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Author Archives: ajeya

About ajeya

Engineer, Blogger, Aspiring Writer, Philosopher and I'm your fan

Wake Up

Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick up the gears and go on a mission. The “Bird’s signature” ends with subtle rise in tempo, the hunter in the mind wake up and starts walking to the wild, on a mission and he can hear his footsteps making slight splashes on the stream that he has to cross, to his mission, to hunt. I wake up. Pull myself out the bed, not sure if I wanted to.

My eyes get adjusted to the ambient light. The creepy shades of tree branches vanish from the side walls. I start staring at the window blankly. Silhouette of trees start to differentiate with the overall darkness. It starts to color itself. The habit has been built,  the hue of dark violet imbue the sky while the uncertainty of the day fills me. And into the colorful life I turn my consciousness.

What does this day promise. An empty uncertainty ? A wish for more hangs in the air. Like a jacket ready to be worn, to head out onto the snowy day,  to be held together so the winds may not snatch. To keep it close to me, is it the jacket which holds me together, or is it me? Nevertheless, we make an inseparable pair. One is lifeless , other full of life, covered by the dead. The dead cells that protect the life inside. The past is not haunting, through the dead it shields the live, the alive, which gradually join the dead, making the future covered with the past. Some of the past , like the nails I clip them, file them to make them look good. Some of the dead cells are rubbed off, pulled away, far from life and washed down the drain with the shower. And some more which still clings to the new and young, sometime, very rarely fail to protect as an accidental gash splits the live and dead and the upcoming. Then some future cells are lost in bleeding, a lost future, and a hurried action by the dead to cover up what is alive, somehow resembling a shame that is to be hidden from the public, though not perfect, leaving a scar, as a mark of history, a point to remember.

With wakeful times, dreams become day-dream. Day which is repellent for dreary eyed ghosts of memory with dream that keep us alive and awake. Ready to take on challenges, come what may. Warmth of blood activating the muscles, thoughts of actions being pumped into them in preparation. There is no time for the drag, the unwanted pull of the past, a burden on the go  I wash them all away with the morning shower with a feeling, of timelessness creating a veil enclosing me, in tiny drops of water.

 

-Sense of Time series-

  • Sense of Time - I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian […]
  • Vanishing point - An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest […]
  • Wake Up - Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick […]
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Posted by on December 7, 2017 in creativity

 

Tags: , , , ,

Vanishing point

An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest joke has been, people who do PhDs become researchers and award winners, Masters degree holders assist the higher level tasks and assume a better position in relation to a Bachelors holders who can offset the difference in relation by experience. And Lo comes a business graduate with some idea, and good communication skills but unable to create anything depend on professional Masters , Engineers and Accountants to help surround him so the idea can be fruitful and s/he will manage, who in turn is controlled by Government regulations and to top it off politicians who have virtually no clue on what to do except get votes and keep their chair ( Indian context). And there have been people , Ministers who have hardly been to proper schooling but control whole education department of state. Nothing bad about them not being canned, or dressed like the preparation of a law student to be a judge. Nothing offensive. People are people and we accept them in that way. Who are you and me to change people and attitude. We can help build solutions, bring it to people, enabling them with technologies, but not force people to change their attitude. Attitude is developed from within. In relation to the learning, if someone does not have that attitude to learn. Why force it ? They may be more than happy in the position they are in. Hey, that is why they are in that situation , right ? Then why worry. No news is good news. If there is no news of worry on their part that is good. And as time progress , we have accomplished various things among a truckload of failures. We keep failing, falling, rising up, one step, success, among hundred falls, sometimes hurting, sometimes breaking bones, we never stopped. We keep moving. The act of brownian motion ( Shiva tandavam) or universal vibration. I am happy to have introduced to this relation between physics, spiritual idea and practicality by a Chemistry professor. That was mind-blowing. And that is exactly why I remember it even now after 10+ years of hearing it first, and only once. This sounded great.

