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From 'Mindfulness' to 'Artificial Intelligence': My 50 Book Adventures in 2023

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

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I firmly believe that sharing knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we can give. My curiosity drives me to understand how the world functions, and books are my portal to gaining new insights every day.

I enjoy sharing what I learn with my friends and social media followers. While I love discussing the books I read, my hectic schedule often limits how frequently I can write about them. This year-end blog is my effort to share more knowledge and introduce everyone to the fantastic world of reading.

For those interested in exploring these books, I've provided Amazon links for easy access. If any of these titles catch your eye, feel free to click the links and start reading.

If you're up for a discussion on these books, I'm always open to catching up over a coffee.

Below are links to some of my previous blogs for further reading.

In "The One Thing," Gary Keller presents a compelling argument for focusing on a single, primary task to achieve extraordinary results. The book, written in a clear and engaging style, is ideal for professionals and entrepreneurs looking to streamline their productivity and success. Keller's approach simplifies complex productivity concepts, making it an accessible read for anyone aspiring to maximize efficiency in their personal and professional lives.

Vaclav Smil's "How the World Really Works" is a scientific exploration of essential global issues like energy consumption, food production, and environmental sustainability. The book is rich in technical and scientific insights, making it a vital resource for readers interested in a deeper understanding of the scientific factors driving our world. Smil's comprehensive analysis is ideal for those passionate about sustainability, global challenges, and the role of science in societal development.

"The Key Man" by Simon Clark and Will Louch unveils the story of a massive global financial scam. The book blends investigative journalism with narrative storytelling, making it a compelling read for those interested in understanding the intricacies of corporate fraud and financial manipulation. The authors' detailed account provides insight into the world of high finance and the vulnerabilities that can lead to such large-scale deceptions.

"Billion Dollar Whale" by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright is an in-depth exploration of one of the most significant financial frauds in history. The book is a mix of investigative reporting and captivating storytelling, offering insights into how a single individual could manipulate and deceive the financial world. Ideal for readers interested in the mechanisms of financial crimes, the book provides a detailed account of the scam and its implications on global finance.

In "Life 3.0," Max Tegmark explores the future impact of artificial intelligence on humanity, delving into ethical considerations and potential scenarios. The book is a thought-provoking read for tech enthusiasts and anyone curious about the role of AI in shaping our future. Tegmark's approachable yet profound discussion on AI makes the book a crucial resource for understanding the potential and challenges of artificial intelligence in the coming years.

"The Panama Papers" by Frederik Obermaier is an investigative masterpiece revealing how the rich and powerful use offshore accounts to hide wealth. The book offers a detailed exploration of the global scale of financial secrecy, making it a must-read for those interested in finance, investigative journalism, and the mechanisms of wealth concealment. Obermaier's work is crucial in understanding the complex web of financial secrecy and its impact on global inequality.

Warren Berger's "The Book of Beautiful Questions" is a guide to using well-crafted questions for personal and professional growth. The book is insightful and easy to understand, making it an excellent tool for enhancing decision-making, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Berger's approach is ideal for individuals looking to foster a more thoughtful and innovative mindset in both their personal and professional lives.

I did not like this book much as the concepts were too obvious and theoretical. Good book to read if you are in consulting.

In "A Chapter Out of My Life," Salil Agrawal shares inspiring stories from everyday lives, offering a narrative that is both simple and profound. The book is an uplifting read for those seeking motivation and relatable, real-life stories. Agrawal's storytelling highlights the extraordinary moments in ordinary lives, showcasing resilience, hope, and the human spirit's enduring strength.

Michio Kaku's "The Future of Humanity" is an expansive look into space exploration, terraforming Mars, and the prospects of interstellar travel. The book combines scientific rigor with a visionary perspective, making it a compelling read for those fascinated by space science and humanity's future. Kaku's engaging narrative provides a comprehensive overview of the latest advancements and theoretical possibilities in space technology and exploration.

In "The Future of Work," Jacob Morgan provides a deep dive into the evolving nature of work and workplaces. The book offers valuable insights for business leaders, HR professionals, and anyone interested in the intersection of technology, organizational culture, and workforce trends. Morgan's practical approach combines current trends with future predictions, making it a crucial resource for understanding and preparing for the future of work.

