Tuesday, December 21, 2021

2021 - The Year Of 21 Books

2021 is coming to an end, I thought to take this moment to reflect back on how the year was and what did I do differently this year. This year has been special in so many different ways, and I am grateful for more things that I can list down here. 

Having said that, I want to talk specifically about a new habit that I am super grateful for. It's a habit that I have developed over the past 1.5 years: The habit of reading books! 

I was never a reader, I hated it, most of the time I would sleep when I try to read a book. I always knew the importance of reading, but never could get into a good cadence for reading a book on a regular basis. 

But since last 1.5 years slowly but steadily, I have stared reading more than ever and on a regular schedule.

So what changed? Well I have to thank 2 people mainly for this change. First is Abhishek, he is the most ferocious reader I have ever known. I have always wondered how he manages to read so many books. Actually meeting and seeing a person who can read so much, gave me confidence that it's definitely doable. 

And second, I need to thank Roopesh, he has pushed me hard to read and keep reading. His belief that everyone should read, learn and grow is infectious.

Reading needs a conducive environment. You need the following things for the reading habit to be cemented:

  • Time
  • A good book 
  • Strong desire to learn and grow 
He has been instrumental in all 3 of them. 


Although, Makkajai is a startup, we do not work in constant stress of timelines, we have a very calm approach to getting stuff done. This ensures there is time at hand to do more than just work. In fact reading to learn and grow during office hours is not only considered acceptable, it is encouraged! 

Now, don't get me wrong here, it's not ok to lax around, not do our work and pretend to read. Most of the time we are reading so that we could do our job better than what we are already doing. The belief that everyone can learn something that they didn't know before - the growth mindset, is core to our culture.

A good book

Having a good book available for your disposal is another ingredient to consistent reading. Buying a book takes money, sometimes it's less but sometimes the books are more expensive. The monitory resistance to forming this habit is a real thing. 

To remove this friction we have a simple rule: If you want to buy a book to learn, read and grow, its on the company! 

In fact, all of us have a corporate card assigned to us. We can be used it to buy any book we want to read. This might be a small thing, but helps remove the friction of buying a book.

Strong desire to learn and grow 

Desire to read has to come from within, you got to feel it. Looking at other people around me reading consistently and growing, certainly motivated me to do better and be a better version of my self.

Now that my rant is over, let's look at the list of books that I have read this year:

  1. The 5AM Club
  2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  3. Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts
  4. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  5. Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  6. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
  7. The Strategy Book ePub eBook: How to Think and ACT Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results
  8. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
  9. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons in Creative Leadership from the CEO of the Walt Disney Company
  10. Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters
  11. Sprint: How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
  12. Elon Musk
  13. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
  14. Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators
  15. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built
  16. The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
  17. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  18. Thinking in Systems: International Bestseller
  19. An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management
  20. Will
  21. INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group)
I know its not a lot, but for a person who read close to 0 books the previous year, it's quite a list! 
Have some Fun!