📚5 Books for the Heart❤
Wisdom Letter #69
Hello and welcome to The Wisdom Project — your weekly dose of human curated wisdom in a world full of algorithmic noise.
This is the last post of the year, and what a year it has been!
It has tested us in ways that we could have never imagined. If you have made this far into this year, alive and sane and you are reading this, then pat yourself on the back. You’ve done a great job.
As you close out the year, this is a good time to reflect on the kind of life you want to lead and to make a fresh start from next week.
Last week we kicked off our book recommendations with 5 books for the mind. This week we continue the series with 5 books for the heart.
These are books that speak to the soul. These are memoirs, autobiographies and books of motivation that will help you reflect.
They will spur the kind of reflection that you need to round off this turbulent year—
#1 | Educated — Tara Westover
“I believe finally that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing.”
Tara Westover didn’t receive a traditional education as a child. She didn’t have any school records, neither any medical records.
Because her father didn’t “believe” in doctors or hospitals or schools. He lived in the constant fear that the world was out to get him, and he must prepare for the end of the world.
“Educated” is the story of Tara stepping into a classroom for the first time at 16. Discovering the world outside, embracing the power of education and escaping the clutches of her abusive family.
#2 | Lady, You’re The Boss - Apurva Purohit
“It bothers me to see that you still lack confidence and continue to have the tentativeness of a young novice , despite all those certificates of excellence on the wall behind you. It concerns me that you have become fed up of fighting for your rights incessantly and have just decided to give up on the battle. I watch as you adjudicate poorly on your own behalf by downplaying yourself and minimizing your abilities. As a result you are fulfilling a mere fraction of your true potential.”
Apurva Purohit writes her experiences as a Business Leader and what it takes to be there, the mistakes that women often commit that prevents them from achieving the peak that they are truly capable of.
The book feels like a conversation that you would have with your elder sister who has seen it all and made it big - who is keen to tell you the tricks of the game and also what pitfalls to avoid.
The candidness in her writing makes you feel that you are not alone in this. Its almost like she knows your deepest insecurities and offers the most practical advice on seemingly big problems.
By the time you finish the book, you are fired up to take on the World! A must read for all ladies out there.
#3 | Born a Crime — Trevor Noah
“The triumph of democracy over apartheid is sometimes called the Bloodless Revolution. It is called that because very little white blood was spilled.
Black blood ran in the streets”
Comedian Trevor Noah was born in apartheid stricken South Africa, to a white father and a black mother. He was born a crime.
This memoir is the coming of age story of a mixed race kid confused about his identity. Its funny and irreverent and Noah’s sense of humor is on full display.
But most of all its inspirational and relatable.
We increasingly live in a cosmopolitan yet fragmented world. A world that raises questions about our identity on a daily basis.
This is a story of Noah grappling with and then creating his own identity in a fragmented post apartheid South Africa.
#4 | The Obstacle is the Way — Ryan Holiday
"The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity.
The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this."
This is the first in a trilogy of books on Stoicism by Ryan Holiday.
He proposes that the obstacles we face in our lives are in fact opportunities to create massive positive change.
Its packed with many practical examples and anecdotes from history where people have clawed out of extremely difficult situations in their life.
Its motivational, and a good practical intro to Stoic philosophy.
If there was every a year when all of us needed this book, its this.
#5 | When Breath Becomes Air — Paul Kalanithi
“This book carries the urgency of racing against time, of having important things to say. Paul confronted death — examined it, wrestled with it, accepted it — as a physician and a patient. He wanted to help people understand death and face their mortality. Dying in one’s fourth decade is unusual now, but dying is not.”
— From the Epilogue by Lucy Kalanithi, Paul’s wife
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, just as he was finishing this book.
He was a neurosurgeon, an author, a philosopher, a husband, a father, a doctor and a patient.
He was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung cancer when he was 36. A cancer that will consume him physically in the last years of his life.
But what consumed him mentally was this tremendous urge to document his journey, to face death with courage and inspire the world to do the same.
Death is the only certainty in our life, and yet we don’t talk about it enough.
Whatever the statistics say, as a culture, as a species, as a collective organism called “humanity”, we have seen more death this year than ever before. Today we need to learn to deal with death more than ever before.
This book will help you do that.
It will leave in you tears, sobbing your heart out, there is no other outcome. You will cry, but perhaps its the cry you need to get over this damned year.
Thank you for reading.
Checkout last week’s 5 books for the mind in case you missed it.
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This was Wisdom Letter #69. In case you want to revisit any of the previous 68 letters, checkout our entire archive.
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Aditi & Ayush