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  • Writer's picturebangalore niwasi

Growth DIY-style: A Year of 15 Personal Development Books

Updated: Feb 12

Challenge Start Date: 1 July 2023.

I am going to go for this. Fifteen books a year is not an uphill battle. However, for me, it is formidable. I have decided to hold myself accountable through this blog. Every year until I die, I will challenge myself on one thing and follow through. Last year it was running a marathon. This year it is pursuing a DIY Personal Development Course. I will be posting summaries as I finish each book. I have one "rigid" list and an another one, lets call it a "distraction" list.

I thought to myself when I was planning this DIY Challenge (which, by the way, was someone else's idea—let's just say I got inspired, or maybe I borrowed it—anyway, where was I? Oh, yea) that I would include books which will contribute to an all-rounder development. I researched what Harvard or IIM students would read, then I searched what a DU University Professor would read, what a businessman would read, what a day dreamer would read and so on. I then came across a blog by Hemant Mohapatra, who took a similar challenge. He used an ingenious "The Vitruvian Man" approach. Thanks for putting it out there Mr.Hemant, I am going to follow the same. So, my list goes something like this:


  • Story of India by Will Durant (audiobook)

  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

  • The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

  • Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries


  • The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman

  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

  • The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely


  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

  • Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

  • The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology by Robert Wright


  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

  • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

  • The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America edited by Lawrence A. Cunningham


  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

  • Educated by Tara Westover

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

  • The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler

  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

Those formatted in Italic are part of my "rigid list", 15 books. They are must reads if I want to mark this challenge of mine as - SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED

I used 80% of my brain to choose these books, leaving the remaining 20% that tends to overthink out of the equation.

Overthinking Brain: Oh! Everyone reads it, why being a sheep!

Logical Brain: Well, there's a reason why everyone reads it. Better Throw facts than opinions!

The selection process was part of a strategic conference between me and myself that lasted a week. I started with the mindset of a noob, someone who isn't an avid reader and definitely doesn't claim to be I-know-all-the-best-things. There are so many resources of invaluable knowledge, thanks to top universities and professors who posted their class lectures for free. Its an ocean. My extempore approach was leading me nowhere, I was lost and I needed to have a PLAN, a CHALLENGE! So, Lets do this.


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