Tuesday, 3 September 2013

7 Of My Favourite Non-fiction books

Sir Francis Bacon rightly said: “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly." Taking this analogy forward, here’s my take on food. "Opps…books".

Some romantic books taste like pitiful pieces of birthday cakes offered by that not-so-friendly neighbor: the taste lasts till the piece lasts; while some books are like sumptuous peanut butter cookies, too good too resist. (Just like the best sellers which you'd love to binge read.) And then there are some self-help/biographical/autobiographical books that taste like your mom’s favorite recipes, leaving a indelible mark on your heart, mind and soul forever. You love to savor them again and again and again.

So here’s goes my list of non-fiction books that I look up to. I’ve devoured these books at least a couple of times and won't deprive myself from indulging them ov'r and ov'r, given that they are inspiring and keeps my spirits high. The spark in these books, spark up my soul that tend to go on a sabbatical quite often.

#1. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

I believe that leaving a legacy for your kids is important. If kids could find a benchmark in their parents, nothing like it... it can be in the form of books, research and even blogs for that matter. (Easier said than done, I know.) However, Professor Pausch, before his death, ensured that his kids had a legacy to look and live up to. When he had just six months in hand (being a cancer patient) he went around giving inspiring lectures and creating CDs for his li'l’ kids; no, he didn’t spend his last days talking to them, but focused on writing this book and delivering inspirational lectures. (His kids were too small to talk to, much less inspire.) His only mission during his final months was to leave a legacy for his kids like his father did. Pausch’s father had captured the famous historical event of Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon from TV and got it fixed on his wall to inspire his son, simply because he wanted his son to aim high. Pausch simply emulated his father's deed.
My take: Wish to inspire yourself or your kids, go for it.

#2. Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother – Amy Chua

As an ambitious mother, the book struck a perfect chord with me. Along the way, however, I did wonder that Chinese way of raising children was not very different from us Indians. (Little wonder, China gives competition to the US hands down, be it Olympics or businesses: thanks to the terror unleashed by the Chinese mothers on their children). Chinese mothers go to the extremes while bringing out the best in the children. I did not just read it, but insanely applied the same logic in real life situations as well. Obviously, Aryan my son, bore the brunt. Strict study schedules and play schedules and extra-curricular schedules were charted out for him. But now, I’ve myself have grown tired of all this s.... Anyway, the central idea of the book was: the more the efforts you put in, the more the scope of  doing well in life. Point taken.
 My take: Don't follow it blindly, use your discretion.  

# 3. Man’s Search For Meaning – Victor Frankly

Interested in reversing your shameful past, this book will help you do so. One soul-searching line from this book that appealed to me was: “Live as you were living for the second time. Present is past and the past can be amended.Frankl’s shares his story on  starvation, violence, cruelty and his epic loss in the German death camps.  
My take: Seeking out your “Why in Life,” read this book.

#4. The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz 

The book is sprinkled with ‘pep-talk’…talks that has helped me built up on my confidence level up. The "sell-yourself-to-yourself" commercial given on page 165 is something that could set your confidence levels soaring. The page contains an amazing write-up on building self-confidence. Just one write-up and I am all taken? No, No. I repeat, all 365 pages are big confidence boosters.
My take: Feeling low at your work-place, go for it.   

#5. The Greatness Guide–1 - Robin Sharma

‘Self awakening,' one word that defines Robin Sharma’s incredible book “The Greatness Guide”. And ya, be mindful of your reading habits, as each chapter starts and ends ASAP. Chances are there that you will drive yourself to complete the book in one or two sittings. However, it is only when you read, re-read, chapter by chapter, line by line, and word by word that you get to understand that the book is an absolute stunner-a fodder for personal and professional growth. In short, AN INSPIRATIONAL POWERHOUSE, AN ABSOLUTE FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
My take: Absolute office bible.

#6. Lean in: women, work and the will to lead – by Sheryl Sandberg 

The stork is re-visiting. The guilt of a working mother had started re-surfacing. So without giving much weight to my now-on, now-off guilt-ridden mommy thoughts, I ordered this book from Amazon. Thankfully, it turned out to be an amazing read: stuffed with all the inspiring ingredients to put working mothers' 'work-life balance fears' to rest. Every women should read this book.

My take: Wish to work after having babies, go for this book.


#7. No Easy Day - Mark Oven

I’ve heard of U.S. Navy seals so much that I couldn’t resist myself from buying this book. And, yes, the book has managed to satiate my appetite (in fact, it has whetted my appetite further for more war books.) The book not only gives you minute-by-minute details of the Abbotabad incident that led to the killing of the world’s most dreaded terrorist, right under the nose of Pakistani military, but also talks at length about the seals’ ruthless lifestyle. This semi-autobiographical book by Mark Owen is indeed a must-read for non-fiction lovers.

My take: Go for it, if you want to enter into the ruthlessly pragmatic world of the U.S. Navy Seals.

Is non-fiction your cup of tea? Go ahead, tell me about your favourite non-fiction books. 


  1. I, unfortunately, just LOVE cookies - in my books I mean. I can only envy the tastes of people like you who can go for heavier diets.

    1. Okay!!!I never knew these were heavier diets. Comment was very creatively put as usual.

  2. I have still not graduated from fiction to non-fiction. Still in love with fiction! :D

    1. Interesting list and been long haven't read non-fiction. Absolutely love Sharma's Greatness Guide:)

    2. In my case it's reverse Shilpa. I need to graduate from non-fiction to fiction.

  3. Wow, these are great recommendations! And, did I understand that you are expecting?! If so, then heartiest congratulations!

  4. I read a lot of non-fiction as well, but haven't read any of these apart from Amy Chua's book. Bookmarking them :)

  5. like Shilpa even I am a huge fiction fan. Out of all the books mentioned I know only three and have read only last lecture.. which undoubtedly is a fabulous one


    1. No one can deny that, The Last Lecture is indeed a fabulous one.

  6. Same as Shilpa.
    Still in Fiction!!

  7. Me too like Shilpa, still stuck in Fiction. Hopefully someday I will enjoy these books too. :)

    1. Non-fiction books are all about learning. However, it's fiction that gives you the joy of reading.

    2. Non-fiction books are all about learning. However, it's fiction that gives you the joy of reading.

  8. to be truthful..i haven't read any of these books....i have a few non-fiction in my bookshelf, but i haven't finished reading any of them!

    1. hmm...for fiction lovers like you, non-fiction is a bitter pill.

  9. i haven't read any of these...but now I feel like picking up a couple atleast

    you can check my post here -
    Karan - Sisters


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