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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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“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 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, veg.food, 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.

References

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 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 , […]
  • 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 […]

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Book Review

 

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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.

 

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

 

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Great reference for life and sales

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in SellingHow 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 Failure to Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger truly does justice to the common conversations, which more or less involves selling. Yes, selling is the single most important activity that no one in this world can escape from. Not just as a consumer, but as a salesperson. Everyone in this world has in one way or another sold something. The success of the common person is so much depended on this skill. But the skill is not very common. Proper training is often not given. This involved selling ourselves through resumes and interviews and applications. It also involves selling our idea for a group to agree upon. Selling to give and take respect. Selling to be heard and be given, to be forgiven and to be helped. An unassuming person goes through these activities throughout their life. This is however, not realized in its true sense and sales is often a skill that is looked down upon. Just imagine a world without sales. No. It is beyond imagination. In fact, such a world without sales does not exist.

The things that we sell include idea, material, design, equipment, the self, opinion, religion, customs, belief, medicine and illusions. There may be some categorization of the market such as socialist and capitalist, either way sales happen. Life and sales are so close that they cannot be distinguished from one another. This makes the omnipresence of sales and apparent neglect of which leads to a class of people called salespeople who are looked down upon for no reason of theirs.

Here is the video of a student selling himself at a career fair through rap

This faintly resembles me of the legendary Malayalam movie Daya. Where a slave sells herself to save her Master. If you have attended any salary negotiation workshops, then this becomes more evident.

 

Now! if you still think that selling stinks that is because you have not read this book.  Every single page is a lesson for sales, for life.  One among the many things that the book prompts the reader is to read about Benjamin Franklin. The book sells itself in the beginning by quoting Dale Carnegie and the author’s interaction with this legend.

 

Effective sales happen when

  • You are enthusiastic, act enthusiastic, feel enthusiastic
  • Track your failures and that will lead to success, when you take corrective actions
  • To make a sale you need an order, which needs an interview which does not happen until you make the call
  • Speak before groups , get courage and self confidence
  • Serve the need of the customer.
  • Make appointment, be prepared , focus on a point, ask questions, have a winning attitude.
  • Find the hidden objection, by asking “Why?”, see that these objections vanish from prospect.
  • Know your business
  • Praise competitors
  • Get direct witness or testimony.
  • Remember names, make friends
  • When you are scared admit it
  • Immediately after the pitch write what could be improved
  • Take care of customers and appreciate their property
  • Sell your appointment, sell your interview, then make the sales.

The book then urges one to know more about the magic method of Benjamin Franklin to improve the self.

 

Frank Bettger’s book is worth multiple re-reads.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Book Review, Lesson

 

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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 in the Himalayas and was a huge (Himalayan) in its very sense.

Even if you one is not into wars and more into peace and freedom of choice resting with peace than something evil as war, a history such as this cannot be ignored. Being prepared, anticipating the possibilities is better than having nothing to defend with than the grandiloquence of peace. As a true Indian nobody would support war. And ministry of defense is truly a matter of defense than offense, compared to other nations.

Of course, the world of humans have not learned much even with great people like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela having walked the earth. But at-least acknowledge that history.

The author has a nice narrative style. It is unassuming and very explanatory and easy to follow with the map provided. Many place are difficult to pronounce. But the pattern is there. After describing the background of the political and economic situation of a brand new country and the leaders at the top, their chemistry and the Army positions, it is easy to follow the actual events in its sequence, with the dates provided. I do not know if this book is a reference in the Defense department but definitely a good read for an average Indian to learn about what happened at that time. The author acknowledges his situations and challenges in a very comprehensive way. The book becomes easy to follow this way. And what is better than reading a narrative from the man who was in the conditions.

