Author Archives: ajeya

About ajeya

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

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.


Leave a comment

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


Tags: , , , , , , ,

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
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Uncategorized


PDF or MS Word for resume

One school of thought says pdf-s are not as machine readable as word documents. Some “online job search gurus” to suggest avoiding PDFs so that machine can parse keywords from MS Word better. Unless a recruiter/website specifies a type of document the candidate can only guess what the recruiting system wants.


Sending a document via e-mail warrants a properly formatted document. So may be a fraction of the resumes send into the resume black-hole needs to be in PDF.  However, some recruiters are generous enough to give feedbacks. Seeking advice and suggestions on resume is aided by the ease in which the mentor can comment and keep tracking changes in MS Word. An open source enthusiast may frown. I have not seen a more popular word processor than MS Word. The most popular may not be the best. But it is worth if it works.





Leave a comment

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

To , or not to ?

To think over the mind and matters that matter the mind is not very mindful matter. However, the matter of mind is such that mind still minds about mind and matters. Mind thinks without the thought to provoke it intentionally. It keeps at the task of pondering over the wonders and gossips of the world. And once this question came up.

How do I see a person.

As a person who minds, I do not have to think too much on how I behave when I am with people I am accustomed to . Like small kids who are free to cry or be happy or be wild in the presence of their best human contact, mostly mother and father bear the brunt. They seem to act more polished and  controlled in the presence of strangers. This, I see as  a sense to be naturally defensive. Keeping the own nature to the near and dear ones, while be secretive or hide the total character from others, who may or may not be well-wishers. Is it for the same reason that the human mind gets stuck at the thought of a public presentation or to speak up at interviews and public forums. May be Yes. There is a time when the mind is experienced enough to pull in socially acceptable standards of putting thoughts into words. This may backfire in case of people who are honest and frank about telling the inconvenient truth.  Do I perceive them differently ?

If it is a public personality, a politician or a popular person. There is a reason to keep a distance at the thoughts promoted by that individual. The influence of this individual may be limited by the sense of overall character perceived by the viewers, followers or fans in case of sports and movie starts. If an actor says about social responsibility rather than films and movie related matters, I do not feel that the person is authentic because of lack of experience shown by that person in social responsibility initiatives.

Say, I heard something about a close friend. How does the mind analyse it. Initially, it is the thought as to should I share what I learned about the person just now ? Is she/he open to hearing the same. Does it benefit either of us in sharing this information/gossip. Is it true ? Should I check if it is true ? Does it matter ? This process very closely uses the Aristotle’s filter of truth.

If the mind decides through the filter that it may be true, but not beneficial in material terms, except that the growing empathetic concern to see my friend in a better light would be  personally satisfying. This holds no material benefits and can be truly classified into the category of gossip.  Because this really does not bring in the positive enthusiasm, nor is it could in bringing about a sense of calm. It is just like some of the Indian roads. You see the cattle shit, sometime you do not. You step on it. Some people may feel it funny, some feel it may be funnier when you step, slip and fall. Nevertheless, for the self, it is the back-pain and the resulting dirty footwear that matter. And like Mark Twain said about age.

“Age is a matter of mind. If you do not mind, it doesn’t matter”

Can be applied to anything and feel free to fill the blank.

“_____ is a matter of mind. If you do not mind, it doesn’t matter”

To judge whatever comes to me, to analyze and to categorize as good bad, beneficial , not beneficial, instigating action or not, is for the mind to decide. That is where it really matters.Because at the end of the story, if there is no lessons learned, there is no point.  And it goes to resemble the Socrates’ question and let me ask the self  when something comes to me. Is it for me to take action, scrutinize, propagate, promulgate or pejorate. The next step “to, or not to____?” remains with me.

And Buddha’s story helps here. A person came to Buddha and shouted huge profanity at him. Buddha remained silent. After some time the person left the place. And one of the disciples asked Buddha. ” That person, was outrageous and too heated up. Why did you remain silent all this time ?”

And then Buddha replied ” If someone comes to you with a gift and you do not take. What happens to the gift ?”







Comments Off on To , or not to ?

Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

Incomplete, me!

