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Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  2,616 ratings  ·  607 reviews
Professor Chandra is an expert at complex problems. There's just one he can't crack: the secret of happiness.

In the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work.

He’s just narrowly missed out on the Nobel Prize (again) and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor h
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 10th 2019 by Chatto Windus
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Cheryl Do you mean the author, Rajeev? We don't know if he thinks the same way as his character does.... In any case, Chandra is brilliant, and actually has …moreDo you mean the author, Rajeev? We don't know if he thinks the same way as his character does.... In any case, Chandra is brilliant, and actually has three major cultural influences (America, England, and South India) as well as his life's work in economics, so of course his analysis of politics is going to be complex. There is no simple left vs. right, capitalist vs. socialist, liberal vs. conservative; there are no labels that fit real people, especially people who actually think for themselves.(less)

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Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Update: Happy Publication Date today, March 26, 2019

Professor P. R. Chandrasekhar has been leading the kind of life he prescribed for himself 45 years earlier when he left India at the age of 24. With a few alterations. He is 69 years old and although he is Professor Emeritus in Economics at a college in Oxford, the big prize, the one he has worked so hard for, has been elusive. His marriage fell apart a few years before when his wife left him for another man. They, and the Professor’s youngest
Angela M
I read this because I was hoping for a lighter book. I routinely read so many books with heavy subject matter by choice, but I thought this would be a nice reprieve. While there is humor to be found here, it’s not what I would call a light read. There are some real issues to think about here - a broken family, a sad lonely man who has put himself and his career before his family and now feels like a failure in his career as well. I’m an outlier here since there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews. ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'm a sucker for books about cranky individuals, curmudgeons, grumpy souls, if you will. Maybe I feel a kindred spirit. Professor Chandra is a professor emeritus in economics at Cambridge. He's just been passed over for the Novel Prize for the umpteenth time. His life is falling apart. He's wondering whether his life has any meaning. His wife divorced him three years ago and moved to Colorado. He has major differences with two of his three children. After he is injured in an accident it is stron ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss" is a much more complex and textured book than the title and cover make it seem. Chandra is 69, a prestigious professor of economics at Kings College, respected worldwide, who as the book opens has once again been passed over for the Nobel Prize. He's disappointed. He's also a burnt-out, impatient, wise-cracking curmudgeon who's been taken to task by the school's Master for, among other things, calling a student an imbecile. He's told he must take a break. Th ...more
Diane Barnes
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This book was much better than I thought it would be, which is a strange comment, I suppose. I had signed up for it at my library, it came in, so I started reading what I thought would be a light, funny book about a curmudgeon. If it was no good, or too light and fluffy, I could just send It back to the library, no harm, no foul. It turned out to be much more than that, which delighted me; a complex story about a complex man trying to find himself after a lifetime of thinking he was alw
As you can tell from my rating, this was only an okay read for me.

I don't know if it's the because of the title and/or the cover, but I was expecting something light, charming and whimsy.

I usually like books about changing one's ways, finding one's bliss, although I roll my eyes at some of the pseudo-spiritual stuff some people get up to, while also being in the camp of if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone ...

But I don't know, I went with the flow but I always wanted to get out and do
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
Chandra is a 69 year old economics professor at Cambridge.
He’s been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize several times and his most recent failure to be selected is weighing on him. Other sources of stress are his divorce from ex wife Jean and separation from his children. Seventeen year old Jasmine lives with her mother and step father in Boulder, Colorado. Her older brother Sunny owns a successful business institute in Hong Kong based on the concept of “capitalist mysticism” (basically greed is go
K.J. Charles
I enjoyed this massively. Chandra is a Cambridge economics professor with a failed marriage and estranged or troubled adult kids, who has failed to win the Nobel prize again and is just waking up to the realisation that he might have made a mess of his life.

This is not, let me say, a book about a middle aged academic discovering himself with the aid of a sexy manic pixie much younger woman. Nobody needs that book. Chandra is 70 and his main issue is the rising awareness that he hasn't actually
Betsy Robinson
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Until I read Diane Barnes’s review of this book, I’d not been drawn to it. But Diane directly addressed my assumptions: that it was fluffy—a light read. She said it was a better book than she’d assumed it was.

The cover, cover blurb, and title seem to misrepresent it, conveying light fluffiness and fun, inevitably disappointing readers who want that and turning off those who want something substantive. But now that I’ve read and enjoyed this book, I understand the marketing conundrum. (More on th
Janet Newport
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this arc.

