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5 Books You Must Read for Success

by Chetna Vasishth

So we’re all trying to become successful, more focused, more influential and motivated. How about we learn from the experts, some tried and tested techniques to give us a short cut to success.

So today I will share 5 books you must read or listen to, 5 life changing books that I believe every student must read or listen to. I will pick one little story from each book for you and in the end I will give you one bonus book review

1. Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

You’ve made a decision – no more cigarettes or no more junk food. For a couple of weeks things go smooth and you’re so proud of yourself. But one day, the craving suddenly overpowers you, and you’re back to your old habits. So, if you have been through this cycle, then you know the power of habit

When should you read this book –

if you are find yourself procrastinating all the time

Story –

As you know humans tend to become grumpy and irritable in stressful situations. So Starbucks trained their employees to develop the will power to smile at customers. But Starbucks found that on most days their employees would smile at customers but when things became stressful they lost their cool. It turned out that willpower is a muscle and it can tire out.

So to help them, Starbucks devised the LATTE method, which is the series of steps to take in a stressful situation.

Listening to the Customer
Acknowledging their complaint
Taking Action
Thanking the Customer and
Explaining why the issue took place

By practicing this method over and over, the Starbucks Baristas knew exactly what to do when a stressful situation arose and soon learned to remain calm

So this is the book, you will learn to change your life, one habit at a time

2. Find your Why by Simon Sinek

A follow up of the author’s best seller ‘Start with Why’. This is an easy to follow guide to search for your personal ‘why’ which will lead to greater purpose of life, job satisfaction and finding your dream job.

When you should read this book –

When you want to find your dream job or a task that fulfills you.

Story –

A paper manufacturing company found that one salesman always recorded more sales than any of their other sales people. They looked at his background and training and found nothing unusual. On accompanying him on sales call they found the difference. Most sales people would sell the paper’s superior quality or affordable price, but the star salesman highlighted the company’s mission of creating a fine product that always allows them to document their ideas and share them with the world. Sharing the ‘why’ of the company’s mission established trust and connect.

This book will give you a step by step method of finding a commitment to your own purpose

3. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

There is a compelling drama going on in our minds, a film-like plot between two main characters with plots, drama and tension. These two characters are – the automatic, impulsive, intuitive System 1 and the thoughtful, deliberate, calculating System 2. As they play off against each other, their interactions determine how we think, make judgements and decisions and act

When you should read this book –

when you want to reduce bad decisions and control your mind so it takes better decisions and actions

Story –

A bat and a ball cost Rs. 110. ? The bat costs Rs. 100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?
The price that most likely came to your mind is Rs. 10, and this is the result of your intuitive System 1, and it is wrong. Take a second, do the math again. The correct answer is Rs. 5.

What happened is that your impulsive System 1 took control and answered the question relying on your intuition. But it answered too fast.

Usually when faced with a challenging problem, System 1 calls upon System 2, but here System 1 was tricked into believing that it is an easy problem and that it can handle it on its own.

Hmm, interesting. This book is filled with many examples of these two systems at play, making us more aware of our own faulty decision making mechanisms and how to be aware of them.

4. Deep Work by Cal Newport

Be honest with yourself, during the course of this video, how many times has your phone beeped and how many notifications have you responded to? The question is – how does this multi tasking impact your concentration

When you should read this book –

when you are not able to focus and concentrate and you’re struggling to deal with distractions

Story –

A professor at University of Minnesota conducted a research experiment. She divided her students randomly into two groups. Both groups had to work on word puzzles, then take a quick test of how many words they remembered from the word puzzle and then move on to read some resumes of people and make hypothetical hiring decisions. The difference was that Group A was interrupted during the puzzle and asked to move forward, whereas Group B could finish the puzzle at their own time and then take the quiz.

The result – Group A performed poorly on the last task of hiring people. Since they were interrupted during their first task, their mind stayed with the word puzzle for longer and they were not immediately able to shift focus on to the resumes.
Hence, multi tasking is no good for productivity.

You will find many more examples and techniques to help you increased your own focus and hence productivity.

5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert B Cialdini

So did you just buy that weird lamp because the sales man in the shop persuaded you to, or did you donate to some obscure cause just because someone walked into your house and now you’re kicking yourself for being so gullible

When you should read this book –

Either when you need to persuade people or prevent yourself from being persuaded

Story –

This story from the book shows that people are much more willing to do others a favour if they are given a reason – any reason. In an experiment a researcher asked people standing in a queue for a copier whether she could skip the line
a) when she just asked if she could skip the line – 60% allowed her to
b) when she said ‘may i skip the line because I am in a rush’ – 94% complied
c) when she said ‘may i skip the line because I need to make copies’ – 93% complied
Apparently, people have a mental shortcut. So any reason is sufficient for them to grant a favour

Businessman waiting in line




This book is filled with case studies and short stories on negotiation, strategies of persuasion and influence. A must read for all.

Bonus Book Tip

Becoming by Michel Obama

This is a heart warming story of a strong minded Michelle whose wit and warmth shine through in an extraordinarily candid account of her life inside and outside the White House.

Michelle speaks of how it took her 2 buses and 90 minutes to reach school and she had to keep focused on her academic excellence to deal with racial pressures around her. She talks about how she met Barrack and their romance, and how they spent time with each other. She quotes in the latter part of the book ‘Once we are married, his political commitments turn him into a “human blur, a pix elated version of the guy I knew”. She looks at the congressmen as “an ocean of whiteness and maleness.” with a hope of bringing in diversity to politics

The book is funny, indignant, even enraged sometimes and a unputdownable one.

Happy Reading

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