Four books I will always remember because they have changed my life profoundly

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1. Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

I spotted this masterwork in a bookstore almost five years ago in San Diego. The title made me curious, so I bought the book. In the book, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl talks about his experience in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He narrates the stories of prisoners and explores the meaning of life amidst suffering and pain. Frankl developed the term “logotherapy,” a form of psychotherapy, which can also be described as “existential analysis.” I learned that we are borne to bear all that life brings upon us.

This quote from the book stays with me forever:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”    

 

2. The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul is a profound perceptive study of the mind. Singer untangles the knots of the human mind and sheds light on the dark side of the psyche. He describes the processes of disturbing thoughts so clearly that it feels as if he is inside the mind and is watching over all that happens there. Singer provides a deep understanding of the constant chatter, the noise that worries many. It is the chatter that you can hear right now somewhere in your head while reading this post. It is the chatter that many feel stuck in while the big life passes by. Singer says, don’t engage with what I call “the beast.” Let it slide while you take charge. You are the subject and the chatter the object.

 

3. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius  

I read Meditations this year. The book comprises of the personal reflections of the Greek Emperor Marcus Aurelius about life, death, sadness, happiness, and numerous other subjects. Aurelius’ thoughts are so deep and truly reflective of the human mind that it is impossible not to feel moved by the book. This is my favorite quote from the book:

“Today I escaped from all bothering circumstances – or rather I threw them out. They were nothing external, but inside me, just my own judgments.” 

 

4. As You Think, James Allen

Earl Nightingale said, “We become what we think about.” This is precisely the philosophy of James Allen’s book. It is the key to unimaginable success. If one thinks about it, the logic of his philosophy is pretty straightforward. We become what we imagine ourselves to be. Of course, it is not easy. Sometimes we think and work hard but still don’t get what we want. But that does not mean the hard work will go to waste. The habit of positive thinking can be useful in so many different ways. Most importantly, what is the use of negative thinking even if positive thinking will not bear fruit, which it more often than not will?

Aslam Kakar

 

 

 

 

Author: Aslam Kakar

Aslam is a Teaching Assistant and Ph.D. student in Global Affairs at Rutgers University. In his free time, he reads, writes and manages this blog. His reading interests are positive psychology, philosophy, religion, war, culture, politics and current affairs.

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