The book that reinforced my hope

Work at least 10,000 hours in an area before you can become super-successful at it.

41jhyyiis0l-_sx324_bo1204203200_If you were an aspiring photographer, at some point in your life, you may have come across the below given quote from the legendary candid photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Your first 10000 photographs are your worst.’ – Henri Cartier-Bresson

In this book, Malcolm Gladwell comes up with something similar by creating what he calls the 10,000 Hour Rule, a rule that is challenged by today’s self-help gurus. He believes this is the magical number for achieving greatness.

The book starts with examples of ‘outliers‘ – people who are extraordinarily proficient in certain subjects or skills (like The Beatles and Bill Gates) and then breaks down the enormous amount of work that goes into all outliers before they became one.

He uses ‘divergence test’, a test that requires you to use your imagination and take your mind in as many different directions as possible, just to prove that in order to be successful one needs a ‘fertile’ mind than a higher IQ. Yes!!

Interestingly, the culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forefathers has certain influence towards shaping our path to greatness. The kind of analysis he does on a junior hockey team’s data by comparing their dates of birth and explaining why some players who were born in certain months had an edge and performed better (outliers) than those born in the remaining months…. might tickle your left brain for a while.

He does a similar in-depth analysis on the richest men in the world and tries to map the commonality in their data (or life) that he thinks has contributed to their greatness. There’s one full chapter which includes NatGeo’s Air Crash Investigation styled dissection of an airplane’s black box transcripts.

Although very intense in one or two chapters, i really enjoyed reading this book . The examples he covers are so diverse – from young hockey players to Bill Gates to pilots to race paddy farmers, and goes about explaining why these people are able to scale greater heights than most others.  This kept my brain refreshed from cover to cover.

This was my first book of Malcolm’s and i will consider reading other books of his, in the future although not immediately.

If you like what you read, you can support by buying this book directly from Amazon: Outliers: The Story of Success (affiliate link).

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How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

513srelxn5l-_sx323_bo1204203200_Simon Sinek’s Millennials in the Workplace, a video from 2016 that somehow went viral last year had greatly impressed me. His TED talk from 2010 was so powerful that it left me wanting to know more about him and his work. A little research and I learned that he is passionately leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.

In this book, he explains how Martin Luther King Jr, Apple Inc., Wright Brothers etc, were not just remarkably different from anyone in their generation but were also able to consistently produce or exhibit the same level of output; or in his words greatness. They were able to do it because they all started with WHY and kept reflecting on it repeatedly.

If you step back and ask yourself ‘WHY does your organisation or start up exist?‘, you will be surprised to learn that most organisation’s Mission and Vision statements does not cover this. Here’s why:

vision and mission statement difference

He developed a concept called The Golden Circle to explain how leaders from the ‘Apples of the world’ inspire to take action, and everyone else do not.

The Golden Circle is the only take away for me from this book. I’m more often

  • asking WHY am i doing what i’m doing
  • keep my ‘purpose’ burning in the mind which accelerates inspiration
  • and take action.

Midway through the book, i felt he overused examples from Apple and always pushing it as a great company which might be questionable in today’s times.

I encourage you to first watch his TED talks video and decide if you need the book. The book is only a longer version of his talk.

If you like what you read, you can support by buying this book directly from Amazon: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action (affiliate link).

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The book i ignored for a long time

” The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”


Mark explains the above concept beautifully in his first chapter titled Don’t Try. If the title sounded so negative or wonky to you (as it did to me), welcome to  the 224 pages of wonkiness! This book will ensure you will feel this way from start to end. You will find content pieces like ‘Happiness Is a Problem’, ‘Choose your struggle‘, ‘You are Not Special‘, ‘You are Wrong about Everything‘, ‘Kill Yourself‘ etc. neatly explained. All of which are exactly the reverse of what i used to believe.

So i bought the book.

I used to think happiness is everything and is attained by attracting and by being always in a state of positivity. After reading this book, i realised throughout my life i’ve been ‘indoctrinated’ with the belief that we should try to be as inherently accepting and affirmative as possible. We were never taught to accept rejection. This is the cornerstone of many of the so-called positive thinking books. They never talk about the repercussions of denying negative emotions. To deny negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solving them. So, I’m now open to accepting negativity, learning from it and treading carefully. The book also talks about how Rejection makes your life better in the chapter The Importance of Saying No. 

May be I’ve never tried such counterintuitive (adj: contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation) approaches to living a good life before which is probably why i felt the titles uncomfortable and wonky. Mark explains not giving a f*ck does not mean being indifferent, it means being comfortable with being different.

“This book hits you like a much-needed slap in the face from your best friend: hilarious, vulgar, and immensely thought-provoking. Only read if you’re willing to set aside all excuses and take an active role in living a f***ing better life.” (Steve Kamb, bestselling author of Level Up Your Life and founder of

I’m keeping this book and will re-read it when i seek counter-intuitiveness in life.

If you like what you read, you can support by buying this book directly from Amazon: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (affiliate link)