My Book/Reading List
What I read again and again, what I would like to read and what I keep posting quotes from.
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Top 5 Must Read Books
No time? Read these.
Mindset - Carol Dweck
The book that started it all for me. This book drilled into me the principle fundamental to all learning - if you put in the work, (almost) anything can be improved.
Whether it's your coding skills, how you deal with people, how you speak in public or to an extent even how you look and carry yourself - all of that can be changed. For the better, if you work on it or for the worse, if you neglect it.
Nothing is fixed. Change is the only thing that is inevitable. And that shift in the mindset - from treating things like they will never change (e.g. I will always hate tofu, I will never be able to juggle, I will always be stuck working here) to knowing, experiencing and then finally believing that everything can and will be changed - opened my eyes to a whole new world for me.
Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn - John Maxwell
Once I understood that everything around me and everything about me could be changed, the next step was to actually try and make some changes. However, trying to make changes happen meant exposing myself to the possibility of failure. And in my head - regardless of how many quotes about failure I liked on Facebook and Instagram - that was a strict no-no.
Having grown up in the Asian society/environment where failure has always been considered something that must be avoided like the plague, the mere thought of failing at something made me want to curl up in the foetal position, till somehow, magically, the failure was either reversed or forgotten.
This book opened me up to the possibilities that become available once you truly embrace failure as part and parcel of the journey. Once you accept it as a must-have ingredient in the recipe for growing up to your full potential, then and only then, do you start making progress on the path to becoming the unstoppable force that you were always meant to be.
Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
In a life and death situation, where all bets are off, what is the one thing that separates the great leaders from the rest? Extreme ownership.
Extreme Ownership advocates the principle that all great leaders take complete ownership and responsibility for the actions of each and every individual in their team.
On the surface, that might seem ridiculous, impractical and super stressful. But pause for a moment and think about what else does it mean? It also means that because as a leader, I am responsible for every single action - in a way, I am also in complete control of every action.
So if I can put in enough work and ensure that I am fully prepared, I can then ensure that everything my team does is directly/indirectly influenced by my actions and by controlling my actions, I can control the outcomes delivered by the team.
Be Obsessed or Be Average - Grant Cordone
This one is my favourite of the bunch. This guy is crazy and if you listen to/read this book, I hope some of that rubs off on you as well.
I want to do lots and lots of things in life - and sometimes that gets overwhelming. Especially, with all the advice floating around about picking one thing and sticking to it.
However, life will not wait for you (or me) to go through our bucket list one at a time. That is where the obsessive approach comes in.
This book details how instead of denying your obsessions you can get obsessed with them and then work and grind to fulfil them.
I highly recommend the audio book.
You Are a Badass - Jen Sincero
Sometimes you can know everything that there is to know but still end up with the tide turned against you.
You know you should keep going. You know that things will improve. And you definitely know not to give up.
But knowing is not the same as doing. And in those times when you need a bit of TLC to start/keep chugging along in the right direction, this book can be priceless.
Do not be fooled by the feel good vibe in this. It makes some very fundamental points which combined with the author's gentle yet tough way of speaking/writing, give you the pick-me-up needed when you are down in the dumps and the only way out and over is to get through it all.
What Else You Got?
The ever growing list of books I have been trying to get through.
Since the end of 2015, I started compiling this list of books with the aim of finding a set of books that would give me the biggest bang for buck.
And even though it has grown somewhat uncontrollably since then, I have been working through it - slowly but surely.
📖 - means I am reading it (or I haven't finished it).
🎧 - means I am listening to it.
crossed out - means I have listened to/read it - at least once.
Frequently Asked Questions
How (many books/often) do you read?
I try to read at least 15 minutes a day while having my morning coffee. I also take my Kindle to meetings so that I can get a little bit of reading in when people are (inevitably) late 😆
While sitting in the train or driving, I also listen to audio books using Audible.
Where do you get all these books from?
People gift me some books. Others I download from Audible. Sometimes I will get books from the library as well. But most often, I download the books on my Kindle!
What should I read?
Pick any one of the top 5 books. Or, tell me what you are looking for and I will recommend a book for you!