Life-Impacting Books I Refuse to Uncage

26 Dec,2018


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Typically, I read 70 plus books every year. And, share my recommendation from the books published in that year. You may access the recommend list of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 here.

2018 has been different. I managed to read only 30-odd books.  This year I was concentrating on writing and working on my book ‘Chimera of Lansdowne’ that got published with Notion Press this month. It is a book I sincerely want you to not only read but buy too.

Jokes aside, there are some books that I have impacted my life in one way or another.

Every year I uncage books that I may not ever refer again. These are the books I may not ever uncage.  They are a valuable repository of knowledge and motivation.

I have read most of them multiple numbers of times.  Every time I find something new, interesting and relevant in them.  I recommend you find the time to read them.  They are not necessarily self-help books.


THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill

How to be rich? ‘Think and Grow Rich’ gives you direction across multiple versions of richness. The spiritual richness and the health and wellness richness. The author summarises the learning in 13 success principles and six steps to achieve any goal. There is ample space devoted to significant causes of failure and why the aims remain out of reach. All of them remain relevant even today. I liked this book so much that I must have gifted more than 50 copies to people I believe will benefit reading it.



It is pure unadulterated conversation on experiences and learning’s from life. These are conversations between Professor Morrie Schwartz and his favourite student Mitch Albom’s  (author).

The professor is slowly dying of an incurable disease and yet have a differential perspective to life. This has the feel of truthful, honest transparency and brings positivity in life. There is a gold-mine of conversation and perspectives on Fear, family, love, world, emotions and fear of death. There are many strong takeouts in the book. But the one that I have adapted is simple- ‘there is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life’.


CATALYST By Chandramouli

It is one of the latest addition to my list of recommended books. It is a current favourite that I refer and share in my workshops.

It is a reflection and sharing of guiding principle that the author has summarised from his experience. Some of them are common sense, some you could have encountered in a different space. There are two main learning’s for me. Learning to live a learning culture.  Acting only on things that are in the circle of influence and control.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By STEVEN COVEY

The list cannot be complete without this one book. A much revered and sold book. Being proactive, Beginning with the end in mind and Putting first thing first are some of the habits he wants you to pursue.


‘Who Moved my Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson and ‘I moved your cheese’ by Deepak Malhotra.

It’s a simple short story. The lessons are well-articulated. It is about mice in a maze, and they must find cheese every day to sustain life. One day they see a huge chunk of cheese in one location. Life changes for them. And the story begins.

The book empathises on the need to keep pushing the boundaries, exploring new areas and not being complacent. One need to anticipate, monitor and adapt changes as they are bound to happen. Moreover, it asks you to prepare for the possible unknown negative turn of events in future.

There are two life impact learning for me from this book. ‘Stop Blaming Others for your situation’. Don’t get bitter and blame anyone or anything else for where you are in life. And the second leaning “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, don’t expect different results.”

I Moved Your Cheese is a kind of sequel to ‘Who moved my cheese’. The mice population now have learnt from the book ‘Who moved my cheese’.   They are always on the lookout for more/new cheese. Life is like a journey in a maze in search of cheese. However, it’s not just about the end goal. The journey itself needs to be fulfilling.  And sometimes, even challenging the change is essential.


EAT THAT FROG By Brian Tracy

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. Simple, just do the most challenging job in the morning. It is all about time management and personal productivity. The techniques referred are easily practicable. The book shares 21 techniques to get things moving and act.

Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No: Making Life Right When It Feels All Wrong By Herbert Fensterheim-Jean Baer.

I  suffer from this problem. Many times, I end up saying YES when I am want to say No. It is not a good feeling. It invariably leads to irritation. More importantly there it leads to self-blame and resentment with self. You would agree that no one is under a continuous obligation to say Yes to every demand made on them.

If you do have such an issue,  read this book.  The book will help you to be assertive and say ‘No’ when you want to say ‘No’.



All about fulfilling your dreams. It is an interesting read and leads to introspection at many levels. The life impact learning has been ‘follow your purpose’ and ‘embrace the present’. These are two of the seven virtues the book serves. ‘Master your mind’, ‘Practice kaizen’, ‘live with discipline’, ‘Respect your time’ and ‘Selflessly serving others’ are the other five virtues. There are too many things and habit recommendation that is tough for a human to follow. However, like me, you will find something which could help you in your life.



It’s not a book that everyone may like. It is a story of a personal transformation of the author when she visited the Netherlands. It is spellbinding if the subject of Shamanism interests you. Top learning. ‘There is nothing wrong with the outside world if we sort out the world inside’.


RICH DAD POOR DAD By Robert Kiyosaki

Not the most liked book by me but it has its own learning’s. I did not find all the six lessons on money to be relevant. It has the advantage of a simple format of narration and discovery. Read it to make you rethink the way you think and treat money.



Tough to describe. It is one of the most read and controversial books of Osho. Technically, it is a compilation of his sermons. I read the Hindi version and the English translation ‘From sex to super-consciousness’ does not seem to do justice to the subject.

I have personally been highly impressed by his learning’s and for some time was an absolute follower of him. Swami Sacchidanand Bharti I was.

His audio recordings with his mystical deep hypnotic voice are mesmerising. He breaks down any subject into easy to understand narrative. He sounds most logical in his approach. In my view, he was much before his time.

You may want to consider reading ‘Hsin Hsin Ming: The book of nothing’, ‘Sufis: The people of the path’, ‘Ek Omkar Satnam’ and ‘Diya tale Andhera.’



In this world of polarised groups and religious furry, it may be interesting for you to read these books. They will help you realise the singularity of thought across religion. And maybe how religion and faith are more accommodating than what we followers make out of it.


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