I'll ignore the insets when I write about this book. Being from Mumbai and a someone who love the city more than anything, this book was a wonderful r...moreI'll ignore the insets when I write about this book. Being from Mumbai and a someone who love the city more than anything, this book was a wonderful read. Chandra tells nice stories! More about this book in this post, in my blog.(less)
It is about the ‘Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power’. I found the book extremely repetitive and and therefore irritating. It continues to give n...moreIt is about the ‘Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power’. I found the book extremely repetitive and and therefore irritating. It continues to give never ending examples of how corporations are causing the end of the world or something like that - but how - all the people who work there are the nicest of all people. It takes the time to explore the genesis of a 'corporation', tag it as a non-human entity, perhaps for the reason, not to invite the ire of the 'humans' who work at these greedy corporations.
How corporations gained human attributes like greed, with all the lovey-dovey nice humans working at the corporations, remains a mystery. I believe it started with some true purpose, but it had to tone down, so that the author's profits weren't affected by legal issues?
I think I should read it again - to see why The Independent thought it was ‘Fahrenheit 9/11 for people who think’(less)
John Humphrys and his way with words now take a turn and looks as how words and culture affect each other. For a person who is obsessed with words and...moreJohn Humphrys and his way with words now take a turn and looks as how words and culture affect each other. For a person who is obsessed with words and what they mean and what they are supposed to mean - this is engrossing. I am somewhere at page 86 - and it is as serious as it is funny. If you have ever wondered about the place of language in society - I definitely recommend it.
I have chosen now to let it go. After a while it became more of a "social-change" bashing than something "beyond words". For now, I am done with it.
A fine book. It took three failed starts before I finally got in the groove and completed the book. This, for me was a classical case of "you don't go...moreA fine book. It took three failed starts before I finally got in the groove and completed the book. This, for me was a classical case of "you don't go the books, the books come to you" and similar esotericism.
One problem, about this book, and I wonder how TALEB NASSIM NICHOLAS agreed, was its classification as a book on economics. The range of the domains that this book wanders through are many: sociology, history, philosophy, epistemology, science, mathematics, psychology and of course, economics.
The initial pages are a bit daunting for the casual reader, and unless you tune in to the ideas and become more accepting of the author's arrogance and his personal brand of humour, you may find it difficult to move ahead. And speaking of arrogance, while this book is all about the uncertainty around us, I cannot but think of a quote from Richard Bach's The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story: "…but arrogance came from certainty."
But as you go through the book, it becomes obvious that this book does not have a "universal appeal", like some of the other books in the here's-something-you-never-thought-of genre. It's not 'pop', so to speak. If you read the full book, you may even understand why. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone. It requires a certain temperament to get past the first thirty pages and then maintain that sensitivity throughout the time that you read it. In short, you should be willing to allow most of the things that you know, to be broken down (even, if later, you don't agree with the author).
It might even be the case, that all that you quietly held as true, finds expressive form, after you read the book.
It's a good book. Let's start by saying only that much.
Especially the first two parts: "Voice and Heterodoxy" and "Culture and Communication". These t...moreIt's a good book. Let's start by saying only that much.
Especially the first two parts: "Voice and Heterodoxy" and "Culture and Communication". These two sections take a very unusual take on India's history - far away from the usual format of a history book - whether written by an Indian or an outsider. And it is because Dr. Amartya Sen chooses a very narrow scheme to explore the concept of India. The language is impeccable, precise and often complex - but never confusing. For me, a paragraph like the one below, required serious slowing down:
"The absence of a conceptual congruence between different types of deprivation does not preclude their empirical proximity along a big dividing line, which is a central feature of classical class analysis."
I do realise that out-of-context it is even more vague - but even within context it took me a while to understand this concluding sentence. Perhaps it is just me.
The book, essentially, is a collection of previously written essays, some of which have been modified for the book. What this means is that there is significant repetition of certain examples and concepts and that can usually get you a but irritated. But books that are collections of essays have to be read in a different way - fairly independent of each other.
Somewhere in Part 3, I found a complete lack of the theme of argumentativeness - and that caused some reading pain. I say this, only as fair warning - not to criticise Part 3 as such. The content itself lacks nowhere; it has been researched well - and presented without emotion or unfounded passion. In the social and cultural crises that India finds itself, it may well worth be a book for most Indians to read - especially the bigots leaning on tradition and past culture. There's an interesting lesson in history for them. To the others, it is a wonderful exposition on India itself - and very interesting manner of looking at the country. For those of you who are not Indians, again, it is a fresh perspective - different from the dogma that has circulated so hard, it has created a permanent persuasion of what this country is.
