Good Reads, Good Life – YTD 2019

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

– Jim Rohn

Back in 2014, when I started Decoding Happyness – I was deep into reading. Mostly fiction. I would read past 3 AM on a workday and almost all day over the weekends. I read the Harry Potter series in about 2 weeks while working full time and they remain my favorite to date. Tuesdays with Morrie was yet another book which left a deep imprint on me.

Throwback to 2014 🙂  – Mumbai, India

Reading helped me unwind and learn new ideas. It was a breath of fresh air in my everyday life.

Then life happened, I got caught up with new activities, moving countries, job search, unsettling, settling, studying for my CPA, changing cities – again, changing professions. Over the course of these years, this hobby of mine felt long lost.


Earlier this year I visited my 5-year-old nephew, Veer – twice in 3 months and his favorite activity with me would be to cuddle in the bed and listen to me read him his storybooks. I would read him books like The Spiderman and The Perfect Nest with a fully animated voice wit its variations between characters. It was such a perfect way to end the day. 🙂

2019 has been one of the best years of my life so far as I have had a lot of learning and development on personal and professional fronts. I’ve traveled immensely, become fearless to new experiences and to quite some extent grown in my outlook towards the world. A few days back, a friend and me were watching the Netflix documentary –  Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. It was imperative of Bill’s affinity to reading, learning and books. Bill and his weekly refreshed tote bag of books was something that stood out.

I read some beautiful books this year which really inspired and touched me. They are spread across several genres and have been read over the span of this year. Below is my list of books read for 2019.

1) The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

This book talks about the power of love vs fear and how by embracing spirituality practices like meditation, we can tap into creative solutions and seek the Universe’s divine guidance. My favorite quote from the books is an adaptation from A Course in Miracles.

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety.”

2) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey‎

This classic book was truly a lifesaver for me in several ways. Right from the 2×2 prioritization matrix of Urgent vs Important, learning the approach of managing relations over time, the “Green and Clean” example, techniques for planning your week around core important activities have helped me in my personal life to a large extent.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule,
but to schedule your priorities.”

3) Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

This book looks at the deeper aspects of passion and perseverance and provides for ways of growing Grit from the inside out and outside in. It is my personal favorite as it gave me a very different perspective on the importance of perseverance in life and a renewed sense of motivation to follow-through on hard things.

“Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can improve our future. “I have a feeling tomorrow will be better” is different from “I resolve to make tomorrow better.”

4) Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

This book is of a very different genre from all the ones I read, it is about relationships and marriage from a Biblical perspective. It gave me a new lens to look at love and respect and the need for unconditional love and respect in intimate relationships.

“Ultimately, you practice love or respect because beyond your spouse you see Jesus Christ and you envision a moment when you will be standing before Him at the final judgment, realizing that your marriage was really a tool and a test to deepen and demonstrate your love and your reverence for your Lord.”

“You can experience disappointment, but it is your choice to disrespect or be unloving.”

5) Deep Work by Cal Newport (partly in progress)

This is the book I am currently reading. I could very closely connect some of my unhealthy distracting patterns in this technology connected world. The ability to go deep helped me leverage the power of intensity during my CA and CPA exams and pass them with a national level rank and top grades respectively. I remember cutting myself off from my smartphone and all tech during my intense and deep study sessions to be distraction-free and really focus on my studies. I am trying to learn similar techniques to implement in my everyday life to increase my productivity and quality of work.

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging. There”

“To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability, you’re likely to fall behind as technology advances.”

Other books to read in 2020 on my radar across various genres I am to read (eBooks/ hardcopy books already purchased):

  1. Deep Work (TBC)
  2. The Rosie Project
  3. The Starch Solution
  4. Who said I was up for Adoption
  5. When breath becomes air
  6. I contain multitudes
  7. Factfulness
  8. Anatomy of love
  9. Why Him Why Her (In progress)
  10. Start with Why
  11. How to Win Friends & Influence People
  12. Eat That Frog
  13. Man’s Search for Meaning
  14. Autobiography of a Yogi
  15. Life’s Amazing Secrets
  16. Delivering Happiness
  17. The Little Prince (Re-read)
  18. So Good They can’t Ignore You
  19. Digital Minimalism
  20. The Power of Habit
  21. Deep Nutrition
  22. The Compound Effect
  23. Mastery
  24. No Excuses
  25. Atomic Habits
  26. Indistractable
  27. Ultralearning
  28. The Bhagwad Geeta
  29. Mindset
  30. Automate the Boring Stuff
  31. The Better Angels of Our Nature
  32. Willpower Doesn’t Work
  33. The Wisdom of the Enneagram
  34. The Enneagram – Symbol of All and Everything
  35. Python for Everybody
  36. The 4 Disciplines of Execution
  37. 48 Laws of Power

