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3 Books With Neil Pasricha

Jul 28, 2022

Mohsin Hamid is one of the greatest writers of this generation.


He was born in 1971 in Lahore, Pakistan before moving to California at age 3 while his dad did a doctorate at Stanford. At age 9, in 1980, he moved back to Pakistan and remained there until he was 18 when he came back to the US to go to Princeton. He graduated summa cum laude and studied under novelists Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates.

Mohsin's first novel, Moth Smoke (2000), told the story of an ex-banker and heroin addict in contemporary Lahore. His second, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), told the tale of a Pakistani man’s abandonment of his high-flying life in New York. (This was my first Mohsin Hamid book and I can't recommend it enough.) His third novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), is my favorite -- it's a fascinating exploration of urbanization and global economic transformation ... wrapped in the guise of a self-help book ... written in the second person. An incredible feat. His fourth novel, Exit West (2017), his most popular, follows refugees escaping from their war-torn home through a chain of mysterious doors to foreign lands. And his fifth novel, The Last White Man, comes out on August 2, 2022 .... in just a few days.

Mohsin's books have been published in over 40 languages, sold millions of copies, been turned into movies, and been shortlisted for the Pen / Hemingway Prize and Man Booker Prize multiple times. He has been named one of the world’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine and his writing regularly appears in, no big deal, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and the Paris Review.


Mohsin lives with his wife Zahra and their children in Lahore, Pakistan, where he joins us from today for our 3 Books conversation.


We discuss: the history of Pakistan and Lahore, storytelling as an antidote to nostalgia, transmuting fear into sadness, teaching children about death, what he learned from Toni Morrison as a teacher, the power of reading out loud, writing masterclass tips, Mohsin’s three most formative books, and much, much more.


Let’s flip the page into Chapter 108 now…


What You'll Learn:

  • What is the history of Lahore?

  • What are Lahoris like?

  • What explains our need for nostalgia?

  • What does storytelling allow us to do?

  • What is it like to be a novelist?

  • Why are self-help books oxymorons?

  • Why is grappling with death so important?

  • What are the ethical considerations of immortality?

  • What is it like to have Toni Morrisson as a mentor?

  • Why is it so important to read what we write out loud?

  • How much should we edit our writing?

  • Why is the search for truth so difficult in today’s world?

  • How do you balance writing and a job? 

  • Why is engaging with the world so important for writers?


You can find show notes and more information by clicking here:


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3 Books is a completely insane and totally epic 15-year-long quest to uncover and discuss the 1000 most formative books in the world. Each chapter discusses the 3 most formative books of one of the world's most inspiring people. Sample guests include: Brené Brown, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, Angie Thomas, Cheryl Strayed, Rich Roll, Soyoung the Variety Store Owner, Derek the Hype Man, Kevin the Bookseller, Vishwas the Uber Driver, Roxane Gay, David Mitchell, Vivek Murthy, Mark Manson, Seth Godin, Judy Blume and Quentin Tarantino. 3 Books is published on the lunar calendar with each of the 333 chapters dropped on the exact minute of every single new moon and every single full moon all the way up to 5:21 am on September 1, 2031. 3 Books is an Apple "Best Of" award-winning show and is 100% non-profit with no ads, no sponsors, no commercials, and no interruptions. 3 Books has 3 clubs including the End of the Podcast Club, the Cover to Cover Club, and the Secret Club, which operates entirely through the mail and is only accessible by calling 1-833-READ-A-LOT. Each chapter is hosted by Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome, The Happiness Equation, Two-Minute Mornings, etc. For more info check out: