Tag Archives: inspiring

Girl Power: A Volume of Female Empowerment

Taking female empowerment up by a few theoretical notches, Girl Power by Neha J Hiranandani is a visual treat, a collection of inspiring women.

Taking female empowerment up by a few theoretical notches, Girl Power by Neha J Hiranandani is a visual treat on a collection of inspiring women.
Girl Power by Neha J Hiranandani

Female Empowerment and GIRL POWER

Girl Power is a powerful book, with an immense potential to influence many young girls. There are amalgamated some very powerful stories of ordinary girls who made it big through sheer hard work and conviction. They have transformed from rags to riches, but without a prince charming to help and protect these non-damsels in distress. In fact, these are no damsels-in-distress, rather, warrior princesses who dare to fight for their own rights and overcome and slay every dragon that stands in their way.

Click here to check out my review on Brave, Not Perfect!

Female empowerment through a diverse bunch of women

From doctors to space astronauts,  royal queens to radical writers, priests to boxers, there is nothing women cannot achieve if they set their minds on it. yes, it may take time, but through perseverance, everything is possible. After all, can you imagine that there was a time when a woman was not allowed to have a bank account of her own?  Or that, women could be dismissed from their jobs just for being pregnant?

Click here to check out my review on The Women Who Ruled India!

Splendid illustrations

With beautiful illustrations from the lives of these women, as well as their portraits, the book is a visual art. I love the bright and bombastic cover which is a foreshadowing of the power that will be emanating from the pages once we open the book. The author has also diversified the group, including women are various different fields of work and as such, revelations were made in this book. I for instance never knew about the presence of women priests! Likewise, there were many surprising stories.

Click here to check out my review on Unstoppable!

Inspiring and phenomenal!

How can I express the awe-inspiring feeling that I got as I read the book? Or the goosebumps that I got so often? Or how frequently my eyes would well up, learning about the triumphs and sheer determination of these women? They are a source of inspiration! And if these snippets could inspire m, imagine how much sway they could have over the impressionable minds of young girls. 

My verdict

I rate this book a solid 5/5 stars and recommend you all to read them yourselves and then gift them to the young girls in your lives.

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Fluid, by Ashish Jaiswal, 2018

Title: Fluid

Author: Ashish Jaiswal

Publisher: Wisdom Tree

Genre: Self-help/Non-fiction

Format: paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 256

Recommended for:

Synopsis:

Whether we are in a classroom or in the outside world, we are always forced to choose who we are. Always expected to walk towards a fixed goal. Never be uncertain, never fail or never alter our course. We are either artists or scientists or businessmen. We are being constantly reminded to embrace these identities with greater force. As they say, the more we remain folded in our fields, the better specialists we are.

Fluid shatters this myth by arguing that great minds who have changed the fate of humankind are actually the ones who failed, faltered or remained uncertain, yet never bothered to stay pasted to a rigid line.

They were more. They were fluid.

In captivating storytelling narrative, Ashish Jaiswal takes us through groundbreaking research unravelling what binds the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, CV Raman, Steve Jobs, Charles Darwin and other geniuses and why being fluid like them could be our biggest winning strategy in the age of artificial intelligence.
Read to learn the approach required for world-class innovations, groundbreaking solutions and game-changing ideas.

My review:

I received a review copy from the author in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Fluid is truly one heck of a read. Without being too preachy, which is common with books of this kind, the author has conveyed the idea of how necessary it is to not be simply restricted to only one disciple or way of life.

I believe the title is quite captivating and apt for the subject matter. The cover is just as appropriate and suits the theme the author has set before us.

Including the various stories of successful men and the way they became so is a stroke of genius. And the fact that the author tells us about famous men whose names we have already heard of, but whose stories perhaps we never knew, and even if we did, never to this much of depth. This was an inspiring part running amok throughout the book. Moreover, including fictional tales will also make it easy for non-fiction readers to relate with. The personal anecdotes of the writer are also on point and give us an intimate and thus more realistic view into his logic and his arguments.

