Best books about life

There are some excellent books that I came across which teaches invaluable life lessons. There are tons more books about live where these came from. Leave a comment if you wish to see more.

Life Lessons – Two experts on Death and Dying Teach us about the mysteries of life and living.

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This books has one of the highest positive rating on amazon. Here is a brief from amazon.com about the book. Don’t be fooled by the title. It is about life and living and not about death. Here is a review from amazon page.

After experiencing a paralyzing stroke in 1995 and facing her own mortality, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross realized she had some unfinished business to take care of. “I wanted to write one more book, not on death and dying, but on life and living,” she explains. So she joined forces with coauthor David Kessler, a leader in the field of hospice care, and together they wrote about the lessons we can learn about living from those who are dying. As Kessler explains in his introduction, “The dying have always been teachers of great lessons, for it’s when we are pushed to the edge of life that we see most clearly.”

Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life

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This is an excellent book from Harold S. Kushner who is famous for his best seller (When bad things happen to good people).

Here is what Wall-street journal had to say about the book (From amazon page).

Whatever one’s religious beliefs may be, Mr. Kushner has much to say about the enduring value of community, the universal need for a sense of belonging, the moral sense that makes us human and the ways in which we also help ourselves by helping others.

Life Lessons – Everything you ever wished you had learned in kindergarten.

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There is a reason why this book is having a 4.9 star (out of 5) in amazon.

Life Lessons is a practical and inspiring guide to help you understand why things happen the way they do in life. You are NEVER being punished. You are NEVER a victim of your life. If it is happening in your life, it is because it is there to teach you something. And the sooner you can get that lesson, the sooner you can move on with your life. In clear and easy language, Donnalynn Civello, CHHC, AADP, Certified Intuitive Life Coach and Holistic Nutritionist helps you to understand the nature of life and the many life lessons that we encounter on a daily basis.

Its not for everyone though. Checkout the book and go through a few pages. You will be hooked.

Life’s Greatest Lessons – 20 Things that matter.

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This book has sold quarter of a million copies, and for good reason. The popularity and number of positive comments in amazon is an example of how this book is changing lives. Here is a brief review from the amazon page.

Life’s Greatest Lessons is a wise, wonderful book. In it, Hal Urban, a parent and an award-winning teacher, presents twenty principles that are as deeply rooted in common sense as they are in compassion. The topics, gathered from a lifetime of teaching both children and adults, span a wide range of readily understood concepts, including attitudes about money, understanding the real meaning of “success,” and the importance of having fun. The book will help you find the best—in the world, in others, and in yourself. Classic in its simplicity and enduring in its appeal, Life’s Greatest Lessons helps us all rediscover that the desire to live a good life is timeless.

30 Lessons for Living – Tried and True advice from the wisest Americans

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This is the holy grail if you are looking for books about life. You will find stories from thousands of extraordinary Americans in this book. You will have to take your time to read this and it will be well worth your time. Here is an small review from amazon page.

After a chance encounter with an extraordinary ninety-year-old woman, renowned gerontologist Karl Pillemer began to wonder what older people know about life that the rest of us don’t.His quest led him to interview more than one thousand Americans over the age of sixty-five to seek their counsel on all the big issues- children, marriage, money, career, aging. Their moving stories and uncompromisingly honest answers often surprised him. And he found that he consistently heard advice that pointed to these thirty lessons for living. Here he weaves their personal recollections of difficulties overcome and lives well lived into a timeless book filled with the hard-won advice these older Americans wish someone had given them when they were young.

Please leave comments if you think that another book should be included in this list.

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Zillow to google sheets. How to get data from Zillow to google sheets

Data from zillow.com can be referenced from Google sheets using some inbuilt functions that Google sheets provide. We will be using two functions for this.

  1. importxml()
  2. index

The importxml will import all elements which are matched in the xpath query. In the example below, we are asking google sheets to get the contents of elements with class value ‘zest-value’. Now this query alone will return two results. We need only the first one. That is why we use the index function and specify the “1” in the end. So the whole formula will look something like this.

=index(importxml(<insert the zillow link here>,“//*[@class=’zest-value’]”),1)

Here is an example.