This is an old book - hence a lot of concepts are outdated and not practical in post Covid times. Again, read if you are in HR consulting or a similar role.

Ezra F. Vogel's "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China" offers an in-depth exploration of Deng Xiaoping's life and his monumental impact on China's modernization. This comprehensive biography combines political analysis with historical context, making it an essential read for those interested in Chinese history, political leadership, and international relations. Vogel's scholarly work provides a nuanced understanding of the policies and decisions that shaped modern China.

This is a very long and a detailed book. I dropped reading this book after almost 50%. Read this book if you have a scholarly objective of studying China.

Ha-Joon Chang's "Twenty-Three Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism" is a critical examination of the underlying aspects of modern capitalism. This thought-provoking book challenges conventional economic wisdom, making it a must-read for those interested in economics, public policy, and social justice. Chang's straightforward and accessible writing style provides a fresh perspective on the impact of capitalism on various aspects of global society.

"Stealth War" by Robert Spalding examines the strategies purportedly used by China to influence global affairs. This controversial book is a deep dive into geopolitical tactics and international relations, making it an intriguing read for those interested in global power dynamics and security. Spalding's straightforward approach provides a unique perspective on the challenges and complexities of modern geopolitical strategies.

I felt this book lacks objective research and is mainly into blaming narrative with a one sided opinion. Read this book to add to your perspective on how the world sees China.

"A Crisis of Beliefs" by Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer offers an insightful analysis of investor psychology and its role in financial markets. The book is a blend of behavioral economics and finance, making it a valuable resource for financial professionals, economists, and students. The authors delve into how psychological factors contribute to financial instability and crises, providing a unique lens to understand market dynamics.

"The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko demystifies the habits and lifestyles of America's wealthy. This informative guide, written in a clear and approachable style, is perfect for those seeking insights into wealth accumulation, financial planning, and frugal living. The book provides an eye-opening look at the often-overlooked practices that lead to financial success, challenging common stereotypes about wealth and spending.

In today's high volt startup funding world, this book brings a way of hope. The book tells us that we don't have to be a millionaire by raising huge funding rounds. The happiest millionaires are all around us.

In "Whole Numbers and Half Truths," Rukmini S. presents a nuanced view of India's socio-economic landscape through data-driven stories. The book's analytical yet accessible style makes it a must-read for those interested in understanding India's complex societal and economic issues. Rukmini's expertise in data journalism shines through, offering a fact-based perspective on topics often shrouded in myths and generalizations.

This book is for all the social media judges out there. The book looks into key phenomenon in India and tries to dissect and analyse through "available" data.

Robert B. Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" explores the psychological principles that lead people to say "yes." This engaging book is crucial for marketers, sales professionals, and anyone interested in the art of persuasion and influence. Cialdini's work combines research and real-world examples, providing a deep understanding of the tactics and triggers that drive persuasive behaviors.

"Everybody Lies" by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explores the hidden truths revealed by big data about human behavior. This thought-provoking book is a fascinating read for those interested in the impact of big data on society, psychology, and understanding human nature. Stephens-Davidowitz's approachable and insightful analysis demonstrates how data mining and analysis can uncover surprising insights about who we really are.

Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is a timeless classic on strategy and warfare. Its principles, applicable in various fields like business, leadership, and personal development, make it an indispensable read for strategists, business leaders, and history enthusiasts. This concise yet profound book provides timeless wisdom on competition, strategy, and success, offering valuable lessons that transcend its military origins.

In "How to Lead a Happy Life," Kushal Bharadwaj presents 50 lessons from ancient Indian philosophy. This insightful book offers wisdom for achieving personal happiness and balance, making it perfect for those seeking spiritual growth and practical life guidance. Bharadwaj's exploration of ancient teachings is both accessible and profound, providing readers with timeless principles for leading a fulfilled life.

David Goggins's "Can't Hurt Me" is a powerful memoir that recounts his journey of overcoming adversity and pushing the limits of physical and mental endurance. The book is an inspiring tale of resilience, showcasing Goggins's transformation from a struggling young man into a record-breaking athlete and Navy SEAL. His story is filled with motivational insights and lessons on how to overcome obstacles, break barriers, and conquer personal demons.