 

Zooming back to reality, some 8 years back I was talking to my friend in one of the huge classrooms that we had. He was apparently struggling with his courses, while I crossed the bar every time by luck. There was struggle, but it did not hurt much. I took it easy.  The last bench was unoccupied. Rare. Compared to the mayhem that is generally associated with backbenchers who create ruckus even when the class is in progress. They had gone to in pursuit of whatever fantasizes them. We were left in the dust. Yes, though we have good amount of greenery and excellent climate the classrooms were dusty. I believe it was more of the dust in the mind. There was no clarity. What are people going to do. It was global recession, American trend is that whatever they do is global and international. There are massive impacts because of nations in general and USA is a heavy weight champion in this regard. And we were in dust, because someone lied. And a group of people lied. That lie was taken to be truth, democracy is crazy. And here we were sitting in this classroom, not sure were things were headed. About job search and direction of life. These are times that I feel timelessness. The time simply stops. And the clock grinds to halt so I can easily take pictures of these moments without worrying about the shutter speed. Our classrooms were very well ventilated and had natural sunlight to work with. The day was bright but future was not. Time simply stopped. My classmate asked me about the examinations in general. I wanted to help him. I let him ask. How can I force myself to help him. I waited. He asked me something that no one ever asked me, no classmates ever discussed, no professor mentioned this in class or in personal interaction. That was one question that still haunts sometimes. The implications was beyond classes. He asked me to give him a relation on learning. How the courses in our syllabus were connected  ? How does one course in first semester connect with a course on third semester. Just like the canned life , I mentioned before our syllabus in University of Calicut was also canned. There is a syllabus to follow. Common for all applied electronics and instrumentation engineers from first semester to sixth semester and few electives offered for 7th and the 8th semester. In total it was 3 electives for the whole 8 semesters which amounted to 4 years of engineering study. And therefore, it must be pretty easy to link the canned courses. I sat with him, listed the courses on paper. Tried to link related courses in group. And yeah! it made sense. It was someone sensible who made the course. We missed the forest for the tree. We were taking one course at once without a thought about how they all were the building blocks of electrical and instrumentation systems. That was a moment of revelation. Here was something I could learn, thanks to him, because he asked such a thoughtful question. And then the pieces came together. We divide to conquer and unite them for strength. We needed to hold both the bigger picture and individual segments in relation to the larger perspective. And there a peripheral course called Engineering Graphics made sense, though the professor had mentioned in the first year that this course has no direct application in our program, he did not connect or link it to applications of electrical engineering for us. It was for us to discover, to connect , to learn, to paint the bigger picture one section at a time. Now, that was learning at a different level.

With time the picture gets bigger, revealing only little sense overall. Nevertheless, I keep working at a corner here or somewhere dis-contiguous elsewhere. My site of work appears random. Clock keeps ticking. My picture has more color and more figures in it now. How are they related ? Though, I am not cent percent sure I keep working at it. And the sense of time vanishes. Recalling my Engineering Graphics lessons reminds me of the concept of vanishing point, will that vanishing point be my point of convergence ?

 

 

-Sense of Time series-

  • Sense of Time - I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian […]
  • Vanishing point - An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest […]
  • Wake Up - Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick […]
 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Blinked

Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without ThinkingBlink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I picked this up a second time. Thanks to Buffalo-Erie Public Library System for providing this free facility.

Blink takes the reader through some case studies and associated case studies on snap-judgements and its base on expertise, prejudice and autonomous nervous system.

It was interesting to wonder if some Kathakali artists could collaborate for the facial action coding system. For the uninformed Kathakali is an old art form mixing drama and dance, action and emotions. Kathakali artists spend a lot of effort in efficiently enacting the required dramatic sequences based on Indian (Hindu) mythology. It takes equal amount of effort from the audience to understand the performance. This art form is considered to be the height of acting. It is also an old saying in Kerala that face is the mirror of mind (മുഖം മനസ്സിന്റെ കണ്ണാടി). And blink re-affirms that mind reading (read face-reading) is for real.

Malcolm also says about well educated people doing blink judgements and actions which may be right or may not be right based on the habits built by exercise. While the policemen killed Diallo because of their bad exercise, and Paul Ekman could judge facial expressions to predict the nature and behavior of persona by good practice. Musical experts picked up good music performed behind the screen and also got dissatisfied by seeing a woman performing trombone , when the screen was removed later, due to prejudice of expecting only males perform high quality trombone.