The language used was lucid and easy to understand. Including various diagrams is another plus point.  The research is well done by the writer and it shows in the finished copy. Howver there were a few printing errors that should be looked into.

I think that this was a truly intriguing ass well as enlightening in its own sense. I learned, but I was also entertained and that makes this a perfect read for you, whatever be your age.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 4.5/5! I will be picking this one up again.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Unstoppable: 75 Stories of Trailblazing Indian Women, by Gayathri Ponvannan, 2019

Title: Unstoppable: 75 Stories of Trailblazing Indian Women

Author: Gayathri Ponvannan

Illustrated by: Mithila Ananth

Publisher: Hachette India

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Paperback

Language: Englsih

No. of pages: 272 pages

Recommended for: All ages

Synopsis:

Meet the wonder women of Indian history!

They flew planes, swam across oceans, led armies, performed stunts, built cities and captured historic moments on camera, despite being constantly told to stay home, because that’s what ‘good girls’ did. 

These were women who dared to dream and worked hard to turn their dreams into reality, who shaped their own destinies and refused to let anyone tell them what to do.

Featuring the amazing adventures of Janaki Ammal, Rani Abbakka, Nadia Wadia, Sarla Sharma Thakral, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and many others, Unstoppable is a collection of 75 power-packed stories of the extraordinary Indian women who broke the rules to change the world around them for the better. 

My review:

Unstoppable is truly an amazing read. I picked up this book and finished it in just one day – all the accounts of the women were so very inspiring and just made me keep on turning the pages continually. I also affirm that the author Gayathri Ponvannan and the illustrator Mithila Ananth, are two great women themselves and have made this project a wonderful gift for all youngsters.

Firstly, I would definitely recommend everyone to give their young relatives this books, both boys and girls, although I do believe that this would have a deeper impact on the girls. Reading this book at in impressionable age would be of the utmost benefit for the young minds. It is a compilation of some brave women, who braved all odds, and were willing to move against the tide, despite all odds, to achieve their dreams and for what they believed was right.

Apart from the struggle of realizing their dreams, it has so many accounts of women fighting for their country, that I admittedly got goosebumps – almost in every account. I simply loved reading this collection and cannot stress it enough. Moreover, it is so shameful that we hardly know all of these women – women because of whom we are where we are today. Had it not been for these kinds of people, maybe my girlfriends and I would have been long married, denied education or even living behind the purdah today! And while so many of us blame all the men, we cannot deny that there are some men who are so very progressive that they are also behind the position women have today. The accounts in this book feature some amazing and truly wonderful fathers, brothers and husbands, who were very supportive of their female relatives. This will definitely also inspire the boys growing up today.

I cannot assert how much I loved his book, enough. The language is easy, keeping in mind the young people who will read it. The writing style is engaging and the illustrations are fun to look at. I am sure it will inspire everyone, just as it inspired the 20-year-old me. I again would like to add that this book should be read by everyone, disregarding whether one is 12 or even 120 years old!

Verdict:

I absolutely loved reading this book and I rate this a 5/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Gift of Confidence, Rohit Narang, 2018

