Pakistan – Origins, Identity and Future (Pervez Hoodbhoy)

Four Thousand Weeks (Oliver Burkeman)

The courage to be disliked (Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga)

What We Owe The Future (William Macaskill)

The Future We Choose (Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivet-Carnac)

The Hidden Life of Trees (Peter Wohlleben)


Why Our Children Will be Atheists (Albert Williams)

Climate Change for Dummies (Elizabeth May and John Kidder)

How The World Really Works (Vaclav Smil)

Earth for all – A survival guide for Humanity (Club of Rome)

Behavioural Economics (David Orrell)

How to Prevent the Next Pandemic (Bill Gates)

Exactly as it says on the tin, by Bill Gates.

The Meat Paradox (Rob Percival)

Rob searches for the origins of eating meat through human evolution, the essential nutrients that meat provides, the cultural context and where meat sits in it, role of empathy towards animals, and finding the dietary and moral balance of eating meat in today’s world.

The end of Faith (Sam Harris)

In this book Sam Harris does what he does best: explaining the link between religion and terrorism, and how believing in a religion is an impediment to rational thinking.

On the future – prospects for humanity (Martin Rees)

In this non-fiction, British cosmologist and Astronomer Martin Rees discusses the prospects for humanity’s future and potential dangers, such as climate change, biotech, artificial intelligence etc.

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race (Reni Eddo-Lodge)

In her debut book, Reni Eddo-Lodge, explores the attempts to eradicate black history, particularly in the context of United Kingdom. She brilliantly discusses the race issues in Britain and offers ways to countering racism. A must read for anyone interest in class issues, feminism, racism and black history.

How Fascism Works – The politics of Us and Them (Jason Stanley)

A wonderful book that describes strategies employed by fascist regimes which includes normalizing the intolerance. Jason gives examples from the past as well as the contemporary world. A world where we are seeing a rise in nationalism and fascist politics around the world. The themes in the book are:

‘The mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety, appeals to the heartland, and a dismantling of public welfare and unity. He uncovers urgent patterns that are as prevalent today as ever and pins down a creeping sense that fascist tendencies are on the rise. By recognizing them, he argues, readers might begin to resist their most harmful effects.’

Start With Why (Simon Sinek)

Simon Sinek is no stranger in the corporate world. He is a writer, speaker and strategy consultant. The book answers the question as to why some organisations are more innovative than others. Why some businesses are more influential while others, less so. Not only businesses but also people. It is all to do with the WHY behind, whether a brand or a leader. Simon introduces a great framework upon which successful organisations and leaders are built. Simon calls it The Golden Circle.

Smarter Next Year (David Bardsley)

In this brief book, author emphasises that we control our intelligence. The book references evidence from science on how we can improve out minds and health at all stages of life.

Daring Greatly – How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead (Brené Brown)

Author, Brené Brown, offers a vision of of living more wholehearted lives by embracing our vulnerabilities and imperfections. The book is full of great insights and anecdote from author’s life.

Made in China – Wuhan, COVID and the quest for Biotech supremacy (Jasper Becker)

Jasper Becker discuss viruses and their origins, role of China, emergence of COVID-19 in Wuhan, gain-of-function experiments in Wuhan Lab, and the quest for bio-warfare. Timely and interesting book.


The Plundered Planet (Paul Collier)

The Economist, Paul Collier, describes how to manage natural assets in developing countries.

The Brain that changes itself (Norman Doidge)

A fascinating and insightful book on brain’s plasticity. It was long believed that brain is hard-wired. However, recent studies have shown that our brain is plastic, malleable and adaptive. This book contains numerous real-life stories of people who have shown amazing recoveries. Neuroplasticity is a breakthrough idea in our understanding of brain and how it works.

How to avoid a climate disaster (Bill Gates)

In this book, Bill Gates defines the ways the world needs to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The need for getting to net-zero green house gas emissions by the middle of the century are once again emphasized. The urgency and scale of the problem of climate change demands global cooperation, innovation, regulations as well as individual action. The book lives its subtitle:

The solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need.

The Fear Project (Jaimal Yogis)

Jaimal Yogis discusses fear and what we can learn from it, be it be our survival, love for extreme sports such as surfing or even loving.

The unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century (Stephen Marche)

This author comments on the state of male-female relationship in the 21st century and how it is evolving into the right direction – albeit slowly.

No is not enough (Naomi Klein)

Journalist and author, Naomi Klein, describes the political landscape under Trump’s then newly elected presidency. Climate change and politics are a recurring theme of all her books.

Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig)

A memoir of living and overcoming depression by novelist Matt Haig. Highly recommended.

Ikigai: A Japanese concept to improve work and life (Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles)

In this book the authors present the lessons they have learnt through their on-the-field research on the secret of Japanese longevity and purpose of life. A short easy bedside read full of valuable lessons on how to live a fulfilling life the Japanese way. Work life balance, diet and community participation are some of the themes this book touches upon.

The madness of Crowds (Douglas Murray)

Well researched and equally well narrated take on 21st century topics of gender, race and ethnicity by British journalist and author, Douglas Murray. Keeping your emotions aside and logic alit when reading this book.

Yes to life in spite of everything (Viktor E. Frankl)

A series of three lectures Viktor Frankl delivered after the end of WW2. Viktor Frankl sits at the highest pedestal when it comes to topic of finding meaning in one’s life, specially in the face of adversaries. Man’s Search for Meaning is author’s world acclaimed book. Highly recommended.


Grief Works – Stories of Life, Death and Surviving (Julia Samuel)

This title is a collection of stories from bereaved families who had lost a loved. The author, Julia Samuel, is a grief psychotherapist. No quick fixes but stories of what we can learn from the loss of a loved one and how to live with grief.

The School of Life – An Emotional Education (Alain De Botton)

A collection of articles on various topics of personal development that guarantee you attaining emotional maturity. Learn the key skills of loving, making sense of the modern world, and personal effectiveness in all walks of life. The School of Life – an organisation founded by writer and philosopher Alain de Botton

Introduction to Modern Climate Change (Andrew E. Dessler)

In this book, Prof of Atmospheric Sciences & climate scientist, Andrew Dessler explains the physical, chemical and policy aspects of modern climate change. The analogies used in the book make it easy for everyone to understand the science behind climate change. The latest edition of the book – edition 3 – is set to come out in early 2021. Much has changed since the first edition of this book came out, e.g. the IPCC now recommends striving for 1.5 degree Celsius pathway as a best practice.

Think Like a Monk (Jay Shetty)

Former Monk, Jay Shetty, shares his experience of becoming a monk, reasons for giving up the monk lifestyle and what he has learnt through his journey. Book contains simple and practical daily use steps to have mental peace and calm. A general book with great anecdotes.

Ethics in Real World: 86 Brief Essays on Things that Matter (Peter Singer)

Peter Singer is a renowned contemporary philosopher. He writes on ethics, morality and various other topics. This book is a collection of his essays on important and sometimes controversial topics like climate change, poverty, abortions, women rights, selling organs, price of art, happiness and animal rights. His list of acclaimed books is huge and ever growth. A snippet is here.

The Human Planet: How we created the Anthropocene (Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin)

Anthropocene is the term used to describe the period since humans have become capable enough to be able to influence systems of earth. There is a great debate on when exactly did the Anthropocene start. Was it with the industrial revolution or perhaps before that? There is yet to be a universal consensus on the beginning of Anthropocene – the human epoch.

17th century is a popular contender. The so called Orbis Spike – which falls in the year 1610 – shows a number of earth’s systems aligning, notably a dip in atmospheric carbon dioxide. This book is a good blend of history, anthropology and science by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin.

Humankind: A Hopeful History (Rutger Bregman)

From the author of the acclaimed title: ‘Utopia for Realists’, Rutger Bregman touches on the subject of human nature. Contrary to the popular belief that human beings are by nature selfish, Rutger shows how intrinsically we are all good, helpful and caring. We cooperate in the worst of times, and feel for our fellow human beings.

On Tyranny –  Twenty lessons from the twentieth century (Timothy Snyder)

Author of How Bad Are Bananas, and The Burning Question, Mike Berners-Lee needs no introduction for his work in the footprinting and climate change world. Like his other books, this book is full of numbers and analysis of the impacts humans are having on climate, biodiversity, and energy usage. Full of solutions and recommendations, this book should be a must read for environmentalists and anyone trying to understand what they can do for climate change.

  1. Food
  2. Climate and Environment
  3. Energy
  4. Travel and Transport
  5. Growth, Money and Matrices
  6. People and Work
  7. Business and Technology
  8. Values, Truth and Trust
  9. Conclusion

Author of How Bad Are Bananas, and The Burning Question, Mike Berners-Lee needs no introduction for his work in the footprinting and climate change world. Like his other books, this book is full of numbers and analysis of the impacts humans are having on climate, biodiversity, and energy usage. Full of solutions and recommendations, this book should be a must read for environmentalists and anyone trying to understand what they can do for climate change.

  1. Food
  2. Climate and Environment
  3. Energy
  4. Travel and Transport
  5. Growth, Money and Matrices
  6. People and Work
  7. Business and Technology
  8. Values, Truth and Trust
  9. Conclusion

Why we believe in god(s) (J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer)

This concise book discusses the science of faith. Why human minds generates religious beliefs. There are inputs from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology and psychiatry.

The Art of Loving (Erich Fromm)

Learn the art of loving from a celebrated psychoanalyst and social psychologist, Erich Fromm. This concise yet rich book covers a number of forms love can take, brotherly, motherly, fatherly, erotic or the love of god. Highly recommended. A guaranteed self-help for the most important feature of a life – love.

  • “Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.”
  • “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”
  • “Modern capitalism needs men who co-operate smoothly, and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated. It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority or principle or conscience—yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected of them, to fit into the social machine without friction; who can be guided without force, led without leaders, prompted without aim—except the one to make good, to be on the move, to function, to go ahead. What is the outcome? Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature.”

Think Smarter (Michael Kallet)

Michael Kallet offers a set of decision-making tools and problem-solving skills in this book. How to think critically, is a running theme throughout this book. Whether it be a business decision or a decision around where to dine tonight, we make thousands of decisions every day. Most of them are made in the automatic thinking mode. If we can learn to think critically – and make it a habit such that we are thinking critically in the automatic mode as well – we can get the best results from our everyday decisions.

Easy to read book.

How Contagion Works (Paolo Giordano)

Published at the outset of the Cornavirus pandemic,  this essay in the form of a book explores the outbreak of the Coronavirus. The Italian novelist, Paolo Giordano,  has explored a range of dimensions of this novel virus.

Being Mortal (Atul Gawande)

In this book, author and surgeon Atul Ganwande takes up the topic of death, end-of-life care and hospice care. He describes experiences from his practice and personal life on how death is taken and how it should be taken instead, in the final years of one’s life.

Atul makes a compelling case against the present day practices that aim to elongate the final days of a dying patient at the cost extended pain and suffering. He emphasises that the goal of the should be to have a good life to the very end, not a painful death which comes at some bonus days.

Seven Signs of Life (Aoife Abbey)

Stories from intensive care doctor shuffling daily between emotions of: fear, anger, grief, joy and hope, disgust and distraction. Dr Aoife takes the readers on a journey which doctors, especially those in ICUs, go through everyday.

The readers who have read When Breath Becomes Air, or This is going to hurt can relate.

This Is Not A Drill (An Extinction Rebellion Handbook)

This is a collection of essays written by XR members, leading environmentalists and political activities – all trying to raise alarm bells for the greatest threat humanity faces today: #climatechange.

The objections of the XR and set out in the first part. Their background, their demands and how they operate. Latter part of the book comprises of chapters explaining what we need to do to be able to sustain life on this earth and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. A chapter from Kate Raworth reminded me of her excellent book: Doughnut Economics.


Happiness – A guide to develop life’s most important skill (Mattieu Ricard)

In a nutshell, in this book the Buddhist monk – Mattieu Ricard – shows that happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill that can be developed. 

The Body: A guide for Occupants (Bill Bryson) 

The award-winning writer, Bill Bryson, has written another master-pieces of his. This time he sets onto a journey of exploring the human body. The book details on body’s functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. This books if full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories and facts. Full human anatomy is covered in the chapters of this book.

Man’s Search For Meaning (Victor Frankl)

Timeless masterpiece by Victor Frankl detailing accounts of Holocaust, how, where and why to find a meaning in life, and what atrocities we men are capable of enduring, providing we have something to look forward to – a meaning in life.

The Great Derangement (Amitav Ghosh)

Amitav Ghosh, is an award-winning fiction writer. He explores climate change and the role of fiction, and literature in general, in this book.

1. Stories
2. History
3. Politics

Brief Answers to Big Questions (Stephen Hawking)

In his posthumous book, Professor Stephen Hawking has answered 10 of the most important questions humanity  should  be – or is already – asking today. The book is an effortless lead, ideas presented with exceptional lucidity and in a non-technical lexicon.

  1. Is there a God?
  2. How did it all begin?
  3. Can we predict the future?
  4. What is inside a black hole?
  5. Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  6. Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  7. How do we shape the future?
  8. Will we survive on Earth?
  9. Should we colonise space?
  10. Is time travel possible?

Biased – Uncovering the hidden prejudice that shapes what we see, think, and do (Jennifer L. Eberhardt)

A very well-researched and highly moving book by Jennifer Eberhardt, director of SPARQ Stanford. The book is contains painful racial discrimination tales in the US, convincing research from around the world and recommendations on tackling the implicit racial bias.

The McKINSEY WAY (Ethan M. Rasiel)

An easy to read handbook of practices and life of consultants at McKinsey. A useful manual for anyone interested in business consultancy. This book is not too detailed.

The Uninhabitable Earth: A story of the Future (David Wallace-Wells) 

A must read for everyone by the American journalist David Wallace-Wells, known for writing on climate change. Climate change is a threat that will not spare anyone. Its a challenge with no precedents in the human history. The book becomes slightly dull towards the end. However, majority of it is relatable to climate calamities we are already observing around the globe.

Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman) 

In this masterpiece book, best-selling author Daniel Goleman argues that our understanding of the human intelligence is far narrow. EI or EQ plays a bigger role than we think it does. EQ is perhaps more important than IQ as a measure of intelligence.

He takes the readers on a journey where he teaches how different aspects of emotional intelligence can be strengthened. Emotions play a great role in our decision-making, hence a valuable skill to nourish. Full of insights from psychology and neuroscience.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (Dan Ariely) 

In the field of behavioural economics, Dan Ariely needs little introduction. He is an author of numerous books. In this particular book, he demonstrates the irrationality of human beings. The book is full of interesting experiments. Some takeaways from the book are listed below. (Note: They are cut-and-paste sections from the book).

