Basa: Book Review March-April 2023

Another couple of months have passed and I’ve continued my reading streak with more books under my belt. These books are each quite plentiful, and I’ve been taking my time with them during my morning and evening commutes. Let’s go to my evaluation for each of them.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Unless You Learn To See

By Seth Godin

I’ve been on the lookout for marketing books because it’s my field of work (despite not having any formal education on it). This book was the most recommended so here we are.

The lessons I found here are generalized for easy application, but the steps are clear and concise. Any brand that considers the content of this book will surely see some improvements in their daily processes.

The more I flip through the pages, the more I see the problems of a certain brand. I think that the people in charge should definitely take some time to read this book and understand the lessons it imparts.

Going deeper than just specs and price, the important part is knowing how to connect with your target audience. It is about telling your brand’s message to the right people; to the people you believe your product will serve and resonate with.

The book gives some advice on how to attract them, convert them, and finally keep them. This is the marketing funnel that I’ve heard about and the book goes in depth on every step. From telling your brand’s story to delighting your customers, everything is here.

I enjoyed this book but I feel the need to reread it multiple times to take it to heart. I always keep a copy in my phone because I plan to use it as a handbook to remind me of the things that really matter in this field.

I recommend this book to people interested in the marketing field as well as those already inside but need a refresher or just some more knowledge on it.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

By Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.

After reading the book on marketing, I decided to pick this one up because I thought it was time to know how to actually influence people. I wondered if this book can get them to notice and eventually pick our product.

There is no better book than this when it comes to showing the different factors that affect a person’s decision-making process (if there is, I haven’t read it yet).

There is a fine line between influence and manipulation and this book contains lots of information and examples of both. The book covers six types of “Weapons of Influence” but first it teaches us why we need to be aware of them.

It goes in-depth with each “weapon” and shows how it works as well as citing multiple examples of these at work. Breaking down these weapons gives us an explanation of how and why they are so effective and, more importantly, how to combat against them.

This book is the result of decades of research and in our day and age, technology has made these weapons even more lethal and discreet. Now, they can even be used in tandem with each other for a more effective manipulation effect. It is no surprise why some industries are still thriving despite the blatant misuse of this power.

As someone who is impulsive and makes decisions based on emotion more often than logic, this book was a wake up call for me. Now that I know better, it’s easier to spot these techniques being used on me and I have much more knowledge on how to nullify them (should I choose to do so).

I recommend this book to anyone working in the marketing field or any field that deals with person-to-person interaction. This deep dive into how a person’s mind works is helpful for a lot of situations and is good knowledge to have in general.


Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Optimal Experience” is such a cool term. I’ve already heard the term “flow” lots of times since my youth, but this is the first time I’ve heard of the term described this way. I have felt flow in doing various activities in my life but these moments are fleeting and rare.

This book is a guide to achieving those flow states and ultimately, experiencing happiness. It is very encompassing and deals with topics such as consciousness and how our minds process information. The importance of mindfulness and focused attention are also discussed.

Aside from the deep-dive into the human psyche, the book gives us lots of examples of activities that we can get flow from. Sex and Yoga are just a couple of examples from the book. But the important takeaways here are the conditions necessary for that flow state to emerge. Once the conditions are met, any activity can lead to this optimal experience.

It’s no exaggeration when I say that my mind is chaotic. I have been reading so many self-help books to try and learn more about myself and the things that I can improve on. This book is an important read because the lessons here are very practical and there are immediate actions I can take to make my life more prone to “flow”.

I highly recommend this book to people that have been disillusioned in their daily lives. To the people that have experienced this flow state before and wish to partake of it more often, this book is for you.

Non-fiction books that help us deeper understand our human selves are a lot of fun to read, especially if they are presented in an enjoyable way that doesn’t alienate the average person. I will always be in awe of the writers that can transform these scientific facts into wonderful stories.


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

By Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

This was probably the longest book I’ve read recently. This was a tome of knowledge; very exhaustive and full of examples for each and every point made. It was written by the guy who discovered the term PTSD and is the fruit of more than 3 decades of research.

I was interested in this book because of the single line from Courage to Be Disliked which stated that “Trauma does not exist.” While the line should not be taken literally, I was curious on the real effects of trauma on a person and this book is exactly the one I needed.

The content is research-based, so you will get a lot of footnotes and links to books and studies by other competent people. But do not worry because the book itself is 95% coherent for the average person. The data was presented in an enjoyable and easy-to-read way. Despite its length, I had a good time reading through all of it.

It starts with defining trauma and where people often get it, to telling us how and why it affects our brains physically, to finally some examples of therapy and activities that we can do to manage and overcome it. From this book, I learned that trauma is rarely cured, but fortunately, most people are strong enough to live with it and recover from the symptoms.

Reading some parts of this book hit home for me and I was left wondering what kinds of trauma I experienced as a child because I don’t recall being traumatized and yet I had some of the symptoms. 😬

But then again, the book says that trauma isn’t always one big event that changes your life, but can be a series of small things that you form an unhealthy habit of coping with. Very interesting.

This is a hard book to recommend because of the subject matter and the length, but if you’re interested in maybe finding out more about yourself or understanding the reasons why some problematic people do what they do (hint: it’s a trauma from their past), then this one is for you.


The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny

By Robin S. Sharma

This book is a quick read with pretty much nothing that I haven’t read before. But I was surprised to find out that this was released back in 1996! For context, I was three years old at the time.

That means that this probably was the book where most of the concepts I’ve already read about came from and not the other way around.

Being familiar with a lot of self-help books since the pandemic, much of the lessons here are discussed even more in-depth in other books. But it is reassuring that even from way back then, they have pretty much agreed on how happiness and self-fulfillment is achieved.

This book gives the others a sense of legitimacy (by presenting the same ideas despite being an older copy).

The message of the book is good, but I don’t like the way it is presented. While I have no qualms with fictional characters and dialogs (my favorite book is in the exact same format), it is too unrealistic for me to be truly immersed. Plot and common sense-wise, it was below average for me (no one changes their mind that quick). Thankfully, it didn’t last too long for me to get bored.

Here, a hotshot lawyer sells his belongings and travels to the Himalayas to live with some monks and learn their way of life. Then he returns as a new man and shares his newfound knowledge with a younger ex-colleague on how to change their way of life. It’s pretty simple, but the lessons are worth reflecting upon and there are some practical advices that one can do to “walk this path.”

This book can stand alone as a PowerPoint presentation without all the fluff. In fact it’s more of an appetizer and a sales pitch because at the end of the book, there are so many products from the author being advertised that tackles the topic of self-improvement. USD70 for a CD set, USD95 for a subscription to their newsletter, personal coaching, etc…

It’s pretty amazing to finally read the book where all the quotes and mantras I’ve read everywhere actually came from. I’m sure there’s at least one in here that you’ve familiar with already.

The entire time I was reading this book, the phrase that came to mind was “this book walked so that the other self-help books I’ve read could run.”


These are the books that made my commute exciting for the past two months. As usual, I am still trying to read even more. I might take a break from self-help books and find some interesting fiction stories next.

Drop a recommendation in the comments if you know a book you think I should read!

Keep safe and read more!



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