Finding Your Tribe. How book club changed my life?

Monica Singhania

I have to admit this: while growing up, I was not an avid reader outside of academics but caught onto it pretty late when I was pursuing my Masters In Business Administration. Then my classmate and future husband introduced me to Ayn Rand, and a seed was planted.

I continued to read books, but the pace slowed after my daughter was born. Life took its twists and turns. I changed careers and had to get back to academics with coursework required for my professional designations. Then in 2016, my husband got into a corporate book club at his workplace. He would constantly share the learnings from the books he was reading. I saw a shift in his perspective and it was a turning point. Even though I was reading a lot for work because such is the nature of my profession I missed reading for fun. Hence, I gave formalizing the reading process with a book club a serious thought. Coincidentally, one fine day a friend mentioned Ayn Rand in a WhatsApp group and a couple of exchanges later our Book Club was born.  Since a majority of us were Ayn Rand fans, we named the book club  — FOUNTAINHEADS.

At the time, it didn’t seem much but looking back reading with book club has proved to be a life-changing pursuit. Last year I decided to buy minimal things like clothes, shoes, etc. However, when it came to books there was no limit. I saw myself buying all kinds from J. Krishnamurthy’s Freedom from the Known to Jen Sincero’s  You are a Badass and everything in between that caught my eye. What I have gained in the process cannot be expressed in words. Some books came at the right moment and taught me what I needed to learn while others prepared me with what lay ahead. It is as if these books became my life guiding force.

My most memorable books to date have been the ones I read with The Fountainheads. When you read with others, there is certain magic that happens as you share space, time, and energy discussing these books. It is as if they become alive. I am sharing with you a few books The Fountainheads read and what they taught me.

Somehow, the very first pick was about an old man dying and him sharing his thoughts about the end of life with a young man in Tuesdays with Morrie. This one taught me what truly matters in the end.

Next, we read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. By all means, this was a heavy read for all of us, including myself. I learned to value life and living through a whole new lens.

The Conscious Parent created quite a stir in the group. Most of our members are mothers and they all had very strong opinions about parenting. Dr. Shefali was challenging our views. Personally, it was an eye-opener, in terms of letting go of so many things we do subconsciously as a parent.

The Alchemist, I had read this book in my college years. From memory, this was a story about an adventure a boy takes. However, reading it this time around I walked away with many valuable life lessons that I missed earlier. So motivated was I after I read The Alchemist that, I was determined to fulfill my personal legend to become an entrepreneur. I knew that the time was now and decided to launch Purposeful Financial.

Next came Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck that lay grounds for learning new things, making mistakes, having an open mind and a growth mindset. This one is a must-read for anyone who is scared to try something new.

Susan Cain entered my life with Quiet and made a quiet yet lasting impression. This book delved into different aspects of introversion vs. extroversions. It reiterated the power of silence and being in a flow.

We changed tracks and went for a poetry session where we read a few poems by Rupi Kaur. Every woman should read her poems. She is just brilliant.

Gifts Of Imperfection by Brene Brown moved me so much that I started gifting and quoting this book where ever I went. I got consumed by the author, read her blogs and started following her on all social media platforms. “You are enough no matter what” has become my personal mantra. This book has become a valuable tool in the way I have built my practice focusing on authenticity, empathy, vulnerability, connection, letting go of perfection and much more.

The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle came next. Eckhart is no stranger to me; his Power of Now is my bible. This book arrived just as I was launching my solo practice and gave the courage to do three things I read in the book:

  • Accept tasks that I had to do but didn’t enjoy
  • Enjoy the journey I was embarking on and
  • Do all of this full Enthusiasm without creating any negative emotions and polluting the earth.

 

Born a Crime; a memoir was the book club’s choice as we wanted to expand into different genres. Trevor Noah took us all by surprise. He made us laugh, think, cry and wonder. Trevor displays a deadly combination of wisdom and humor which is rare. I am a fan.

Becoming by Michelle Obama was fast becoming the number one bestseller and everyone just had to read it.   It was exciting to see fifteen women gather to discuss it, and not one have the same opinion about the book. This made me realize that we all see the world differently, and there is never a right or wrong. It all depends on how we see things.

Dear Evan Hansen was our first fiction and was timely as it highlighted the important issue of teenage isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Currently, we are reading Rejection Proof

The journey and learnings I have described above are minuscule in comparison to the insights we gained from each others perspective. The meaningful and authentic conversations we engaged in that deepened our trust and connection. Above all, this group provided a place where we all converged and have built deeply personal relationships. Relationships that will stand the test of time as we age.

I found my tribe through the book club. I encourage you all to find “Your Book Club”.

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Monica Singhania

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