Once, I went to an office to sign up for my paperwork due for an employment. Being in USA, I like the way they present the tax forms upfront, so we know that we are part of something bigger and tax is being paid directly, there is nothing illegal about the job offer, etc.  This happiness is short-lived by the amount of confusion innate in any Government forms. And after multiple questions, filling up portion of the forms and going back and forth, I made a friend out of the front desk clerk. Then comes the part which asks for my status in the country. I say without any expression, but surety to know the answer “I am an alien”. That lady held my hand in a semi-sympathizing manner. I was startled, for a moment, because I never expected such a reaction. The movie “Independence Day” (US American English movie) came to mind. I did not dwell myself too much into the implications of the movie, in this context, for I have a job at hand. A job to complete. As I continued, more spaces stood out blank “says aliens to read instructions”, I read out. This time the lady had come to terms with my kind of reading. So, we were back to the content, directly.

Sometimes, in life, when confused, I feel that I live to fill up the blanks in the forms presented at various stages of my life. Except for the space for family, parents, I used to wonder all the humongous amount of information that we had to put into paper to get various benefits from the Government, or even in the case of employment. This continues into online applications, tax filing and almost every place I end up being me. And then this funny incident happened.

In my last visit to the health services I was told there was nothing to do, except the chores. The freedom of the country, I am in, gives the practitioner a complete picture of my previous medical cases. Only, whatever I chose to reveal in the beginning, of course. This is a routine in USA, where you are asked the history of your health, about your parent’s health, so the complete case history is at the fingertips of the doc. This time I only had to verbally fill the form that they had in their system. It is mandatory for them to remind me of all the background I had. Especially allergy and surgery. I have been asked in India, my home country, too, about allergy to medicines. This may be standard across the board. However, surgery was something new. So, I am told ” You had no major surgeries except removal of wisdom tooth”. I ask back, curious to know if it is really that important ” Is it a real surgery?”. Doc replies ” Yes! because they gave you anaesthesia, opened your body and a part of your body is removed “.  I retorted “I am incomplete!”. She in a surprise said “I have never heard someone say like that”.

That realization that I had left something of my body back from where I came from, I had lost it to the modern medicine. A part of my body is removed, therefore I am incomplete. Nevertheless, it helps fill the form, where there is space to fill up with any surgeries I had.  Cynically, I had lost something to gain something. And the insight struck that I do not have to be confused enough to do something to fill up some random blank space in some equally arbitrary event in this life.


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

The Cockroach Approach

For the Cockroach Theory you should be checking the video below.

Otherwise read on for the Cockroach Approach

cockroach free images എന്നതിനുള്ള ചിത്രം

Cockroach approach is an existing time tested socially relevant, culturally insensitive and popular way to find the best and leave the rest.

In my +2 (Indian System-  that is 12th grade elsewhere- approximately) in all the Kerala state run schools we had this biology experiment as final laboratory examination question. I have see my sister’s great lament in verses on death of a cockroach she killed. She never became a surgeon. I heard from an American friend that they had rats to dissect for exam. That is more cruel than a “lesser” creature such as the cockroach. While some may also go to the extent to idolize and sanctify the creation. Near immortality of cockroach is very well depicted in the movie Wall E (Trailer below)

Cockroach is apparently the only creature that can survive even nuclear disasters, it is said that cockroach can decide when it wishes to die. Just like Bheeshma from Mahabhaaratha.

The question to address is why ? Why we were told to dissect a cockroach ?

