While I do not yet have any books to my name, there are many wonderful authors whose wisdom have illumined my path in my search for Joy. In this section, I share my eccentric recommendations on must reads. As Joy is a pursuit that embraces the entirety of life, the subject of these books span across a wide range of subjects.
A wonderful book written by a psychiatrist who has helped many people cope and find meaning in their darkest moments. The book is grounded in deep wisdom that helps a person build a strong existential anchor that is essential to Joy. I strongly recommend starting with this book.
Over the years, Harvard Business School graduate and professor Clayton Christensen noticed a strange trend: Why were many of his classmates wildly successful and insanely rich but were disproportionately unhappy–they feel empty, their families were falling apart and one even landed in jail for the Enron scandal. Employing theories and discussions with his Harvard students, he sets out to explore three key questions: How can I be sure that 1) I will be successful & happy in my career 2) my relationship with my spouse, my children, and my extended family and close friends become and extended source of happiness? 3) I live a life of integrity–and stay out of jail? Since career and relationships form the bulk of our modern lives, it is important that we derive Joy from intentional and informed choices we make with regards to these aspects of our lives.
You do not need to be a Christian to appreciate how the acknowledgement of the transcendent had a transformational impact on a brilliant and tormented mind on the road of self-destruction. The recognition that life is meaningful gives us the drive to overcome obstacles and to seek Joy.
A fictional letter from a dying preacher to his toddler son. Again, you don’t need to be a Christian to appreciate the beauty of the language and depth of his meditation on the beauty of life. The work is sublime and soul searching. He is not an idealist, having seen more than his fair share of hardship, yet still concluding that life is worth living. Themes include family, forgiveness, reconciliation, faith and even practical issues like money. A charming read.
An eccentric pick that you might wonder what it might have to do with Joy. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the story of a dramatic year in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley. Annie Dillard sets out to see what she can see. What she sees are astonishing incidents of “beauty tangled in a rapture with violence.” Nature is a gift to us to be savored. Sometimes we need to extract ourselves from the concrete jungle and be close with nature alone. May this book inspire you to embark on your own exploration of nature, and in so doing, understand your own heart through solitude.