Best Books I read in 2017


I make it a goal to read around 4-5 books every month (admission – sometimes its 2….or 6). There are times when my reading is in full gear and I manage to stay consistent with my reading discipline. And then there are those few months in a year when I go light with reading. (this is usually that part of my annual schedule that is in “maintenance” or “low gear” mode – more on this in a future post). when I reduce the reading rhythm.

Each year, I try to squeeze in a variety of reading material. The point is to get exposed to a good range of ideas, perspectives, stories and skills. So, I try to choose books based on:

  • Themes, which range from: biography, business, psychology, inspirational, fiction, professional/ personal growth, new/ radical ideas, skill-focused (such as speaking, finance), productivity, leadership.
  • Personality (of the book): try to have a mix of books that are easy to read, and others that are to be slowly digested. Some books may have more literary value, while others may have more idea-value (some special ones have both).


In 2017, in addition to reading hard copy books, I kept up the practice of listening to audiobooks (via audible – a resource I highly recommend). This makes drive-time such a joyful experience, because I find myself entering my car in anticipation of the ideas that I am about to be exposed to, and exiting my car feeling content and satisfied at time well spent. However, I juggle between listening to podcasts and audiobooks while driving.


Of all the books I spent time with in 2017, here’s a list of the ones I recommend. I believe these books have had some irreversible influence on me (either by expanding my repertoire of skills, making me a better thinker/ person, helping me grow, or simply by stretching/ bending my mind in some way). I haven’t included in this list the books I re-read. Just the fact that I considered it important to read them again puts them on my “best list” for any given year.

The Top 10 List

  1. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

We all engineer our material existence (our homes, our jobs, our possessions). If we could similarly engineer our inner lives, we could end up opening new possibilities and powers in our life. Knowing how to intentionally design our mind, body, joy and energy is a skill we are much in need of. This is a book you read to feed and nourish your spirit.


  1. Principle-centered Leadership: Stephen R. Covey

I read Stephen Covey’s classic for the very first time last year as I was preparing for a leadership workshop session I was scheduled to deliver. It gave depth to my talk and structure to my thinking. All I can say is – whatever this legend wrote must be read slowly, one page at a time, carefully chewing on the words and assimilating them. This books, like any of his other works are a treasure-chest of pure wisdom, and makes you want to be an idealist for the rest of your life.


  1. 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator’s Guide to Creativity – Marty Neumeier

This book is small – you can finish it in a couple of hours. But don’t do it. Like Stephen Covey’s book, this is pure wisdom – a user manual for carefully crafting your “genius”. For anyone interested in innovation, creativity or just in learning the principles of becoming a genius (in any field), this book shows the way.


  1. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance

An inside look into the way the iconic entrepreneur, world-changer and genius thinks and functions. A true mind-bender!


  1. Code of the Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiani

Though there are very few new ideas in this book, it’s a motivating read, a truly uplifting one that will inspire one to ‘upgrade’ oneself and craft a better way to exist. The daily practice of gratitude, forgiveness and loving-kindness is definitely one that can rewire you for the better. Try it!


  1. Bold – Peter Diamandis

If you are a creative, entrepreneur or just someone curious and interested in how opportunities are born and reimagined with each passing year, this is a must-read. What a discussion on world-changing trends and concepts that are shaping life as we know it!


  1. Era of Darkness – Shashi Tharoor

History’s main utility is in the warnings it serves, about follies we should avoid. . To understand current geo-politics as well as some of the games underway in world affairs, you only need look back at the Britain-India dynamics of the last 300 years. Shashi Tharoor does a scholarly work on what Birtish colonialism did to India. I am not a fan of the man’s politics, but his writing is masterly. (As is known widely in India, keep a dictionary handy while reading because you will come across a lot of “alien” words J)


  1. Upstarts – Brad Stone

The story of Uber and Airbnb. Often when we come to know of great successes (in life and business), we don’t realize all that goes into crafting that “overnight” legendary success. A great inspiring read, especially for dreamers who are in the trenches, working their way to a grand vision.


  1. Stealing Fire – Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal

This was my most fascinating read of 2017 – an engaging account of how the forces of psychology, neurobiology, technology and pharmacology are fueling high performance for human beings, leading to richer, productive, more satisfying lives.


  1. Smartcuts: How hackers, innovators & icons accelerate success– Shane Snow

There’s the common wisdom about how to be successful, and there are shortcuts. Then there are those smart, unconventional routes to stunning accomplishments. Helps you unlearn some of the concepts we have taken for granted.


Among Audiobooks, I loved Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. Some philosophies are useful to daily life, and stoicism is one of them.

Also look for Mark Manson’s book (search for it online – I won’t give the title here J). Once you ready yourself to go beyond the profanities, it’s truly an insightful work. (Just don’t get offended by the four-letter words that show up in every other line). Highly recommended!

If there are any books you read and particularly recommend, please share them with me.

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

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