I usually read mysteries / thrillers / action adventure stories..... usually much faster paced books. But I found this to be a very nice slow read. First though, I must comment that the reader have at least fifty years under their belt so they can properly enjoy it. This is an adventure story of sorts. Professor Chandra has reached the acme of his professional life and has to reconcile with himself that he may never attain all of his earlier prof
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarything
Professor Chandra was sure he would win the Nobel Prize as an economist, but no, he misses it yet again. Winning this prize has become a necessity for his happiness in his mind. He’ll need to work harder next time. But when he’s the victim of a bicycle hit and run, he begins to re-assess his life and work. He focuses on his relationships with his children and ex-wife. He’s been estranged from his oldest daughter for years. He rarely sees his son who lives in Hong Kong. His youngest daughter live ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
Pity poor Cambridge don P.C. Chandrasekhar — an internationally renowned economist and arrogant curmudgeon shortlisted for the Nobel Prize who goes by Professor Chandra. His wife Jean left him for a shallow child psychologist, whom she followed to Colorado; unfortunately, Jean also took Chandra’s teenaged daughter Jasmine in tow. His workaholic son Sunny has become “the brown face of global corporatism,” while his daughter Radha has become the argumentative comic-book version of a Marxist revolu ...more
When Emeritus Professor P.R. Chandrasekhar misses out on the Nobel Prize for Economics (again), it really doesn't improve his mood. Faced with complaints from his students, an unfortunate run-in with a bicycle and a silent heart attack, the Cambridge Don takes heed of his College Master's advice that it might be a good time to take a sabbatical. So he organises a gig as Distinguished Visiting Professor at UC Bella Vista in California. Apart from the health benefits of spending time in the sun, h ...more
Jonathan K
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
While the summary seemed interesting the story failed to engage. Characters are mediocre, plot is predictable and dialog repetitive. I'd hoped for more but after reading nearly half it wasn't going anywhere. DNF!
Rating: 3 stars

Oh Professor Chandra, I had such high hopes that we’d go on a wonderful, humorous, light-hearted journey together. Alas, it did not turn out that way for me. You made me feel your angst about the disconnectedness you had from your children, and your annual disappointment about not winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. But the journey you embarked on to reach out to the family, and the forks in the road you took along the way turned out to be not all that interesting to me. Sadly,
Aga Durka
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a slow moving, character driven, family drama. There is no action, twist and turns, so for all the thriller/suspense/mystery book lovers this may be a monotonous read. But there is a really good message that I have taken away from this book: that no matter how busy and ambitious we are in our lives, we always need to take time for our loved ones. We really need to hear them out, and try to understand their ways, because if we don’t, one day we may find ourselves very much alone.

Mar 03, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
DNFing on page 86.

I really dislike DNFing ARCs, but this one doesn't seem to live up to its blurb. While there are some amusing parts, the plot drags on and on, and none of the characters are particularly likable. It feels a lot like Johnathan Franzen's The Corrections to me, and I loathed everything about that book. Fortunately, I no longer feel obligated to finish a book I'm not enjoying. I wish the professor the best in his search for bliss, and I am off to seek my own in a different book.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Professor Chandra, soon to be seventy, has once again not won the Pulitzer Prize in Economics. His career was built on theories now unpopular--as unpopular as the Professor himself!

His kids won't talk with him, his ex married a male bimbo, his coworkers are sick of him. He has some nagging doubts about his whole life. Has he valued the wrong things?

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss had me laughing out loud through the first half. Chandra's struggles with the world and his family are presente
Kelly Coyle-Crivelli
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A story about a father that loves his children, even though they sometimes don't see it that way. Chandra is a character to love and in all of his imperfections, he's still gets the important things right- and isn't that what life is all about?
Mar 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I had high hopes for Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss, but I was disappointed. What I thought would be a humorous, relatively light-hearted book was really a satire where author Ravjeev Balasubramanyam mocks American culture and perhaps empirically proves you can't teach an old dog a new trick.

Chandra is not a lovable curmudgeon like those found in A Man Called Ove or The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. He is self-centered and pompous. He alienated his wife and children with his singular foc
Welcome to the Hotel California.

Every year, Professor Emeritus P. R. Chandrasekhar is hotly tipped to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. The professor expects it too – and yet each year he is disappointed. He’s now past caring (or so he at least claims). As Chandra recovers after being injured in a traffic accident, he knows it’s time to reassess his life, his career and his relationships with his three children. When his ex-wife’s new partner manipulates him into visiting a Californian retreat,
Maine Colonial
Marian Keyes wrote a blurb for this book, calling it “tender and compassionate, written with exquisite care and verve, and so so SO funny.” I want to track her down and give her a good whack upside the head. Largely because of that blurb, I spent a Kobo audiobook credit on this, and it’s none of the adjectives Keyes assigns to it.