In the afterword, Malcolm wishes to urge the US American jury system to adopt the “screen” to avoid prejudice in official judgement that may creep in due to the jury system of USA. This brings in a question about the jury system itself. The world class movie “Rustom” vividly portrays and adaptation of real story that used the last jury system based judgement that happened in India. I was wondering why the system was restricted to judgement by judge alone in India. If USA uses jury system that must be good. Ain’t it ? Blink reassures me that definitely, well educated individuals in jury hardly know legality and constitution. They are influenced by their prejudices and what the they feed themselves a.k.a media and opinions as demonstrated in the actual court case which inspired the movie “Rustom”.

In this same way, as a reader, I would have to read people by face, I can know their mind. Let rationality take over instead of pre-judgement in case of confrontation and confusion. Let me be guided in the right direction as the Gayatri Mantra states.

 

  • Blinked - Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell My rating: 3 of 5 stars View all my reviews I picked this up a second time. Thanks to Buffalo-Erie Public Library System for providing this free facility. Blink takes the reader through some case studies and associated case studies on snap-judgements and its base […]
  • Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success - Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews   Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating […]
  • Book review: The Score Takes Care of Itself - This book on leadership based on American Football (ഇടികളി) coach Bill Walsh is best read as a leadership case study. The book was gifted to me as an employee by my company.  The style of writing is slow paced and boring. The connection between the real life experience of Bill Walsh as a coach and […]
  • Book Review: Destiny Disrupted - I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. […]
  • Book Review : Algorithms to live by - This book came up in the circles of job search and discussions of things that don’t matter. It would have been a fallacy if the title said stood by what it said. Algorithms are thought processes and having behavioral philosophies of itself, that mathematicians may appreciate better. However, math being a yesteryear wonder-keyword and a […]
  • “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”: Book Review - Background My previous reads were “Biography of Steve Jobs: Walter Issacson“, ” Notes on Startups: Peter Thiel“, “Siddhartha : Herman Hesse”  and I can only wonder how this book connects with those. I came across the author Cal Newport due to the Happy Schools Blog. This book arrives in style, for  a job hunter in […]
  • Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups - Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews I came across this book accidentally. My lab mate had this book on his table for a long time. I see it sometimes on this desk , even now. I […]
  • Great reference for life and sales - How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger My rating: 5 of 5 stars https://ajeya.wordpress.com/2016/07/1… View all my reviews I did not expect to give such a title for reviewing a book that had the ” How to ..” in its title. But the book “How I Raised Myself from […]
  • Narrative of the Blunder termed war - Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened […]
  • Lessons from Violin: how to choose one - This is from the Book by W.C Honeyman. A very old book (1893)  borrowed through the inter-library loan had to be handled carefully. It is a small but dense book. Things to learn are written by the expert W.C Honeyman. In addition, the way in which the book is written is also very interesting , […]
 
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Posted by on November 26, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success

Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal AchievementNapoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

 

Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating the idea that we all have heard or seen practiced. However, we never got a chance study and condense them into these 17 principles that Napolean discusses. To mention them , they are:

  1. Have definite goals
  2. Form a team that actively improve by symbiosis
  3. Improve personality
  4. Have Faith with practice
  5. Do the extra work
  6. Be Initiative
  7. Have positive attitude
  8. Control enthusiasm
  9. Be disciplined
  10. Think based on facts
  11. Focus
  12. Inspire – Teamwork
  13. Learn from failures
  14. Be creative
  15. Be healthy
  16. Manage Time and Money
  17. Discipline the habits

This formulation works with any goal. I have personally experienced this by  revisiting some of my personal experiences where I set a goal and achieved it.  Though I had neither read this book at that time nor tried any self-analysis. But after reading the book it turns out true that I have actually followed most if not all the steps mentioned.

It is common sense that we are normally limited by resources at a specific time. Mostly these resources are monetary savings, emotional savings, personal health and accomplishments (read failures), facts available and the level of belief and confidence.

Like we notice with anything else, if we are really good at a particular thing we tend to perform better than the expected normal on other subject. Say , if you are a student in school. If you are really good in English you will definitely notice a great improvement in your social science or history test results because of your English and the confidence that it creates within you.

Habits are nice to have in which we auto pilot most of the stuff that we need done, so it becomes muscle memory than a strenuous mental computation process. This helps us put all the routine task to auto pilot so we focus on goals that need creativity and focus.

 

There are multiple other books that took some of these principles and expanded upon it.

