By Andrés Muñoz 

If every time someone asks you a question and you try to say the right answer, your entire life is a test. And when did you have the most anxiety in grammar school and high school? On Test Day. Your entire life becomes this test!” -Kanye West

And so, 2022 is peeking around the corner. Yes, this year was better than the blundering mess of 2020, but as always, many elements in life shift our perspectives and viewpoints. Sometimes we’re still reeling from a loss, a shock or a traumatic experience that hasn’t allowed us to truly let go and be free. Other times, we are so stuck looking for an answer to everything that we forget to truly live the moment and appreciate our time on this Earth.

Why not try to stop answering questions and instead live in the moment, be who you are and enjoy what the universe offers you? These five important books will teach you valuable lessons on awareness and about living in the moment. 

Solve for Happy: Engineering your Path to Joy By Mo Gawdat

Mohammad “Mo” Gawdat is an engineer and entrepreneur who, in 2001, reached a point in his life where he wasn’t happy, despite being successful. True to his engineering roots, he took a methodical approach alongside his son Ali, with the ultimate goal of achieving happiness. He tested all the facts that he could analyze and applied logic to such an extent that he discovered an equation for permanent happiness. 

He later rose through the ranks of software companies until he was the chief business officer at Google X, Google’s R&D division. Tragedy struck Mo in 2014 when Ali passed away due to an unforeseen medical complication. He was forced to apply his and his son’s findings to find happiness when he felt every light in his life had gone out. Solve for Happy is a guide on dealing with disappointment and embracing some ultimate truths for happiness. 

The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World By Amit Goswami

Was Mo’s approach too rigid? In this book, theoretical physicist Dr Amit Goswami states that everything around us… the screen you’re reading, your body, everything is not made of matter. Matter is no longer the building block of everything; consciousness is.

The Self-Aware Universe provides an understandable explanation of quantum physics allowing us to find intersections between science and religion, our connection with the universe we live in and its connection to us. 

The Book Of Questions By Gregory Stock

Remember those pressing questions you were focusing on earlier? Perhaps our lack of awareness stems not from not knowing them but from not asking the right questions instead. In The Book of Questions, American biophysicist Dr Gregory Stock provides us with a list of over 200 questions to open our perception towards technology, the universe, moral quandaries, and, most importantly, ourselves. Here’s one taken directly from the book: 

If you learned you were going to die in a few days, what regrets would you have? Which of them could you resolve if you were given another 5 years? Do you try to envision your future and live now as you think you’ll one day wish you had?

This is the tip of the iceberg. May these questions provide you with insights that will help you discover your true self!

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life By Amy E Herman

Sometimes we’re not looking where we need to look. Art historian Amy Herman has made a career of teaching people how to look for the real details. A modern-day Sherlock, she uses her powers of observation to teach people how to process visual information. She has helped doctors, policemen, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies enhance how they interpret visual information and communicate it effectively. 

Visual Intelligence will enable you to spot things others miss, ground you and help you live and observe the present. 

The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment By Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle’s guide to living in the moment has sold millions of copies and been translated to over 30 languages. In it, he takes references from many of the world’s main religions and creates a system so people can live in the moment. A key tenet of The Power of Now is that you can’t fully control your life. Attempting to do it is a mere illusion that ultimately causes more pain than anything else. 

Furthermore, the book also focuses on anchoring techniques that will keep you in the present, like refraining from multitasking or exploring nature. 

We all have our own ways of staying on top of what is around us. This reading list looks at the scientific, the metaphysical, and the religious and aims to provide everyone with at least one way of staying in the now. May you be happy after reading these books, but most of all, be aware!