This was one main reason why I changed my syllabus to CBSE from Kerala State Board since there is no dissection in CBSE. So much for ahimsa. On enquiry, I get this cockroach approach to education. This applies to all competitive fields in life too. The reasoning is that among all the student who dissect a cockroach there may arise one or two doctors/surgeons who may in future help serve humanity by saving human lives. For this reason, endless number of cockroaches were caught, fed, petted and brought to lab to score marks and get cremated. No activist will mourn over a killed cockroach. Because they are available in plenty. No shortage at all. This is what happens to all the equally educated/skilled students. There are so many of them. Why should anyone care about them. If they wish they can find their means to make sense of their life. The cockroach approach teaches the students these two important lessons. Quality and greatness can be sparked by working out in large numbers, here large number of student perform the same procedure, from where two great sparks may lead to produce two great doctors. This is exactly what I heard about the Chinese badminton team. Since there are so many players, the best among them. If you see the list on the BWF world ranking. You can easily find many Chinese players. It would be very easy for them to win many more matches than a lone wolf from another nation, since they may have faced tough competition in the Chinese national and local matches itself. Similar is the case in many other sports. Quality comes out from large numbers. The famed Edison is said to have discovered umpteen ways not to make an electric bulb before he did make a working one. Numbers play a major role. This is also illustrated in the book Outliers in terms of 10,000 hours rule for mastery. Hence, we can safely assume, that cockroach approach helps humanity to excel. Nevertheless, the cockroaches need to find elevation in being petted before dissection, before salvation by death.



I found some interesting cockroach approaches which are somewhat different from what is written above.

Analogy of approaching (attacking) a cockroach 

When a real cockroach approached 

How to Invest like  a cockroach

Cockroach portfolio in Investments

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2016 in Lesson, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

Climate Change movie

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

Conversations in the USA and discovering some freedom

This post is about what I experienced in the USA through interactions of people. I have met people from many different places here. And life is dynamic. I believe this is more so because of the state of studies that I am in where I have had some full time experience in India and then came back.
There is a sense of freedom. I heard  this from a young mother. She said that kids are free when they feel secure with the person they are with. The kids are otherwise very well behaved in front of everyone else. But, as they be with their mother alone. Then the hell breaks lose. This is said to be due to their sense of freedom. This is one thing that I , may be like many, feel here.
The best time of life is when one graduates and gets a job. Here, the most luckiest person is formed, who earns, learns life and enjoys freedom to do what they wish. This has happened to me twice. And I am waiting for a third one. However, even before that I felt the sense of freedom. This is somewhat odd. The way I feel looking at the leaf in the breeze, in rain, and feel timeless. That moment is priceless. That is made possible by this new found liberty. I am surprised and wondered how it can happen, when I am in a university studying for another degree.
My best guess is that this can be the result of knowing that there is an end to the program, not too soon. I earn part time, and live on what I earn. And also I do not have anyone to convince around. I can wear what I like and behave the way I am. I am answerable to myself, my studies and health are my responsibilities. There is no one to judge. And the better portion of it is that even at the part time work even though I am subservient in my student employment, I have the freedom to quit any time, and find some other similar job. And keep pursuing my academic interests. Converting time into money is made possible and made available to students in the USA. Even though I am a student and the work can be loaded on me, I am treated at par with any employee. I am treated equal, irrespective of my social status of being a student. Irrespective of my earning potential. And the demeanor does not change with my race or age or color or even the accent. This is great. I am not judged. And then I am free.
I am trying to figure out why I feel free. And what freedom means.
At the same time. Though I stay with folks from my native state, speak the same language and sometimes cook and eat the traditional dishes. They , I feel make their conduct not too different from what they were. In fact, many times I have felt that people from my place are extremely helpful and hold to their own mannerisms. This magically changes when they speak to someone who is not from my place. Strange people exist. This is especially true when the person at the other end is a fresh student , without any prior experience in industry from India. They have started their real freedom by being free with me!
This led me to answer the question, when do people grow up? I realized that this new belief regarding age came up. Age is in mind. Age is reflected in how one takes care of another person, people around us. This includes how we handle ourselves with positive impacts on people with us. This include how we care about others. This includes how one’s self is effecting the others by the least.
The freedom in the USA allows anyone to talk to anyone. This is directly related to the other person’s body language. And in general , I feel it is easy for people to start conversation in the USA because there is no discrimination. This is in contrast with people and conversations in India, where, in Tamil Nadu you hear being referred to as “Antha Payyan” (அந்த பய்யந்) in dialogues of elderly, “Sir” because of office staff and beggars, “da / de” (டா/டே)”by friends and people of similar age, and by name when an acquaintance girl addresses you in office, “Uncle” by small children, “Anna (brother)”(அன்னா)  by youngsters. I was not too older than 26 when I had the completed the collection of these titles.
And there was this personal joke, where , unlike the old system of giving the title of “Sir” , reserved for by the monarchy of some small country near the arctic, we as individuals rose to that level of royal heights to call everyone by “Sir/Madam”. In fact, in Chennai, I was advised to call the bus conductors as “Sir/Madam” to show respect. This has its own benefits. By the way , who does not like praise. That freedom from these tags and labels is broken when I enter the circle of natives (people from my place) in the USA. Again, I wonder why even younger people call me “Eda” in the USA, but never in India. But outside that, in the USA, I am treated as equal. At maximum the way people address diverge into “Dude” and in the boyish craziness “Hey Man!” no more than that. This was an interesting development. Thanks to my practice of calling people with the postfix “ji” to show respect. This is a versatile discovery from Hindi language. Where anything with “ji” is with respect. This wonderful because it works with names, can be added easily to any Indian name and applies equally well to any gender and any age. But, I had to stick with the “Sir” for a few old bosses. They may not respond to name +”ji” extension in a place , which is not mainly Hindi speaking. And this occasionally breaks out and comes to the tongue in the name +”Sir” form or even better just plainly reverent “Sir” sometimes in the USA. It is unfortunate and hard to throw that away.
As conversations are made simpler with a “Hi/Hey/Hello” instead of a formal way to grab another person’s attention and kick start any conversation – official or casual. It frees the mind to focus on the content than the intricacies of level of honor/respect in the words used. For this is a rule of emphasis in German , Telugu, Hindi and Tamil and many other languages.
Explanation of the titles, of respect, used in India to an American (USA) colleague, made me re-think what exactly each of these stood for. And why I used it ! And so , here is the blog post ,so that, may be one day; when I forget these usages, I can refer to this back then.
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2016 in travel