Habits are nicely covered by Stephen R. Covey

Focus is touched upon by Cal Newport in Deep Work

Norman Vincent Peale had expanded upon power of positive thinking

Everyone has faced faith either by force or by habit, to realize it by applied faith and practice is upon the self. Whenever Napolean says about faith I pass through the paragraphs since I believe in something, that some people call religion. Every person has her/his own opinion and faith. If that works for them then look no further. This is de-facto covered by default.

I could easily relate to having used these principles in some of my job searched. The last search was highly effective. We had an awesome team of job seekers, all from my research group. All planning on graduating and we used to discuss our research and job search alike. Though we had different target graduation dates and goal deadline, we all achieved it. Did our graduation, defended thesis/defense, published it, got a job. The magic of working in groups and discussing is rare. To get such a group at the right time and to nourish and learn from the group was a great learning experience.

 

Throughout the 17 points listed , one theme is evident. That is control. A person in charge, in control of their destiny plans ahead, plans for failures, assimilates resources, focuses at the goal to be attained and devotes time, effort and resources in relentless pursuit with completely controlled enthusiasm. This is driven by positive attitude supported by discipline in actions and thoughts. This is exactly what the book articulates.

Overall this is a nice read, if you know something just skip that section and the book will yield what you picked it up for.

 

  • Blinked - Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell My rating: 3 of 5 stars View all my reviews I picked this up a second time. Thanks to Buffalo-Erie Public Library System for providing this free facility. Blink takes the reader through some case studies and associated case studies on snap-judgements and its base […]
  • Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success - Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews   Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating […]
  • Book review: The Score Takes Care of Itself - This book on leadership based on American Football (ഇടികളി) coach Bill Walsh is best read as a leadership case study. The book was gifted to me as an employee by my company.  The style of writing is slow paced and boring. The connection between the real life experience of Bill Walsh as a coach and […]
  • Book Review: Destiny Disrupted - I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. […]
  • Book Review : Algorithms to live by - This book came up in the circles of job search and discussions of things that don’t matter. It would have been a fallacy if the title said stood by what it said. Algorithms are thought processes and having behavioral philosophies of itself, that mathematicians may appreciate better. However, math being a yesteryear wonder-keyword and a […]
  • “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”: Book Review - Background My previous reads were “Biography of Steve Jobs: Walter Issacson“, ” Notes on Startups: Peter Thiel“, “Siddhartha : Herman Hesse”  and I can only wonder how this book connects with those. I came across the author Cal Newport due to the Happy Schools Blog. This book arrives in style, for  a job hunter in […]
  • Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups - Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews I came across this book accidentally. My lab mate had this book on his table for a long time. I see it sometimes on this desk , even now. I […]
  • Great reference for life and sales - How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger My rating: 5 of 5 stars https://ajeya.wordpress.com/2016/07/1… View all my reviews I did not expect to give such a title for reviewing a book that had the ” How to ..” in its title. But the book “How I Raised Myself from […]
  • Narrative of the Blunder termed war - Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened […]
  • Lessons from Violin: how to choose one - This is from the Book by W.C Honeyman. A very old book (1893)  borrowed through the inter-library loan had to be handled carefully. It is a small but dense book. Things to learn are written by the expert W.C Honeyman. In addition, the way in which the book is written is also very interesting , […]
 
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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sense of Time

I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian rhythm of the human mammal with all its intestinal fortitude could not hold the time. The norm of life in this part of the world. Fall back and change back from daylight savings to normal time. For whom, I asked ? I received replies of various tones, repeating the old farmer’s story who wanted to save time in the form of daylight savings, invariably the justification reassure that farmer’s depend directly on the daylight and sunrise, not the artificial clock. A farmer’s life is not a “9 to 5” joke with coffee breaks meant for gossip and lunch time focused on chitchat and not on satisfying the imminent hunger. A sense of time does not exist for such frivolous activities. Any real work accomplished in this way is really an achievement. Focus on the work than the focus on making work look like it is not work, can turn cumbersome. Why not get the work out the way, within the realms of time allotted? Free the rest of time and really enjoy the daylight and save time with a sense of time. Now, I am lucky to have a work where the sense of time is based upon the priority of work and work-at-hand rather than the hours-requirement. In this way focus brings in a sense of time and vice versa. Quality-time put in work releases dependency of work on time. In turn removing the sense of time. Focus, plan and a target goal within a time framework helps save time. And when next time someone says about daylight saving time and how it affects their daily routine and public in general, it will make no sense. Because, no one really saved any time by turning the clock hands. As an environmentally conscious human one may try to save the tube light time in office. Use the daylight time, keep the blinds open and let the natural light help us light up our workspace. Yes. A Tube-light Saving Time (TST) instead of Daylight Saving Time (DST) . In this way, time attains another dimension. A dimension of sense, or should I call time as another sense in addition to basic senses of humans?

