Books that Changed My Life – Alka Bagri #BagriTeam

“Here are some books that empowered me to ‘determine what I will be’. They helped me change the way I think and see myself in this world. By doing so, they pushed me further along the path of who I wished to become.” Alka Bagri
Inspired by the series The Bottom Drawer – Books that Changed my Life.

Viktor E Frankl - Man’s search for Meaning

This book provides a detailed account of an individual’s experience as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. The book focuses on love, hope, responsibility, inner freedom, and the beauty that is found in both nature and art as means that can help one endure and overcome painful experiences that life throws at us. 

It concludes by telling us that we can find the meaning of life in almost every moment, whether it is of suffering or happiness. Frankl states that life never ceases to have meaning, it is just that we have to find it at the right time. 

The ideas in this book allowed me to see myself and the world the way it is. It gave me principles and foundations and taught me to ask better questions. It made me more knowledgeable, confident and open-minded.

Morrie Schwartz - Tuesdays with Morrie

This is one of the most thought-provoking and profound books I have ever read. The central theme of this book is that if we can accept our own death, it can help us understand what really matters in life and live more consciously.

I became aware of how many of us generally fail to value life and behave as though we will live forever. We have endless time for trivia, unending pursuit of wealth and approval.

Once we can understand that the end will come to us all we can evaluate what’s really important in life.

Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles - Ikigai

A long life, a sense of purpose and deep happiness is our reason to live. The authors find the secret to doing from the inhabitants on the island of Okinawa, in southern Japan which is also the home to the highest concentration of centenarians in the world. 

Their longevity narrows down to one word: Ikigai, which translates as our own reason for living, our own motivation to do what we do. Drawing on insights from art, science and psychology, they show us a way to find and follow our own ikigai and cultivate a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

Every time I find myself slipping, I dip into the pages of this book and reset my ikigai. A must read.

Ken Wilbur - Grace and Grit

This is a deeply emotional account of a couple’s struggle with cancer and their journey to spiritual healing. It offers a personal insight into the dying process, but more importantly how that process can change one’s perspective on how to truly live. 

It has definitely left me with a new appreciation of the capacity we have to change, to grow, to improve, to help and to love.

It is also one of the most sincere and amazing love stories. Absolutely beautiful.

M. Scott Peck - The road less travelled

Peck teaches us how to face the inevitable challenges in our lives, grow through hardship and ultimately attain deeper self-knowledge. One of the chapters is devoted to what is genuine love. He writes, “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth….

Love is as love does. Love is an act of will, namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.

Love is not simply giving; it is judicious giving and judicious withholding as well. It is judicious praising and judicious criticizing. It is judicious arguing, struggling, confronting, urging, pushing and pulling in addition to comforting. It is leadership. The word “judicious” means requiring judgment, and judgment requires more than instinct; it requires thoughtful and often painful decisionmaking.” 

I found his description of love to be an eye-opener. All the myths that surround the idea and feeling of love were busted.

Steven Pressfield - The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Laid out with poetic brilliance, in his book Pressfield examines the internal obstacle to creative success: He calls it Resistance.

“Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.”
His words made me realise that it’s completely normal to feel fear, self-doubt and other forms of resistance towards my creative pursuits. He offers many useful and helpful ways to identify, unlock and defeat our inner barriers to creativity.

This article concludes the series of “Books that Changed my Life” written by the Bagri Foundation’s team and inspired by The Bottom Drawer 2021 series of interviews. Read the selection of books by our Head of Arts, Chelsea Pettit, here, and that of our Project Manager, Alessandra Cianetti, here.

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