Book Review - My Journey – Transforming Dreams into Actions – APJ Abdul Kalam

My Journey – Transforming Dreams into Actions is a memoir by Dr APJ Abdul kalam who was one of India’s top notch scientist and later became the most popular President of India. He is known as the Missile man of india and also fondly called the People’s President.

In this short book of 12 chapters that President Kalam has written in a conversational manner, he gives some highlights of his life journey and the lessons that he has drawn from them. He speaks about the influence of various people on his life, especially, his father, his mother, his sister, his mentor and brother-in-law, his mentors and colleagues at work and shares some of his failures and successes.

Several things really stayed with me after reading this book. 

The first is the kind of religious harmony that was pervading in small town Rameswaram. The meeting of the heads of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, as described by kalam, really paved the way for this.

The second thing that I noticed is that Kalam was in every stage of his life guided by mentors. Be it when he was in school, or in college or during his work life. And this book infact is a tribute of gratitude that he has given to all his mentors.

There are several stories which stick with me, be it how his father’s boat was built and how it was lost to the storm, or how Kalam’s sister Zohra, selflessly mortgaged her jewellery to fund the college fees for kalam.

He also pays rich tribute to Dr Vikram Sarabhai who was his boss and mentor. He admires him as a great leader. The basic qualities that Dr Sarabhai had were:
  • ·         He was always ready to listen
  • ·         He had the ability to think creatively
  • ·         He had an ability to build teams
  • ·        Ability to look beyond failures

     Overall this book is a quick and easy read. Since it is a memoir, it does not tax ones mind or gives new challenging concepts. It is an inspirational book, not only to know how someone from a small town can rise to become the President of India, but also provides ample of opportunities to young adults who may not be aware of the different avenues in science and technology.

Re-awaken The Giant Within - Book Review

Re-awaken the giant within is a self help book by Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. In the foreword to this book, Tony Robbins recounts his low days in life and contrasts it with the high days, 12 years after he decided to change his own life. He says, he harnessed a principle called the concentration of power. When we focus all our resources in mastering a single area of our life, when we concentrate our power, nothing is impossible. We can then create dramatic changes and improve our life.

Some quotes that I liked from this book:
Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year—and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
Whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream.
Live your life intentionally instead of going with the flow
Most powerful way to shape our lives is to get ourselves to take action
Emotion is created by motion
In your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped
Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear

As per the Author, for any lasting personal change, the following is needed:
1.            Raise your standards - Demand more from yourself by setting tough goals.
2.            Change your limiting beliefs and your belief systems.
3.            Change your strategy. Ex. Find a role model who is doing what you want. Follow them.

Many people know what to do. Few do what they know. The key is to take action!

Master the following 5 areas of life for lasting changes:
1.   Emotional:    Master your emotions to achieve your highest potential
2.   Physical:       Take control of your physical health so that you look and feel good;
3.   Relationship: Create quality relationships — first with yourself, then with others
4.    Financial:     Create financial abundance.
5.    Time:           Make time your ally


Three decisions that you make every moment of your life control your destiny.

1.            Your decisions about what to focus on.
2.            Your decisions about what things mean to you.
3.            Your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.

A story from Anthony Robbin’s life:
I became an excellent public speaker because, rather than once a week, I booked myself to speak three times a day to anyone who would listen. While others in my organization had forty-eight speaking engagements a year, I would have a similar number within two weeks. Within a month, I’d have two years of experience. And within a year, I’d have a decade’s worth of growth. My associates talked about how “lucky” I was to have been born with such an “innate” talent. I tried to tell them what I’m telling you now: mastery takes as long as you want it to take. By the way, were all of my speeches great? Far from it! But I did make sure that I learned from every experience and that I somehow improved until very soon I could enter a room of any size and be able to reach people from virtually all walks of life.


The most important lesson we learn in life is what creates pain for us and what creates pleasure. This lesson is different for each of us and, therefore, so is our behaviors. In order for a change to last, we must link pain to our old behavior and pleasure to our new behavior, and condition it until it’s consistent. The truth is that we can learn to condition our minds, bodies, and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose. By changing what we link pain and pleasure to, we will instantly change our behaviors. What you link pain and pleasure to will shape your destiny.


Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.