For a long time, we have all been besotted by intelligence and intelligent people. "I didn't understand a word he said, he must be very intelligent,"...moreFor a long time, we have all been besotted by intelligence and intelligent people. "I didn't understand a word he said, he must be very intelligent," is an oft heard statement.
De Bono makes the distinction between intelligence and thinking-skill.
He uses an example of the power of eyesight and the ability to look in the right direction. Without the ability to look in the right direction, your power of eyesight is pretty useless.
From somewhere in the middle of the book, however, it all seemed to become an advertisement of all his processes and models that he has invented. It was almost a brochure.
It's a small book, and only the first half is relevant to the title.(less)
Somewhere in the middle of September 2009, was when I started reading this book. As I went through the early pages, I slipped into a comfortable and c...moreSomewhere in the middle of September 2009, was when I started reading this book. As I went through the early pages, I slipped into a comfortable and complacent state - I would finish reading Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River in a few of days; I'll cruise through it, I told myself.
It wasn't to be so.
The history of the river and of the 'empires' and the folklore and the community that laces this river challenged my curiosity as I, now, slowly made through the pages. The excitement that the author causes as she takes you, deftly through the caves and waterways and tunnels of 19th century history, folk-tales, social issues and right up to history that occurred a few thousands year ago - is a wonderful ride.
Your affinity for history will be of some importance as you read this book. First, because though it is on my history bookshelf, I would not classify this as a 'history' book as such. The other option is travel - but it does not sit snugly in that bookshelf, either.
To my mind, it is a biography - of a geographic feature. There is research there - loads of it - as becomes evident when you read through - yet the book is not blemished with distracting footnotes.
The writing is straightforward, simple and inviting; to participate in her adventure. And never a dull moment in that adventure (I must say warn, you have to have that streak of historic curiosity to some extent). The content very easily incorporates facts, whole stories, references, extreme emotions, and a sense of belonging. It has been a while, since I have enjoyed reading non-fiction history.
So after having started it in September 2009, I reached 2/3rd of the book by January of 2011. I cannot read books on history without context - I need maps, some background to an event, and an overview of the chronology. The book is now full of post-its and notes. For various reasons, I did not read the book after that. When I picked up the book again, earlier this month, I obviously could not recall the adventure earlier. Back to page 1. Thankfully my notes allowed me to cruise through, the pages I had read.
Pithy observation and insightful comments mark the book in equal measure. I loved the book!(less)
The story of their success is not new. It has been around for a while and has been excitedly spoken of in various business events and discussions. The...moreThe story of their success is not new. It has been around for a while and has been excitedly spoken of in various business events and discussions. They have made Mumbai proud by placing an otherwise taken for granted enterprise on the global map. I am, no doubt, talking of the Dabbawallas of Mumbai. Those pyjama-donned and Gandhi-cap clad busy-bees who are ubiquitous every morning during your commute to office.
I finished the very unputdownable book, Dabbawalas, by Shrinivas Pandit, yesterday, in one sitting. The entire book is a set of dialogues between the office bearers of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust and the author and Anita Dalal. The author has inserted takeaways at the end of every dialogue and has summarised them at the end of the book. It is a very simple read, does not use complicated business jargon, neither does it present an over-analytical view of the dialogues. In fact, the analysis, if you insist on calling it that, is embedded in the conversation seamlessly and does not require a separate process in your brain to comprehend that.
The dialogues provide a deep insight into the functioning of the Dabawalas: not as a process of implementation, but the philosophy and the value system of an enterprise. The dialogues often touch upon the concept of durability, which had me mesmerised, thinking of how these people look at their business and how most businesses are superficial in their mission definition.
This book is an important read for anyone in business for one very important reason. This book explores the psyche of the enterprise. Often, most business-self-help books provide you the tools of success -- describe what has been successful in one business that you may implement in yours. This is a classic posture for failure. Most processes are built on foundations of a value system that is often ignored. To adopt a process without it's underlying value system is a mistake that many businesses make. In my opinion, every enterprise is unique based on the value it creates for customers and markets. Therefore the processes that they should adopt must be derived out of the value systems that they follow. Processes that are orphaned from their biological value systems are doomed to fail or at best achieve mediocre results.
A significantly large population who knows about the Dabawalas story, will focus on their six-sigma performance -- one error in 16 million transactions (99.999999%). This would be the fallacy. Dabawalas, by Shrinavas Pandit, helps provide the perfect context of this error-rate. The context of the belief-system in mission; the spiritual density in action; a discrete single-mindedness of a business (not financial) goal, and the arresting inclusion of every stakeholder in the enterprise.
The book, if you are willing to delve in its takeaways, is even a guide for how you may live your life. Read it completely, if you want to make sense of why certain things work and why certain don't. In the fast-paced life that we live, it will be useful for us to take a few scoops from this book, rather than scrape the icing, mistaking it for the cake.(less)