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Category Archives: Review

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 onward this turns crazy, not for the mild-hearted, that concludes with St.A Lincoln’s miraculous appearance urging the author to write!

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  • “Sharing” work in the Internet - This post is a book review for “Show your work” by Austin Kleon This is the TVC that comes first to mind about “sharing” Like the boy in ad, whatever our age, we do “sharing” for personal need/satisfaction/benefits , knowingly or not. Austin talks about the value in sharing work online, establishment of personal brand, […]
  • 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 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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Elephant’s journey with Jose Saramago

The Elephant's JourneyThe Elephant’s Journey by José Saramago

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a miracle. Like a miracle described in the book. A must read for animal fans, humor lovers and tragedy lovers. The author says about the inspiration for the story in the end, which is surprising. I would never expect and elephant to walk in snow, I come from land of elephants and have experienced snow, but I would never want an elephant to walk on snow. Here , is the journey though. The book is full of humor and glittering pieces of an Indian character the mahout, a second hero to the the elephant in the story.
I read the English translation which is very rich in usage of vocabulary. It serves as a good source to learn some new words.
There are some great lines in this book. Here, are a few.
” We are, more and more, our own defects and not our qualities”

“..One word often brings along another in its train simply because they sound good together, even if this mean lack of levity and ethics for aesthetics , if such solemn concepts are not out of place in a discourse such as this, and often to no one’s advantage either. It is in this and other ways, almost without our realizing it, that we make so many enemies in life”
( This sounds like a poem, wow)

And this one for the pride of India
“…despite the ridiculous number of deities, sub-deities and demons infesting that country, there are far fewer superstitions in the land … than in the particular part of civilized and very christian Europe…”
(why this statement? another reason to read the book)

One more on India
“if your highness knew the elephants as i believe I do, you would know that India exists wherever an Indian elephant happens to be…., and the same India will remain in tact inside him ( elephant)..”

(This captures the essential essence of India, Have never seen a writing that is more straight to heart. This applies to other nationalities as well.)

“.. the longer I live, the more I ignore,….,It’s not me playing games with words, it’s them playing games with me..”
(rightly said, as for a writer, the words may be playing the game, and as a write lives longer, it is just natural to ignore more and focus on the writing in progress…)

“..popular wisdom teaches us, and as has more than once been shown, god writes straight on crooked lines, and even seems to prefer the latter.”
(if someone really can aim to comment on what god thinks , like humans do, then it must be from a person of humanity)

“…you will have the life, be it good or bad, for which you were born and from which you cannot escape…”

(people try to change from what they are. for they think they have to be. And then there is this inescapable trap laid out in the birth. But there is no need not to believe in what you want to do with life and then achieve it. In the context of elephant’s journey, he talks about this in regard to their origins. I suppose it is so because the elephant as a mortal animal cannot quickly adapt to the snowing conditions, nor does the one who commands it, the mahout, the life as it comes may be good or bad. The mahout had dreams of traveling but could never afford even in dreams to travel the journey that they had undertaken. But, under the skin they remain mere morals, the end of the story is for tragedy lovers, as I mentioned in the beginning. But the humour in it is big enough so as to sideline or even ignore the tragedy that was upcoming.I do not understand why Jose mentioned as a communist in multiple wiki pages just after pronouncing his literary achievements, who have taken a candid opinion on religion and belief through the writing wrote something like this…This can instigate another round of reading)
“when the mind wanders, when it carries off on the wings of daydreams, we do not even notice the distances traveled, especially when the feet carrying us are not our own”
( this is very true for most us humans. Our dreams and daydreams are so much trusting upon the thrust assured by near and dear the feet which are not ours , the karma or whatever you call it, gets us to push and move the distance that need to be travelled, that is the distance to our destination, made up by our own thoughts and for sure from the support from the unexpected more than the expected. The good that one thinks and acts unto to the benefit of us gives wings to our dreams. We do not own the wings nor the feet that help us travel. It is very true for any achiever in their fields. A successful runner always had the feet of their coach or mentor.This may sound similar and mostly is the same as what Paulo Coelho said in The Alchemist, ” the whole world will conspire to let you achieve your dreams”)