The writing is definitely very humble to have given all the conditions and expectations of the “war” scenario and what made it a blunder. It was also interesting to read about the fame of the 2 Rajputs, 9 Punjabs and 1/9 Gorkhas and 4 Grenadiers during the world war elsewhere. It is always good to know the history and why the NEFA had problem with China is not yet known, other than the Chinese ambitions and disregard for McMohan Line. My understanding is that the fall of Tibet was not anticipated and India was more towards appeasing the west than immediate neighbours, including Tibet and China at that time. It was surprising to note that the army was not trained in Chinese language and the Chinese Army, some of them, knew Hindi. That was a big surprise. Of course, we expect spies in the NEFA(North East Frontier Agency) region and in any war situation the political bias and national affinity matters. I do not know why we had nothing much to learn about this ” Himalayan blunder” or the history of the north-east regions in our textbooks (2004 Kerala State Syllabus or lower classes). We had a good amount of data to learn about the politics of USA, Independence movements in Africa, India & Pakistan, History of Travancore with the background of various kingdoms like Choyha, Chera and Pandya in addition to the Mughals. I am surprised why I was never taught about the North east region except for the names of these states and their capitals.

However, the effort to write the book, is highly appreciated. The very humble factual narrative, assuming responsibilities also suggesting what could have been the case, makes this a history to remember. And now that people who are looking for can easily get access to the situation that was a blunder.

 

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Book Review, India, Review, Uncategorized

 

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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 , including the usages and references (mostly UK based).

First thing the book does is to bust the myth on the affinity for Stradivarius violin and why it happened, the history and the economics of it. It is interesting to find rating of violin makers in the sequence of priority as

Gasparo da Salo > Maggini > Guarnerius > Stradivarius > Amati.

For me , except for Stradivarius all others are new names in the field. This the author says is because of the known scarcity of violins from these and other makers. The comparative abundance of Stradivarius invited multiple copies of the same to be made, not from the legend , but due to the economy of popular demand became the known name for violins.

Lessons for choosing a violin include , among many tips, these >

  • Check for the tone of the violin.
  • Some notes may sound odd, these are called as “wolf-notes” based on the wood and position of the sound post, and full contact of the sound post. This may be a few notes, especially the higher notes which will be never produced right due to the manufacturing of the violin. There are many violin which goes in the market with the wolf- notes undiscovered, the discovery of which leads to decreased value of the violin, though it is named under many of the great manufacturers.

And then, there are some tips for practicing the violin given in the book:-

  • First thing for a violinist to do is to practice scales daily.
  • Secure first and third fingers before second and fourth.
  • A long note, requiring separate bows may be played to sound continuous by taking the pressure away from the bow slightly, before the moment of reversing.
  • Keep violin away from dust. Even dusting can remove varnish, if dusting is done frequently.
  • It is good to keep in mind that it is not the string but the wood that makes the sound.
  • Try to read Corelli’s solos Op.5 Book I
  • Put weight on left foot , if standing.
  • Grab the opportunity to play with others.
  • Best violin is not always expensive
  • Check for tone from pianissimo to forte
  • Equal height for all strings
  • Violin should be held upwards falling towards the player.
  • And some tips to take care of the violin includes using a damp cotton and wire to clean the inside of the violin.
  • This book is worth many re-reads and guides as a good reference.
 
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Posted by on July 10, 2016 in Book Review, Lesson, Review

 

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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 few pages, it dwells deep into the story, with the style of writing and conversations. It is perfectly readable once you read through first few pages which are written in old style English, to give a feel of the olden times of Rich Babylon.

From the wikipedia, the place is in Iraq

 

Since we do not know the language, it does not matter. It is in Old English in new form, not Arabic.

And the major portion of the story goes from rags to riches. It is not a moderate guy getting rich. It is mostly, a person who spend beyond measure or got into ill fortune and then got dragged down to the level of slaves and how they work their way back based on the following points , which are mentioned in the beginning of the book.

Points to note

  • Mind your expenses
  • Save money
  • Invest money
  • Work, earn, be willing to explore
  • Get a house which is a profitable investment

So, everyone knows this. Then how much do you save? and how much do you live on?

The formula given is

save 1/10 th of earning

live on 7/10 th

pay off the debt using 2/10 th

invest the saved money. make the money work.

 

The author George Clason is from USA, so the comparison and the onus of saving is targeted at the lifestyle of USA.

As anyone knows you should not live beyond your earnings. And saving money is second nature in many oriental cultures (like Babylon!). This book may reassure this nature for people who flocked to the land of opportunities.