  • We rarely choose in absolute terms. Our choices are influenced by other available choices.
  • People don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.
  • We not only tend to compare things with one another but also tend to focus on comparing things that are easily comparable—and avoid comparing things that cannot be compared easily.
  • The basic idea of arbitrary coherence is this: although initial prices are “arbitrary,” once those prices are established in our minds they will shape not only present prices but also future prices (this makes them “coherent”)
  • Anchors have an enduring effect for present prices as well as for future prices.
  • Yes, a free market based on supply, demand, and no friction would be the ideal if we were truly rational. Yet when we are not rational but irrational, policies should take this important factor into account.
  • Zero/Free is an emotional hot button—a source of irrational excitement.
  • Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside.
  • Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside.
  • Because once market norms enter our considerations, the social norms depart.
  • In an experiment: Thinking about money, then, made the participants in the “salary” group more self-reliant and less willing to ask for help. SO WE LIVE in two worlds: one characterised by social exchanges and the other characterised by market exchanges. And we apply different norms to these two kinds of relationships.
  • Life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling, and fun.
  • We under predict the effect of passion on our behaviour.
  • Avoiding temptation altogether is easier than overcoming it.
  • We may, in fact, be an agglomeration of multiple selves.
  • Almost everyone has problems with procrastination, those who recognise and admit their weakness are in a better position to utilise available tools for pre-commitment and by doing so, help themselves overcome it.
  • When we own something—whether it’s a car or a violin, a cat or a basketball ticket—we begin to value it more than other people do. – Endowment effect.
  • OWNERSHIP IS NOT limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view. Once we take ownership of an idea—whether it’s about politics or sports—what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should.
  • If you tell people up front that something might be distasteful, the odds are good that they will end up agreeing with you—not because their experience tells them so but because of their expectations.
  • WHEN WE BELIEVE beforehand that something will be good, therefore, it generally will be good—and when we think it will be bad, it will bad.
  • Stereotypes can also affect the behaviour of people who are not even part of a stereotyped group.
  • Effect of discounts is largely an unconscious reaction to lower prices.
  • When given the opportunity, many honest people will cheat.
  • Even when we have no chance of getting caught, we still don’t become wildly dishonest.
  • individuals are honest only to the extent that suits them (including their desire to please others)
  • When we are removed from any benchmarks of ethical thought, we tend to stray into dishonesty.
  • When we look at the world around us, much of the dishonesty we see involves cheating that is one step removed from cash.
  • When the medium of exchange is non monetary, our ability to rationalise increases by leaps and bounds.
  • Upton Sinclair once noted, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” We can now add the following thought: it is even more difficult to get a man to understand something when he is dealing with non monetary currencies
  • People are sometimes willing to sacrifice the pleasure they get from a particular consumption experience in order to project a certain image to others.
  • The point is that our visual and decision environments are filtered to us courtesy of our eyes, our ears, our senses of smell and touch, and the master of it all, our brain. By the time we comprehend and digest information, it is not necessarily a true reflection of reality. Instead, it is our representation of reality, and this is the input we base our decisions on. In essence we are limited to the tools nature has given us, and the natural way in which we can’t help being fooled by visual illusions, we fall for the “decision illusions” our minds show us. The point is that our visual and decision environments are filtered to us courtesy of our eyes, our ears, our senses of smell and touch, and the master of it all, our brain. By the time we comprehend and digest information, it is not necessarily a true reflection of reality. Instead, it is our representation of reality, and this is the input we base our decisions on. In essence we are limited to the tools nature has given us, and the natural way in which we make decisions is limited by the quality and accuracy of these tools.
  • In the absence of expertise or perfect information, we look for social cues to help us figure out how much we are, or should be, impressed, and our expectations take care of the rest.
  • The danger of expecting nothing is that, in the end, it might be all we’ll get.
  • WE ALL SUFFER from the planning fallacy syndrome, and the banking and insurance institutions, realizing this, build in large penalties that kick in just when these unexpected (unexpected to us) bad things happen.

How to be right – in a world gone wrong
(James O’Brien) 

Funny and thought-provoking book on contemporary hot issues by radio presenter: James O’Brien. He has masterfully tackled and addressed issues over which there lies great public delusion and divide. An unbiased and objective take of a skilful presenter.

Table of content:

  1. Islam and Islamism
  2. Brexit
  3. LGBT
  4. Political Correctness
  5. Feminism
  6. nanny States and Classical Liberals
  7. The Age Gap
  8. Trump

Drawdown – The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming 
(Edited by Paul Hawken) 

This amazing work is a collaboration of dozens of international researchers, professionals, scientists and field-experts. It enlists 100 substantive solutions to reverse global warming. 70 of them are already developed while 30 of them are in the early phases – technologies of the future as to say. For each solution, the book describes ‘its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works’.

Solutions ‘range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air.’

The solutions befall the categories below:

  1. Electricity Generation
  2. Food
  3. Women and Girls
  4. Buildings and Cities
  5. Land Use
  6. Transport
  7. Materials
  8. Coming Attractions

The book is edited by Paul Hawken. A highly recommended book for environmentalists.


Another very interesting read from Malcolm Gladwell. It presents in popular science format research from psychology and behavioural economics on the adaptive unconscious: mental processes that work rapidly and automatically from relatively little information.

It is an easy read, full of real-life examples. It will change the way you think you make decisions.


Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy
(Tim Harford) 

In this book, Tim Harford has jotted down fifty inventions and ideas that had massive impact on the way today’s world economy looks like. While you may find some of the ‘things’ obvious straight away, others are not so much e.g. barbed wire. Organised in separate chapters, this book is thoroughly enjoyable and a recommended read – like all other books by Tim.

The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions
(Rolf Dobelli) 

A collection of 99 cognitive biases and their solutions by Rolf Dobelli. For anyone who has to make important decisions in life – that is all of us. Teaches you the most common errors of judgement and how to avoid them.