Two women turn seventy years old, yet each takes a different meaning from the event. One “knows” that her life is coming to an end. To her, seven decades of living mean that her body must be breaking down and she’d better start winding up her affairs. The other woman decides that what a person is capable of at any age depends upon her belief, and sets a higher standard for herself. She decides that mountain climbing might be a good sport to begin at the age of seventy. For the next twenty-five years she devotes herself to this new adventure in mastery, scaling some of the highest peaks in the world, until, in her nineties, Hulda Crooks becomes the oldest woman to ascend Mount Fuji

These are, as per Tony Robbins, the good emotions that one needs to cultivate to lead a successful life!
  • ·         Love & Warmth
  • ·         Appreciation & Gratitude
  • ·         Curiosity
  • ·         Excitement & Passion
  • ·         Determination
  • ·         Flexibility
  • ·         Confidence
  • ·         Cheerfulness
  • ·         Vitality
  • ·         Contribution - The secret to living is giving

Various Challenges and exercises available in the book:
  • ·         CHALLENGE: WHO AM I?

I felt that this book would be useful to folks who have already read and understood Tony Robbin’s philosophy. Although there is nothing new that he prescribes, I felt he has a way of presenting that is powerful and unique. There were some quotes that I really liked in this book. The book is also filled with exercises that are easy and fun to do. However I am not quite impressed with the manner this particular book it structured. I felt it could have been more cohesive. In some ways, there is too much material and information cramped in too less pages. It definitely needs more elaboration. Hence, I felt the focus missing.

Hacks to wake up early every day


Most of us want to wake up early. But we find it difficult to do the same. We use different methods and techniques. Some people succeed and some do not. I have been trying to wake up on or before 5:00AM every morning for the last 1 month or so. And I have been pretty successful. No matter how my day has been, the latest I woke up has been at 5:20AM. In 90% of the days, I have been waking up at 5:00AM or earlier. Here are some of the hacks that have really helped me wake up early in the morning.

If you have a strong why, the how becomes easy::

Have a reason or a purpose for waking up early. Have a very clearly defined life goal. You should believe that the goal is achievable. Then, tie up the goal to your waking up by defining recurring actions that will help achieve your goals. This will give a meaning for waking up early. Your waking up early will have a purpose. You will know exactly why you are waking up early and what exactly you have to do after you wake up. This leads to the next hack.

2. Develop a Morning Ritual::

As soon as you wake up, follow a set of activities that will contribute to your long term goals. A morning routine may consist of making your bed, preparing and drinking tea, doing meditation, practicing affirmations, visualizations, reviewing your long term goals, setting up daily goals that supports the long term goals, reading some inspirational books, going for a work out, having a good breakfast, etc. Apart from the benefits that these rituals have, they help in waking up early in an interesting way. Create a checklist with each of these rituals on a daily basis. You can use an excel spreadsheet for the same. Give 1 point to each of these rituals. Add the totals to find the daily score. Keep the score for a month. This will help you invoke the competitive spirit within you and try to score more points each day trying to better your own score.

3. Leverage Social Media::

Create a social network group in whatsapp or Facebook with like-minded people who want to wake up early. Announce your goals to this group publicly. Then support and encourage others in the group to wake up early. Other group members will also encourage you when you succeed and support you whenever you fail. You can ask any questions related to waking up, sleep and post other motivational quotes and posters to the group. Read as many inspirational articles on waking up early, it's benefits, motivational videos and other hacks to keep yourself motivated. Post your daily wake up time to this group. Ask other members to do the same. 

4. Develop a Bed Time Ritual::

A typical person needs 7-8 hours sleep every night. Plan your time to sleep accordingly.  Do  not watch television or use mobile or laptop at least for an hour before bedtime. Eat a light dinner. Make the room dark and use a mildly fragrant room freshener. Then go to sleep. While sleeping, think about the ritual that you have to complete the next morning. This will help put you to sleep quickly and you wake up early, fully rested. 

5. Be Prepared::

This is difficult. This requires consistent effort and loads of patience. You can be sure that you will not be able to achieve your goals of waking up early every day. Some days you will get up late. But don't lose heart. Introspect why you slept late and attack the cause. Try again the next day. One day it will be effortless. 

6. Set Alarm ::

Last but most important, do not forget to set up the alarm. I typically set up 2 alarms, 10 minutes apart, so that, even if I snooze it once, I will wake up the second time. 

These are some of my tips to wake up early. Your life will change if you establish this habit. This is a Keystone habit as many other good habits depends upon this one. 

All the very best for your life changing journey!