BR 104: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: We are going through a golden age in understanding human behavior. And Dan Ariely’s research and book are definitely at the forefront of this shift in understanding. A very good book.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Conventional economics assumes we make logical rational decisions when, in reality, we exhibit repeated predictable irrationality.

2. I was astounded at some of the research on the placebo effect i.e. when medical treatments were substituted with ‘fake’ treatments that had equal (if not better) effect in terms of patient well being because the patients thought they had  been treated.

3. While the ability to choose gives us some happiness, choices do not. In fact, choices are amongst the biggest causes of unhappiness that exist.

Fascinating book. I’m well into my journey into modern behavioral economics and understanding. If  I had begun my journey with this book it would have been priority 1. A great book nevertheless. It will keep you intrigued and entertained..

BR 103: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Priority: 2 – BUY it!  (All Categories are 1) Read ASAP! 2) BUY it! 3) SHELF it 4) SOMEDAY it)

Comments: One of those books that is worth reading simply because it touches on a critical skill – money management.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. The journey to financial management is akin to cycling uphill. You learn by working very hard on yourself and your ‘fitness’ until you get atop the hill. That’s the moment when the money from your investments sustains your life. That’s the moment you become financially independent.

2. Money is only good for 3 things – investment, fun and charity.

3. I wrote out a summary of my learnings from the book here

Great book. Must read especially if you are learning money management/have difficulties managing money. Not all his concepts are applicable today (the book was written in 2003) but the principles do hold.

Add on Mar 16, 2016: This was one of my first ever personal finance books. Definitely had an impact in hindsight.

BR 102: A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A compelling read. I am a fan of Dan Pink’s work and this one didn’t disappoint.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Dan Pink’s thesis is simple – we moved from the era of physical labor to the era of the left brain where logical abilities were paramout. Now, we’re moving to the era of the right brain where abilities like creativity will take centre stage.

2. Here’s a learning on the importance of the ability to tell stories from the book.

3. Creativity is like a muscle. The more we engage it, the more we will develop it.

A compelling book with a clear thesis. I’ve read it 6 years late. But still worth reading!

BR 101: Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Branson

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A good book that gives great insight into the personality of one of the iconic businessmen of our time.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Entrepreneurship begins with initiative and a deep deep desire to take action and change things.

2. The most important leadership trait – authenticity. You can only be yourself. Be the best possible version..

3. When attempting to change things, a general irreverence helps a great deal. And a great support system (family and friends) to support you when you fail is vital because the irreverence regularly results in steep falls!

Good book. Definitely worth a read..

BR 100: The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Fitting that the 100th book review would be about one of the best books I have read.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Emotions trump logic ANY day! The relationship between the two is akin to a rider atop an elephant. If the elephant (emotions) decides to go some place, the rider makes up reasons to go to that place.

2. We all have natural thresholds for happiness. Some have higher thresholds – that’s natural. What that means is that our happiness levels fluctuate between a range. And it gives us a simple goal –  stay on the top end of the range!

3. Everything in moderation..

4. Little things done daily have huge impact on our happiness. Keeping a journal, reflecting, counting our blessings etc

I really could go on. This is one of those books that you will never regret reading. A true masterpiece. Go get it.

BR 99: Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Priority: 3 – SHELF it  (All Categories are 1) Read ASAP! 2) BUY it! 3) SHELF it 4) SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Short book. A few interesting insights.. the rest tended to be close to the typical ‘self improvement’ talk that tends to drive many people crazy..

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Everything we do in life is influenced by the pain pleasure principle. We either do things to avoid pain or to derive pleasure.

2. Mental conditioning is incredibly powerful. When legendary basketball player Larry Bird had to shoot for a commercial that involved him missing a basket, he  had to shoot 9 times to make sure he missed. The moment he had a ball in his hand, his conditioning took over!

3. We react more to loss than to gain.