Good luck in getting rich.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

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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 is just to show the philosophy. It is like some old Bruce Lee movies were a story is build just to show off Bruce Lee’s martial arts and skills rather than the story it self. But this mode of approach may have been the fashion style when the book was first published , 1999. However, I finished the book, finally. It was easy once I focused on what I wanted out of the book. Not the story of Julian, the character in the book, but the philosophy.

There are a few points worth remembering. Most of them reinforcing the practices of Indian culture of meditation and mantra. This may work as a boost for the Indians abroad who tend to confuse the cultures and end up nowhere. The addition of Japanese words and sumo wrestler adds spice to the story. Easily disregarded.

 

“Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it…commit a goal to  paper.. create a dream book”

 

“Power of ritual”

“No man is free who is not a master of himself” – Epictetus

“kaizen = never ending improvement”

“Limits on your life are those that you set yourself”

 

“Not improving your mind or nourishing your spirit, is like , not having time to stop for gas because you are busy in driving”

 

The book refers to

1.The Story of My Experiments With Truth

2. Siddhartha

3.Think and Grow Rich

There is a small section where Robin Sharma discusses the contradiction of ” living with simplicity ” and “happiness through achievement”. But what invokes a book of discussion on the topic itself is dealt less and mostly with digression.

My take on the topic that achievement is based on the goal you set. The goals when achieved gives happiness. If the goals are great but involves simplicity in action. Many greats have achieved the greatness by being simple in life. No pride, no jealousy, no pretension, perseverance on job at hand .

The book also says

“Man” = mind, “tra” = freeing, Mantras free the mind.

Talk to yourself, how you would like to see yourself as. Repeat the mantra everyday.

Busy , productive people are very efficient with their time.

“Time is a non-renewable resource”

In all, it was an achievement to read this book. Nevertheless, the content of the book is valuable.
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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Think and Grow Rich, Review

Think and Grow RichThink 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 numbered to give the count on reasons, opinions and suggestions on life and richness.
Personally, I feel the motivation to read the book was high in the first few pages , about 80 and then declined rapidly as the author goes into thought process, sixth sense and the fabled opinions of the society back home in India. It is as if he just discovered the same back in the days of USA’s depression. In this the patriotic fervour is great, which other nations should probably learn from. Patriotism in a self help book!

Writing is generally old boring style, while the content keeps the reader engaged. There are some quotes from Emerson et al, which are in regular use in USA daily. Also, this book was written, probably with a thought, to have it as a reference, for future books, which invariably referred and quoted from this book as the first book to go into the reasoning of richness and ways to be there. This may also be motivated by the factor of the reduced use, or popularity, of religion and the schemes of spiritualism to attain the same richness in this part of the world. Does this give license to people to use the same principles and get away with a best seller? Of course, the principles are for everyone to use. I could say this much with Hindu cultural background.

Among many things there are 3 notable collections:-

10 Major causes of failure in leadership

30 major causes of failure which holds you back

Self analysis questionnaire for personal inventory

Chapter 11 onwards is crazy, not for the mild hearted, that concludes with St.A Lincoln’s miracular appearance urging the author to write!

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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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About : Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from VenusMen 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 put the time and effort to compile this collection of experience and practical knowledge. Now, I can with some understanding ( being single) understand what exactly is happening in the conversations between the married couple in my family.

The way John has written about Love Letters is interesting. He mentions writing one for the self. Writing for the sake of venting the emotions, not just for another person to read. This kind of reflection and catharsis goes a long way in helping to cope with stressful life. I know people who believe in law of averages. They would make a law and say that either life or career should be smooth. Not both can be in volatile volcanic state, and if it is so , it is difficult for me to handle it. And therefore, they conveniently choose their career over their life matters. I have never seen ( in quarter century of life) someone who has put all his life and blood to the job and gained everything out of it. Family and social life is the only segment of life that gives and lends without asking, allowing unconditional borrowing and offering unconditional life situation. This is truly priceless and invaluable. if someone is trading this for a career or anything else , that person deserves the treatment he gets! No Offense.
This book can help guide people who are obsessive in forgetting about family. People who have difficulty in understanding spouse and I guess it is useful for me went my status changes from that of single.

The book is a nice work. Not too boring for a self help guide and not too boring if you are serious about understanding what to expect and what not in a married life. I would recommend this to anyone who is an adult.

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Posted by on June 6, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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