Books have been a great source of inspiration and learning for me. A good book broadens thinking and has something new to teach us. The value of a book can be enhanced if, as we read. we stop and reflect on the points made by the author, and see how they can enrich to our view of the world. Books can help shape how we live in the present and envision the future.
A book may cost Rs 500-1,000 (USD 10-20) to buy but it costs a lot more to read. The knowledge and insights that a good book can provide are worth infinitely more. We need to allocate our time and attention, for which in today’s world there are many competitors. To read a book means making room for large chunks of time, which is increasingly harder to do as our life gets compartmentalised into micro-moments.
My best book-reading time has come when I am traveling, especially on long flights. Being strapped to a seat with very limited mobility and with no interruptions (especially from emails and cellphones) helps us forget our world and immerse ourselves into the world the author creates. This is important because to get the most out of a book, we have to let the author take us, quite literally, for a ride.
The Internet has certainly made the process of finding and buying books much easier, irrespective of where you are. Amazon’s reviews (especially those from readers) are very helpful. But for me, the best book recommendations still come from people I know – people who have invested the time and effort to read it.
The Internet helps in one more way. It helps you find out more about the author. Because when we read a book, we also get a peek into the author’s mind. Seeing how that thinking has evolved in the intervening years – especially in these times of rapid and exceptional change – is always an interesting exercise.
In the coming columns, I will share with me my thoughts on some good books and why I like them. I would also like to hear about your favourite books and why you like them.