the five best books i read/listened in 2019

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to share the five books that I enjoyed and learned from the most. Of course, I’m not counting the old books that I have already read, and that I re-read or re-listened this year; and so the books in the following list were my first-time reads. All of these were brilliant gems, and I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to read and/or listen to them. 

  1. Sapiens: This was a pretty good book that really made me think. It gives you an overarching history of how we humans evolved and eventually “conquered” the world. If there’s one key message that we can all take from this book, it is that we humans, because of our selfish motives, have harmed not only other beings on this planet, but have taken various steps that have caused difficulties and negative consequences for our future generations as well. And this will continue in the coming years for sure, so an important question is what we can do to change our innate destructive instincts for the betterment of humanity and this world. The writing is simple and straightforward and oftentimes witty, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You don’t have to be a history nerd to enjoy this book, and if you’re interested in knowing more about the human origin story with some fascinating conversations thrown in, grab this book today.
  2. Everything is Figureoutable: If you’re looking for an easy read that also packs the punch to get you moving forward in your success journey, look no further than this book by Marie Forleo. Marie is amazing, and as soon as the book was out, I had to get a copy for myself. Apart from certain things and events in our life that are beyond our control, we can use Forleo’s empowering philosophy, “Everything is Figureoutable”, to overcome any challenge or problem in any area of our life. If we truly believe deep down that all problems (or dreams) are figureoutable, soon you’ll come across an idea, an insight or an important piece of knowledge that will equip you to find an effective solution and figure your way out. As the famous proverb goes, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” 
  3. The War of Art: This book was in my wish list for a few years, and I finally got the time and opportunity to read it this year. I personally believe that this book is a must-read for any artist or creative. In this book, Steven Pressfield talks about a universal force that he claims works against us and our creativity. He labels it as ‘Resistance’. Resistance is described as a mythical entity that has one sole purpose: to keep things as they are, and hence to keep us stagnated. It’s a force that will stop an individual’s creative pursuit through any means necessary to impede the flow of her creative genius. Pressfield says that artists are actually warriors and it’s crucial that they wage a war against Resistance and keep fighting it every day. As he points out in the book, “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
  4. The 5 AM Club: This is a self-help fiction book about three people. At its core, it’s about how to win our mornings and make the most of our time and days by waking up at 5 am every day. While the storytelling may or may not work for you, the information is invaluable. It’s essentially a total package of all the lessons, insights, ideas, formulas and frameworks that Robin Sharma mentions in his podcast and videos and much more, all put together in a coherent way for a better learning experience. Sharma introduced ‘The 5 AM Club’ concept over twenty years ago, and this book is based on a revolutionary morning routine that has helped his clients maximize their productivity and performance, optimize their health and jumpstart their life.
  5. Where the Crawdads Sing: This is the only fiction novel entry in the top five list. I mostly read non-fiction books and prefer recommending them to others, but I just couldn’t not share this book with you. It was so amazing! This book is a coming-of-age story of a lonely girl Kya, who grows up alone in the marshes of North Carolina in the 1950s and ’60s after her family abandons her, and becomes an outcast who is later charged with murdering a young man. The writing is magical, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this story, especially if you’re a nature enthusiast.

Lastly, here are some honorable mentions:

  1. Make Your Bed
  2. Real Artists Don’t Starve
  3. Life’s Amazing Secrets

I highly recommend all these books, and hope that you’ll carve some time in your schedule to read or listen to them.