Top 10 must-read books as recommended by GEMS alumni

March is the UAE’s ‘Month of Reading’ – and we’re excited! Reading is without doubt one of life’s great pleasures. Turning the pages on beautiful words that transport you to wherever your mind’s eye takes you.

This month in GEMS in 10 we’re sharing some recommended reading from across the GEMS community.  Ten of our alumni have shared what’s on their reading lists, and we’re sure you’ll agree that they include some life-affirming texts for GEMS staff to read.

If you have a book that you’d like to put forward during Reading Month, or if you’ve perhaps even penned your own book, please share what you’re reading (or writing) on the GEMS in 10 Community Group on Yammer.

  1. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    As recommended by Tannya Jajal (WIN, 2012).
    “Throughout human history, starting with the ancient Greeks, we’ve tried to explore what makes us happy – what makes a human life worth living. The phenomenon of ’flow’ is a state of joy, creativity and total involvement that we experience when we’re completely at one with the task at hand. Flow is the science of peak performance – after accomplishing a task “in flow”, one’s sense of self is expanded. It’s what artists feel when they paint and what writers feel when they write. We all have the potential to experience flow through work, play or our relationships. I’d highly recommend this book because its inspiring, insightful and eye-opening. The reader is left with an understanding of the psychological underpinnings of flow states and the aspiration to incorporate flow into daily life.”

  2. The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma
    As recommended by Vishal Menon (OOW, 2015).
    “It’s a perfect fit for people who want to uplift their work, careers and life in general. The book dives deep into the fact that anyone can be a leader and titles have nothing to do with it.”

  3. Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
    As recommended by Inaas Mughis (CIS, 2013)
    “This challenging yet hopeful book tackles themes of intercultural relations – personal, political and historical – with great poise and craft. And in today’s world, more than ever, literature encompassing these themes is very beneficial and valuable – needed, even.”

  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
    As recommended by Aqsa Adil (CIS, 2014).
    “From the author of Eat, Pray, Love, this book has really helped me to see the world and my own life in a different light. It has prompted me to ask questions, to wonder, to think and re-evaluate. To really take charge of my own life and not live in fear, because creative living is where ‘big magic’ will always reside.”

  5. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    As recommended by Miraj Hossain (CHS, 2014).
    “At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities and our lives. The Power of Habit is an enjoyable book, and readers will find useful advice about how to change at least some of their bad habits — even if they want to keep their salt.” Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.” Nonetheless, The Power of Habit is an enjoyable book, and readers will find useful advice about how to change at least some of their bad habits — even if they want to keep their salt.”

  6. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    As recommended by Miraj Hossain (CHS, 2014).
    “Every successful person has a persona, a charm that can influence people around them and across nations. This book taps right into the lives of successful leaders and how they used the law of attraction and influence to climb the ladder of success from nothing. It’s a book that really helped me to add to my personality and build successful relationships resulting in successful entrepreneurial wins.”

  7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    As recommended by Shreya Bhatia (GMA, 2013).
    “This book is mesmerising. If you suddenly feel without purpose, motivation or have too many questions that need answering, I recommend this inspiring tale. It will make you believe in yourself, the power of your dreams and the will of the universe. You finish this book feeling like you can do absolutely anything, simply by believing.”

  8. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
    As recommended by Shreya Bhatia (GMA, 2013).
    “This book is wholesome, endearing and might leave you a bit misty-eyed when you’re done. If you’ve ever had someone you looked up to while growing up – a parent, teacher or mentor – this book will pull at your heartstrings. It leaves you with a new outlook to life, and teaches you valuable lessons that are evergreen.”

  9. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
    As recommended by Manal Nadeem (WGP, 2020).
    “This book is testament to the transformation we can undergo at any point in our lives – how it is never too late to remake ourselves, and how education can be a catalyst for that evolution.”

  10. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
    As recommended by Farjad Khan (WGP, 2019).
    “There is no better time to be exploring different streams of income than right now, and this book is the perfect starting point for someone who is looking to invest in the stock market. Whether a university student or a well-seasoned professional, this book aims to guide you on how to be smart with your money in the long run. The key point, especially for young people, is to learn to quit their spending habits for the sake of instant gratification and put your money to better use. Invest now, enjoy later.”