Monday, December 3, 2018

5 books that changed my life


Reading is a great way to learn new things about the world and about yourself. But when I was younger, I hated reading. I was lazy and chose to play video games or watch TV instead of reading a book. I mean, there are so many words in them!

But when I got into college, I was forced to read for my classes. At first, it was rough. When you don’t read for a long time, and then one day you just start reading large amounts, your brain stresses out. You feel all weird and fatigued. Maybe it’s because you’re exercising a muscle that hasn’t been exercised in a long time, and you’re not used to all the blood flow charging into your brain (it’s just a personal theory). But after a while, your brain adjusts to it.

Anyways, I started college and had to read a lot. I was also learning a bunch of interesting new things and wanted to learn more about it. So over the summer break of my second year of college, I bought books on these subjects so that I can read about them. I continued this trend and just kept buying books on subjects that I thought would be interesting.

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Fast forward a few years and now I have read many books on many subjects. I’ve read about warlords in Africa, I’ve read about Christianity and Buddhism, I’ve read a bunch of self-help books, and I’ve read books on business.

But there are five that really changed me as a person. These books either taught me something about myself, the world, or a skill that has helped me improve my craft.

So here are the 5 books that changed my life:

[Full disclosure: Some of the following links are affiliated links as I participate in the Amazon Associates program. What this means is that if you follow the link and purchase something, I will get a commission, at no extra cost to you.]

1) “Like a Virgin” by Richard Branson

“Like a Virgin” by Richard Branson showed me what it really means to be an entrepreneur and how to manage my business. Prior to it, I viewed my business as something where I went to tutor and then went home. That’s it. But managing and building a business takes a lot more work than that. You have to look for new and effective ways to promote your business. You have to research new ways of getting more people to know your business and you have to figure out ways to innovate and improve your business. You also have to find ways to expand your business or areas that you want to expand into. And this book talks about all of that plus more (management, marketing, etc.).

“Like a Virgin” is a must-read for anyone who wants to start a business or is currently running/building one.

2) “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Malcolm X was a great social activist who fought for human rights. His book, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, taught me that it’s super important to know and understand the history of my ethnicity because western society has brainwashed me (to an extent). This was important to me because, as a person of colour (PoC), you don’t get to learn about your history and your culture in school. But as a PoC, you need to know your motherland’s story because it helps you understand yourself better.

So after reading this book and realizing that I didn’t know much about my motherland, I did research to learn the culture and story of Vietnam. Not only did this create a stronger bond between me and my culture, but it also helped me understand myself and my family better.

So if you are a person of colour who feels lost culturally, consider reading this book. Malcolm X’s story will inspire you to dig through the past so that you can learn about yourself.

3) “The Art of Non-Conformity” by Chris Guillebeau

Growing up, especially in an Asian household, you are told to get a good education so that you can find a good-paying, stable job. Basically, you are taught to conform starting at a very young age.

But I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to conform. But society and my family kept saying that I had to conform to be successful in life.

So reading “The Art of Non-Conformity” by Chris Guillebeau lit a huge lightbulb in my head. Not only did it show me that I didn’t need to conform, but it also showed me how to not conform. So in the place that I was in then, this book really helped me out and opened up more choices for how I can live my life.

If you are lost and don’t know what to do with your life, I suggest you give this book a read. It will spark so many ideas for possible career paths in your head.

4) “Buddha in your backpack” by Franz Metcalf

When I was younger, I was kind of a conservative Buddhist, meaning that I viewed acts of sexual behaviour or any subject that was taboo as sinful, for a lack of a better word. For instance, I once thought that masturbation was causing me to have bad luck.

But in “Buddha in your backpack” by Franz Metcalf, there was a part where Metcalf talked about what the Buddha thought about sex and it made a lot of sense to me.

He said that sex is natural and everyone finds pleasure in it. However, you should only be participating in sexual activities if it doesn’t harm anyone (yourself included). Additionally, you shouldn’t let it control you.

So after reading this part, I thought about it and my mind opened. I realized that we are all just animals with animalistic needs, and if an act doesn’t harm someone, you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty for doing it.

He also talks about a bunch of other things in the book too, like finding yourself, meditation, and how to practice Buddhism.

So if you want to learn more about Buddhism, but want to learn about it from a different perspective, check out this book.

5) “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight

Prior to reading this book, I was in a state of confusion. My businesses weren’t doing well and I was ready to give up. But if I had, I didn’t know what I was going to do for a career.

“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight gave me hope again that I was going to get out of this mist and find my path again. As I read it, I connected with Knight as many of his problems were problems that I was dealing with. So to learn that he was able to surpass all of them (and how he surpassed all of them), it gave me hope that I was going to be alright.

I was in a bad place when I bought this book. But after I finished reading it, I was still in a bad place. No, just joking. I became more energized and optimistic and felt that, with hard work and a positive attitude, I could solve any problem that I have to face.

If you are not in the best place right now, career or business-wise, read “Shoe Dog.” Knight’s story will show you that any problem can be solved if you put in the effort to solve it.

So these are the 5 books that changed my life. Which one are you most interested in reading? Share it below in the comments.

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