Tags: , , , , , , ,

“So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”: Book Review


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 USA. Yes, I am searching for positions in electrical engineering as I am approaching end of my studies.

Here is the talk by the author :-

In ” Notes on Startups: Peter Thiel”  the author argues that we have to provide something 10 times better than what is available to be a good start up. In Cal Newport‘s “ So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love“. This book tries to come up and blast it on the face as to ‘why passion is not what you are looking for. You are looking for expertise in the beginning of your career’.

As an engineer with some awesome experience in my field, I can say that I have met a couple of people who said the same. They never wrote a book or go to MIT. Great People. Here, was this great retired man who was called back to help serve the company and help the new fellows to catch up with the technologies. I have asked him if he had any passion for the things that he did and if there is any tips and tricks of career life that I can use. He said ” It is good to have your own ideas and developing knowledge to implement it. Even more important is to flow with the crowd till the time is reached; the time when you are confident and knowledgeable enough to have a separate direction of commute than the general flow.” And then the bus had arrived and those were probably the last words I heard from him. Since I left the company- for higher pursuits. The book reinforces this thought.

There was this amazing scientist, who was also called back from retirement the same way as the former. I had breakfast with this man very often when I was working there. I remember that I posed him the question ” Did you have any particular interest or great passion for what you are currently doing, when you were my age”. He replied ” Not really, I got the job, I learned the job. Now, I know some things, with which I can help new people”

And then I talked to a colleague in university very recently, asked him why he changed majors and what his interest is. He said ” I do not have any specific area of interest, But , I am not proud of it. I know jobs are in the computer science area, the number of jobs in software is more than electrical engineering. So I am where I am.” The last I heard from him he had an internship in this super big company in USA.

Very recently, I was speaking to a friend, he was really interested in this wonderful research and was in the process of starting his research. He has not started any job application and he is OK with that. I have this another friends who went from Bachelors to PhD straight and says ” I do what I do , what I like, what is interesting, I keep doing it, Job will come”.

