Books to gift to your 18 year old self

shared a post where he listed the 5 books he would gift to his 18 year old self. I liked that post and wanted to think about it for myself. Having recently read
post about Atomic Habits, I wonder how much of my reading I still recall and what I would want to reread. Writing this post would give me a good idea about what that list of books would be.

I limited the list to 3 and these are my favorite books I would gift to my 18 year old self:

1. Man’s search for meaning.
I still remember how I felt when I first read this book. I don’t remember how I ended up buying it but I got a paperback version and read it quickly. I obviously cried through most of it and felt like Victor Frankl was talking directly to me. I needed to read the book at the time I read it. But I think everyone could benefit from a book like that. In short, it is the type of book that makes you focus on what you can get our of suffering rather than dwell on the ‘Why me’. Now that I have a hindsight perspective of the things I would go through after the age of 18, just reading this book often would have immensely helped me through the year.

2. How to fail at everything and still win big.
This book got me to think about a lot of things differently. Here is a sample of some of them.
Passion is bullshit - The bias towards focusing on passion.
A different look at failure - Failure is an opportunity to learn.
Goals < systems - Systems increase the odds of success.
Be selfish - You can’t take care of others before yourself.
Personal energy - the most important variable to work on

In addition, his writing also made me want to write better. Made me want to look into humor. Made me want to be able to think critically about some of my beliefs. All these insights would have been a gift to me as a teenager.

3. Mistakes were made (but not by me)
This book opened my eyes to the concept of cognitive dissonance and bias in general. Though I took introductory psychology class in college, this book opened my mind into how pervasive bias is. It made me want to learn more especially about bias and investigate what I am more susceptible to. I think it makes sense for people to get exposure to these things early. Bias leads to blind spots that leads to mistakes. At the minimum, understanding our own biases helps us understand ourselves better. So this book is one of the 3 books I would gift my younger self.
This is a solid list. I am thinking back to my college career, and I cannot identify even one book that I read that had any lasting impact on me. 
2021-05-27 13:02:39
Yeah I am with you. Most of the books I loved were the ones I read after college. I used to read a whole bunch of fiction back then. 
2021-05-27 20:34:09