Once Warren Buffet was asked about the secret to his success and wealth, to which he replied that he read 500 pages on a daily basis. This is the magic of reading books, they open doors to an imaginative world, build a connection of the fictitious realms with everyday realities and possess the power to melt your heart and evoke emotions. Books are the best guide, motivator, influencer and friend; the one that can change your perspectives and outlooks towards life and can help you to delve deeper into the mundane affairs of life, love, relationships, death and self-identity.
Importance of books in shaping human lives and transforming the course of future cannot be negated. As Charles W. Eliot quotes:
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
Bill Gates, a leading philanthropist, activist and IT giant is an avid reader and believes in the mysterious magic of reading and storytelling. According to an article on the Gates Foundation, following is the list of top five books of 2018, suggested by Gates and can be a good read for students in the preceding year.
Educated, by Tara Westover.
Educated narrates the personal struggle and pursuit of a young girl who wishes to acquire education and believes in the power of self-invention and growth. It is the story of a young girl Tara who never went to school or visited a doctor until the age of 17 and lived in an isolated Mormon survivalist household. Tara and her family had no ties with mainstream society and hence formal education was a distant dream for the children in this household. Soon she starts educating herself and her quest for education transforms her, taking her to distant continents and places. This book is a tale of ferocious family loyalty and the grief one suffers on the hands of their loved ones. The author beautifully crafts the importance of education, what it offers and how it changes your perspective towards life.
Army of None, by Paul Scharre.
Army of none raises ethical questions related to defensive autonomous weapons and how robotic weapons are flourishing across the globe. The book discusses the underlying dynamics involved in modern warfare, questioning the role of technological advancements in changing the face of global politics. This book engages military history, science and global policies and proposes how countries can embrace technology to handle wars in a humane manner; without compromising on human judgements and morals. The author presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven modern warfare and their impact on the overall wellbeing of society.
Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou.
This book provides the inside story of the rise and downfall of Theranos, a multibillionaire biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who broke this story and pursued it till the end, despite the pressures from its CEO and her lawyers. The founder and CEO of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes was regarded as the female Steve Jobs, a brilliant Stanford dropout whose start-up named “unicorn” promised to transform the medical industry by revolutionising the blood testing process; making them much easier and speedy. The project was backed by leading investors, however, the technology failed in delivering the promises made. This book is a riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, how family relations suffer on the hands of wrong decisions in life, and sketches the demise of a company that was once worth over $10 billion.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century is an analytical and visionary investigation of the pressing issues of the present times and tries to navigate life in an era that is continuously disorienting and changing. The book raises important questions about technological advancements, war, polarisation and survival of humans on Earth. Harari in the book explores issues from the political, social, technological and existential point of views and prepare readers for a completely different world in the coming future. It offers suggestions to retain human freedom from the Big Data that is watching us over, highlights the changing dynamics of workplace and workforce and discusses ramifications of the escalating threat of terrorism. This book is a perplexing insight into how far the human race has come from and where it is heading to in the present times.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe.
This autobiography narrates the personal journey of the author from a university student to the first mindfulness expert in the UK, working with a mission to make people take at least 10 minutes out of their daily life routines for meditation. The author narrates his meditation practices and provides a program of mindfulness and meditation that can lead to a better and different world. This book discusses how some simple practices can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals and present strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, increase human productivity, direct weight loss and flourish personal relationships.