Almost the end of the guest post trail and today we have another one of my favourite Book Reviewers – Shantala Shenoy Nayak. She is here to talk about 3 non fiction books that she recommends as a must read for everyone and why. She writes well analysed book reviews and I just love the voice of sanity that comes across in each and every one of them.
In a past life, equipped with an MBA in Finance, Shantala used to be an Equity Research Analyst. But these days she spends her time juggling her full-time job as a Digital Marketing Strategist, along with blogging about books she reads on Shanaya Tales, her experiments in her kitchen on The Love of Spice, and making endless number of to-do lists!
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to read. But for the most part, it was the fictional stories and worlds that really appealed to me. The only non-fiction reading I did was academic in nature, and back then I wasn’t really interested in anything else.
But as time passed, I got increasingly curious about this genre of non-fiction, and so I began actively exploring it. And that was all it took, because once I started, there was simply no looking back. Non-fiction books have now become an integral part of my reading life.
So much so that these days, after every few fictional stories, I just have to read some kind of non-fiction. And it could be anything, from memoirs to books on personal development, or even business advice, it doesn’t really matter. I enjoy all the various sub-genres equally so long as I can connect with that particular book/author/subject matter.
And I believe that is the single most important criteria for me to pick up any book actually, but especially non-fiction. The subject matter has to appeal to me at the current moment, or be relevant to what I am going through.
Which is why writing a non-fiction recommendations post is kinda tricky, because I realize that there is nothing that will universally appeal to everyone at the same time.
So I am taking a different approach, and sharing the books I feel like everyone must read, at some point of time in their lives, or other. Because these books have the potential to add tremendous value, whether it’s through the insight they provide or actual tips for personal development/financial management, as the case may be.
That being said, you will notice that it’s quite the eclectic collection/trio, but there was simply no help for it, as I was specifically looking for books that have a shot at universal appeal.
So now, after that long-ish introduction, let’s get on with the book recommendations! Starting with..
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Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
This is one book I feel like everyone must read. And when I say everyone, I literally mean everyone. Well okay, maybe you can skip this if you don’t know (or care about) someone in the later stages of their life, and if you feel like you possess the eternal fountain of youth and immortality. In that case, by all means, ignore it. For everyone else, this is a must read. Because this is definitely among the most important books on mortality ever written.
Being Mortal encourages the readers to face their own mortality, as well as that of their loved ones, and urges them to plan for it. And therein lies the critical relevance and importance of this book.
Now, I understand, this is neither an easy, nor a comfortable subject to read about, much less act on. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is still a vitally important read. So I suggest you think of this book as an essential guide to decision-making about end-of-life care (for yourself or your loved ones).
That being said, it’s much more than just that. I personally found a lot of value in a particular section of this book that addressed the philosophical question of what makes life worth living? When should we extend life, and when should we concentrate more on the quality of our remaining days than their quantity?
And I realize that these are all things that we do not want to address. In-fact this is precisely the kind of grim stuff we want to avoid. I know this because that’s exactly how I was too.
But think about this – would you rather make a difficult choice in the middle of a crisis, and second guess it for the rest of your life? Or would it be better to plan for it when you are in a more calmer, balanced, and rational state of mind?
I personally do not want to live my life in regret, especially if the regret centered around possibly having made the wrong choice for someone whom I cared about deeply. Which is why I am glad I read this book.
And I hope you do too.
After starting off with a super intense subject, let’s move on to one of my favorite things to talk about, and something I am known to even be a little obsessive about, and that’s productivity! Because it also happens to be one of the central themes of this next book…
Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
This is one book I felt like was tailor-made for me, and what was even better was that I happened to read it at just the right time (for me). And that my friend, is world-changing stuff. When you find a book that speaks to you, and you read it exactly when you need it, it has the power to transform your life.
And in many ways, this book did exactly that. But, well, in a considerably less dramatic way. However I have to say that it did change how I thought about my work, and how I approached my tasks on a day-to-day basis.
And this was mostly because this book directly addressed my specific problem areas, and provided actionable tips to work on them.
And at the end of the day, that’s what we want from self-help books like these, right? Unlike fiction, it’s not entertainment we seek, but valuable insight, actionable advice, and general help in the areas we need it. So in that sense, this book was a Godsend for me, and a timely one too!
But of-course that doesn’t mean that this book will strike a chord with everyone. Because we all have different challenges, and things we need to work through. Moreover, timing is everything!
That being said, I feel like this book does a great job of summarizing some basic principles of productivity, and more importantly, also addresses how to deal with chronic (and selective) procrastination (something that I know many of us are guilty of).
Which is why, I highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for books on productivity and time management – start with this one!
But I’d say, don’t just read it – make notes, do the exercises, and try to incorporate what truly resonates with you. It can and will dramatically alter your productivity, and help you better manage your time!
If you are looking for Books on Productivity and Time-Management, also check out my post on 3 Books to Boost Your Productivity.
Now, after a book that talks about how to manage your time effectively, I want to share with you guys a book, that if you let it, will revolutionize how you handle your money.
But just to be clear, this book doesn’t revolve around some new age revolutionary money management system. In-fact, the philosophy behind the common-sense advice the author shares in this book was probably followed by our parents and grandparents, when it came to handling their money.
But these days, the credit card led culture of instant gratification has ensured we’ve moved far far away from it.
And this book essentially provides a much-needed back-to-basics reality check, along with a road map for better financial planning and management in the future.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is one of the more popular personalities in America, who has successfully attempted to revolutionize financial education in the country. And in this book he has outlined his philosophy, as well as his methods, or like he calls them – baby steps!
And that’s the thing I like the most about this book. In it, Mr. Ramsey has not only questioned the spending and saving patterns ingrained in us by the society, but has also provided the solutions to the problems he found in these patterns, by laying out a clear (baby) step by (baby) step road-map for working towards financial security and freedom.
Mr. Ramsey is also the only person I know of, who openly ridicules the dependency on credit cards, and emphasizes the importance of a zero-based budget. And I know both those things are great in theory, but very difficult in practice. But that doesn’t mean they are not doable. All it takes is knowledge (which he lays out in this book, step by step) and determination (that you’ll have to bring to the table).
And I realize this might seem like a very radical approach to some, but to me, it makes complete sense. Which is why, I would recommend everyone to check out this book.
It takes you to ground zero, and helps you build a financial plan for your life, and a secure financial future for yourself and your family.
Which is why, if what the author says, does connect with you, it will make a world of difference to your finances.
And if it isn’t for you, then you would still have gained an interesting insight into a different way of doing things. Either way, it’s a win-win.
That’s all from my end folks. I would love to hear from you. Do you read a lot of non-fiction? I’d love to know what you recommend.
Thank you, Shalini, for this opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. I feel honored and privileged that you reached out to me to write a post for Shalzmojo, because it’s one of my favorite book blogs to read.
I havent read or reviewed non fcition books yet unless you would count The Dalai Lama’s cat into that niche. Well you could check out its review and let me know 🙂