-Sense of Time series-

  • Sense of Time - I would wake up everyday. Just like any other day. This was yet another day. Exciting as usual. A running clock adds to the excitement of awaiting adventure. And I start upon a new one. This time it is about time. And it is time. Time changes and now it was forcibly changed. The circadian […]
  • Vanishing point - An average timeline of  a human can be drawn starting from birth to school, progressing to university and job and marriage and help repeat all the same for the kids. This canned solutions in life is a proven time tested sequence. The authority of which is questioned only by a few. So far, the biggest […]
  • Wake Up - Work life habits are like rock. I would wake up at 5.30 am. Listen to the soothing sound from my phone. The wake up call with a Native American touch to it, resembling the flute of Carlos Nakai. In the background the birds chirp and the wake up call for a hunter, ready to pick […]
 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book review: The Score Takes Care of Itself

This book on leadership based on American Football (ഇടികളി) coach Bill Walsh is best read as a leadership case study. The book was gifted to me as an employee by my company.  The style of writing is slow paced and boring. The connection between the real life experience of Bill Walsh as a coach and his experiments is interesting to read. As a person who knows naught about American Football I could not relate or understand many of the American Football terms used, nevertheless the leadership idea could be derived from the context presented.

As the name of the book suggests, the leadership skills the writer sought to reveal is based on the practical Karma Yoga experience of Bill Walsh.

An addict to the game, he could have been unemployable in any other job unrelated to sports. That focus and sharpness of mind eventually made him develop, lead and achieve through the best team known as 49ers. The beginning of the book can hook a working professional onto it, since it talks on ‘how to know if you are doing your job’. Since the setting is USA, it talks about endless focus on work going beyond 9 to 5 (working hours). I feel this is an old era logic because now work place is not the same anymore globally. French have the right to ignore work emails after work hours.

India traditionally enjoys a lot of national holidays and paid holidays were you are not expected to work. This has been a tradition hence not a news like the French one. I had met President and CEO of a nice engineering firm in Boston who told me that productivity in Europe is less because of such schemes to disconnect from work. Deriving a global standard of performance from Bill’s book is not easy. It inclines towards USA and American Football , which is not a global game like real football (soccer).

This book re-emphasizes what Lord Krishna told Arjuna. ‘Stick to the work at hand and do not worry about the results’. This emphasizes another thought of prioritizing your time. Why ? Because, if there is a classic book and plenty of new books on the topic of leadership, which one to choose ? The time tested one. And what a reference Bhagavad Gita is ! It may take, reading a couple of other new books on stands to arrive at this conclusion. The earlier we fail, the faster we can realize that the most effort put on timeless classic can yield best cost-effective results. Of  course, the broader western world may take Bhagavad Gita to be a religious book, does it matter if the lessons learned from a religious or non-religious book are the same ? End result is a better human.

With the sloppy writing and occasional sentences of wisdom, this book is compiled in a good manner and better than certain John Maxwell‘s leadership books. The goodness of a person lives in what he leaves behind. The last chapter by Craig Walsh on his father was nice to know. The book then takes itself to another level where it is not just a leadership book but a biography within itself.