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Title: Gift of Confidence
Author: Rohit Narang
Publisher: Partridge India
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 148
Synopsis:
Everyone, in a family of reputed professionals of the town, has been successful in cracking the World’s toughest exam in their first attempt but Pancham is unable to maintain the legacy. Father is furious at Pancham’s failure. Pancham thinks if he dies, the society won’t trouble his family. Before the thought could take the shape of reality, an affectionate mother calms him down and sends him to the Sikh temple, where he meets a weird looking stranger with whom he takes an emotional roller coaster of conversations. Based on actual events, the story is influenced by the author’s life who refused to believe the crowd and made his path for an unbelievable achievement.
 My review:
Gift of Confidence was an enjoyable read as it was so very realistic in its essence. The plot in itself is something that is common to every student’s life, be it in part or its entirety. The protagonist, along with his troubles was very relatable and his tribulations more so.
The themes of success and hard work resonate throughout the entire story and in its way this story proves to be a very inspiring read. There is however just one mention of suicide that may be a trigger warning for some. The character of Vandit ji was also a very inspiring one as he is the one who really made the difference in Pancham’s life. He is the one who basically lifted Pancham up and delivered him from the hole he had fallen into following his unwelcome result. In that I think it is really relatable- we all have someone who really builds us up and helps us move forward in life and that is really important.
Pancham’s mother was a very lovable and inspiring character too who always had the belief and trust in her son and never failed to make him feel supported. Pancham on the other hand, goes through a great transformation and his metamorphosis is eye-opening. With the right amount of will-power and determination, everything is possible. Pancham really shows that and epitomizes that. His character development is apt, where others’ is not really visible and lack depth.
The story was overall very enjoyable. However, the writing style is too simple and could do with a bit more refinement to it. It is a good work though for beginners to start with, and despite the simple writing style and plot, the story is worth reading.
Verdict:
I quite enjoyed this book and as I rate it a 3/5 stars.
About the reviewer
Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .
 

2 Day Down, Dr. Nikita Lalwani, 2018

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Title: 2 Day Down
Author: Dr. Nikita Lalwani
Publisher: Redgrab Books & Anybooks
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 192
 
Synopsis:
2-day-down is a compilation of stories of 5 women from different walks of life. Each story digs into one of the five period related problems: Pain | Staining | Sexual Inhibition | PMS | Taboo, through each one’s journey. The title signifies the second day of a woman’s period, which is said to be the toughest of the five days. The stories are a reflection of the less acknowledged society around us. Through menstrual problems as a window, the book is an attempt to bring light to the intriguing yet briefly understood aspects of womanhood in different age groups.
 
My review:
With a well-planned story structure, 2 Day Down was a good read and something that I found was truly unique. The entire collection, as divided into 5 different stories on 5 different women proved to be a really good technique as it really separated out the different stories, while also laying them side by side, parallel to each other to compare and contrast them.
The stories individually however could have seen more development in terms of plot and character. I feel that the stories were not very well-paced or very lucid and coherent. It was not very easy to understand at some points.
In terms of the title, the subtitle to be specific, I did not see much of the ‘freedom’ aspect as written. Nonetheless, the author has really shed significant light on women health issues, especially pertaining to periods that are not very well known. In that effect, it proved quite enlightening. In this way, I think this book is perfect when it comes to gaining consciousness and awareness about women especially in regards to their monthly ‘womanly problems’. The society has reached a point where it is ready enough to acknowledge and pay attention to these issues and not just disregard them as something very frugal. The ways in which these stories are presented are also significant as they have been heavily influenced by a very realistic tone.
Overall a very much enjoyable and at times, a bit depressing (because of its realistic portrayal of these women)
 
Verdict:
I enjoyed this book and I rate it a 3.5/5 stars.

Life is the Flower, Love is the Honey, Surabhi Sharma, 2018

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Title: Life is the Flower, Love is the Honey
Author: Surabhi Sharma
Publisher: Self published
Format: EBook
Language: English
Synopsis:
‘You are so much more than what you think you are. You are infinite. You have the power to achieve bigger things.’
This is a story of a dream; a story of every dreamer.
Shubh is a dreamer. He wishes to become a nature photographer but submits to his parents’ wishes who want a secure future for him. He fears he will disappoint his parents and gives up on his dreams.
Monica is a dreamer. She is a painter who paints the canvas with the inspirational colors of life. She let go of her fears and inhibitions one day when someone helped give her paintings a purpose.
What happens when fate brings these two dreamers together?
A unique tale of love and life in the form of tiny tales about the dreams and challenges we face.
My review:
The concept that the author has used to go about the entire narrative is quite interesting. We have one or two chapters, followed by a sort of monologue or just some thought by the author. While reading the story, I think it really helps the reader think and introspect about themselves as well as the characters. I also think that using this formula of short chapters is really beneficial.
The characters are also well formed. Monica and Shubh are two very real and thus relatable individuals. We find so many such people in our everyday life, and so many of us will be able to find some of our own values and qualities in them. The other minor characters also reflect some very modern and individualistic traits.
The themes explored are mostly on human dreams and desires, hard work and love as well as friendship.
One thing that I think could have been more developed was the literary style. I found it very simple for my liking and would have preferred something of a more sophisticated and advanced style. The editing, I feel, was rushed through, as I came across quite a few grammatical errors.  There is a scope for improvement for the author, considering it is a debut book.
Recommendations:
This book was a really short and inspiring book. I recommend it to those looking for romance as well as inspiration. I rate the content a 3/5 stars!

