These are distressing times, aren’t they? We are guessing that by now, if you are not someone who’s working under an essential position, you are likely to be avoiding going out, trying to take meetings at your home & making sure the anxiety of the post covid world does not paralyse you into inaction.
But it is likely that there might be some extra space on your schedule to do whatever you may choose to. You can indulge into watching loud news debates all day filled with trivial discussions, scroll your Instagram feed and feel yourself being trapped into comparing your real life with the virtual lives of your peers. Doesn’t sound too exciting does it? Well, how about you go back to the drawing board and get yourself an incredible book that will help you shape a healthy perspective, assist you to form better habits and nourish your mind and soul.
Whether you have just faced a layoff from your work, or thinking of a career transition, or helping your team through these uncertain times in a leadership role, these books will surely help you navigate the though waters of the post covid era and help you settle on the harbor of “new normal” with patience, perseverance and power.
1. Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl
Although a difficult read for some, given the premise of surviving a holocast camp, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an exercise of the power of gratitude, human spirit, and perseverance.
As stated above, Man’s Search for Meaning is a memoir that tells the story of surviving a concentration camp and how the author’s experience led him to create his theory on the importance of meaning in one’s life, also known as, logotherapy.
Logotherapy comes from logos, a Greek word which means, well, “meaning”. It focuses on the meaning of the existence of a human as well as a man’s search for the same meaning. In the book, Viktor Frankl gives vivid and brutal anecdotes of the experiences he lived at the survivor camp and how he found out that there are 3 ways a man can find meaning in his life:
- By Working : By doing something that can have consequences on the world around person.
- By Loving: By caring and taking responsibilities of those around us.
- By Having Courage: By accepting situations with grace and have a sense of humour above it.
2. The Chimp Paradox, Steven Pinker
Cognitive Psychologist and author Steven Pinker has garnered what could be called a celebrity status in both the world of academia and pop-culture. His multiple appearances on the Joe Rogan Podcast has created a buzz around him as a new figure in popularizing science.
In Chimp Paradox, Steven Pinker helps us understand how “monkey see, monkey do,” is not just a phrase, but an evolutionary fact. Pinker goes to lengths to explain how our mind is made up of two parts- the human and the chimp. The human side is rational, it is intelligent and it can make assertive decisions based on situations. Whereas the chimp side, is emotional, impulsive, and works on instinct rather than logic and facts.
If one acts in a way of self sabotaging behavior, or one takes rash decisions that they might regret later, it can be a sigh of relief for them to know that it is not them who made that mistake, but the chimp brain inside them. Pinker who is also a consultant psychiatrist gives insight into this behaviour and explains that the only way to overcome this behavior is to train your chimp mind.
In The Chimp Paradox, there are multiple chapters going in detail on each aspects of how we functions as human, specific exercises one can do to have skills to manage our emotions and our impulsive mind to lead a life that we can all be proud of.
3. Atomic Habits, James Clear
Do you ever take a conscious effort in thinking whether you should put your right foot’s sock first or left foot’s sock first? Of course not! You can say that it’s a reflex action, a habit. Aadat, would be the word you use. Atomic Habits by James Clear is a profound read for everyone who wants to instill new productive habits and cut the ties off with the ones that may be causing them harm.
Atomic habits zooms into two important aspects of habits.
First that, habits are mental shortcuts to a recurring problem that is repeated so many times that it has become our second nature, it is almost, for the lack of a better word, automatic.
Second, the fact that habits are the only investment that truly compound. Clear in the book argues that if a person improves 1% a day, he has the potential to improve 37 times better by the end of the year.
In the entire course of the book one can be inspired by examples Olympic medalists, distinguished scientists and renowned artists who by consistently putting efforts in continuing their good habits became exponentially better than their peers.
4. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan Peterson
During the Covid-19 pandemic, young adults across the world were looking for some sort of guidance to navigate a world that was filled with chaos, rejection, fear and guilt. If you are someone who still is finding it hard to find a purpose and live a meaningful life, Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life will be an excellent read for you.
In this book, the author beautifully weaves the thread of history, science, philosophy and religion together and creates a simple list of 12 pragmatic do’s and makes the reader come take one more step further into a deep insight about how they can be fulfilled, successful and a better human. how to be a fulfilled, successful, better human being.
Dr. Peterson lists out simple rules such as: “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping”, “Set your house in order before you criticise the world”, “Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie” and gives scientific and philosophical anecdotes revolving around these rules.
The book ends with Dr. Peterson putting together a moving Q&A describing his overarching philosophy about purpose, order, chaos & meaning.
No matter how much the world changes around us, an honest and insightful book can offer a reader solace in the most difficult of times. We hope the books above will do the same for you and you thrive in the times that are to come.