Timeless books recommended by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

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October 15 marks the birthday of the former President of India, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. On this day, the aerospace scientist and statesman is known across India for his many contributions to society.

After serving as India’s 11th president from 2002 to 2007, he became the “people’s president”. And, just after a single term in parliament, he returned to his life of education, writing and public service. He was known for his love of books and many believed his greatest possession was his collection of over 2500 books, which he loved and often recommended.

If you too are a bibliophile and need timeless book recommendations from the man known as the Missile Man of India. Continue reading!

Tiya: A Parrot’s Journey Home by Samarpan

In an interview with DNA, Dr. Kalam recommended this book. It tells the story of a parrot named Tiya, whose secure world is shaken and shattered when an unfamiliar voice asks her to leave her home. The book chronicles Tiya’s journey through strange lands and her interactions with other sentient beings.

Thirukkural of Tiruvalluvar

Tirukkural is among the greatest Tamil literary and philosophical masterpieces of all time. It is a collection of couplets that guide its reader through life’s obstacles and cover political, spiritual, domestic and social spheres.

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Light of Many Lamps by Lillian Eichler Watson

Dr. Kalam found this book in an old thrift store and he once shared that picking it up was a life-changing moment. It later became his “guiding light” when he felt weak. He often quoted lines from this book in his lectures and speeches.

The Unknown Man, Alexis Carrel

This book is written by Nobel laureate and scientist Alexis Carrel and is especially inspiring for those looking to get into the medical field. It emphasizes the importance of having a healthy mind, which then develops into a healthy body.

Power, Rhonda Byrne

This book deals with the themes of power, wealth, self-confidence, affection and life goals. It encourages the reader to focus on happy memories rather than not-so-good past events to attract positive transformations.

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If you want to read books written by Dr. Kalam himself, here is a list:

  • Advantage India: from challenge to opportunity
  • Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji
  • Reignited: Scientific pathways to a better future
  • Shape your future: candid, direct, inspiring
  • A manifesto for change: a follow-up to India 2020
  • My journey: Turning dreams into actions

“I hear all the time that people are reading less and less these days. Maybe there are more distractions, and more gadgets, our lives are too busy to find a quiet corner and savor a book. Yet it is a habit we need to keep alive in us and instil in future generations. Reading is to the mind what a good meal is to the body. It sustains, it nourishes, it helps us to think, it helps us to grow.” – APJ Abdul Kalam.

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