The Handbook of Carbon Accounting
(Arnaud Brohé) 

It is a useful, concise and easy to follow handbook on carbon accounting. It briefs the history of carbon accounting, methods and instruments employed by entities, such as carbon taxation, carbon markets and voluntary offsetting. Historical timeline of landmark conferences is also discussed – listing major achievements/pitfalls of each.
Author: Arnaud Brohe

How to Be Human: The Manual
(Ruby Wax) 

This book is funny, insightful and entertaining. It covers topics on mind and body. Bringing insights from a neuroscientist and a monk, Ruby Wax has answered a number of questions on evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, sex, kids, the future and compassion.

At the end there are tested exercises for mindfulness – both from the monk and Ruby herself.

Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine
(Hannah Fry) 

Author – Hannah Fry – has penned this fantastic book which concerns our future. Focused around algorithms, data and the future of humanity in the age of machines. The power of data and algorithms is discussed along with how data is helping change our future. Implications of the power of algorithms and data in different walks of life – as diverse as justice, medicine, crime and art.

For anyone who has the slightest interest in automation, data-mining, machine learning and the future in the age of the machine.

Black Box Thinking – The surprising truth about success
(Matthew Syed)

Matthew Syed – a leading columnist – lays down the importance of failure – and learning from failures – for success. Book is full of real-life examples from industry, medicine, politics and sports. Author shares instances where failure is used as a means to learn and also cultures where errors are hidden. An easy-to-follow and an insightful book.

Some highlights:

  • When we engage with our errors, we improve.
  • We progress faster when we face up to failure and learn from it.
  • Pilots, Randomised Control Trials, pre-mortem are some other useful techniques are discussed too.


The Growth Delusion – The wealth and well-being of nations
(David Pilling)

One of the greatest books on the topic of growth. David Pilling builds a compelling case on GDP; its short-comings and possible additions to better record ‘economies’. Recording what really matters and which often gets ignored in the GDP altogether. Starts with the history of the GDP until it’s latest day rivals. A highly recommended book.

The author does not voice to totally scrap the GDP measuring wholly. He rather proposes structural adjustments so what we measure becomes more robust. Some of the suggestions from the concluding chapter of the book are:

  • GDP Per Capita
  • Median Income
  • Tackling Inequality
  • Net Domestic Production accounting
  • Incorporating the well-being measures
  • CO2 emissions and the health of planet

‘ Growth was a great invention. Now get over it.’ 

Prosperity without Growth
(Tim Jackson)

Tim Jackson explores the dimensions of sustainability – economy, environment and society. It proposes a route to a sustainable economy. The author ‘argues for a redefinition of prosperity in light of the evidence on what really contributes to people’s well-being.’

‘It was originally released as a report by the Sustainable Development Commission. The study rapidly became the most downloaded report in the Commission’s nine-year history when it was published in 2009. The report was later that year reworked and published as a book.

(Hans Rosling)

How wrong majority of us are about the world. How the progress made over the years just does not get the acknowledgement it deserves. In this masterpiece book Hans, with his team, shows exactly that with the support of facts and data. The book discusses ten instincts that distort our perspective―from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). The book presents the biases and how we can cater them while forming a factual view of the world around us.

(Robert Peston)

Staged around Brexit, this book explores British politics in the recent years. Political editor, presenter and journalist: Robert Peston explores how our emotions play a part in democracy these days, how Trump came to power and what it means for the rest of the world. How social media is changing the conventional democracies and how cyber attacks have the potential of affecting elections abroad.

The history of Tories and Labour are discussed in depth. There is an interesting chapter on Artificial Intelligence, automation and the future of jobs because of technological disruptions.

The book ends with the following remarks:

“ The time is now for the government to do boldly and ambitiously what only governments can do, which is invest in the public services and the public goods that enrich us all.”

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back 
(Tim Harford)

The British economist – Tim Harford – takes-up macroeconomics in this book. He picks number of dimensions and explains the complexities around economics, from a macroeconomics point of view. Raises important questions and leaves valuable suggestions.

How did we get into this mess? 
(George Monbiot)

Collection of articles written for The Guardian over the past decade, 51 in total, by the elegant and witty George Monbiot who is an activist, journalist and an environmentalist. The chapters cover a range of socio-economics, politics and environmental challenges. A true master-piece.

Why there is No God  
(Armin Navabi)

May I take the leverage to say that it might not disprove god. However, this concise read masterfully teaches how to think when it comes to the concept of god. It debunks 20 of the most commonly used arguments by theists. Each chapter tackles one myth: debunks it, links it to the human mind’s fallacies, provides well-structured counter arguments and states all sources and references.

Armin’s arguments make rational and logical sense, unlike fairy tales which religions intoxicate populations with. This book is for everyone interested in the concept of god. Armin has put out his arguments with an amazing simplicity. It is both for theists and atheists.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance 
(Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt)

In this sequel of their earlier book – Freakonomics – authors explore further topics. The first chapter covers the taboo topic of prostitution. In another chapter, there is detailed discussion on acts of selfishness and altruism. Another chapter discusses various – simple and easy – solutions to big problems. Global Warming is discussed at length before the book concludes with an epilogue discussing experiments on monkeys in which they are trained to use money to get a reward.