In "Don't Trust Your Gut," Seth Stephens-Davidowitz advocates for a data-driven approach to life decisions over relying on intuition. This enlightening book combines behavioral economics with practical advice, making it an essential read for those interested in data analysis, decision-making, and understanding human behavior. Stephens-Davidowitz's engaging writing style makes complex data concepts accessible to a general audience.

"Heart: A History" by Sandeep Jauhar is a fascinating blend of medical history and personal memoir. Jauhar, a cardiologist, provides a compelling narrative on the heart's role in human health and emotion. The book offers insights into groundbreaking medical discoveries, the complexity of heart diseases, and the author's personal experiences with heart health. It's an informative and touching read for those interested in medicine, health, and emotional well-being.

The book highlights the connection between brain and heart i.e. mental well-being and heart health. A must read for everyone especially if you are over 40s.

"American Sniper" is the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. The book offers a candid and gripping account of his military career, including his experiences in Iraq. Kyle's narrative provides an intimate look into the life of a Navy SEAL and the mental and physical demands of being a sniper. This memoir is a compelling read for those interested in military history, personal accounts of warfare, and the challenges faced by soldiers.

I had mixed feelings after reading this book. While the US and its allies were fighting their war against terrorism, I was saddened for the innocent locals who were caught in the crossfire.

Steve Blank's "The Four Steps to the Epiphany" offers a groundbreaking approach to building successful startups. The book introduces the Customer Development model, challenging traditional notions of product development and marketing. Blank's methodology emphasizes understanding customer needs and iteratively developing products, making it a crucial guide for entrepreneurs, startup founders, and business students. The book is filled with practical advice and strategies for creating a viable and scalable business.

"The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thích Nhất Hạnh is a profound guide to practicing mindfulness and meditation. This classic book offers simple yet powerful teachings on being present, cultivating inner peace, and living mindfully. Thích Nhất Hạnh's gentle and insightful approach makes mindfulness practice accessible to everyone, regardless of their background. The book is an invitation to experience life more fully and is particularly beneficial for those seeking spiritual growth and stress reduction.

"I Am Jackie Chan" is the autobiography of international movie star Jackie Chan. The book chronicles his journey from a young, struggling stuntman to a global martial arts icon and film legend. Chan's memoir is filled with humorous anecdotes, personal struggles, and behind-the-scenes insights into the movie industry. It's an inspiring and entertaining read for fans of Jackie Chan, as well as those interested in the world of cinema and the story of a self-made superstar.

This is an old book. Jackie Chan still continues to amaze us for all these years.

In "Why Nations Fail," Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson explore the economic and political reasons behind the success or failure of nations. The book presents a comprehensive analysis of historical and contemporary case studies to argue that inclusive institutions are key to prosperity. This thought-provoking work is essential for readers interested in economics, political science, and the factors that contribute to national development and decline.

Reinhold Messner is an iconic figure in the mountaineering community. Unlike contemporary climbers who often focus on setting new records, Messner climbed mountains primarily out of passion and love for the sport, not just to make history. To learn more about his life and remarkable achievements, I recommend exploring his Wikipedia page for an in-depth look at his contributions to mountaineering.

"Everest: Expedition to the Ultimate" by Reinhold Messner is a riveting account of his challenging ascent of Mount Everest. The book offers an up-close look at the extreme challenges of high-altitude mountaineering, including the physical and mental demands of climbing the world's highest peak. Messner's narrative is a blend of adventure, personal reflections, and detailed descriptions of the Everest environment. It's an engaging read for adventure enthusiasts and those interested in the feats of human endurance.

"Cast Your Caste Away" by Rajeev Venkat delves into the relevance of Sanatana Dharma in contemporary society. The book offers a fresh perspective on ancient Indian philosophy, discussing its principles and applications in modern times. Venkat's work is a thought-provoking exploration of spirituality, social justice, and cultural identity. It's an insightful read for those interested in Indian philosophy, societal change, and the role of religion in modern life.

Casteism in India has been a significant hindrance to the country's growth. This book delves into the original intentions behind the caste system and how it has been distorted over the years by those in positions of power. It offers an exploration of the system's evolution and the ways in which it has been manipulated for various interests.

Eddie Jaku's "The Happiest Man on Earth" is a moving memoir of his survival and lessons learned from his experiences during the Holocaust. Jaku shares his journey of finding happiness and gratitude despite enduring unimaginable hardships. His story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of positivity. This book is a source of inspiration and hope, offering profound insights into the importance of kindness, friendship, and a positive outlook on life.

