Updated: Aug 23
'Inquisitiveness': "The quality of wanting to know or discover as much as you can about things."
Seems pretty apt.
In 2016, I read my first ever non-fiction, self-help book: ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’, by American writer Dale Carnegie. Written in 1936, this worldwide best-seller is considered to be one of the all time classic books of self-improvement and communication; in which Carnegie outlines a number of tips and techniques on how to handle different people and situations.
After reading that book and looking into similar authors and titles, I found myself developing an avid interest for non-fiction books. When I say 'non-fiction,' I don’t necessarily just mean self-development. I'm talking about books based on real life events, biographies, experience-driven stories and of course, a little bit of self-improvement as well. I also found that when it comes to non-fiction, I’m more of an auditory learner, meaning that I prefer listening to the audiobook variant of a title as I retain information better that way.
To be honest, I’ve never approached a book with a mentality of having it indefinitely change my life. While I do prefer reading books that have something valuable to offer, I don't specifically read/listen to a book with the sole purpose of getting something out of it.
In this blog, I share 3 of my favourite non-fiction books that invoked feelings of curiosity, zeal and inquisitiveness. These are not magical steps to happiness or success, they're simply books that offer a different perspective towards life and this world of ours. What we choose to do with that information, is up to us and no one else.
Book #1. '12 Rules for Life': By Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
This multi-million dollar best-seller ranked #1 on the non-fiction chart in countries such as the U.S.A, Canada, the U.K and Australia in 2018. In case you're unfamiliar with the author, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is a renowned clinical psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at The University of Toronto. In this book, Peterson draws inspiration from his personal life and clinical practice, religious myths, and a high degree of philosophy and psychology to come up with 12 profound, yet practical rules that can help live a more meaningful life. He cites examples from ancient stories, the Bible and psychological principles to support each rule and how the reader can benefit from implementing them so.
For example, one of the rules he mentions is:
"Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today."
This world that we live in, has become so competitive over the past few years that no matter where we look, someone, somewhere is doing something worthwhile with their lives. Whether it's an influencer showcasing her daily routine on YouTube, or a photographer showcasing his curated collection on Instagram, our generation has no shortage of talent.
Because of this, I found that I was constantly comparing myself to other people on social media. This was with regard to my fitness, my intellect, education, appearance, etc. This rule simply outlines that comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, last month, last year or even a few years ago would be a better indicator of growth. Everyone has their own story, their own struggles which we may not always know of. With '12 Rules for Life', Peterson articulately lays out his knowledge and years of experience into every single line. For anyone seeking a rational yet, comprehensive understanding of how to live a more meaningful life, this one's for you.
Book #2. 'The World's Fittest Book': By Ross Edgley
This one's for all you fellow fitness enthusiasts out there reading this blog. Ross Edgley is a British athlete, adventurer and sports writer who graduated from Loughborough University School of Sports and Exercise Science. The title of the book may sound catchy and unconvincing, but Ross isn't like your typical fitness influencer. Being a philosopher of training and nutrition, Ross is constantly on the quest to accomplish 2 key things with his adventurous stunts. The first, "To push the boundaries of human physical excellence;" and second, "To raise money for charities." Some of famous stunts include:
Completing a marathon (42.2 km) pulling a 1,400 kg Mini Countryman car, to raise money for a Teenage Cancer Trust.
Completing a triathlon with a 45 kg log strapped to his back
And arguably his most acclaimed feat: Completing a 2,884 km swim in open waters around Great Britain in 157 days, or around 5 months.
The reason I love Ross Edgley and his book, is because his ideas of fitness go beyond the conventional 4 walls of a gym. In the 'World’s Fittest Book', Ross talks about how to run better, sharing his experience living with the local tribes of Africa. He talks about improving Strength and Muscle mass, sharing his experience training with powerlifters of Bulgaria. He also shares his experience using principles of Stoicism and Endurance, having departed on a physically testing yet spiritually rewarding trek with the Yamabushi warrior monks of Japan. Ross believes in living harmoniously with food, the idea that one can have his cake and eat it too just by keeping in mind a few basic principles of nutrition.
This book is for anyone who wishes to expand their ideas surrounding fitness. The book is movement oriented, and goes deep into the true potential of the human body. Ross inspires me and many more in the fitness industry today, and so this is on the list.
Book #3. 'Everything is F*cked': By Mark Manson
I've cited Mark Manson's popular book 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck' quite a few times in past blog posts, and for good reason. Manson is typically known for his blunt and straightforward writing style, as supported by the titles of his work. However, not many people are aware of his second, lesser known book that he published in 2019. The cover of the book is presented in bright blue, with the title laid out in bold black letters, with a short line below saying ‘A Book about Hope’. That’s because everything Manson talks about in this book, is tied closely to the concept of ‘hope’ in our lives.
If someone poses the question: "What's the opposite of happiness?", many of us might respond saying ’sadness’, or something along those lines. According to Manson, being sad is a sign that you care about something, that you still give a shit. The oppostie of happiness is therefore, a state of 'hopelessness,' a feeling we try to avoid in our lives. Hopelessness, the feeling that no matter what we do, nothing can be better. A belief that all efforts to improve one’s self and situation are futile.
One of Manson’s most basic ideologies, is that of the 'Uncomfortable Truth' which he talks about in both his books. It’s the idea that in the grand scheme of things, nothing we say or do is going to affect anyone except for a certain group of individuals. The Uncomfortable Truth of life, is that we’re not special, and thinking that we are simply raises our expectations and prevents us from going out and achieving our goals.
Manson goes over the views and wisdom of the Greek philosopher Plato, discussing our world in today’s age of politics, religion and relationships. The best part about this book is that Manson specifically says at the very beginning, that "This isn’t a ’self-help’ book." It’s just him, sharing his views on topics he chose to consciously think about. I finished this book twice, and might just revisit it again after writing this post!
Books are a blessing, and one of the greatest tools we humans have at our disposal...if used the right way. None of these books promise to change the reader's life indefinitely. If you're reading this post because you consider yourself to be an inquisitive individual, you might be interested in checking out one, if not all three of the books I mentioned above. If not, well there's a plethora of knowledge out there on the internet.
All that's needed, is a little push to get started.
For a brief summary of this blog post, visit Medium