View all my reviews

  • Blinked - Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell My rating: 3 of 5 stars View all my reviews I picked this up a second time. Thanks to Buffalo-Erie Public Library System for providing this free facility. Blink takes the reader through some case studies and associated case studies on snap-judgements and its base […]
  • Reading Napolean Hill’s – Keys to Success - Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews   Having read Think and Grow Rich and quiet impressed by it, this was a natural choice to pick up from my wishlist. Napolean Hill does an amazing job in formulating […]
  • Book review: The Score Takes Care of Itself - This book on leadership based on American Football (ഇടികളി) coach Bill Walsh is best read as a leadership case study. The book was gifted to me as an employee by my company.  The style of writing is slow paced and boring. The connection between the real life experience of Bill Walsh as a coach and […]
  • Book Review: Destiny Disrupted - I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. […]
  • Book Review : Algorithms to live by - This book came up in the circles of job search and discussions of things that don’t matter. It would have been a fallacy if the title said stood by what it said. Algorithms are thought processes and having behavioral philosophies of itself, that mathematicians may appreciate better. However, math being a yesteryear wonder-keyword and a […]
  • “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”: Book Review - Background My previous reads were “Biography of Steve Jobs: Walter Issacson“, ” Notes on Startups: Peter Thiel“, “Siddhartha : Herman Hesse”  and I can only wonder how this book connects with those. I came across the author Cal Newport due to the Happy Schools Blog. This book arrives in style, for  a job hunter in […]
  • Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups - Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews I came across this book accidentally. My lab mate had this book on his table for a long time. I see it sometimes on this desk , even now. I […]
  • Great reference for life and sales - How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger My rating: 5 of 5 stars https://ajeya.wordpress.com/2016/07/1… View all my reviews I did not expect to give such a title for reviewing a book that had the ” How to ..” in its title. But the book “How I Raised Myself from […]
  • Narrative of the Blunder termed war - Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened […]
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Book Review, Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: Destiny Disrupted

I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. I would have loved to see more references per page.

Supposedly, there is a historical gap that the western education misses. The book tries to fill in as much as the author can. I could revive my memories of school history (Kerala Syllabus), where we learned about independence movement in many countries including Algeria, Libya, Kenya and so on. After reading this book I really appreciate the effort they have put in making the history textbooks in Kerala syllabus. Interestingly a Q&A session including Dr.Shashi Tharoor’s bashing of British and the intentional hiding of British school system about their previous history was eye opening.

At the same time Holocaust is covered in schools in Germany. Tamim ends the book telling us everyone had a hand on Holocaust, and the Great Game only extended its reach. In USA how many schools teach about native American culture and tradition ? How is it done in the west Asia ?

The book shines light on why Turkey, Iraq and Israel where not covered much ground in my school history textbooks because of its complexity. There are instances of history narrated by Tamim that is questionable and open to opinions. However, the fair amount of references throughout the book along with the ‘anticipatory bail’ in the preface about the book being more subjective that just boring factual statements. Hence it is ‘Hi-Story’. Very interesting perspectives on the crusades are available in Al-Jazeera’s specials. Together with Wikipedia these three resources provide for a nice pass time adding historical curiosity. I like the style of writing, there is glorification of Islam. Some facts are mentioned here are there. They may or may not be tied to Islam as such. The books reaches a logical conclusion in the last few pages. Where it truly states why Islam can be considered in the league of religion (strong), polity (good connection) or culture (weakly connected). Putting itself in an orbit beyond certain misinterpretations.  I would still go by what I understood in the Mahatma Gandhi’s chapter (गान्धिजि का मत) read in my 9th standard (equivalent to 9th grade in the USA) – ‘Everyone has opinion (मत), and opinion(मत) is another word for religion’. In Malayalam language caste (മതം) is derived from the same root word. Reading between the lines and adding to the well know multitude of symbolism that represent God in the Indian tradition (often called Hinduism) which in turn represented the number of people present at that time of formation of scriptures ( 33 million gods in Hinduism represented 33 million people at the time as per Dr. N Gopalakrishnan), it appears as if indeed it is true. There may be a single god (or none or many) based on the many ways and opinions a mind likes to think and ponder about. Religion was used as a tool to divide people and loot forever rather than as a tool to realize human potential (as suggested by Jaggi Vasudev).

I used to wonder how these countries in west Asia ( sometimes called as Middle East, while Tamim calls it Middle World) were formed. Especially Jordan and Syria because I could not place them in linguistic/cultural difference basket. It was also nice to know how Lebanon was formed. Another of my musings was this question ” Was there ever a case were instead of splitting countries, some countries came and joined together to form a bigger country” . Emirs formed UAE to stand together. India was formed by merger of many small countries. The answer in the book about United Arab Republic(UAR) and how the countries which also liked to join, but did not, but follow similar flags was nice to read. In many new independent countries formed when the colonization era was getting over, the sense of national identity and the sense of a nation itself seemed to be distant for a common man. The books tells about the first implementation of democracy and how it related to a common man in Afghanistan. Tamim openly says about the Great Game, Cold wars, many wars over cultural, linguistic, economic and nationalist ideologies in addition to religious. It puts forth very bluntly that whatever the Islamic rulers tried to achieve involved war and death. Nothing to be proud of. In this light Tamim actually missed out Nizam of Hyderabad and to include Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Their stories may be smaller compared to the Mughals but equally violent ?! Coming from Kerala we get to talk about how the Gods helped to protect the Tiru-Kochi (nation) from Tipu. And Tiru-Kochi lasted 7 years unlike UAR which lasted for 3 years. I am sure that Tamim must have missed some more Islamic rulers ( Indonesia ?) and others and focussed on the west Asian scene.

