My personal favourite must read books that I tell youngsters to read are listed herewith. I have had the pleasure of mentoring and coaching many young people (in 20s) and their feedback on these books has further cemented my belief in their motivational power:
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – The reason I suggest this must read book for people in 20s is that ‘Wealth” issues suddenly become important when you hit this age. Earlier in life either people are not aware of money matters or even if they are aware, they still have the luxury to not act on the awareness. But once you start your adult life and are most likely on your own, the need to be financially aware becomes urgent. This book teaches you all that is required in simple to learn and simple to implement steps. So read it before you get sucked into the world of credit cards and home loans.
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Shwartz – Don’t go by the name alone. In addition to educate you on how to think big, really BIG, the book is excellent when it comes to teaching Goal Setting to youngsters and also how to get rid of excuses. These skills are best learnt and mastered in 20s before its too late. (Don’t worry if you are above 30 or 40, I will tell you that it’s never too late, so cheer up!)
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – Sounds like a business book. But it is actually a lot more. It is full of learning about life, family, parenting, ambition, motivation, intellect, human relations. It teaches you what to be and what not to be! Even Steve Jobs was a human. In some aspects he rose to glamorous heights whereas in others, he showed how low one can get. I was specially touched by the character of Steve Job’s foster father.
- Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance – Shows you how a Elon Musk is shaping the future of Mankind. Unflinching resolve and sheer grit. Again, the book has so much to bestow upon us. I am not Elon worshipper but would like all you 20 somethings to learn from his life. Do read my post about Elon Musk here ( )
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – This is a tiny book that you should keep with you and read whenever the life seems hopeless. It shows you that there is hope – Always!
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Contrary to popular belief that Talent and Grades are good enough for your success, the harsh reality is that your ability to win friends and influence people is the single biggest factor behind success. An odd talented person may do well in life (like Steve Jobs) but for most people, the ability to work with others and mould their opinion in one’s favour is very important. If you learn this lesson in 20s, it will serve you for rest of your life.
- Skill With People by Les Giblin – An extremely tiny book. Essence of a few thousand pages, distilled in tens of small pages. Read for the same reason as book no.6 above.
- Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer – Only must read fiction book that I am suggesting here. Pretty long one. Describes the life stories of two men, separated by thousands of miles, born on same day, progress through life under very different circumstances and crossing each other’s path in an unimaginable manner. Instructive for people who have lived their lives in peaceful and largely stable regimes. Shows you how fortunate you are if you had a normal life. Count your blessing and do well in whatever you do.
- 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness –Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher by Jim Rohn – The name is self-explanatory. It is again a small but power packed must read book.
- Happiness is All We Want! by Ashutosh Mishra – I published this book recently (with Bloomsbury Publishers) and the feedback from youngsters has been overwhelming. Based on that feedback, I am able to recommend this book to you (at the expense of self-promotion). Whatever you do in this life, your objective is peace and happiness. Even people who decry happiness are actually pursuing happiness under some other name. People in 20s have mostly their health and well-being in order. Hence, this is the right time to realise the importance your physical, mental and spiritual well-being and take matters in your hands before it becomes too late.
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A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.