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.

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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In the quest of last victory: Book Review

In the quest of last victory

In the quest of last victory

In Quest of the Last Victory is an inspirational story of the Navin Gulia’s perseverance, fighting spirit and persistent efforts to achieve higher goals by stretching beyond what his physical abilities seemed to permit him. Despite complete paralysis of the body, Navin Gulia continued to have aspirations and made every effort to accomplish them. With a single-minded focus and determination, he turned his disability into a life-affirming force. He mastered chess, studied computer science, flew hang gliders and microlight aircraft, and went on to become the first Indian to drive non-stop to the highest motorable mountain pass in the world, the forbidding Marsimik La in Ladakh.With a lifetime of severe setbacks behind him and an impossibly steep mountain incline in front, Navin Gulia knew that if he failed this day life probable would never give him this chance again. The words he had always believed in rang in his ears:

Our body and mind have infinite ability, our ability never restricts us, our thoughts do. If we think we can, we can; if we think we cannot, we cannot.

This is a captivating tale of grit and determination that will inspire and motivate people of all ages.

About the Author
Navin Gulia, adventurer, writer, social worker and motivational speaker, holds a world record for being the first person to drive non-stop to Marsimik La, which at 18,632 feet is the highest mountain pass in the world. In 2007, he founded, and now runs, the Apni Duniya Apna Ashiyana Welfare Society, which works towards the interests of underprivileged children.

Gulia was honoured with the President’s National Role Model Award by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006. He has received several other awards and honours, including the Godfrey Phillips Mind of Steel Award (2010), Karmaveer Puraskar from iCongo (2009), Cavinkare Ability Mastery Award (2006), Chief of Army Staff Commendation (2005), The Times of India Global Indian for the Year (2005), Limca Book People of the Year (2005) and State Award for Adventure Sports (2004).

Buy In Quest of the Last Victory from Flipkart.com

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