Monthly Archives: August 2012

Week 21: The Book this Week is: Small Wonder the making of nano

So I missed another week (week 20) and I just managed to start the book this week. I will soon try to cover up this deficit.

Getting back to the book, the book this week is “Small Wonder the making of the nano” by Philip Chacko, Christabelle Noronha and Sujata Agarwal.

Now I think most of us know about the $2500 car or Rupee 1 Lac car that Tata Motors came out with in the year 2009.

It is said that it was a dream of Mr. Ratan Tata to build an affordable car for the Indian middle class that is safe and reliable and comes within a 1 Lac.

Now there is a small story to the 1 Lac price tag that I have heard (not sure how true it is) but it is said that  Ratan Tata mentioned once after a conference that he would like to build a cheap car for Indian middle class which caters to a family of 4. After the conference reporters started asking different questions, one of the question was “how cheap?” Ratan Tata didn’t give any figure and the reported questioned again, cheap as in 1 Lac and Mr. Tata replied why not if possible.The next day newspaper headline was “Ratan Tata promises to build a 1 Lac car”. And that is how Tata Motors was committed to 1 Lac (not exactly but yes in one way).

I wanted to read this book long back but never managed to get to it, last week at Landmarks sale I saw a few books and picked up this one too. Came up pretty cheap.

Now the book obviously contains the story of making of nano from vision to a dream come true. And I am looking forward to completing this soon.

While I do that, you too grab a book and read. It was disheartening to see that book shops in my city are getting closed down or shrinking. We need more and more patrons to support the brick and mortar bookstores too. So help out by buying more books, its a win-win situation for both.

Till next time Happy Reading!

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Review: Chasing the Monsoon

The Monsoon is coming to an end in this part of the world and the book this week “Chasing the Monsoon” already ended.

Now as I mentioned earlier I have a great fascination for Monsoon and its the time of the year I eagerly wait for. And when it rains it is heaven on earth.

In this book “Chasing the Monsoon” by Alexander Frater, the writer displays his fascination for Monsoon. How a photo of Cherrapunji keeps him reminding of Monsoon and the events that lead to him actually ‘chasing the monsoon’ in India from the point of its origin in Kerala to Cherrapunji.

The book is a decent read and brings out the Monsoon in India in a decent manner but overall I was dissatisfied with it. Mr. Frater did good job in elaborating the technicalities of Monsoon in India but failed to really elaborate the actual Monsoon in India.

At the end of the book you feel you didn’t get a good Monsoon, a drizzle may be.

He starts chasing the Monsoon from Kerala from where he goes to Mumbai and then Delhi and lastly to Shillong and Cherrapunji (en route Calcutta), but the Monsoon is not restricted in India to these places and the vibrancy, mood and elation of people is not caught well by the writer.

Chasing the Monsoon is such a great title and the cover picture on the book is great (its copyrighted to Lonely Planet) too and I had such high hopes that I wanted to get soaked in the Monsoon sitting at home while reading this book but it wasn’t to be.

The author’s experiences keeps on oscillating between Indian Monsoon and his grandfather’s memories at Paama Island  and at one point it really gets boring as you want to see the main picture i.e. Indian Monsoon whereas his memories of the past creates distraction and most of the time they are not much related with the Monsoon.

A large part of the book is eaten up in explaining how the author gets the permission to visit Cherrapunji struggling through Indian bureaucracy and red-tape. In all honesty we were not interested in that Mr. Frater.

The book do have some good pieces such as when the author  starts his journey from Kerala, the explanation of how Kerala works and how important is Monsoon for people out there and his piece about the first burst and eager people waiting on the Kovalam beach side for the first Monsoon showers.

There is so much to Monsoon in India that volumes and volumes can be written on it and yet you will not get satisfied. From the perspective of a Britisher this could be a good story but we Indians would have wanted much more when some one was actually ‘chasing the monsoon’.

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Week 19: The book this week is Chasing the Monsoon

The book that I am pouring (literally) into right now is “Chasing the Monsoon” by Alexander Frater.

People who know me know my love for Monsoon and the book title is so refreshing and slightly agonizing. It has always been one of my desires to chase the monsoon from the point it enters Kerala and travel with it in the entire country.

Indian Monsoon is a story that has many colors and many small stories behind it and while starting this book I was wondering why I haven’t seen many books on this topic.

This book came as a suggestion from my library and the title itself told me that I want to be reading this book and so I have it now.

I have covered almost half of the book and should be ready for the review by the weekend.

Till that time, enjoy the Monsoon (if it’s there in your area too) and Happy Reading!

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Review: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The book I completed for last week (Week 18) was the one I wanted to read for a long time and was a very short one. The book was “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach.

Now the world is not fair and sometimes things that you have been waiting for a long period do not turn out what you expect them to be. As many of you I too have heard some good things about this book and so I poured into it.

But it didn’t live to the expectation and I thought was pretty Ordinary. The book talks more about individualism where the Seagull Jonathan thinks he is special and meant for flying rather than eating and so becomes an outcast and learns to fly and experience the things that he might not have done living in the flock.

Now there is no issue in portraying that following your dreams is good but then the book fails to make that impression, it mocks the fact that being Ordinary is also not a crime. Trying to understand the society around you and sustaining yourself among them also takes courage and conviction.

And not all Seagulls are meant to be fly. If they were than they wouldn’t have been born Seagulls.

The good part was book was pretty short 127 pages with lot of pictures in between (pictures were irrelevant I thought and in paperback they appear way too bad).

Hopefully the next book I read would help me get over this disappointment.

