A couple of years ago, I read The Alchemist and that was the moment I went ‘God! What took this book so long?’. I was not an avid reader and had no interest whatsoever in reading books. The only word that defined my perception of all those picture-less books was ‘boring’. Then, one fine day, one of my friends suggested me to read ‘The Alchemist’. Reluctant at first, the book caught my imagination after I had just gone through the first few pages, and that’s where my perception took a U-turn – that’s where what was hitherto boring had suddenly turned bewitching; from a lifeless bundle of papers, books had become my true companions.

This book taught me how to chase my dreams. Coelho‘s following quote perfectly sums up the importance of persistence and willpower in the pursuit of our dreams:

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Dreams always speak, albeit quietly, and all it needs is a patient inner voice to listen to them. This book became my mentor, for it motivated me to take fearless – but not rash – decisions en route to painting my dreams on the canvas of reality.

Paulo Coelho's influence on Harman Singh's life

It just took me a few months to take a liking for books. Another book that comes to my mind was the one I read way back in July 2016. It was Zig Ziglar’s See You at the Top. This book, so full of motivation, imparts the values of a healthy self-image and the ways to achieve it. It underlines the importance of goals in life and how they can be materialized. It is a collection of small stories that gave me a vision on how to face the challenges of everyday life and attain my goals.

Like the author of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, said:

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

I believe that books are mankind’s greatest gift to itself. They are the most loyal friends one can have.

Toward the end of last year, I got a chance to read the biography of Steve Jobs. Although I was already an admirer (and a regular user) of Apple products, reading his biography gave me an insight into his life. The way he tackled challenges, faced dilemmas, thrived on his passion to design and was able to make it big in life was no less awe-inspiring than how his work ethics and commitment pushed his colleagues and coworkers to think differently.

Suggested Read: Our review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Everything I have been lucky to read so far has brought me an immense intellectual growth, an improved understanding of life in general and a lot of peace of mind. It would be unfair of me not to mention books such as Eleven Minutes, The SecretThe Shiva TrilogyJonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story, and many other books that have contributed their bit to enriching my life. Each book I pick up ends up teaching me something new, something different and yet so similar to the previous one, to the extent of forcing me to the reconsider my beliefs and upgrade them into something new.

Now, two years after I read my first book, books have become an inseparable part of my life. They are my true friends who sometimes make me laugh and sometimes make me cry. However, the one thing they always do is give a certain sense of meaning to my life.

Thank you, Harman! That was quite a heartfelt story. We hope you will never ever give up on that wonderful habit of reading.

If you have a story that you’d like to share with us, we’re all ears.