Reading Corner with Amir Iqbal

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Muhammad Amir Iqbal is author of two books “Passion” and “The Passion Hour” and a peak performance strategist. Currently, President and Cofounder of Trim-Tab Pvt. Ltd. and Founder and CEO of Passion Loop Pvt. Ltd. He tweets at @a4aamiriqbal 

What is one thing about reading that makes you want to read more and more?

I believe a fool learns from his mistakes but wise learn from others. This one thing makes me read more and more. I want to compress decades into days. Books are just like a time machine for me. I use them to go to the past and identify what mistakes I shouldn’t make and I use them to go into the future too, to find out what’s coming next.  Books help me to save my time and learn things quickly.

When it comes to genre, which one do you prefer reading the most? Why this preference?

Non-Fiction. I love it. I am a continuous student of business, human behavior, peak performance and communication. Non-fiction helps me to identify key points in less time with straight forward approach. I also read fiction for sharpening my imagination and vision.

Recall an Aha moment you had while reading. How has that changed your perspective to life?

There are many Aha moments I had over the years. But the most important one for me is when I read the line “The more you know, the more you will come to know that you don’t know anything.” This statement keeps the spirit of being a student alive in me, over the years.

If you were to re-write a book that you have read, which one would you? Why would you change it?

I read over 700 books during the last two decades of my life. Every time I read a self-help or strategic book I found that readers want to know what to do next. Readers want to know about research but also want to know about a step by step process or guide to follow in their own life. So, in my both books I make that thing happen. I create a practical tool kit that will help readers not only to learn but also to apply it in their own life. In both of my books, I pose many questions so that the reader can think about those concepts. Not only just read and pass on.

Do you have an emotional bond with any specific books? Why did you develop that?

My own two books are extremely close to my heart. I have an emotional bond with them because I had a dream to become an author since 1998. I worked for that dream for 17 years and then finally in 2015 I self-published my first book.  My two books are my art, and symbols of my passion.

Do you keep going back to any books that you have? Why? Any books(s) you have not been able to finish? Why?

There are several books I revised again and again over the years. Following are the books I love to refer to again and again because these books give me so much hope, ignite my passion, give me fresh perspectives and tools to apply in my life;

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
  • Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
  • Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
  • Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Linchpin by Seth Godin

There are countless times I put the book down because I feel bored or I feel that it’s going all over my head. But I mark down the page, write there with pencil the reason for putting that book down, write a date on that page and put it down. After a month or two I refer back to that book and try to read it again. Nine out of ten times when I pick the book again and re-read it, I find it life changing. Sometimes we need other books to read first, to understand the book at hand.

Who are your favorite writers? Any writers you think are under rated? Your favorite Pakistani writers?

I have several favorite writers. Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Peter Diamandis, Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Robert Greene, and many more. I don’t have a specific favorite Pakistani writer of this genre but I love the work of Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi for his remarkable satire and humor.

Any short stories or essays that you would like to recommend to our readers?

I want to recommend “Make good art” by Neil Gaiman, “How to earn your freedom” by Rolf Potts, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule” by Paul Graham and “Shortness of life” by Seneca.

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