In "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty," behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores the psychological mechanisms behind why we lie and cheat. The book combines research findings with real-world examples, offering an insightful look into the factors that drive dishonest behavior. Ariely's accessible and engaging writing makes complex psychological concepts easy to understand. This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in psychology, ethics, and the nuances of human behavior.

"The Ascent of Everest" by John Hunt recounts the historic 1953 expedition that led to the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. Hunt's narrative captures the team's extraordinary journey, detailing the challenges, strategies, and perseverance required to conquer the world's highest peak. The book is a blend of adventure, leadership insights, and historical significance, making it an engaging read for those interested in mountaineering, exploration history, and human endurance.

I previously read "High Adventure" by Edmund Hillary, which presents his perspective on the expedition. In it, Sir Edmund Hillary speaks highly of the team leader, Sir John Hunt. Curious to understand Sir John Hunt's viewpoint, I wanted to explore how he perceived the successful first ascent of Everest by his team.

Girish Kuber's "The Tatas" chronicles the rise of the Tata family and their significant impact on India's industrial and philanthropic landscape. The book offers a comprehensive look into the business strategies, ethical practices, and visionary leadership that have shaped the Tata empire. Kuber's detailed account provides valuable insights into the world of business, corporate governance, and economic development in India. It's an essential read for those interested in business history, entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility.

In "Great by Choice," Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen analyze what makes some companies thrive in chaotic and uncertain environments. The book is based on extensive research and provides insights into the qualities that distinguish successful companies. Collins and Hansen discuss concepts like disciplined innovation, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia, making it a valuable resource for business leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs. The book offers practical strategies for building resilient and adaptable organizations.

"Letting Go" by David R. Hawkins provides insights into the pathway of emotional and spiritual release. Hawkins discusses various techniques and approaches to letting go of negative emotions and psychological barriers. The book blends psychological theory with spiritual practices, offering a holistic approach to personal growth and healing. It's a transformative read for those seeking to overcome emotional challenges and achieve a higher state of consciousness and well-being.

Steve Sheinkin's "Bomb" is a thrilling account of the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. The book combines historical details with the suspense of a spy novel, depicting the scientific discoveries, espionage, and ethical dilemmas surrounding the bomb's creation. Sheinkin's narrative captures the intensity and drama of this pivotal moment in history, making it an engaging read for history enthusiasts, students, and anyone interested in the intersection of science, politics, and ethics.

I decided to read this book before watching the movie "Oppenheimer." The book offers a detailed exploration of the events surrounding the creation of the first lethal bomb, delving into its impact on global politics and the lives of people involved.

"The Passion Test" by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood is a guide to discovering and pursuing one's passions. The book provides practical tools and strategies for identifying personal interests and aligning life choices with these passions. The Attwoods' approach is motivational and introspective, encouraging readers to seek fulfillment and purpose in their careers and personal lives. This book is ideal for those at crossroads in life, looking for direction and inspiration.

This book tends to be quite theoretical in nature, so it might not be essential reading. There are other books on this topic that might offer a more practical or engaging approach. I'll be sharing a separate blog post soon where I'll recommend some of these alternative titles for those interested in the subject.

In "How to Win an Indian Election," Shivam Shankar Singh offers an insider's view of the strategies and tactics used in Indian politics. The book is a revealing exploration of political campaigning, voter behavior, and the use of media and technology in elections.

Singh's insights provide a unique perspective on the complexities of democratic processes in India, making it a must-read for those interested in political science, electoral strategies, and the dynamics of Indian politics.

"Fake Law" by The Secret Barrister debunks common legal myths and misconceptions. The book offers a critical look at how legal stories are misrepresented in the media and public discourse. The Secret Barrister provides an informative and accessible analysis of key legal principles and cases, making it an enlightening read for anyone interested in law, justice, and the impact of misinformation. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding legal realities in an age of fake news.

This book is set within the context of British law, so if you're not acquainted with the cases it discusses, I recommend doing a quick search on Google for these cases as you read. This will help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of the content and the legal scenarios presented in the book.

