From clay tablets to scrolls of papyrus, hand-bound and machine printed books to the now popular e-books, the history of reading traces a riveting journey. A true story in itself. But that’s a topic for another day. What has not changed though, over the years, is the importance of reading. From exposing one to new information and ideas, to being a tool of communication, and boosting creativity somewhere between the pages, I was hooked, and haven’t been able to keep my hands off a good book ever since.
In today’s world of digital bombardment, it takes patience to sit and read a book. That being said, I still love to read. As a person and professional, it has helped me develop virtues of empathy, and truly understand the author’s perspective, and has enhanced my writing skills and creativity.
Having said that, I do want to see myself becoming a polymath, and I believe the best way to increase your cognitive capability and challenge your mind regularly is to expose yourself to things that you have little idea about. Which is why I have decided to embark on a ‘20X2 for 20’ mission. The goal is to read 40 books in 2020. My list is as varied as my interests. The list comprises books on topics ranging from tribal history and block chain to war strategy and mathematics. I have also included a few fiction reads, as well, because it helps broaden my horizons. Books have also proven to be exceptionally useful in fuelling my creativity and to me, this is a necessity, given the business I am in.
Over the years, I have applied a lot of learnings from the books I have read. For instance, 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Dr Robert B. Cialdini, has been a game-changer in my life. Not only have I learned a great deal about how humans can be influenced but I have also applied those techniques in order to positively influence clients, win business and develop great relationships.
Another one - I read a book called Guns, Germs and Steel and it blew my mind. It is one of those books that has really educated me about the history of our planet and how the West has a decisive advantage over the rest of the world not because of them being racially superior but because of the invisible advantage of geography and bio-geography. Even though a million copies have been sold, it's a sad fact that barely a million people (or much lesser because most people never end up reading the books they buy) will really understand why certain countries made it to the top, and why some big ones don't even exist today.
Here are some of the books I look forward to reading in 2020.
1. The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond
2. Digital Minimalism
3. Why I Killed The Mahatma by Nathuram Godse
4. Change by Design by Tim Brown
5. How Not To Be Wrong
6. The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu
7. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini
9. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
10. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
That’s some of the books in my list for the year! I hope that in some way, I have been able to inspire you to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for the longest time. And hey, don’t just stop at one; you too could read 40 books in 2020!