reach happier life.

Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and “to be here now.” These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

Eckhart Tolle a spiritual teacher and the author of bestselling book The Power of Now, suggests “living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment.” His book sparked a wave of awareness about mindfulness in recent days. The book talks about mind wandering; it’s relation to our sorrows. It shows how we invite misery in our lives by not accepting the present moment. Tolle says the more we escape from now the more unhappy and miserable we become. So being fully in the now is an ultimate solution to find bliss and happiness. Tolle’s philosophy is inspired by Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and the Bible altogether.

What modern day scientists, philosophers are inventing is in fact proving to be an ancient wisdom which was practiced long ago in history. Hinduism, Buddhism teachings are focused on many advanced meditation techniques. In fact many Hindu gods are visualized as sitting in meditation postures.

Practical solution to escape the life’s miseries is a focused mind. Meditation is a scientifically proven way to decrease mind wandering and in turn our happiness levels.

In conclusion, a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

— Buddha

Further Reading:

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Albert Einstein’s advice to his son about learning.

Einstein writes an affectionate letter to his son during turbulent times of war in 1915 from war-torn Berlin while his estranged wife and their two sons were living in safer place Vienna.

Einstein had just completed his monumental work of “Theory of Relativity” that made him international celebrity.

My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you

Albert Einstein

wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .

Be with Tete kissed by your

Papa.

Regards to Mama.

Einstein’s Book: Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

How clean is your Window?

A young couple Moved into a new neighborhood  The next morning while they were having their breakfast, the young women saw her neighbor putting out clothes to dry in sun. “That laundry is not clean.”, she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash clothes. Perhaps She needs to use a better soap”, she added. Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time the neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make  the same comment. A month  later, the women was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband “Look, she had learnt to wash. The clothes look clean. I wonder who taught her this. ” The husband said ” I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows .”

And also it is with our life. What we see when watching others depends on our window through which we look.

clean window

 

Benjamin Franklin’s Junto

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently read about Clubs and Groups and how organized clubs can help us in excelling in our life. I read that Benjamin Franklin established a club for mutual improvement in 1727. It was called as Junto.

Franklin describes the formation and purpose of the Junto in his autobiography:

I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year, [1727] I had form’d most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.

Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.

This project Junto was so successful that it produced some extra-ordinary personalities in USA and The group generated a bounty of ideas, such as the first public library, volunteer fire departments, the first public hospital, police departments, and paved streets. They also collaborated to execute on opportunities. For example, one idea that emerged from the Junto was the need for a liberal arts higher education that would blend study of the classics with practical knowledge. Franklin teamed up with fellow Junto member William Coleman and several others to start what is now the University of Pennsylvania. It was the first multidisciplinary university in America.

Franklin believed that if he brought together a bunch of smart people in a relaxed atmosphere and let the conversation flow, good opportunities would emerge.

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