My MBA Organizational Behavior classes on Motivation have taught me that PUBLIC GOALS are way more effective than privately set goals. Hence, the above ambitious (BECAUSE, if you want to dream and have goals, DREAM BIG. Aiming low is a crime) wish list 🙂 The list will be dynamic and new books may be added to it/ existing books may be removed from the list depending on the events surrounding at that point in time. I will post a blog on the books as and when I finish reading a particular book under the tag “Good Reads Good Life” and “Himali Reads”.

Looking forward to the 2020 Reading Challenge! xx 😀

What about you? What is on your list?


35 thoughts on “Good Reads, Good Life – YTD 2019

  1. Hey Himali – I bet your little nephew would love you to read to him from “The Odessa Chronicles”! We had a 4 year old boy test the drafts of various stories in it and he was 100% sold! 🙂


  2. I love to read too, but mostly read fun books these days. I’ve grown weary of trying to improve myself. Kudos on your passion for learning and growing Himali. I loved reading to my nephew too. Enjoy it while you can.

    May 2020 be a year of love and growth.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Tuesdays with Morrie”.. Smiles my FRiEnD i Loved
    That Book too.. You know When i went to College
    All Those Years Close to top of the Class with
    3 Degrees i wanted to Be a Teacher but
    Sadly Saddled with the Challenge
    of not Speaking until 4 with
    Asperger’s Syndrome
    A Bit Odd for that
    Disorder but common
    with the Condition of Hyperlexia..
    i still did not have the ability to express myself
    Orally in Presentation or in Writing to go much Further
    than Graduate Studies the Next Year and sadly they discontinued
    The Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Masters Degree and then i ran out
    of Money so it was off to find a ‘Real Job’ any job for someone who did not have
    the ‘Social Graces’ to Present themselves well enough for Jobs then that took
    that for the Academics i received
    in Lettered Grades of A’s..
    Reading “Tuesdays with
    Morrie” What impressed
    me most was his Freedom
    to Dance Solo with the College
    Students for the Simple Joy in
    Breathing Life all in Free.. i couldn’t
    imagine that then.. it took me a 6-Pack
    and not a 6-Pack of Abdominal Muscles
    My Bet with Katrina by Age 60 hehe that’s
    been ongoing for months now interrupted by
    All the Holiday Meals.. yes.. close to a 6-Pack of
    Beer even to Walk into any Social Event at all When ‘Young’…
    But Truly Within i was so.. so.. much ‘Older’ at even 16 than i am now Free…
    Smiles my Friend
    things change
    and every week
    i Proof read just
    one of my Blog Posts
    it’s just about Novel Size..
    And Every Week when i Dance
    at “Barnes And Noble” Listening to
    Meditative Music i Complete a New Book
    as i have literally Read Over A Hundred Books
    Free this way at Barnes and Noble.. the way i Look
    at Life i do no take any more than i give in
    And Song too..
    Keep GroWinG
    my FRiEnD in all
    that You care to do
    As long as we continue
    to Grow there is no Age Number in Life..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate to not having time for reading anymore since life has gotten so busy. I am glad you could manage again to read and to tell from your booklist it must have been truly inspiring reads. I have arranged changes and hope that next year I can make time for reading again too… although I need the time for writing first… lol

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Stephen Covey’s book has been a game-changer for me. This year read this amazing book Reinventing Brand You-The Theater way on how to grow which is a gem and fiction, loved Anuja Chauhan’s Battle of Bittora, revisited Shantaram which I read for the third time in a decade. Great list you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your 5 yr old nephew Veer would love to hear you read “The Odessa Chronicles” to him. It is a book of short stories for children ages 1 to 101 … and we tested them on a little boy 4 years old (Benjamin). He loved them! Reviews are at 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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