All Talk and No Action Friday, December 30, 2011

One reason that made 2011 a rocking year was the amount of reading I got done. Though I read literature spread across variouos genres, I list the five books that were most impactful.

The art of choosing - A fabulous read on how humans make choices and the influential role played by culture and social conditioning. The book is devoid of medical jargon and Sheena Iyengar's lucid, conversational writing is a pleasure to read. Definitely a must have for your bookshelf. 

The difficulty of being good - Gurcharan Das offers a detailed character study of the central characters from the Mahabharat. The oft overlooked ethical issues encompassing war and a rich analysis of being good in an amoral milieu, are highlighted superbly. "Who did he lose first?" cries Draupadi after she learns about the defeat of the Pandavas in the game of dice.  While it is true that a person who has lost in the game, can no longer wager that which doesn't belong to him. On the other hand, Draupadi did belong to Yudhistira. Being legally wedded to him and considered his "property", he staked Draupadi as the final resort. Just an example of the many wonderful arguments presented in the book. A must read if you have a thing for complex ethical discussions.

Being Indian - A definitive book on what it means to be an Indian. Unless I stumble upon other writing, this will remain my only recommendation to anyone who wishes to understand this complex country we call home. 

Steve Jobs - Enough said.

Success vs. Joy - A very unassuming book, yet the best one to end my year with. In success vs. joy, Geet Sethi, offers insights from his life and times spent at the billiards table. Most chapters span no more than two pages and the book has a fairy tale like appearance, with large, flowery font. What I absolutely love about the book is its minimalistic writing.  Profound life philosophies shared without any melodrama. And no, it is not self help.

While I am still to complete some amazing books, they will feature here only in 2012.

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