The Burning Question 
(Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark)

The authors have made an essential, detailed and a timely contribution to one of the most important debates happening today – climate change. Writers start with reasons why fossil use has been rising a few hundred years now and, more importantly, how it cannot go on in the future the same way. They then explain the frustrations that block efforts in reducing the fossil use. In much detail, authors have discussed all the possible reasons that are stopping us from putting a halt to the levers of fossil use. Lastly, there is a discussion on various steps we can take from now onwards to help confine the effects of climate change.

It is an elemental read for anyone interested in the climate change debate – which we all should be. It is an easy read, for both technical and non-technical readers.


(Christopher Hitchens)

Undoubtedly one of the greatest orators of our time, Hitchens’ last book, published posthumously after his death from cancer. He had been a courageous person throughout. Battled cancer with bravery.

In this short book, comprising of 8 essays, Hitchens describes his illness and his battle with cancer. As eloquent as Hitchens is, he discusses his fear of losing the ability of writing and speaking – two of his utmost masteries, his experience with chemotherapy, the meaning of life and collection from his final days.

Eight chapter is a collection of his unfinished works jotted down in the form of a chapter. As always with Hitchens arguments, this book, too, is guaranteed to send shivers up and down your spine.

Some people leave too early. Hitchens is one of them.

The Why Axis-Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life
(Uri Gneezy and John List)

An easy-to-follow book detailing number of experiments in behavioural economics. Useful insights in fields such as health, education, charities, violence, poverty etc. Authors argue that by embracing experimentation, companies can discover incentives that will bring more revenue than they thought it would. Also, by mere play of framing (and other similar interventions) the resources that were previous left on the table can be added to the resources. Not only that but simple interventions can bring dramatic improvements in health and education sector.

‘Anyone working in business, politics, education or philanthropy can use the approach Gneezy and List describe in The Why Axis to reach a deeper, more nuanced understanding of human behaviour and a better grasp of what motivates people and why.’

21 Lessons for the 21st Century   
(Yuval Noah Harari)

In his third book, Harari takes up some of the biggest questions we are faced today. From technological revolutions to destabilising political systems, from the role of religions to what benefits meditation brings, Harari investigates these questions and puts them so succinctly that few parallels hold for his mastery.

Anyone who is interested in the ‘present’ and wants to understand how NOW is changing the FUTURE, should consider this book a must-read.

The 21 topics which be brilliantly covers are:

  1. Disillusionment
  2. Work
  3. Liberty
  4. Equality
  5. Community
  6. Civilisation
  7. Nationalism
  8. Religion
  9. Immigration
  10. Terrorism
  11. War
  12. Humility
  13. God
  14. Secularism
  15. Ignorance
  16. Justice
  17. Post-Truth
  18. Science Fiction
  19. Education
  20. Meaning
  21. Meditation


Tattooist of Auschwitz  
(Heather Morris)

A novel based on a true story of lovers who survived Auschwitz and later married and lived together till death parted them. Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian jew, the hero of the story, spend three years in Auschwitz as a tattooist. He fell in love with a girl whose number he tattooed.  The lines of this story will make you cry. Between the lines you will find hope.



TED Talks – The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking 
(Chris Anderson)

Chris Anderson – who currents heads TED – shares insights into effective public speaking. Although the book is centred around the TED stages, these insights are equally applicable to any public speak forum. As you read through different chapters, Chris makes his point with real-life examples from TED.

Chris shares the techniques to nail a presentation (also what to avoid). He, throughout, compares the pros and cons of techniques which speakers apply. The book ends with a chapter on how more important the art of public speaking will be in the future, amid suspicions around IA and robots taking over.

The logic of life 
(Tim Harford)

Another marvel by the author of The Undercover Economist. In this book, Tim Harford, again, asks questions about phenomenon which happen all around us everyday yet remain unnoticed. He is of the view that there exists a rational behind everything, we only need to dig deep to find it out. Addiction, game theory, divorce, gender imbalance, boss’s salary, neighbourhoods, importance of big cities, racism, politics and more are few of the topics which Tim’s brilliancy have covered.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
(Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt)

A must-have for economics enthusiasts. Least, it makes you question things. Topics as trivial as cheating, real estate agent, parenting, drug dealing, naming a child and more, are discussed in an easy to follow lexicon.

Prisoners of Geography-Ten Maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics
(Tim Marshall)

Up-to-date geo-political commentary on the follow regions:

  1. Russia
  2. China
  3. USA
  4. Western Europe
  5. Africa
  6. The Middle East
  7. India and Pakistan
  8. Korea and Japan
  9. Latin America
  10. The Arctic

Nineteen Eighty Four/1984
(George Orwell)

Big Brother is watching you!


Environmental Economics – A very short introduction
(Stephen Smith)

What is economy, what is environment, how are they related, why control pollution, how to control, how much to control, what instruments exist, what’s the value of environmental pollution control, what are the special policy-making challenges in climate change, why a global understanding is needed – All these points concisely explained.


Doughnut Economics-Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist
(Kate Raworth)

In this ground-breaking book Kate highlights 7 essential ways the 21st-century economists should think like. The list is not restricted to these seven alone however in the words of the author herself, “it will be a good start”.

