I am amused and smiling as I write the review. One of the resonating themes of the books is to let go of the shackles of the belief system(s) that you have adorned, imbibed and ingrained over the years. Whatever these may be - religious, spiritual, social or political.
Osho says in a section of the book - to be in the moment and not necessarily agree or disagree with what he says - just be with him him. Like you do not agree or disagree with a sunset or a rose, just be - do not agree or disagree. Significant social conditioning denies us this pleasure of being. The mind needs to settle everything in one of lobes.
So, I have nothing to tell you about the book. No experience is ever the same - especially with books and what we gain (or not) from them, this book is a shining candidate. I was just going along reading without thinking (which was a huge effort, I will admit).
Edward de Bono is truly a thinker for these desperate times. We seem to fail to notice the cookie cutter world that we have created and live in. Denial is the natural response to possibility - more so because there is comfort and knowledge in that which we know.
The book itself is presented, almost as a book for children. To present such a powerful thought in such a simple way is probably the genius that Edward de Bono is. The presentation appeals to the child in you. There is eagerness to absorb and complete absence to question. The cynic's questions may come later, but while reading there is complete surrender.
Progress, growth, imagination and belief, are the few themes that salsa in your mind after you put down this very small book. A very goodread after a long time.
Richard Bach said, "Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them." deBono has picked up this thought and applied structure to it: How not to walk away.
There is a possibili that you may think of your life differently after you read this book. It's possible.(less)
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)
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.
One of the many books that I have finished a single or two sittings. While the obvious genre of the book would be historical analysis or biography, I would happily put this on the storybook shelf.
The story of the Rani of Jhansi is one that most of us have heard in our childhood – without the details and the context of the circumstances prevalent during the Revolt of 1857. We heard the story of being brave and being patriotic – to an extent the passion of freedom - Mai apni Jhansi nahi doongi! (I will not give up my Jhansi).
This book was written by D. V. Tahmankar (d. 1982) and first published in 1958. Little information about Tahmankar is available on the Internet. According to the book, he:
[…:] was a correspondent of the Marathi newspaper Kesari before becoming the UK correspondent for the Deccan Herald till 1980. He set up the Lokmanya Tilak Memorial Trust and also wrote the biographies Lokamanya Tilak: Father of Indian Unrest and Maker of Modern India (1956) and Sardar Patel (1970).
His stint in the UK undoubtedly helped in the writing of the book (though it isn’t clear if he was in the UK when this book was published), however, according to the Open Library, this book was first published by Published in 1958, MacGibbon & Kee (London). He acknowledges the ungrudging help from the Librarian of the Commonwealth Office Library
The premise and the purpose of the book has been defined right from the first page. The story of this character has been biased by accounts of the British officers, and Tahmankar is out to ensure that
her career [which:] has borne a blemish all these years as a result of one-sided accounts of the massacre at Jhansi of English men, women and children.
is cleared through the reference of other sources and a deeper analysis of existing sources. And he does it well. I only regret the lack of a formal bibliography, and cross-references are embedded in the book rather than listed at the end. The references to Vishnu Bhatt Godse’s Majha Pravas (My Travels), published in 1907, by Chitrashala Press, Pune is something I’d like to lay my hands on. One clear assumption, when reading the book, I had to make, was that the references were valid.
More often than not, when an Indian writer picks up a story to be presented in the “correct context”, it usually leads to a blanket negation and grandiloquent discrediting of all British accounts and the glorification of all Indian historical personalities as heroes – usually, without valid references. This is not to say that the British accounts were in any way accurate – however an argument loses credibility without necessary support and references.
Tahmankar, on the other hand, presents a very balanced view of the personalities in his book. Whether it is Tatya Tope or Nana Saheb or Sir Hugh Rose, he relies on multiple references and their verifiable actions to present the true character of the personalities. Where necessary he is surgically analytical and boldly critical without being under duress of presenting a pompous or glorious Indian edition of the story.
The language he employs is simple and clear, with interesting shades of Indian English would have been prevalent at that time. It flows without interruption and each word is well-placed like a jig-saw puzzle that has been gently sand-papered to create a picture without the distorting grooves. He writes, for example:
This economic impact of British rule changed the even tenor of Indian social life with brutal suddenness. The process of disintegration was accentuated by the disrupting aspects of Lord Dalhousie’s administration which showed little respect for religious susceptibilities and political sentiments.
All through the book, Tahmankar makes precise use of adjectives to set the mood for the story. There is an uncanny tension that prevails throughout the book, and keeps your opinion balanced without making the book an effortful academic read.
Immensely enjoyable, I wish for more writers to take up the challenge of writing about Indian history that comes close to Tahmankar’s cogent presentation.
Amongst Women has been lying with me for sometime now and I have no idea why I ever picked it up or why I took so long to start (and fi...moreWonderful read.
Amongst Women has been lying with me for sometime now and I have no idea why I ever picked it up or why I took so long to start (and finish) it. As far as searching and delving into human understanding goes - this has to make the list.
This books a sine-wave-form of emotions of a family - very simply presented. But at almost every paragraph there is a subtle, in-depth exploration, which, as you progress along, you discover is never long-lasting. It's a tease, almost, that leaves you to delve into your own thoughts. Things change along the time line whether you expect them to or not.
On the face of it, it's a relationship between a father and his children. When we talk about the children, there are three daughters who are always with him and two sons with whom he has a difficult relationship; the difficulty of the relationship is compounded with his personal history that we are never completely aware of. I wonder, however, if it is just that, or the underlying theme - the lack of male company - that the father craves, yet denies himself.
It all really started because of my interest in the works of John Dewey. In various articles and books, there was continuing reference to Hegel's work...moreIt all really started because of my interest in the works of John Dewey. In various articles and books, there was continuing reference to Hegel's works and Hegelian thought. A quick look at the Wikipedia entry left me lost more than before and unable to capture the essence of his philosophy, and with full awareness that I would probably leave the book half-read, I picked up this very short introduction by Peter Singer.
Though short, I must say that it was as unputdownable as any racy fiction I used to read in college or school. That's beyond a compliment for a book on philosophy, attempting to describe the gist of the works of a philosopher who has a strong reputation for being obscure and unintelligible.
Hegel: A Very Short Introduction is a very simple book to read, given you have some interest and background in philosophy. Having said that, this is a book, almost anybody can pick up and make sense. Peter Singer employs the right devices to simplify and distil the essence of Hegel's philosophy in mere 152 pages. He does not impose his interpretations at any time, and for when you feel he does, he ends a section with a good exposition of both sides of the story. It is not over-simplified, which is just right, because that would amount to a significant dilution in comprehending Hegel's thought. This book allows you to imagine the breadth and he depth of Hegelian philosophy, and importantly for me -- encountering that word anywhere, I have a clear map of what Hegelian thought would mean.
I would love to get into some recurring thoughts I have had about Hegel himself, but I shall reserve them for a different post, elsewhere. (less)