Here are the books I enjoyed the most. All links are from Amazon (I've chosen the Kindle versions and I don't get any commission).
I'm currently reading "The Beginning of Infinity" by David Deustch. It deals with epistemology and human progress and so far, it's been nothing short of revelatory! It's very heavy reading so I balance it with a wonderful primer to the world of programming, "Code" by Charles Petzold and the short yet effective "The Psychology of Money" by Morgan Housel. All three provide very fresh looks at their respective fields.
The books that got me started on reading and others from high-school literature. To jump to English recommendations, click here
For being the reading staple for so many kids in India, Anant Pai, or "Uncle Pai" published wonderful stories spanning Indian history and mythology. These were graphic novels from which I could make the jump to actual books, and taught great values.
This mother of all stories, or 'the longest poem ever written' drives my
core philosophy even today.
The nuanced nature of its characters, their interwoven relationships and how well each character's life arc seeks to explain situations one might face in our own lives while also nestling in its center one of the most beautiful pieces of spiritual writing, the Bhagavad Gita.
For their pained but humorous portrayal of real life in a poverty-stricken era of India, for teaching me what little I know about Gujarati literature and exposing me to the more creative side of an otherwise very commercial community of people.
These are fiction books not of Indian origin. I'm listing fiction first with science-fiction alternating with non-science fiction. I've been told non-fiction is where the real wisdom is. But fiction is what got me into reading and the way I see it is that every fiction book is just a colorful visage wrapped around a core of real first-hand learnings of the author. Plus, I've read that you should read what you love until you love to read and I say that to everyone who hasn't started reading yet. For non-fiction, jump to it here.
For the best combination of wisdom with nonsense and satire with silliness I have seen in a science fiction book.
For a story of empathy in which events of terrible injustice are seen through the gentle eyes of a child, and her relationship with her father.
For its somewhat controversial philosophy of objectivism but also for a wonderful account of the career trajectories of two frenemies and the evolution of their competence.
For showing how decision making can last not just a few decades but across planet systems and millenia, especially when observing large masses of people. And also for inspiring Elon Musk.
These are books that I see more as directives and concepts I need to follow and understand than worlds I need to imagine. I've listed them in terms of how much I remember them, alternating between books that help me go closer to my truth and ones more useful for daily life. To jump back to fiction recommendations, click here.
For the best conversation-style book on why it's futile to live in anything but the present, the now. I listened to this book on Audible and I don't regret not reading it because I remember Eckart's gentle voice much better than I would have remembered myself reading it.
For bringing a more approachable version of America's Renaissance man, the original rags-to-riches story, and possibly the coolest American Founding Father there was. I frankly learned more about American history from this than what I learned in world history subjects in high school and popular media. Again, so much better on Audible since it had an excellent narrator switching between voicing Franklin and the rest of the story.
For showing the nonsense of the 'spirituality' market and how brutal, yet beautiful it is when you really, really want to accept your own truth. Also, people are still trying to find out who Jed really is.
For the manufacturing guy in me. A way to look at and solve problems by identifying bottlenecks and applying small, common-sense improvements with clarity.
More recommendations coming soon!