In the beginning, I had this biased understanding of what these people told. It was naive of me in the thought process. Everyone has some attraction to say some colors, some food, some topics, some places. This could be yellow, pasta, history of Incas, Egypt for some. This could be anything. The rational mind of mine tries to normalize the bias whereby this is diluted to any color,, history, World. This rationality and dilution is for the world to see. This is a form of outlook, self-created outlook, banishing the old preferences and making life simpler. Categorization and division was a tool to tackle odd chunks of data, information or knowledge. This is never diluted, because it becomes hard to grasp. My understanding is that this is not representation of real world. It is not like there are land animals and water animals, there are amphibians. Elephant which swims is not amphibious. That sounds like blasphemy to categorical knowledge. 🙂


The book 

As per the book , there are only two kinds of people.

Passionate people and Craftsmen (people who work to achieve their greatness). Also, the book says that ‘passion is rare’.

I got this question from an interview 2 days back ” How much interest , do you have in the work or job description?”

I was lost for words since I was reading the book. I cannot say “I am a passionate worker”. I cannot claim that I am an expert , due to modesty and truth. I cannot suggest that I am a hardworker who  is a go-getter. Because, I am not there to be a self-proclaimed worker who is not interested in the subject , who can master any subject by hardwork, I am not  a machine. I see the blurring of the categories? There is a mix. This is not mutually exclusive, this is my understanding. If I am interested in something, it does not mean I will forget everything and focus only on that. If I am an expert in data entry ( actually I am !) and burrito making (too) that does not mean I am passionate about these. The point is, there are things that people do out of need and circumstances. This makes them experts of the field, in my case burrito making , I can do it blind-folded, I can do it in sleep, you can wake me up at 3 in the morning and I can make burrito. This by no logic means that I am passionate about it.

Passion is  a thing arousing enthusiasm. Work is generally perceived as a bad thing. Increasingly, I hear that job is the worst thing that you can get, who does not like freedom. Don’t  we all trade our freedom with someone else’s freedom !. I mean free as being free to do anything with the time they could have probably invested that in. Then we come to selectivity of fields in which one wants to work. some people like being mathematician, while some do music. There is math in music and music in math. There are people in the interdisciplinary-gray-blurred-line who work here. World is not a number of countries, each with boundaries and armies on either side. This is because everything is depended on everything else. Not just globalization/localization there is glocalization.  This is depicted by mentioning Alan Lightman who wrote Einstein’s Dreams  who made a career in combo of math and culture.

The religion of logic says : choose a field, focus, work hard – you become an expert.

How to choose a field ? – by gut feeling, and elimination process of uninteresting stuff can help shortlist the field.

There are many venues to connect with interest. It is easy to find that out, with what you do in your spare time.

I cannot do something which is not interesting or satisfying me. This can be termed passion. And then I go on to learn how to do these things, if I do not know how to, I learn. This is what Cal says as passion is side effect of mastery. You can start doing things you do not like, to test how broad you are in the mind. See for yourself, where , unintentionally we put limits for ourselves.


The Case of Incremental Improvement.

I got bowled over in one of my classes since I was to give a presentation on a new idea. I had this vision of myself as a visionary, going to change the world. After the presentation, I came to terms with what I have heard years back ” There is more than enough of technology available, your phone has tonnes of features, how much of the features do you use or know how to use ?”  This was before the advent of android!

I see myself as learning how to do stuff with existing technologies. Necessities will always push up the technologies to be innovated. That said. The knowledge of existing technologies would bring in the required mastery and formulating the exact requirements for improvement . In this sense, like  a big project, steps follow a waterfall model, the goal of which is a moving target, the field of which is the area of interest. Improvements happen in agile fashion. Continuous improvement! In the religion of science, this is a scientific improvement called innovation/invention(sometimes). In the religion of life , this is self-improvement and sharpening your saw (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey). Improve yourself, so that you can grab the opportunity as it comes, because you are prepared. I would combine Cal‘s mention of ‘exploring the adjacent possible’ with ‘little bets’ with incremental improvement. This is because on a personal side, when you make innovations, improvements these carry the risk of going beyond the comfort zone, this opens venues for exploratory work.

Key Take-aways

All said, with my opinions and Cal‘s opinions (what he calls ‘rules’). I would say I have to work get some career capital (that is expertise) so that I can create opportunities and may be ones that Peter mentions in Notes on Startups.

