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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Books that shaped my year: 2013

So 2013 is ending and it’s time we introspect and look back at the year. Many of us read the best books/movies/etc lists. So this time I decided to compile a list of books that shaped me in year 2013. These are books which have left a deep impact on me. In my constant strive of the self enhancement, these books have helped me to reach the next level of self evolution. So here is the list:

1. Daring Greatly.

This book is a great resource which helped me in accepting my imperfections. To embrace vulnerability and encouraged me to live the life wholeheartedly.It is written by Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown. After the great success of her ted talk The power of vulnerability she compiled her work in this book. I recommend it highly to those who are looking for more and better ways of Living.

2. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking

Susan Cain, author of Quiet is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant — and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people who live on our planet are introverts, notes Cain in her book. Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin’s nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Gandhi’s transformative leadership. Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy, and happiness. Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperaments — but because of them.

Being born, raised and grown introvert, this book greatly helped me in overcoming inferiority complex that was born because of being labeled as Introvert.

3. Willpower : Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength

For years the old-fashioned, even Victorian, value of willpower has been disparaged by psychologists who argued that we’re largely driven by unconscious forces beyond our control. Here Roy Baumeister, one of the world’s most esteemed and influential psychologists, and journalist John Tierney, turn this notion on its head. They show us that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. The latest laboratory work shows that self-control has a physical basis to it and so is dramatically affected by simple things such as eating and sleeping – to the extent that a life-changing decision may go in different directions depending on whether it’s made before or after lunch. You will discover how babies can be taught willpower, the joys of the to-don’t list, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, the pointlessness of diets and the secrets to David Blaine’s stunts. There are also fascinating personal stories, from explorers, students, soldiers, ex-addicts and parents.

4. This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

This Will Make You Smarter presents brilliant ideas to expand every mind. What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

5. Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal

Swaraj is a book published in English and Hindi by Arvind Kejriwal, a social activist-turned-politician. Kejriwal questions the present establishment of the democratic framework in India and proposes a way in which he thinks that the people, the opinion makers and the political establishment of India can achieve true Swaraj (self-rule). Book is available for free download here in English and here in Hindi.

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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