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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: Jumpstart Your Business: 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Jumpstart Your Business: 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Entrepreneurial SpiritJumpstart Your Business: 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Entrepreneurial Spirit by Shawn Doyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book meant to be used in proactive reading style. I could use it that way and had some notes and questions jotted down from the “jolts”. The book is written is a very confident style where the bragging part doesn’t come off as odd. The examples of success stories are kept to a common man’s level. Yes, it does not speak of Steve Jobs or Elon Musk , for a change?!
This book provides an easy top follow guideline that can be written down as a checklist. So once you have a brooding idea about startup then you can easily walk through the checklist and take the necessary steps and cross out the ones that you have already achieved.
The time I read book coincides with my participation in a Pre-Seed workshop in University at Buffalo. Here, I am part of a team that discuss strategies to help build a startup around the patented invention of Idea champion. This book steps through the essential steps of building a business around the entrepreneur , corresponds to the idea champion in the workshop.
In this process the book urges you to think, if not write down, about the answers to questions posed to the reader at the end of each chapter. These questions helps one understand the thought process behind the creation and maintenance of a company and assists in staging and forming the basis for the foresight, to see the work in action in near future.
The icing on the cake is the collection of books and authors at the end for further reading.

Some of the quotes (as it has become a standard with self help books) that I liked from this particular writing are:

” Business is as good as the people you associate with”

” It is what you know and who you know” that helps the business

” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams

The book also quotes Think and Grow Rich atleast 3 times in its content, making it the next book to be read if you haven’t already done so. The context mostly is that ” You are what you think” and thinking positive. Which any religion, say Buddhism also mentions. After reading these books on ” business” and ” leadership ” I get this feeling that the American way of writing on business tends to project capitalism and money as basic motivation while the oriental spiritualism says the same without touching the money but peace and self satisfaction. I can’t blame one if it is through money that one achieves self satisfaction and peace of mind. But it is one big thing in such books were success is almost always tied to money. This works perfectly for people who believe in capitalism. “Ultimately it is the belief”

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  • “Sharing” work in the Internet - This post is a book review for “Show your work” by Austin Kleon This is the TVC that comes first to mind about “sharing” Like the boy in ad, whatever our age, we do “sharing” for personal need/satisfaction/benefits , knowingly or not. Austin talks about the value in sharing work online, establishment of personal brand, […]
  • 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 May 23, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team WantsThe 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It quotes a man’s inspiration to believe in bible and then fight because he interpreted ” If a man can make peace by fighting, he is a peacemaker”. This on the initial few pages may put off any peaceful reader.

On further tolerance and reading on,
It quotes
” It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of he crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Such quotes makes you feel that you can write something and leave your name behind as a quotable quote.

The book is small and readable. If you care about baseball , there is some example from that. Quoting movies in a leadership book was strange. This book does that too. On the preface you see that there was someone to write and proofread this small book. This makes me believe that you need a bunch of quotes and movies and let someone else write the book and proofread and put their names in acknowledgement. Not Ghostwriting!

In sum total this book is a miracle, as it has very little to offer but still makes it to the shelves of leadership skills collection in university.

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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know by John C. Maxwell

Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To KnowEthics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know by John C. Maxwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book discusses some quotes and some history of successful people.

It talks about the “golden rule of any faith” which is roughly
‘treat another person in the way you would like yourself to be treated’ (with citations)

Some nice quotes:-
JC Penney ” money is properly the byproduct of building men as partners”

“Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes ” John Ruskin

it says that competitive pride brings doom.

Goethe “things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”

It urges one to be prepared to seize your golden opportunity

And also states that people who know their weaknesses are rarely taken by surprise.

A small book , a quick read.

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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Review

 

The Lowland Book Review

The worst book I have ever read. Can be listed along with Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children as a sleep inducer. If you are lacking sleep you will find each page make you sleep more heavily.

The writing is highly boring and soporific. It is written only with the intention to make people sleep. The story has nothing to offer by way of good or bad, except sleep.

Have a happy time sleeping through this.

So much hype with Jhumpa Lahiri what with watching the Namesake Movie and The Lowland my eyes had to plugh through a one page hype-write up on Jhumpa Lahiri the next Salman Rushdie on The Hindu MetroPlus in the weekend.

Americans have done a good work with this. With what they like and do the most, making hype.

happy sleeping.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Book Review, Review, Uncategorized

 

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