You want to know about anybody? See what books they read, and how they’ve been read – Keri Hulme
Ernest Hemmingway once said “there is no friend as loyal as a book.” Friends come and go, some didn’t show up when we needed them the most, but books are always there for us. Indeed, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins helped me survive my teenage years, Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers enlightened me during my most clueless period and eventually help altered my life to finance, while the theories in The Hacking of the American Mind by Dr. Robert Lustig prompted me to completely change my lifestyle towards a healthier one.
Books also teach us empathy, to see the world from other people’s perspectives, and to learn a lot from them. George R R Martin said it best: “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one.”
With that in mind, I’ve lived the crazy adventure life of Richard Branson, the thug life of young Stalin, the interesting life of the man who broke the Bank of England, and the little boy named Temujin who would build a massive empire from scratch. I’ve lived in the Golden Age of Islam, in the medieval Europe, in the Incan jungle fighting the Spanish invaders. I witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the fall of the Soviet Union, the disappearance of Kurdistan, and the 11th hour of the Indonesian independence from Japan.
I’ve also lived in the complicated network of drug cartels, the modern hackers, the Asian Godfathers. I’ve learned the secrets of the wealth of the Medici family, and how they lost them. I saw the rotten practices of the Aid industry, the dodgy microfinance violations, and the inner workings of our current ruling empire.
I was there when Hitler was given 80 drugs per day, when Amazon beat Wallmart, when Isaac Newton lost his money in South Sea Bubble, when Elon Musk was nearly bankrupt during Christmas. I was also there when Deng Xiaoping lost his son, when Che Guevarra was surrounded in Bolivia, and when Alexander Hamilton lost in that duel.
Indonesian 1st vice president Mohammad Hatta once declared “I’d volunteer to go to prison, as long as there are books. Because with books I am free.” Yes, it doesn’t matter where you are, when you bring a book with you there’s a new world awaits at the palm of your hands. This is why I follow Dan Harris’ teacher’s advice on always bring something to read wherever I go.
Pablo Neruda once said “The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.” They call these types of books as quake books. And the following are the reviews of some of the quake books I’ve read over the years: