Lt. Col. Amjad Hussain Amjad is a retired army officer. He has an MSc in Military Sciences and a Bachelor of Law.
“Readistan” by Shahrukh Nadeem gives a summary of the 50 best books ranging from philosophy, self-help, business management, warfare, effective habits, and Islamic history. Luckily, I have already read a few books mentioned in Readistan. The book has been published by Liberty Books, and has 334 pages which include coloured illustrations.
Each book review starts with its crux mentioned on the left-hand side. The book review mentions the name of the book, the author, and its general description. The important takeaway is mentioned separately and space is provided after each book’s summary for writing one’s own comments.
Although incredibly comprehensive, I would have liked it if Shahrukh Nadeem, the author of Readistan, had selected a few other books by celebrated writers like Yuval Noah Harari, Stephen Hawking, and Will Durant.
Below are small introductions of few of the books covered in Readistan.
In the book, ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’, there is a list of chosen top individuals in descending order, with the author giving a comparative analysis of the most influential personalities as per his research. This means the author Michael Hart has actually numbered people based on how influential they are. One of the most interesting aspects of his book is that in spite of being a non-Muslim scholar, he has given the top most rank to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Lost Islamic History
Firas Alkhateeb covers the last 1400 years in detail – from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) all the way to modern times. The book sheds light on the undaunted struggle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), how he spread the message of Islam, and how Islam spread after his demise.
The book also focuses on the righteous Caliphs, how and why Islamic wars were fought, as well as the different dynasties that are significant in Islamic history. It finally details how Muslim scientists led the world of science, and the factors that contributed to the eventual decline of the Muslim Ummah.
The Art of War
‘The Art of War’, written by Sun Tzu some 2500 years ago, has proven to be timeless. Sun Tzu writes that, “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”
What a meaningful statement this is, and quite applicable to every aspect of our daily life. In order to win, it is indispensable to be self-aware and have complete knowledge of your competitor as well.
The Conquest of Happiness
The author Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, social reformer, founding figure in the analytic movement in Anglo-American philosophy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. According to Bertrand Russell, happiness has two types: one is “plain” and the second is “fancy”. The simplest way to describe the difference between the two types of happiness is to say that the former is available to any human being, while the latter is only for those who can read and write.
The book represents Niccolò Machiavelli’s effort to provide a guide for political action based on the lessons of history, and his own experience as a foreign secretary. His belief that politics had its own rules shocked his readers so much that the adjectival form of his surname, i.e. ‘Machiavellian’, came to be used as a synonym for political maneuvers marked by duplicity or bad faith.
The Prince has often been called “a handbook for dictators”. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte slept with a copy of the book beneath his pillow, and similar remarks have been made concerning Hitler and Stalin.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
The best seller by Stephen Covey discusses the seven habits that help individuals achieve ‘true change’.
These habits are:
1. Being proactive
2. Beginning with the end in mind
3. Putting first things first
4. Thinking win-win
5. Seeking first to understand, then to be understood
7. Sharpening the saw
The first six habits are simple to understand, but the last habit refers to the fact that you have to spend your whole life developing your abilities, capabilities, skills, and competencies – and continually renew yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially.
Rhonda Byrne’s book alludes to a famous concept in the world of self-help literature which pertains to the “law of attraction”. Whatever your mind can conceive, it can achieve if you have the conviction, determination, and perseverance to pursue your dreams.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
In a nutshell, the book by Dale Carnegie provides six ways to make people like you:
- Become genuinely interested in other people and their problems.
- Keep a smile on your face.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language, so call him by his name.
- Be a good listener, some people just want to be listened to.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests and show affection.
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho first published this book in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it became a widely translated international bestseller. It’s also the favorite book of the famous Urdu columnist Javed Chaudhry. A few takeaways from Santiago’s story are:
- Always dare to dream.
- Your life should be driven by purpose.
- Be steadfast and adamant.
- Never be complacent.
- Choose your life partner wisely.
The 5 AM Club
Your early morning hours tend to be the most productive time of the day because you get uninterrupted time to yourself. Robin Sharma writes that the hour between 5 am to 6 am is the victory hour. In these 60 minutes, you can perform several activities which can spiritually, mentally, and physically nurture your personality
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