“Creating a research bible”:(here bible only means another book)

Cal gives good tips on how to go about research. He is a research professor going about his research. It makes sense to follow this path if you have not discovered your own. This involves

summarize a research paper  that you think is relevant for your work

keeping  a timesheet/schedule/calendar

maintain a research note for brainstorming ideas

do practice beyond the practice that we do that can be tagged as “productivity – oriented”. This involves

  • stretching one’s self beyond comfort zone.
  • read tough papers.
  • keep improving.
  • track your work , to see the improvement.


This includes provocative title such as “my job went to India“! Jobs are going everywhere.I have read that USA thrives on creating ideas. When new ideas stops getting generated USA job market is not going to be the same. Because this is were the ideas get exported and get adopted by the globe. The title could have been re-thought !

When it comes to bananas, the dwellers in USA get it from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and other places. When it is jeans, it comes from Bangladesh and Vietnam. Belts comes from Thailand and China. Now, please do not tell that all these jobs went elsewhere. It was the market and policies of trade that led to this.


The references in the book that I would like to refer are as follows.  T


Writing Style

The style is lucid and easy to follow. The emotions are kept at neutral while the facts and references are cited. This is a good way to write making it an easy read. The book tries to number the ideas (written as ‘Rules’ in the book). This can be  a drawback to people who dislike rule book. But the count is very less, and it is manageable.

  • 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… 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 , […]
  • Being Rich: Richest Man in Babylon - In all classes to richness and courses to richness, business building seminars and rich friends and rich relatives, the base attraction is to know the ways to rich. Unlike some other self-help book to richness. This book “The Richest Man in Babylon” narrates a story. A story in its real sense because except for first […]
  • Reading: The Monk who sold his Ferrari - I had taken the book in hand twice before. But, both the times I was not happy with the way it was written. The beginning of the book seemed to try and build a background on which to put all the philosophy. I tended to ignore the story in my third time. The background story […]
  • Think and Grow Rich, Review - Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars A good book for people seeking self help. To think, to grow, to be rich. As Napolean says richness in it s broader sense, not necessarily money. This single interpretation opens up things to discuss that could be classified as chapters and […]
  • About : Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus - Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book acts as a self help guide for life. It is really wonderful to know that you can program your life to get the best of both worlds viz Mars and Venus. It is commendable that sometime […]


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Book Review


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the FutureZero 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 am not sure if it is an illusion. What captured my attention was the cover. The design of the cover than the name.

And the cover designer did a wonderful job in that. In the beginning of the book , the author says that incremental efforts and improvements do not help build a lasting company. The competition builds up as more imitators join the crowd and therefore, a start up should have some product/solution that is atleast ten times better than that provided in the market. This makes the company unique and sell-able.

It is exciting to think about this, if one forgets about the government and public policies and the types of market. I still do not get how can a whole crowd be so patriotic. The American-ism of the book is indisputable, and the love for the country is too evident. How does every US American book get that same?

I am not sure if that will happen with any other country. For my knowledge is limited. I know the affinity for languages and cultures are high in India. And even then when it comes to political decisions and the Government or Nation, it is best not spoken / mentioned in any literature.

By being a technical start-up conglomerate. USA can proudly showcase the technical talents. But how that is analogous to the rock music in USA may not be understood for the broader audience (for which the book was definitely not written) is a question the author should ask. It is nice to be local, but was that rock music and pencil sketched necessary. It kind of deviates the seriousness of a nicely written beginning and is a distraction best avoided. As a result, I could read the first three quarters way faster than the end of the book.

I do not know if it is to fill pages or lack of more cases like Tesla, Solyndra et al that the book mentions that made the passage go into such extent as to bring in mythology .

And also to write

“Every king was a living god.

Every god a murdered king.

Every king is just a scapegoat who has managed to delay his own execution.”

after elucidating examples such as Apple founder.

Overall a nice book. Worth reading especially the first half. It is a simple english book and the name of Peter Thiel and Bio to sell the book off. Not to undermine the effort, it is a very well written book for a content targeted for start up and easy to handle at 195 pages.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 10, 2016 in Book Review, Review


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: