Mindset – a book I’m reading now.

Buying books and visiting libraries in Seattle:

My love for travel and family is almost equal. Love to merge the two by visiting my family in the States as often as I can. Naturally, being with my family is my biggest motive, but after that is the thrill of books. Just love it. Can’t get over the fact that in an American library, you can borrow ninety nine books at a time!

So, it is like bringing a treasure of knowledge with me on my return.  So, I buy the books I can, and read as many as possible. (Yes, I read about how to take care of elderly parents there!) Yes, I’ve had kindle, but the thrill of a book in my hands cannot be beaten yet. That is why I’m into publishing now.

I got all these books and magazines last time. It was a random selection. How was I to know, I had brought a blockbuster book Mindset quite by accident?

Choosing to read from Mindset at last Writer’s Meet-up:

Last week, during our Writers’ Meet up at Behbud by my friend Shabnam Riaz of Arts and Literary Guild, I read from two of my favorite author’s books. One was Carol S. Dweck’s Mindset, and  Allama Iqbal’s  Message from the East, which is my next upcoming publication. We usually, read from our own work, but I felt that it was important to read out from some established authors too.

From the book Mindset, I had selected a portion which was Chapter 6: Relationships: Mindsets in love (or not). As I read, I could feel the intense interest of the group. Why not? After all it was a topic on an experience which I’m sure everyone has been through; being let down by one’s loved one, and one’s reaction to this situation. The author had conducted research on one hundred persons who had undergone tragic rejections and had been  let down by their loved ones. They found out that the response to this situation was different depending on whether they belonged to the ‘fixed mindset’ or the ‘growth mindset’.

Fixed mindset:

The fixed mindset personalities were focused on the ‘revenge is sweet’ theory, who would rather get on for the rest of their lives focused on revenge and making the person who rejected, ‘pay for it’ by making him or her as unhappy and miserable as possible.

Growth mindset:

On the other hand, the ones with the ‘growth mindset’ wanted to just get on with their own lives, wishing the person who rejected, every blessing, as they wished for themselves. It was the ‘live, and let live’ theory.

Needless to add, the growth mindset is the winner mindset.

If you are interested to read more,  Carol S. Dweck’s book Mindset is available on YouTube here.


As I searched YouTube, I found Carol Dweck telling us about her book:


So, basically it is a study of people belonging to two types of Mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. In Pakistan, do we know all about these types of mindsets. Most of our culture is literally built around fixed mindsets!

Whereas, every religion and individual who is successful have the growth mindset, which is displayed by their outlook in life.

So, let me say that the present culture of Pakistan is based on fixed mindset mostly. Whereas we’ve got to turn it into the growth mindset, or else!  – We can spend another century with this same ‘culture’. Or, we can choose to live with the growth mindset and turn the tables in our favor.


Here is a video which summarizes the Growth Mindset:


I’m sure now you know why I love reading so much. Those of you who cannot have the time to do so, please do watch these videos.

Stay blessed with the best authors’ work at your fingertips!

We all read from our work on the mobile phone, or we like to record the other person’s reading, that is why we all are holding phones. 🙂


The Reading Session at National Book Festival, 2018

 A personal point of view as I was participating for the first time.


Nazar Abbas talking about his book. His daughter Nazish read from his book afterwards.

National Book Foundation is an organization which is purely book based and encourages writers and reading throughout the year. Once a year they hold this festival.


After Nigar Nazar had taken me to the LLF (Lahore Literary Festival), she asked her friend Afshan if she would consider me too for the reading session. So, my name was put in for NBF – the National Book Festival – in Islamabad.  We enjoy each other’s pursuits and she has roped me into several of her projects.

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Lahore Literary Festival 2018 and ….

Who says no one reads in Pakistan?!


Really don’t want to deprive you of some interesting things that I’ve been up to. Specially, because these could have some value in your life too, wherever you are, and whatever you do. Sometimes, some very unexpected things happen, and you let them happen, and you wonder how you hadn’t even considered them earlier!

Somehow, life takes you to what is really needed by you. Because, it was meant to happen, I was meant to be at the LLF.

It was Nigar Nazar my cartoonist friend who took me to Lahore with her.

She said, “You are the writer, publisher, and you aren’t going! You better go with me tomorrow, I’ll book the seats and take you along.” It was ten pm the previous night at a mehndi function. We could barely understand each other over the blast of the music.

Continue reading “Lahore Literary Festival 2018 and ….”

One’s book selection is personal.

Let me help you choose what to read


A lovely girl named Aneeza Huma wrote to my daughter Nadiya, ‘just came across your blog. I’m so inspired by your mother. God bless her.

I know she is a good writer and I really want her to suggest some good books to me. ‘



 I’m so thrilled that I’m happily writing this blog for you Aneeza, even though I’m so committed right now.

The fact is that I’ve found it very hard to read a book suggested by someone else. But, sometimes it does work. The suggestion can be good if that person is in sync with you. Just as Rubina my friend suggested ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. What a book! – Just loved it. So, she knew me and the book. That suggestion worked. But it is only so because my friend knew me, and what I liked to read. In your case, I don’t know what you like. Still, I’ll share some thoughts on books with you.

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Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.

My dream come true!


So, finally when my book launch took place I realized it happened exactly the way I wanted it. A big ‘thank You’ to my Allah Mian  – who knew, and miraculously got it done.

I mean, to have a book launch is tough enough. Then a Solo Painting’s Exhibition is also difficult. Then to have both together is even tougher.  No wonder, every organization I asked, would just find reasons to push me out of their domain. (They did this by asking me for a huge amount.) So naturally, I was very upset.

It was a lunch meeting with my friend Aisha, at Juicy Gossip just over a week ago, when I realized nothing was working.  The phone rang: Aania asked me, ‘how are things going?’


‘I’m done with all this.’ I told her feeling extremely upset and hurt. ‘ I’ll just have a virtual book launch.’ She is member of our Generation Rahi art group and is the one who arranges our annual group painting exhibitions, and other events. She is a good friend and a great artist too. Continue reading “Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.”

How the ‘powerful weekly plan’ happened


The last blog on Powerful weekly plan.  received a good response. Yes, I’ve used the weekly plan for many years, especially it took me through tough times. I found it extremely effective.

You must be wondering how I got to it? Well, actually it’s an amalgamation of several theories, and then making some adaptations to make a good fit for today’s life style. Having lived through a time when you either bought a book or went to the library for any solution of problem. You all have had it much easier today. Still, the problems of managing one’s week is even more vital now, so you can satisfy all your needs from every important point of view.

I’m a big reader, and  while reading  I  try to incorporate the stuff into my life. Whatever clicks. Anything that makes sense. Then I give it a little time, analyze it and make amendments. So, those of you who have read the Stephen R. Covey’s block buster book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you would remember the ‘weekly plan’ in it.


619ugw6C46L._AC_US218_So, I tried it. But then I realized, it is literally impossible in Pakistan. Hardly anything is streamlined here, if you are well organized, then no one else is, so really, it doesn’t work. But then even when it does work, there are issues in applying it in our country. Here, we do not put our parents in homes, nor do we put our children in day care. So, we take those responsibilities very seriously too. So, when he wrote about the roles in life, that really clicked.

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Allama Iqbal’s Tulip of Sinai

 Shireen Studio’s first book is published! – My friend tells me, “Now the real work starts!”

The most EXCITING thing in my life is the printing of my first publication: yes, Allama Iqbal’s Tulip of Sinai, illustrated and published by Shireen Gheba Najib.  It contains the first two poems from Iqbal’s Persian book ‘Message from the East’ (Payam-e-Mash19420503_1583480358351917_8946659070308652962_nriq).

Don’t get scared, its easy reading in English. You will find that your heart will skip a beat several times as you go through it, as mine did. There is that ‘eureka’ moment, when you say, “Hey, that’s what I feel too!”

Imagine, Iqbal published this work when he was 46 years old. The work was obviously done in the preceding years – most probably during the later thirties and early forties.

I’m so excited, because Muhammad Qasim of Printo Graphics, did a great job of it. The quality of printing is just as I wanted.


All the time, people were telling me “you are being rooked!” I’d reply,

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Allama Iqbal and  I

(an article of mine printed on February 7th, 1997 in The News:)

Iqbal’s poetry gives purpose to one’s life. Shireen Najib discovers self after reading the English translations of the poet of the East.

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I was never touched by Iqbal’s poetry. – Simply because I never understood it. No English medium person can. Our education system has ensured that!

selected PM 1.jpgBut what intrigued me most was …. the way Iqbal’s poetry affected my father. My otherwise martial father, a true Piffer , would be totally ignited by the poetry of Iqbal. Hearing a verse would send him into a trance. I too would try to feel the power of this poetry, and meekly ask:

“Daddy, what does Khirad mean?” He would look at me from far away. Then focus on me. And all he saw was my ignorance. This would send him into a fury.

“You do not know the meaning of khirad? What kind of Urdu do they teach you? How can you be so ignorant??!!”  In all this process of post-mortem of teaching of Urdu in English medium schools in Pakistan … Iqbal would be left far behind ….

Time passed. I was not much affected by the lack of understanding of Iqbal. I had plenty else to do. There was my art, my studies, my friends, my writing, my husband, home, and time consuming children. Where did I have the time for Iqbal?!!

In any case… my father always said “In order to understand Iqbal, you have to have complete knowledge of religion (and not only your own,) Urdu, Arabic, and some Persian, history, and geography.”

Now, tell me, where would I get the time to start learning all those other subjects before I got near Iqbal? Since it was impossible, I forgot all about it.

But there was always something missing in life.


I could not pin it down. I could not understand it. You could call it an in-completeness, a lack of satisfaction, a feeling of being all alone, or a feeling of deprivation. Like a ship without anchor in the storm of life. Sometimes I drifted in one direction, sometimes in another. Restless. Furious. Frustrated. I felt the fire of emotions I felt alone in my quest for understand of myself and my fellow human beings.

Continue reading “Allama Iqbal and  I”