400 Books, 8 Years, 20 Insights: Unpacking What Really Matters

A decade of reading, a lifetime of insights.

Yousuf Rafi


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It all started on a rainy Tuesday. I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was, standing in a musty old bookstore, the kind that looks like it’s been there since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I was there to buy a gift for a friend, but as fate would have it, I stumbled upon a book that caught my eye. The cover was nothing special, but something about it screamed, “Read me, you procrastinating potato!” So, I did.

That book was the gateway to my 400-book journey. And boy, has it been a journey filled with laughs, tears, and a lot of “Aha!” moments. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. You’re Not That Special, and That’s Okay

One of the first things I learned is that most of us aren’t as unique as we think. There’s a comforting sameness to human experiences. I’ve read stories set in ancient China, futuristic Mars, and suburban America, and guess what? People are people. We love, we lose, we dream. So, don’t stress about being “special.” Just be you, and that’s special enough.

2. The World is Both Bigger and Smaller Than You Think

Books have a way of expanding your mind and shrinking your ego simultaneously. You realize there’s so much you don’t know about the world, yet you also see that your daily problems aren’t as monumental as you thought. It’s like realizing you’re just a speck in the universe but still important enough to make a difference.

3. Self-Help Books Can Be a Trap

Oh, the self-help aisle. It’s like a candy store for the soul, but beware, it’s also a trap. After reading my 50th self-help book, I realized they all say pretty much the same thing: believe in yourself, work hard, and don’t give up. Save your money, folks. I just summarized 50 books for you.

4. Fiction Teaches Empathy Better Than Any Textbook

Want to understand people better? Read fiction. It’s like a VR simulation for empathy. You get to live a thousand lives, walk in someone else’s shoes, and see the world through different…



Yousuf Rafi

A Caffeine dependent writer who loves writing on self-help, life, happiness & motivation. To read all articles, use my affiliate link https://bit.ly/3uJutbA