Once again a book that invites you with best seller titles but you wonder whether it will be good or not since you do not know the author at all. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one such book that I have looked at many times but never read till now. But my experimental streak got better off me recently and I ended up reading this book. It belongs of genre of self-help and deals with financial independence. Robert T. Kiyosaki has written this book along with Sharon L. Lechter and it is based on his growing up under the shadow of two influential men and how he learnt things that helped him to become rich.
His idea of becoming wealthy is when your assets start generating monthly income that is more than your monthly expenses and you do not remain dependent on regular job to cover your expenses. He has mentioned about various methods that he has used throughout his life to get to that stage. Most of his advice is about dealing in real estate and some of it related to stock market. His ideas are interesting and I am sure must be useful to many people. At the same time, it is not as easy as he makes it out to be.
I liked his definition of being wealthy and that is a dream come true for lot of people when they do not have to depend on their regular job and they can think of doing things that they like without worries about next pay cheque. The book is written in very simple language and is easy to read. This is the first requirement of self-help genre otherwise readers will leave it in between. Whether the advice will work or not is secondary but it should sound easy. I am not sure whether I will get rich based on his advice but I did end up buying few books based on his recommendations and I will write about them some other time.
My earliest memories of book reading are related to stories. Books were meant for those short simple stories either related to mythology, animals or cartoons. They were meant for entertainment and passing your time. After some years a different category of books got added to this. I remember reading some Russian books translated in Hindi about space exploration, planets and other science subjects. There were books about greatest and best adventures, mysteries, treasures and such information. That was the time when books changed from being entertainment to source of information as well.
As I grew older, the kind of stories I was reading also changed. I was reading thrillers, complex stories, science fiction and humor. I still enjoyed reading the stories but now I was also learning from these stories. I was able to create my own version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts in my mind. I had my own image of Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark or Eric Segal’s Barney. I was creating my own Universe while reading these stories. Many of these stories were also rich source of cultural nuances of different societies and people. I also started reading history and books related to historical research. That opened my eyes to not only today’s civilization but of our ancestors as well. Now the books were becoming more than a source of information. They were my friend and guide as well.
More recently, I got interested in books which are described as Self-Help books. Many of these books have complex philosophical and psychological concepts. They are about behavioral economics of individuals, groups and societies. I have started learning about the nature of our own thoughts and actions. Today the books are my companion, friend, my shrink and my guide as well. Not only the nature of books that I read have evolved but what I extract from a simple story book has also changed over the years. I can enjoy a non-fiction “Guns Germs and Steel” as easily as a story book and I also enjoy discovering deep psychological concepts from Harry Potter books.
When I speak to people, it is the books that I have read throughout my life that are speaking on my behalf. This attempt at writing blog on the books that I have read is the next phase of my book reading where I am not only benefitting from the books that I read but I am also sharing them with the unseen world. Books have played a great role in shaping my life and I wish it will play the same role to all the other readers out there.
“Think and Grow Rich” is another book in genre of Self-Help that has been famous for 70 years now and in many ways relevant today as well. I guess the title was given to woo the readers during the time of great depression in US but the ideas in the book deal more with helping people to become successful in their lives and workplace. For a serious reader this title is kind of misleading. When I had seen this book earlier, I had not picked it up thinking that it must be a collection of hack tricks. Later I found reference to this book in many other places and ended up buying it. The book does not dish out easy tricks. In fact there are some very interesting concepts which are presented in the book in very convincing ways.
There are some simple steps about ability of people to market themselves for getting better jobs but that is the only easy part described in the book. Rest of the book is more about discovering one’s abilities, having strong desires and ability to execute plans. But most important aspects of the book are related to control and use of your own thoughts and making them work for you. One of the concept that struck me was that the only thing that is in absolute control of an individual is his own thoughts and nothing else. But we try to keep on changing the world without getting a handle on our own thoughts and then fail miserably. Of course, having control over your own thoughts is not an easy step and can be extremely difficult.
Another important aspect in the book was related to our fears. Napoleon Hill has given very convincing argument about how our own fears can become a hindrance to our success. His logic that Doctors do not fall sick so often because they do not fear disease is very interesting and true as well. It is important for us to not have a fear of failure to be able to succeed in life. Overall, a good book to read. You can get more information at
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book Dumbledore announces while being forced to leave Hogwarts that “Help will be given to those at Hogwarts who ask for it”. I have found that it is true for me in a different way. It seems as though some unseen identity has decided that “Help would be given to me through books whenever I need it and am ready for it”. It has happened to me before and it has happened again. I have been reading “The Present” by Spencer Johnson for quite some time now but I was reading it in bits and pieces. I did not finish it till recently and probably it was good because I was not ready for it.
The book is about how we should live in the present moment and how that can help us to be happier and more effective. It talked about learning from past and also planning for future. I was reading it with a bit of scepticism since these are very common sensical thoughts and I had read them before in many other books. But recently I finished reading the book and the final words made the true difference for me. In the end the book says that “Realize your purpose and explore ways to make your work and life more meaningful”. Once again it is not something new but it made great sense to me in the current situation. Any planning, living in the present or learning from past can be futile if you do not have or follow a purpose in life.
This is a very simple and short book like others from the same author and he has put his thoughts in a form of a very simple story. Actually, it can be read in one sitting. But I think it was good that I read the book over many weeks and slowly grasped it.
Even though I had heard of Deepak Chopra before and have listened to some of his interviews on TV, I had never read anything written by him before. This book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” caught my attention and I am really glad of reading this book. This is slightly a different type of self-help book where he is specifically dealing with the concept of aging of human body and how we can have better control over it.
He has used research results from various fields as well as examples of societies from all over the world to show that aging process is not same for everybody. In some societies, life-style helps people to age better and people remain active till very old age where as in some other cultures it is quite opposite. His thoughts are that we human beings should be aware of our own aging process and being in touch with our own self and making some slight adjustments to our life-style itself can improve our health and help us to age better. The techniques that he has mentioned are very simple to follow and practice.
He also discusses on how life of human beings is not one life but a combination of millions of cells which are taking birth and dying all the time in the human body. His idea is that our own thoughts can make these cells sick or healthy making their life small or large thereby increasing the age of human body itself. As is with most of the popular self-help books, narrative style makes a lot of difference. If the author can make things look simpler to do and execute and can relate to the common problems people face, people will come back to read and will like the book. In this aspect, the author has done a good job here.
The parts in the book where he uses advanced concepts of physics like quantum mechanics and entropy baffled me and I really could not relate to those concepts. It almost looked like a desperate attempt to relate psychological concepts to physical sciences which is probably not required.