Doughnut Economics
Coutresy: The Guardian
  1. Change the goal
    GDP is a flawed goal, specially for the 21st century when the goal should be to live within the safe and just space of earth’s carrying capacity )shown in light green in the diagram above). We have already exceeded many of the planetary boundaries (shown in red) and still continue to do so. That calls for change of goal of where we want to arrive.
  2. See the big picture
    Instead of viewing the economy as self-contained, it is time we realise that is it instead embedded in wider social and environmental systems.
  3. Nurture Human Nature
    Rational Economic Man does not exist. We look and behave very different to the sketch of ours drawn by previous century economists which they call a rational economic man. We are social adaptable humans and are influenced external factors when it comes to making economic decisions.
  4. Get Savvy with systems
    The economic is not a mechanical equilibrium as it is often depicted to be. It is complex and adaptive. Kate recommends to learn systems thinking and integrate it in our economic thinking. It is worth mentioning to make a reference to the book ‘Limits to Growth’ and system thinkers who authored this revolutionary book in 1972: Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers William and W. Behrens III.
  5. Design to distribute
    Instead of excepting the growth to bring about equality, we must design the economy to be distribute itself. Growth will not even it up. We must design it to do that.  
  6. Create to regenerate
    Again, do not follow the linear model which we have been doing since industrial revolution. Model of Take-Make-Use-Lose. Growth won’t clean up the environmental damage it creates. Instead the economy needs to be regenerative by design.
  7. Be agnostic about growth
    By being agnostic Kate means that we should instead focus on prosperity, be it with or without growth.

This book is food for thought.


Thank you for being late-An Optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations
(Thomas L. Friedman)

Politics, environment, communities, technology, artificial intelligence and more. This book covers a wide array of topics and how they may evolve and respond in the future. How to prepare for the future which is accelerating at a rate not previously known to mankind. When Friedman talks, its his rich experience and knowledge speaking.

The discussion on artificial intelligence and technological changes is eloquently done in great depth. Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations.  We need to slow down and if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. It is an essential guide to the present and the future.

He concludes by returning to where his whole life started, his hometown. In doing so, he describes the elements that let his hometown make exemplary progress and gave birth to numerous successful Americans. Among others, openness is a distinguishing feature.

Homo Deus
(Yuval Noah Harari)

In this another bestseller by Y. N. Harari writes about the future, as he envisions it in the light of the recent developments, specially in the realm of science and information.

War, plague and disease are dealings of the past. Today, humankind, Harari says, is dwelling into bigger questions of immortality and artificial intelligence. Humankind is already on the shift from beings to algorithms and data points. “The most common reaction of the human mind to achievement is not satisfaction, but craving for more.”

Harari says that while it was easy to predict with certainty in 1800 how 1900 would look like. But today, it can not be said how how next 50 years would look like, let alone the next century. Reason being that things are moving today at a speed unprecedented in the history.

“Soon, books will read you while you are reading them.”

Many institutions which we worship today, might not even exist in the near future.

It would not be an exaggeration to call it an intelligent book. Highly recommended.
I now await for his upcoming book which is to deal with the present. Past has already been covered in his book ‘Sapiens’. Future, we have heard in this book. Present ; we await.

The Examined Life
(Stephen Grosz)

In this memoir, the author who is a psychoanalyst, describes several experiences of his practice with his patients. Each mentioned experience is unique in its own way. Everyday stories with which we all can relate. Intriguing and at times frustrating.

When Breath Becomes Air
(Paul Kalanithi)

Started by the Author, Paul, and finished by his wife Lucy after Paul’s death. Paul was an aspirant writer, a neurosurgeon and a deep thinker. He was in his fourth decade of life when he was diagnosed with Cancer. He faced illness with such courage that his story should serve as a guidance for those in pursuit of understanding life, meaning in life and death. The courage Paul’s wife, the strength of his family and his own determination and understanding of paradox of mortality is exemplary.

Very rarely such heart-breaking and courage-gathering books come out.

The Under Cover Economist
(Tim Harford)

Author discusses various topics of economic interest. He discusses topics such as bargaining power, price targeting, efficieny of markets, environmental issues which economics regard as externalities, the power of information, stock markets, game theory and its usage in several auctions, cases of corruption in developing and/or poor countries and globalization.

A recommended insight for economics enthusiasts.


Immortality – The quest to live forever and how it drives civilization
( Stephen Cave )

In this grasping book Stephen Cave discusses how the concept of immortality tends to play in our daily lives. It has driven civilizations. From the Greek thinkers to the Egyptians to the present age of  scientific endeavours, immortaility has been at the core of our ventures. It takes the shape of several narratives and each being popular in its own way in space and time. However, each of them appears to be equally flawed, as per the conclusions of the writer.

  1. Staying Alive
  2. Resurrection
  3. Soul
  4. Legacy

Highly recommended.

A Little History of Economics
( Naill Kishtainy )

A travel through the history of economics beginning with the search of Greek philosphers regarding how the society works until the Financial Crisis of 2007 and the aftermaths till the year 2017. It introduces various economists through the last 2000 years, their work and the criticism their work received. Discusses the Great Depression, post-world-war policies, Financial crisis, communism, socialism, capitalism and other topics of great interest in understanding the working of a society. An easy to understand read for enthusiasts of history.