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Review: The Great Indian Novel

OMG!! OMFG!!!!! YEAA!!! I want to shout like those little girls with purple hair, rainbow-colored nails and short skirts, when they see Justin Bieber on stage. I have those tears in my eyes which that elusive girl has when she is touched by Bieber (if she was kissed, she would have fainted, so just touched).

That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now after finishing the book this week (actually of last week) ”The Great Indian Novel” by Shashi Tharoor.

My love and respect for this man (Shashi Tharoor) has increased  by 100 notches. What he is written in the book is pure bliss. As Khushwant Singh rightly puts it “Perhaps the best work of fiction written by an Indian”.

The surprising thing is that this book was published somewhere around 1989 and I never heard about this book and it was just because of the author I picked up this book.

The book narrates the story of India’s Independence where characters are taken up from the epic Mahabharata, Gandhi is portrayed as Bhishm, Nehru as Dhritrashtra, Pandu as Bose, so on so forth. The main story starts from Hastinapur and delves in to the life of each character. The author has equated each pre-Independence and post Independence character with one in the Mahabharata. The story starts with Ved Vyas dictating the Great Indian Novel to none other than Ganesha (recommended by Brahma). The events of British Raj, the Satyagrah, the Quit India movement, the Partition, the Post Independence India has been beautifully constructed in the backdrop of Mahabharata. Where the author explores the greatness of this country and it’s people in the process he also takes a dig at these characters and their beliefs.

Now this is by no means a simple task, this simply shows how learned the author is, it shows his mastery over the subjects he is writing about and even after writing it he dismisses that that is how the history was by saying that it was just as how he saw the history and not necessarily the right way the history should be portrayed.

I know my country’s history as much as was taught in the schools or seen in documentaries and movies, the book has a totally different take on it and the intertwining of the events of British India/Post Independence India and the events of Mahabharata is mind-blowing.

Forget writing the book (they say execution is the easiest part), thinking and developing such a concept itself requires a genius mind, which I always believed Mr. Tharoor has.

One of the minor reasons that I could finish the book in almost 1.5 weeks was the length of the book, the major reason was I didn’t want the book to finish (ever) and then I wanted it to finish too.

This is a top-notch read for all the serious readers, it’s a book for a lifetime. My only regret it I am reading this book so late (but then happy about reading it).

Kudos to Mr. Shashi Tharoor for writing such a brilliant book. People like him make this great nation great.

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Week 17: The book this week is The Great Indian Novel

Shashi Tharoor is one politician/ statesman that I admire. Whatever idiotic cattle class, twitter or IPL controversy he was caught in hasn’t changed my view about him at least. Long back I wrote an article about Mr. Tharoor in my other blog titled “The Elephant, The Tiger, The Cell Phone, and The Indian Elections“. I have read many of his articles, listened to him speak many a times but unfortunately haven’t read any of his books. So when I saw this book in the library so I had to take it off the shelf.

So that’s the book for this week  “The Great Indian Novel” by Shashi Tharoor.

I have already read a few pages and though the book is thick (450 odd pages) and in paperback the font size is very small (like the classics) , I have liked the beginning few pages.

So looking to complete the book by the weekend and I promised myself to read all the books by Mr. Tharoor. It’s a privilege to have someone like him in our political class (although he still has to learn a lot to survive in Indian politics).

So will see you all with the review. Till then Happy Reading!

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Review: The $100 Startup

This review is coming way late than even as per my expectations, as I finished all the pages but last 40 and for those 40 odd pages it took me a long time due to some or the other work coming up.

So the book this week was “The $100 Startup – Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future” by Chris Guillebeau.

In short the book is great for an ordinary person who is thinking of starting his own business or has thought of doing it in the past, the book gives good enough reasons to start and start right now.

As the title suggests the book is about starting up your own business, being an entrepreneur and the author insists whatever you need to get started, you probably already have. He elaborates that in today’s world it doesn’t take a lot of money to start your own business. You need to have a good idea which provides value to the client and off you go.

The first $1.26 is the toughest but after that things fall into place and after a while things happen in an auto-pilot mode. The book takes you through different phases of business and different scenarios, how to handle failure, how to do product launches, etc.

Some of the stories in the book are real good and you can relate to them. I do not have a personal favorite but the story in the end (appendix I think) regarding a tuk-tuk driver in Cambodia who applies innovative methods like advertising on his vehicle, giving clients his cell number to reach anytime, etc. was the best one for me as it really showcased that business doesn’t mean technology and gizmos and business sense is not restricted to learned, high degree holders with access to internet and the capital. Sometimes your constraints can act as catalyst towards innovation.

The one thing that I thought missing was more stories from around the world. The book relates most of the stories from United States and in US the business scenario is completely different, people have access to good infrastructure, internet is considered to be a right rather than a privilege. This is totally different from rest of the world where people have to struggle with Infrastructure, lack of market access, uneducated customers, shortage of capital, slow or no internet at all and many other basic issues.

Although the author did mention a couple of stories from around the world but overall I felt the book catered more towards US audience. Nevertheless I do agree some principles are universal and they can be applied anywhere across the world.

I liked the fact most that so many stories, so many lessons, so many experiences that the author had to share were done in a beautiful manner. Everything key points, stories, learning, etc are arranged in an excellent, user friendly manner. The book is written in such a lucid manner that anyone and everyone will enjoy it and after putting down the book or at some point during the book, would think  I about starting his own business.

But as I said in my earlier article (last week) not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur and moreover not everyone needs to become an entrepreneur. But still you can take some good things from this book.

I liked Chris Guillebeau’s work and would look forward to his future works.

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