=index(importxml(“http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3817-Vista-Verde-Palm-Springs-CA-92262/63316638_zpid/”,“//*[@class=’zest-value’]”),1)

Youtube link showing copy of data from zillow to google sheets

Redfin to google sheets data copy

I tried to copy from Redfin to googlesheets using the same technique after making changes as per the sites source listing. But didn’t have much luck there. If you guys figure out how to do that, please share the same in the comments section.

6 Techniques in article writing you can learn from Thomas Friedman

We live in a world in which communication has so much impact in our daily life. The person who knows how to effectively communicate his ideas to invoke a particular reaction from his/her listener has a great edge. Recently, I came across a video in which Tom Friedman was interviewed by Salman Khan from the Khan Academy.

I always admired Tom Friedman ever since I read his book “The World Is Flat”. If you are looking for somebody who has the real world experience to tell you about how to convey an idea, then Tom Friedman is the guy.

Here is what Thomas Friedman thinks as in his words, “6 kinds of column”. I believe the same rules can be applied for any sort of written communication, be it a blog or an article. So what are the 6 kinds or columns? As per Friedman, If you get any one of these reactions from our reader, then you have a column.

1. I didn’t know that.

The first kind is the one which a reader reads your column and goes “I didn’t know that”. In other words, telling/reporting something that no body has told before.

2. I never looked at it that way.

If you present already known issue in a completely new perspective which has the potential to make the reader think, then that can be a successful column.

3. You said it exactly the way I felt. God bless you.

This kind of reporting strikes a chord with your reader. Most people do not have the gift of expressing their thoughts in the right words. The kind of “right words/expressions” which will preserve every little ounce of the way they felt about that situation/incident. Your readers will love you for it if you are able to pull that off.

4. I want to kill you dead, you and all your offspring.

You generally get this kind of reaction when you don’t jump on the “Popular ” band wagon and decide to go against it because you believe that it is right. It might not be what others want to read. But there are two benefits for this. Firstly, you can be content that you voice your true opinion and secondly, these kind of articles can earn you lot of (negative) publicity. But as some of you know, there is nothing called a negative publicity.

5. You made me laugh / You made me cry.

Very difficult to pull this one off. Very rarely people have the skill to consistently deliver an article and invoke the above reaction. When you do it well, it really works. When you miss it, like bad humor or bad sentimentality, you basically lose the reader.

6. You challenged me.

This is when a columnist/author challenges his own reader. In my personal opinion, if you are doing this correctly, it can be a great education for yourself and your reader.

Biz Stone quotes on success – Creativity is a renewable resource

Biz stone Quotes

Biz Stone Quotes

I am reading the book authored by the co-founder of Twitter, none other than Biz Stone. In my honest opinion, anyone who ever wish to be an entrepreneur should read this book. It is also highly recommended for those who wish to excel at their current jobs or those who are simply tiered of mediocrity. The book is called Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind

This guy is a college drop out who landed a job in Google and later left this job (which most of us consider a dream job) to create Twitter. So when he talks about success mantra, I think one should pay attention.  Let me quote a small excerpt from the above book.

Creativity is a renewable resource. Challenge yourself every day. Be as creative as you like, as often as you want, because you can never run out. Experience and curiosity drive us to make unexpected, offbeat connections. It is these nonlinear steps that often lead to the greatest work.

One of the things which I found interesting was a phase of his life when he used to design book covers. As per Biz stone,

Graphic design is an excellent preparation for any profession because it teaches you that for any one problem, there are infinite potential solutions. Too often we hesitate to stray away from our first idea, or from what we already know. But the solution isn’t necessarily what is in front of us, or what has worked in the past.

So, if you are looking for the next book that inspires you, then this is the book for you Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffett

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffett

Anyone who witnessed the bubble bursts and the bull markets in the past 10-20 years will definitely understand what Buffett meant here.  Switch on the television or go to any stock analysis site and you will be immersed in “expert” opinions, stats, “hot tips” and more. Some people even go to the extent of predicting what will happen to stocks or even sectors in the near future and in the not so near future.

And then there are folks who do the stupidest thing. These people are so confident (or should I say their reality is so distorted) to lend money on high interest rates and invest them in stocks based on a hot tip. When the “stuff” hits the fan they will be left naked. They will lose everything.

Warren Buffett has only two rules in investing.

Rule #1.  Do not lose your money

Rule#2.  Follow Rule#1