My 5 favorite reads of 2021

Apoorva Addepalli
6 min readDec 30, 2021


Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

At the turn of every new year, I set a goal with reading books. Nothing too fancy or ambitious. Just one 1 book a month. Like I mentioned in my previous post on books, I’ve never been the fastest or a super serious reader that ploughs through 2 or 3 books a month. But as a passionate reader, I do take my time to fully devour and savor the writing. I like to soak in the content without the expectation of finishing massive quantity of books.

That being said, at the tail end of this rocky year of 2021, books have most certainly kept me going. I have picked out my top 5 reads from my reading list that I’d like to share with you all. Now it might be worth noting that these books are NOT 2021 releases, but rather books I’ve read in the year of 2021. Some of these books released a couple years ago. But if you are like me and are catching up with the book game, I’ve got you covered!

In no particular order:

  1. The Ride Of A Lifetime — Robert Iger

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography

Robert Iger, or “Bob” Iger, as we get fondly get acquainted to in the book, has been the CEO of the Walt Disney Company since 2005. And this book is an honest, raw and inspiring biography that details his rocky road to the top.

Every ounce of this book oozed personality and honesty. At the end of the book, you will feel like Bob is an old friend of yours, narrating his life story over a couple spilled drinks! Throughout this read, the only thought that kept dawning on me was how much harder the pressures builds as you raise to the top. Despite the “external aura” of being a CEO of a company that has a mountainous legacy to promote, Bob’s responsibilities are immense. And what I love about this book is how he explains his decision making and thought process.

I especially like how he introduces all the many different stakeholders in his life who’ve played a part in shaping his journey. Especially his relationship with Steve Jobs. If you’ve read Creativity, Inc. (another great read & strong APP, AKA.”A Piece of Apoorva” recommendation), this book is a great segway to hear the Disney side of Pixar’s acquisition.

All in all a fantastic read for the soul that needs a kick in the butt to continue the pursuit with sheer discipline, logic and most importantly character.

2. A place for us — Fatima Farheen Mirza

Genre: Fiction

What I feel for this book is so fresh in my head because this was my November read. A beautiful, profound and detailed story about the complexities of brown families, this book hits way too close to home!

If there was a book that so painfully unravels the struggles of south asian kids having to adapt to the changing world outside their home, yet abide by the laws of the land set by their parents and religion within their home, THIS BOOK IS IT. Its a tale of a balancing act: South asian parents making peace with the transitionary current of the present world and their kids grappling with the reality.

I teared up numerous times while reading this book. Ask me how many times I’ve re-read hard-hitting paragraphs, and I’ll tell you- NUMREOUS times! The relatability quotient for me is extremely high. All praise to Fatima and her extremely detail oriented writing, because it definitely hit the feels.

3. Educated- Tara Westover

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir

If you’ve clearly noticed I have a knack for reading heavy and hard-hitting books! If A place for us is a cultural induction into brown culture, then Educated is a book that inducts you into the heavily religious families of the West!

Educated is all about a young Mormont girl and her quest for education. Throughout the book all her beliefs are put to the test and there comes a time when she has to decide on either to stay loyal to her upbringing or to go forth and explore the greater unknown, outside the 4 boundaries of her home. Again, this book for me hits the spot because of the devil in the details. Tara does not spare one easily and is very keen on making the reader experience her struggles through the power of her writing. You feel as though you were there with here, witnessing everything live.

I would recommend this book to any reader wanting to 1. Understand how cultures and religions intersect and 2. Deeply involve yourself in powerful writing and witness some reading magic.

4. Breakout Nations — Ruchir Sharma

Genre: Non-fiction, Economics & Current Affairs

At the start of this post, when I first mentioned that these books aren’t books that were released in 2021, I meant every word of it. This book was released in 2012. It wasn’t until until Feb 2021, when I was visiting a friend, did I see this book on their bookshelf. I immediately picked it up and added this to my reading list, because I’ve always been someone who was drawn toward economies that were still emerging.

Breakout nations is relatively one of the easier “economics” books to latch on to. Unlike the other wordy, research centric books, this one is simpler to understand and Ruchir Sharma does an incredible job implying his observations through the power of simple personal examples. For any of you who are like me and are interested in understanding economies beyond the developed western markets, this is a great book to dip your feet into!

5. Emotional Intelligence- Daniel Goleman

An oldie, but a goodie. Even after 2 whole decades! But hey! Better late than never.

I have ALWAYS been the biggest proponent for Emotional Intelligence and that intrinsic worth can be developed over many experiences. It drives a person’s character and showcases brightness in a different light. And this book champions just that. It’s a book I would nudge everyone to read, because its an in depth report with extensive research on how Emotional Intelligence is just as important, if not more, as Intelligence Quotient.

Emotional Intelligence is a book that states that factors of EQ such as self-awareness, situational awareness, discipline etc. can be nurtured through the help of your surrounding and as you grow. it’s a book that emphasizes developing ones own human behavior as well as interpreting other’s behavior. I can go on and on about this book, but I strongly urge everyone to give this one a read. It’s a book that makes you understand that the process of decision making goes beyond logic! :)

To conclude

Year 2021 has seen a lot of dark as well as as bright days. More mundane for some, whilst exciting for the other. In the process of adapting to what maybe one of the most interesting year of my adult life, I have intentionally sought after things that brought me stability and comfort. And I had two: Workouts and Reading. Books have given me more comfort than I hoped they would. They’ve helped me become introspective, especially at times when life was going at a parallel and I felt like I’ve lost control over what was happening.

I hope these reads inspire you to join the bandwagon! Happy reading. Come 2022, I’ll be sure to hit you with more book content to expand your thinking.

(***P.S.- all the links to the books are affiliate links. I will receive a % of commission, should this link lead to a sale of the book.)