Books and Me: My Journey

Book Title: My Journey – Transforming Dreams into ActionsMy Journey

Author: A P J Abdul Kalam

Most of the books written by our former President, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam are inspiring. They are simple, easy to read and give us a feeling of listening to the author directly. Though many of the books have repetitions of his experiences, one never feels tired or bored of any of his books

I picked this book up as soon as it made its appearance in my local bookstore. I devoured it the same day. The book speaks a lot from the childhood days of the author. It is widely accepted that every person is shaped and influenced during their formative years; the wonderful and at times challenging experiences of Dr. Kalam seems to be no exception. Be it the inter-faith harmony in his home town or the sacrifices made by his mother and sister or the uncontrollable reality of nature’s fury or the positive friendships of his school days, they all seem to have shaped his beliefs and personality.  Three specific things stand out as learning for me personally:

  1. Mentors: Finding, having and allowing mentors to shape us is an important aspect for every one of us. Dr. Kalam’s reflection on his mentors, be it Ahmed Jalalludin or Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, highlights this important role. Their importance in his making is strongly emphasized. It is in our own interest that we constantly seek, find and allow mentors to shape us.
  2. Spirituality: Dr. Kalam’s life is filled with experiences and interactions from multiple faiths. Irrespective of the religion, his interest to seek true knowledge and advice has helped him overcome early setbacks. They have strengthened him and enabled him to achieve the much needed balance in life. It is also a reason for his sustained contribution till date.
  3. Reading: As Dr. Kalam rightly states, the importance of reading and books can never be emphasized enough. Right from his early years, Dr. Kalam has been a voracious reader and this love for reading and books seems to continue to this very day. Now that he is also writing many of them, they can be added to our reading list. Dr. Kalam also provides a list of books that influenced him the most.

I must confess that after reading the pre-release excerpt from this book in the Outlook magazine, I was eager to buy a copy specifically to know about Dr. Kalam’s interest in books and reading. As a voracious reader, a bibliophile and a writer, my love for the written word knows no bounds. Since Dr. Kalam has been an inspiring personality that I keep looking up to, I really wanted to know which books he loved the most. That one chapter provided me more value than the price I paid for the entire book. Thanks Dr. Kalam for providing one more inspiring read for the youth of this country.

NOTE: 14th to 20th November is celebrated annually in India as the ‘National Book Week’. As part of the celebration I am posting ‘book reviews’ daily. Happy Reading!


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