“Books taught me that creativity can be nurtured by habit.”

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Growing up, Mehavarshni Sreethar, Corporate Marketing Specialist at Freshworks, has always loved her foray into the world of books—the world of imagination and surrealness where a wishing chair can transport you to a magical place with elves and toys. With two library memberships, she would read eleven books every week. But as with everyone else, college and work life put a pause on her reading habits. On a Zoom call for Freshworks Book Circle, she discusses her diverse interest in books—Enid Blyton, Goosebumps, comic books, books about business, management, and design, and encyclopedias from DK—and how the lockdown has helped her get back to the world of reading. 

What are you currently reading?

I am reading three books at the moment. The first is The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway. The amount of data and knowledge that this book encompasses and delivers with a very simple writing style has me hooked. 

The second is Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback. I chanced upon this masterpiece from an article about how Pixar fostered an innovative work culture. The book dwells on how efficient leadership can create innovative teams with simple and effective team activities. 

The third is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. This book dwells on the various elements of dysfunction that every team in the world irrespective of the industry faces. And the five dysfunctions mentioned in the book are very real and can be very damaging to a company. The book details mechanisms to recognize and tackle these dysfunctions. This book is a must-read for every aspiring leader.

What kinds of books do you read?

I mostly read a lot of nonfiction books related to management, Economics, and design. 

Physical books or e-books?

I prefer physical books when I’m not traveling, and ebooks and audiobooks when I’m traveling.

What are some books that have inspired you? 

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. This book has helped me realize that creativity does not always have to be inherent. It can be structured and created from a personal process, by habit. I ended up creating my own personal process whenever I am looking for new ideas and interesting things to work on. 

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector  Garcia. In a roundabout way, Ikigai taught me to be grateful for the things I have in my life, for having a purpose in life. I actually started saying ‘arigato’ in my mind every time I have received happiness in my personal or professional life to thank the universe for making my life’s purpose a little better.

Name some books from your childhood that have influenced you.

The Harry Potter series has had a lot of influence on me growing up. I also loved the Adventures of the Wishing-Chair and Naughty Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton. 

What are your favorite books of all time?

  Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. 

What is your favorite quote?

Albus Dumbledore’s words to Harry in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have always resonated with me: “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”       

 I also love this quote from Miralles and Garcia’s Ikigai: “Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness.”

What’s next on your reading list?

I am looking forward to reading these books in 2021:

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble by Daniel Lyons

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Elon Musk: A Biography of Billionaire Entrepreneur Elon Musk by Robert Hanson

Principles by Ray Dalio

Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius by Fritjof Capra

However, I am weary of reading pledges. I believe that they build on the pressure and make it difficult to continue enjoying what you’re reading. 


Cover design: Vignesh Rajan