To my understanding, economics is a fairly new branch of study in terms of its development. Throughout time, different thinkers have contributed to it in response to the problems of their times. There is no one size fit all in economics that would work for every area. Economics has far more to do with the historical and cultural associations than mere mathematical equations and simple supply and demand. The new areas of Behavioural Economics, Information Economics are steps in the right direction towards further developing the broader field of economics. There are issues with the current capitalist system. It has surely widened the gap between the rich-few and the many. However, I am still optimistic that by bringing about changes in the current capitalistic system, we can provide a better live standard (and happiness) to the world population. Communism, in my opinion, has failed to deliver on all the chances it was given. Under communism, if the state owns everything and everyone gets the same, then there is no point of working hard or being productive and efficient. There surely are problems with the version of capitalism we are growing up with which need attention. One of the greatest problems is the inequality that exists today.

Recommended for enthusiasts of economics or people interested in running of society in general.

The Art of Happiness-A handbook for living
( HH Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler )

What I concluded from this book is that the purpose of life is happiness, nothing less atleast.

Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama tells in this book how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Cutler and Dalai Lama explore many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. A handbook of life in true sense.

The Uses and Abuses of History
( Margaret Macmillan )

In this captivating read the author has described the role of history and how it has been used. Further, how it should not be used. Margaret says histroy is not only conforting, it is also a source of one’s identity.

He concludes by suggesting “… my only advice is to use it, enjoy it, but always handle history with care”. My blog, regarding Why Histroy?, inspired by one of it’s chapters, is here.

How To Win Friends and Influence People
( Dale Carnegie )

In a nutshell it says…

Fundamental techniques in handling people.  

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn of complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person in eager want.

Ways to make people like you.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2.  Smile.
  3. Remember their names.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of other people’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.

 Win people to your way of thinking.

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never Say, you are wrong.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying ‘ yes, yes’ immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a leader

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticising other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person feel happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Darkness Visible-A Memoir of Madness
(William Styron)

A brief read; collection of 10 short accounts of author’s encounter with depression. The crux is elequently presented below in own words of the author:

“…But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease–and they are countless–bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.

The Breaking of Nations-Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first Century
(Robert Cooper) 

Robert talks about premodern, moderen and postmodern states. Europe and USA are discussed at length. Convincing insights into foreign policy, diplomacy and historical events of the past century in Europe in particular.

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind
( Yuval Noah Harari ) 

Yuval Noah is a master story teller. In this book he describes three main revolutions of humankind history.

Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago). These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done, which is to create and connect around ideas that do not physically exist (think religion, capitalism, and politics). These shared “myths” have enabled humans to take over the globe and have put humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection.

Why Nations Fail
( Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson )

It’s neither the geography nor entirely culture because of which countries are poor. Its institutions and policies that determine how well off a country are on an economic scale.

Nudge-Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness
( Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein ) 

Simple nudges in behaviour can bring about grand changes. A must read that will change perspective on how we look at our world around.

Flashpoints-Emerging crisis in Europe
( George Friedman ) 

History of pre-war Europe, 31 war years and post-war Europe. German dominance in EU is discussed in detail.

Overcoming Anxiety
( Helen Kennerley ) 

A basic self-help book for people with low to mild anxiety for managing their day to day lives.

After the Prophet
( Lesley Hazleton )

Discusses the sunni-shia divide and ends with the power struggle between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia in the 21st century. 

Research Design
( John W. Creswell )


Unlimited Power
(Anthony Robbins)

AR is master of personal development. In this book he discussed the methods of achieving big. Take away is the modelling technique.

7 habits of highly effective people
( Stefen Cowey )

1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. First things first
4. Think Win
5. Understand first
6. Whole is greater than sum of parts
7. Build physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

The sane society
( Enrich Fromm )

Social Ills and how to overcome them. “That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

Creativity-unleashing the forces within
( Osho )

– Become a Child Again
– Be ready to learn
– Find Nirvana in the ordinary
– Be a dreamer

Working with people
( Scott A Bonar )

Targeted at professionals working in realms of conservation.

Sustainable Tourism
( Anton Fischer )

Benefits and dangers associated with tourism.

Environmental ECOnomics
( R kerry Turner )


Philosophy of science
( Samir Okasha )

“ The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of. “

The tipping point
( Malcolm Gladwell )

The moment when a phenomenon crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire.

“ If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the building to the street on which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes. In a city, relatively minor problems like graffiti, public disorder, and aggressive panhandling, they write, are all the equivalent of broken windows, invitations to more serious crimes. “

You can heal your life
( Louise L Hay )

Summary lies in its title.

( Daniel Goleman )

Along with hard work, attention is the key.

The Soul of a Butterfly
( Muhammad Ali with Hana Yasmeen Ali )

Anecdotes from his life, each closes with a lesson learned. “ You don’t really lose when you fight for what you believe in. You lose when you fail to fight for what you care about. “

The Alchemist
( Paulo Coelho )

Takeaway: “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

Communism. A history of the intellectual and political movement
( Richard Pipes )

Failed to understand it.

Motivated Mind
( Raj Pershad ) 


Thinking Fast and Slow
( Daniel Kahneman )

Blend of findings and experiments from fields of psychology and how they can be applied in economics.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s