How to read more books? Or How I have read 100 books so far into the year!

It’s only August, and I have already read a record 100 books! Which is way more than I have ever read in one year. I have always been an avid reader and reading was never boring to me; I’d rather read than watch YouTube/Netflix- something that still stands. Unless, of course, it has a certain Peter Kavinsky in it 😉 (I mean, that is one beautiful man! Have you seen the movie yet?)

So anyway, like I have been saying, this year has been a phenomenal reading year for me. And I can only hope that this streak continues. So without further ado, let me state a few points which I have personally used this year and they have helped me immensely in setting this record.

  1. Since you might feel that to read a novel, you need more time, I would definitely advise to get a planner. What it does, is helps you prioritize the things you need to do or have to do, and sheds light on the time you waste as well. I personally keep a bullet journal and that has helped me immensely in organizing my day to day activities and as such I find myself with enough free time on my hands.
  2. Set monthly TBR goals! (TBR stands for To Be Read.) So I try to set a goal of 10 books each month- when I think that it’s a busy month, or else I set a minimum of 20 books per month.But you also have to keep in account, the size of the book- don’t be disheartened if you read, say perhaps, just 5 thick books. The size or the number of words/pages really matter as well. I read books with a minimum of 300 pages each mostly, so I can easily cross 15 every month, unless I’ve got exams or such school activities. Setting a goal always helps!
    1. Now one thing that always works for me is to set higher goals that I think I can achieve. It’s something like the saying goes- aim for the moon and you’ll fall on the stars (?). Something like that I suppose. Now this ideology really helps me- because I am a naturally competitive person with myself- I always am aiming to do better than what I have done previously. So if I set the goal at 20, and I only reach 15, that’s a pretty good number too! However, the catch-22 here is that this can also affect someone else in a completely opposite manner. So I definitely recommend you try this one out once and go on from there. This sub point is so not for everyone.
  3. Set deadlines for each book. Setting deadlines just as goals, really help too. While I have specific deadlines for the books, I sometimes fly past them- I am a university student after all, and I have to give more importance to my course books, of course. Nonetheless, it really helps me to finish the books I want to. My deadlines vary as such- 150-200 pages – maximum of 2 days; 250-350 pages – maximum of 3 days; 400-500+ pages – maximum of 5 days.
  4. Indulge in guilty-reads! Sometimes, when I can feel the ominous onset of a reading slump, I go back to my guilty-reads. Guilty reads can be described as those books that you really love- but would not call them something serious, rather something light and for mindless fun. For me, the guilty reads are all the vintage Mills and Boon books. (How many of you have also loved them?)
    1. Going on the same vain, do read books that you actually love. Don’t force yourself to read something you hate (unless you have to, for school! ;)) If you keep on forcing yourself to read books you hate, your brain will condition you into hating the process of reading itself!
  5. The most important tip perhaps is to keep a book with you always– an eBook for when you go out but are not carrying anything except your wallet and phone perhaps, and an actual paperback copy for when you have a bag big enough to fit it in. Then, you can also read whenever you want. If you are a person who prefers to read a single book at a time, then make sure you also have an eBook of the same.
  6. For inspiration, take part in readathons– something I actively do and also host in my Instagram book account, aka a bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile). On the same vein, follow a few bookstagram profiles that can help inspire you.
  7. Join book discussions. This will condition your mind into looking forward to these sessions, as a result of which, you will actually finish reading the book.
    1. Also join book clubs! (Feel free to join mine!)
  8. If you think you need help while reading, regarding the word meanings, keep an actual dictionary with you, rather than using your phone. This will ensure that you won’t stray and end up watching a YouTube video or two.
  9. Always have a set space for your reading/studying. This goes for both active and passive reading. Continuously indulging in this, will condition your mind to just read/study in that place. I have my desk where, I automatically start working, because that’s the place where I have always read and studied, and the like.
  10. A bonus tip- if you really find difficulty in reading while there is a lot of noise in the background, you might like having some white noise (This goes even when you are studying.) I use the Tide app or Rainy Mood website to block out any unnecessary noise!