"The Counterfeiter" by Bhaswar Mukherjee delves into the life of Abdul Karim Telgi and his involvement in one of India's largest financial scams. The book provides a detailed account of the stamp paper scam, revealing the intricate mechanisms of Telgi's operations and the systemic vulnerabilities he exploited. Mukherjee's investigative approach offers a captivating look into white-collar crime, corruption, and the challenges of financial regulation. This book is a must-read for those interested in true crime stories, financial fraud, and the complexities of legal systems.

Before watching the series on Abdul Telgi, I wanted to read this book. This book is a little more factual - in the sense that it writes court judgements and similar sources. The book is also heavily inspired by Telgi : A Reporter's Diary - by Sanjay Singh.

Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Musk offers an in-depth look at the life and accomplishments of one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of our time. The book covers Musk's journey from his early days in South Africa to his groundbreaking work with companies like SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Vance provides a balanced view of Musk's visionary ambitions and the challenges he faced along the way. This biography is an inspiring read for anyone interested in technology, entrepreneurship, and the power of visionary thinking.

"THESE SEATS ARE RESERVED" by Abhinav Chandrachud explores the complexities of caste and reservations in India. The book offers a critical analysis of the reservation system, discussing its historical background, legal framework, and impact on Indian society. Chandrachud's work is a thought-provoking read for those interested in Indian politics, social justice, and the role of the constitution in shaping societal dynamics. The book provides a nuanced understanding of the challenges and debates surrounding affirmative action and social equity in India.

"The Tools of Argument" by Joel P. Trachtman is a comprehensive guide to the art of legal argumentation. The book breaks down complex legal concepts into understandable terms, making it an invaluable resource for law students, practicing lawyers, and anyone interested in the intricacies of legal reasoning. Trachtman's approach combines theory with practical examples, offering insights into effective argumentation techniques and the fundamentals of legal thinking.

This book is somewhat challenging to comprehend, especially for those without a background in law. A basic understanding of legal principles would certainly help in grasping the concepts and techniques presented. However, there were moments when I felt the book leaned more towards being theoretical.

"Money Men" by Dan McCrum is an investigative account of a billion-dollar financial fraud. McCrum's thorough research and compelling narrative unravel the complex story of how a high-profile startup was embroiled in fraudulent activities. The book is an eye-opening read for those interested in finance, corporate scandals, and investigative journalism. McCrum's work provides a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked ambition and the importance of transparency in the financial world.

I wasn't able to finish this book, primarily because of its extensive length and detailed content. At times, it felt like the narrative strayed too far from the main storyline, delving into overly specific details that seemed unnecessary.

In "Thinking Like a Lawyer," Frederick Schauer offers an introduction to legal reasoning and the fundamental principles of legal thought. The book provides a clear and concise overview of how lawyers analyze and argue cases, making it an essential read for law students and anyone interested in the legal process. Schauer's work demystifies legal concepts and encourages critical thinking about legal issues and the role of law in society.

"Landmark Judgments that Changed India" by Asok K. Ganguly discusses key court cases that have shaped Indian law and society. Ganguly's insightful analysis covers significant legal battles and their implications on Indian jurisprudence and civil liberties.

The book is a valuable resource for those interested in legal history, constitutional law, and the evolution of justice in India. Ganguly's work provides an accessible understanding of how landmark judgments have impacted various aspects of Indian life.

"Investigation To Trial" by Abhilash Malhotra simplifies the complexities of criminal law and the legal process for the general public. The book provides an overview of criminal investigations, legal procedures, and the journey from investigation to trial. Malhotra's accessible writing style and practical insights make this book an excellent guide for those seeking to understand the workings of the criminal justice system and the rights of individuals within it.

Rajdeep Sardesai's "2014: The Election That Changed India" provides an in-depth analysis of the Indian general election of 2014. The book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the political strategies, media campaigns, and significant events that shaped the election outcome. Sardesai's narrative combines political analysis with journalistic insights, making it an engaging read for those interested in Indian politics, electoral dynamics, and the role of media in democracy.

Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk provides a detailed and nuanced portrait of one of the most influential and controversial figures in the technology and business world. The book covers Musk's early life, his entrepreneurial ventures, and his ambitious goals for space exploration, electric vehicles, and renewable energy. Isaacson's thorough research and engaging storytelling offer an insightful look into Musk's personality, leadership style, and the challenges he has faced in his groundbreaking endeavors.

Want to refer to my reading list from the past years? Click here

Happy Reading!

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