I have heard that certain tribes in Africa do not have restriction imposed by national boundaries. Something similar exists  in different nations created by an ‘Independence movement’ leading to national identity, constitution, flag, anthem and a constitutional head. People easily move between Bhutan, Nepal, India. I guess similar cases exist between Afghanistan and Pakistan via the land of Pashtuns. Random lines on the map created by people who do not know about the land, the culture or language have lead to border tensions in many places. Be it artificial boundaries or natural boundaries of terrain or water. How are national boundaries created ? Who made it a law that every habitable land on earth should be part of nations ? Why should there be nations and national identity ? How many wars were fought over petty disputes on boundaries, resource division and  allocation ? Identity crisis could be one major societal aspect that the boundaries may seem to solve. Can the boundary makers be absolved of the consequences of their fancy markings on the globe ? ever ?

 

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  • Book Review: Destiny Disrupted - I heard about this book from a Palo Alto entrepreneur. I read the book Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. The style of writing is unbiased for most portion and biased whenever it is expected. This book gives a good idea on the endless wars that the west Asia has seen the history and some facts. […]
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  • Narrative of the Blunder termed war - Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened […]
  • Lessons from Violin: how to choose one - This is from the Book by W.C Honeyman. A very old book (1893)  borrowed through the inter-library loan had to be handled carefully. It is a small but dense book. Things to learn are written by the expert W.C Honeyman. In addition, the way in which the book is written is also very interesting , […]
 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Book Review, Uncategorized

 

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A good lesson to learn during Bachelors program

10/10/2006 : The day our classes officially started for Bachelor of Technology at CU ( Calicut University). Information pours in slowly but definitely, in that time, when mobile internet was slowly penetrating the serenity of Malabar.

We had plenty of time to expend on a rather long vacation after +2 (higher secondary school). That was the best months of vacation, waiting on something unknown, uncertain, and having nothing else to do. The months before the tests/exams of +2 was had a  sense of war-time emergency at personal level for my batch. Hence, the vacation was a special invitation for some, who particularly put up with the stress of studies and prepared rigorously.

October approached, and we were in for some initial foothold in the next steps of study. Everyone wanted to get into engineering. This was understood for the return of investments and the scope of an engineering degree rather than the personal interests as such. This could not be elaborated further because what were some of the career explorations students at that time did? I had no clue. Newspapers, family, and their extensions were the go to source of information. Internet was available, but information? I do not know. With limitations in sources of information, it was a blessing in disguise, helping to eliminate unwanted distractions and stick to guaranteed investments of 3-4 years in college. It is easy to choose when we have the complete picture of valid available sources.  The long wait was closing in and we were in the process of enrolling in the colleges for whatever we have picked. This waiting period taught one valuable lesson to wait to get. Unlike the current times (year 2017) of clicking and getting whatever you want. Waiting to get something was a lesson. And later, as time progressed, for our batch, Calicut University wanted to give us a definite time for first year examinations (2007). Moreover, some students went to CU. Some striking, some to see what a strike is like for the first time, some to see what CU looks like. It was first time outside home and hostel for a solid mission. To be there. Later, as situation was handled excellently by CU administration, it was learned that there were no physical strike, not a single person had the madness to through a stone at the windows of the windows, for fun or seriously, this would have caused chaos. Their combined dignified demeanour saved the day. Period of uncertainty cast a shadow on the academics. What will be the actual dates of examinations? On what basis are the studies to be planned with an uncertain date? What possible distractions could be avoided? There were truckloads of uncertainties and unknowns! When it came to passing backlogs for some that was another avatar of uncertainty. In addition, at the dusk of the program recession hit, thanks to Lehman Bros. The Indian system of campus placements to get job re-assured that it was not worthwhile for companies to visit campuses for placement. In sum, the cumulative uncertainties prepared everyone in our batch to mentally prepare ourselves to face the yet incoming uncertainties of the bigger world, called ‘Life’. That 4 years of preparation toward life was the most valuable course in the program never advertised or assumed in those years.