You can reach me at my email, nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com

Lots of love,

Nika!

Super Women, 2016, Super Couples, 2017, and Super Siblings, 2018, Prachi Garg.

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Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: Paperback
 
Synopsis for Super Women:
This book brings forth the stories of twenty women entrepreneurs who have struck a perfect personal-professional harmony, and a chord with their immediate consumers. Their innovative ventures encompass a varied range of services – from supporting victims of acid attacks, to providing free skin care solutions; from online retail of lingerie, handmade bags and fashion accessories, to eco-friendly products of everyday utility; from pet care products, to quirky merchandise; from empowering folk artists, to providing clinical assistance to those going through tough times; from image consulting to house hunting; from arty solutions, to innovative marketing and corporate communication; from creating happy readers to making religious ceremonies simpler – these entrepreneurs have opened avenues formerly unexplored. Superwomen is an interesting journey of how they played all their roles to perfection, aligning their families with their ambitions, showing the world their true mettle
Synopsis for Super Couples:
In an era booming with the ‘Startup’ trend and loving this new attitude of breaking boundaries and   conventions of a career, one also faces the challenge of being able to partner up with the right people. In lieu of reliable and trustworthy partners, real life couples in relationships have started exploring   the idea of partnering up in business too! Speaking to various couple-preneurs, one realizes that the myth about mixing work and home is just as misty as the one about needing a stable and conventional job for an ambitious career. These dynamic startups break stereotypes and cover a varied range of services: ecommerce, innovative gifts, eco-friendly products, health care solutions, social responsibility ventures, event management, digital solutions and many others. SuperCouples brings out such lovely stories of enterprising couples. After all, when great minds come together to produce something built on conjoined dreams, the result is eminently successful.
Synopsis for Super Siblings:
In a world where relationships make or break the deal for a lifetime, it is imperative to be able to have equations that are reliable, compatible and accessible. Luckily enough, sometimes it doesn’t take too much effort to find the right set of people, perhaps because nature has its own way of providing them. From childhood to adulthood, siblings share their environment, principles and interests and are naturally quite compatible. Gone are the days when siblings only gave the best ‘what car to buy’ advice or approved the guy you were dating. Today, brothers and sisters are travelling together, taking up hobbies together and to add to the latest trend, building enterprises together. Varying from tech start-ups to trendy fashion wear, from utility applications to artsy expressions, siblings seem to be partnering up with each other to break away from conventional career choices. SuperSiblings encapsulates the journeys of twenty siblings who have broken away from conventions and supported each other to start-up their dream ventures.
 
My review:
I really loved this series. Prachi Garg has done a great job with all three. Keeping this short and simple, I’ll state the things I really liked:

  1. All the different accounts were written like different short stories. And the brevity was always maintained.
  2. The author has been able to make each story very entertaining without the use of such statistics and numbers.
  3. As such, all three proved to be quick reads, which can be finished in one sitting.
  4. The most important thing, perhaps, is the fact that all of these were so very inspiring and motivating.
  5. Adding a face to each story was a good move- it made the accounts all the more personal and easy to relate to.
  6. Apart from all these, the paper quality was also really good and emitted a very nice smell. As a reader, I’m sure most of my followers will love that.
  7. The fact that these copies came signed was a great deal in itself.
  8. These are some books that I shall definitely be going back to every now and then when I feel the need to look for some motivation.
  9. The covers are also quite catchy although some more work can definitely be done on them.
  10. The themes are quite varied the most striking of which I think were those of perseverance and hard work. Apart from that, there was also love, friendship, trust and also teamwork.

Verdict:
These were really good books and I rate all of them 4 stars each!

Finding your G-spot in life, Geetika Saigal, 2018

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Publishers: Thomson Press, India
Synopsis:
The Probability of your parents meeting: one in a million. The Chance that they had you and not another genetic version of you: one in 4 million billion. (yeah, that’s a number too!) The Number of moments you have lived (knowing that any of us could pop-off any moment): ~9.4 million in our lifetime.
You, Yes YOU, are a miracle.
Do you not then deserve to lead a miraculous life?
A life that you know is meaningful to you, that doesn’t leave you feeling like you are simply running, not knowing where to and why so. So go on, give yourself and your life the best shot.
How?
By ceasing this race to ‘somewhere’ for just a few hours; Re-discovering Your Real Self, Re-aligning Your Thoughts, Revamping Your Life – All in (nothing worthwhile is simple!) 4 STEPS + 15 Do-it-for-Yourself EXERCISES.
This book is written for all of us, whether you’re just starting out your life or wishing to change it.
My review:
For being the second self-help book I’ve ever read, Finding your G-spot, sure was an unexpected joy and delight.
Firstly, I really love the way of writing the author has adopted. At times though, I did feel like it has been influenced by another book called Man’s Search for Meaning. The language was quite simple and therefore very easy to understand. Again, however, I feel that there could have been a more polishing possible regarding the editing. Moreover, the anecdotes the author has included makes it very relatable for the reader. The letters and quotes made the entire experience very wholesome.
The book is about 200 pages long- very short when you actually get down to read it because you simply fly through the pages. The compartmentalization into the four parts was also done very methodically for a person who seeks to know more about himself. There are also sixteen “Do-It-for-Yourself’ sections that will surely help one to know and discover more about himself as they are very hands-on and compel the reader to introspect. Self-evaluation is something that you will be forced to do in this book and all for the better I believe- it will prove quite fruitful in a person’s self-discovery.
Verdict:
This is truly a self-help book unlike any other and for the help, it has given me in my life as well, I rate it a 4/5 stars and would definitely recommend all to pick it up as well.

What your soul already knows, Dr Salma Farook, 2018

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I want to begin by saying how very lucky I consider myself to have been sought out by the author to review her book. I think this is perhaps the best motivational book that I have ever come across without being too preachy and boring, but simply mesmerizing.

Like I said before, it is a self-help book, quite a short read and free of jargons so that everyone can understand and I’m sure, relate to it. The author offers various views into the aspects of health – be it physical or mental, finance management, your personal well-being, attitudes to life, etc. The text is written in a very simple and relatable manner, with the help of various anecdotes of the author’s life itself. I enjoyed the way it was written- in a very beautiful and elegant manner.

The size of the book is quite small, running to just under 130 pages; it can be finished being read in one seating. Nonetheless, the content is very powerful. It has a very reflective tone and is at the same time, a powerful reminder for self-belief and is a guide to living life fearlessly. The author has very concisely written about real-world issues that one dabbles with in their daily life. There are also some explicit to-do’s stated in the book that I personally will/have been implementing, of course. Like- the Frugal Experiment, practicing gratitude, Swedish Death Cleaning etc. There are also a few other theories I need to practice more, as I have come to realize after reading WYSAK- to practice gratitude every day, and to learn that progress is better than perfection and also that while money facilitates happiness, it does not brew it.

There are many other wonderful life lessons that I have taken from this book and I surely will love to reread it again and again over the course of the coming years. My only regret is that I do not own a paperback! Keeping on the topic, I would also like to congratulate the author for having published this life-changing book that I’m sure will help a lot of people get through their lives. Definitely a 5 star read for me!