by Fredrik Backman

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“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

I don’t remember how I came to know about this book; it was my Goodreads feed or one of Bill Gates’ recommendations. I’m glad that I picked up the book because it offered me new perspectives. The story is fictional, but it was as if I was living in it. Of course, not as Ove, the old man (I’m only 21 xD) but as someone who’s watching over them. I also got to know a little about the Swedish automobile industry in addition to various other things. Truly an eye-opener in many senses.

Ove is a man who prides himself on being able to do things on his own. Starting from fixing broken roofs and floors to the old car that broke down, Ove could fix them all himself. This part was hilarious to me because many of us (the ones who pursue engineering) solely focus on getting the highest package (which is more often than not in software) that only a few are expert engineers (in the real sense of the word) by the end of our degree. But, Ove knew how to fix things and make them work.

It is heartbreaking when you lose someone, or they leave you for good. Even the smallest of things will continuously remind you of them. A dear friend once told me that it’s not possible to un-love someone. I mocked her when she said to me that, but now I think it is true. While people are with us, we should try and do everything we can to make them feel at ease. We can do nothing when they leave us for whatever reason, but we can always try to do the right thing. After all, we are remembered because of our deeds (good or bad).

The novel also preaches the idea that you will reach your goal sooner or later if you are pre-destined for it, no matter what path you take to achieve it. I think this is a bit of an over-statement. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought. No matter the adversity, if you try hard enough, you can overcome it and get to the place you want to regardless of the so-called destiny.

All roads lead to something you were always predestined to do.

That said, you need to pick which battles you wish to fight. After all, you only have one death. You cannot determine every fight and expect to come out victorious. One must choose a few causes that matter to them the most. Indeed many of us are optimistic, but it is essential to be realistic. We should analyze situations rationally and try to come to a sensible solution.

It is difficult to admit that one is wrong. Particularly when one has been wrong for a very long time.

‘Loving someone is like moving into a house,’ Sonja used to say. ‘At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies.’

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of people. Those who understand how extremely useful white cables can be, and those who don’t.

Human beings know as soon as they are born that their time here is limited and hence one must try to live one’s life to the fullest. Think about this for a minute. You know that death is inevitable and yet you wake up every day, motivated to make the best use of the day. Something that is so inevitable is your constant source of motivation to do better and live a fuller life.

So many of us take so many things for granted. We are always worried about what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. More often than not, most of us just have a breakdown at some point in our lives. It is as if we have stopped living in the present and are continuing our lives only for the better times that are in the future.

Life is a curious thing. No?

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