 

PS:

My batchmates may or may not agree to all these. These are my personal opinion.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Lesson, Uncategorized

 

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Book Review : Algorithms to live by

This book came up in the circles of job search and discussions of things that don’t matter.

It would have been a fallacy if the title said stood by what it said. Algorithms are thought processes and having behavioral philosophies of itself, that mathematicians may appreciate better. However, math being a yesteryear wonder-keyword and a dreaded subject across the globe. It may be better marketing tactics that prevailed over the political correctness, which is may be why the book is titled so.

The beginning of the book tries to shake the forgotten skills of probability and experience with uncertainty, the only use of probability theorems. The book is divided nicely in chapters that are digestible and probably demand a time of rest to rethink and re-iterate.  Game theory could be claimed as child of mathematics, logic, probability or computer science. As I mentioned , I could not think of computer science as something beyond mathematics. Somehow, the term “computer” make it technically appealing rather than the old school math. I feel same about control engineering leading to systems engineering, leading to mechatronics and robotics, and cyber physical systems  graduating into internet of things. More recently,  probability giving space to artificial intelligence and expert systems, to machine learning and deep learning and what not down the line.

 

References from the book for further reading:

Essay – “Walking” , Henry David Thoreau. ” There is a harmony discoverable…”

“The Scientist in the Crib” – Alison Gopnik – ” Extended period of human child’s development provides a way to develop exploration/exploitation trade-off”

 

“What’s best ? > What’s new ?” – Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig

 

Quotes I want to remember:

“In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important a function as remembering” – William James

I was asked to draw my learning curve of whiteboard during an interview. I drew a upward going zigzag. My Y axis being “knowledge’ and X axis “time”, (this happened before I read this book) .I explained that my knowledge increases and shown by an upward slope and then I remove what I do not want reach a local minima and continue to pick up from there, leading to another maxima, again throwing away things I do not want and keep going. Some of my friends were impressed by this answer. Interviewer definitely had not seen such a learning curve, and I did not land up with a job offer.

Future reading:

“The Oligarchs” – David Hoffman – on optimal stopping

“Organizing from the Inside Out” – Julie Morgenstern

“Keeping Found things Found” – William Jones

I had read ” Eat that Frog” . This book compares some title in a single shot such as “The Now Habit” ( schedule leisure than work first), “Wait” ( dangling unfinished tasks), “Getting Things Done”. And then the classic Lao Tzu kicks in ” Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small”.  This chapter simply opens up the thoughts into scheduling ideas than I have used on my own. And it is as expected a nice mix of all these and similar techniques with minimal regret as the first priority..

Another interesting term that came up when reading the book is QED. Unlike Quantum ElectroDynamics, my friend expanded it was “Quite Easy Decision” (QED). While  the book describes Charles Darwin’s algorithm and conclusion to marry being written as “Quad erat demonstrandum“, which translates to “Hence proved”. Remember our school math ?!

The book also gives insights into the optimization problem that shows itself in mathematics, industrial engineering, operational research and project management. The origins of “traveling salesman problem” and why it was not called “prairie lawyer problem” was an interesting read. It was also mind-blowing to learn that the word “Serendipity” is derived from the fairy tales of “The Three Princes of Serendip” ( Serendip standing for Srilanka).

About the book:

Sans the notes the book is average at 262 pages. Reading is heavy with examples and intellectually simulating. This will make the reader think and read. Making the reading time longer than fiction. If the reader has used or searched about some productivity tools and thoughts then this book is interesting.

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in Book Review, Uncategorized

 

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The Great Career

Luck does happen?

I want something then I have to work hard . But since that hard work is not coming, then that luck is not happening.

Success comes to people

  • who are strange
  • who are weird
  • are not nice people
  • who work really really ……really hard
  • who are passionate (not just interested)

And these words by Larry Smith comes up . This is what generally happened; that Larry Smith just gave tone and language to.

  • Are you sure..
  • Unless..
  • But..
  • If
  • If only I had
  • Afraid
    • To Try
    • That you may fail
 
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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 
 
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