This is just one long, senseless argument. Chandra arguing with his ex-wife, each of his three kids, some of the people at Esalen, where he is persuaded to go after his
Jon Stout
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hippies and yuppies
Recommended to Jon by: Bill Dennis
Shelves: anglo-indian
Professor Chandra is a South Indian economics professor at Cambridge University, just turning seventy, who is estranged from his wife and alienated from his three grown children. The story moves between Cambridge and California, and consists of Chandra’s trying to come to terms with his life, to reconcile with his family and to be happier than he usually is. It’s a charming story, one I can connect with, and one that brings back memories of similar situations.

I especially enjoyed Chandra’s going
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
a middle life novel of Chandra who re discovers his life and like the essence of the plot and the writing and the good feel faction
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would! It starts off a little slowly but then we realize we need the build-up to see Professor Chandra's take on his life and his family which has slowly crumbled a little. His wife has left him for another man, his children have taken different paths in life, and we see his academic life shattered when he doesn't win the prize he hoped for. He's incredibly intelligent, arrogant, and "0ld-school," and yet there's a vulnerability we see from the beginning ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
If there were a coming-of-retirement-age genre, this book would undoubtedly be on the short list. Chandra is close to 70 years of age, still teaching and publishing, and still hoping to win a Nobel prize. He is a successful professor, but he doesn’t see himself that way. His personal life is a disappointment, from his failed marriage to his troubled children. But fate - or something -intervenes, and Chandra finds himself at a new-age retreat of sorts. And slowly but most decidedly, Chandra finds ...more
Karen R
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Opinionated and self-important 69-year old professor Chandra, a Nobel prize nominee (who loses yet again) is told to take a sabbatical from his university for calling a student an ‘imbecile’. Estranged from his family, spiraling downward, and recovering from a silent heart attack, his doctor advises Chandra to take it easy and chill for two months. “You gotta follow your bliss, man. That’s all there is to it”, he advises. So Chandra sets off on a journey to do just that, enrolling at a retreat c ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
It's summer, and sometimes you want to read something light; Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss is light. Chandra is a professor at a prestigious university and he is that-close to something he has wanted all his life, a Nobel Prize in Economics. And then, once again, he doesn't get the prize and he has an accident, and he realizes he's almost seventy, divorced, estranged from his kids, and alone.

In a crazy move, Chandra heads to Esalen and suddenly everything starts to shift and change.

An idea
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Professor P.R. Chandrasekhar has once again lost the 2016 Nobel Prize and he succumbs to thinking this is his defining moment. He has planned the party, the speech, the interviews, he takes a nap, he wakes up, he has not won. Professor Chandra has worked hard his whole life, actually work is all he knows. He is an elitist who believes in his work and his rightness. He sometimes wonders if his life’s work being the world’s foremost trade economist isn’t “a giant con”. He has a son, two daughters ...more
Jo Shaw
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the description of this book, and it really did not disappoint. Professor Chandrasekhar is tipped to win the Nobel prize for Economics again, and is disappointed when he fails to win it yet again. Following an accident which leads him to reassess his lonely life in England, he decides to pursue an opportunity in America, where his youngest daughter, his ex-wife and her husband live. His ex-wife's husband manages to manipulate the professor into agreeing to go to a Californian ...more
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Rajeev Balasubramanyam is the author of In Beautiful Disguises and PROFESSOR CHANDRA FOLLOWS HIS BLISS. His work has been awarded the Betty Trask Prize and the Clarissa Luard Award, and has been longlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the BBC Asia Award. His writing has appeared in Vice, The Washington Post, The Economist, London Review of Books, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review ...more

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Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
41 likes · 16 comments
“And—I don't know—I guess words can't kill you, but I'm afraid that they can. I'm afraid one day someone will say something that destroys me.” 2 likes
“Sometimes he wondered if it wasn’t all a giant con, the gaggle of letters after his name, the dinners with Angela Merkel and Narendra Modi, the notes from Gordon Brown and Larry Summers. They were like those fake Oscar statues bought at ‘World’s Greatest Photocopier’ or ‘Best Lightbulb Changer in the Galaxy.’ When he died only his writing would remain, until it was rendered obsolete when oil and coal ran out and the species established its first settlement on Mars.

Professor Chandra was the foremost trade economist in the world, could phone any finance minister in any country at any time and have them take his call. And yet, what if he had only convinced himself that the world envied him? What if, in reality, they felt sorry for him with his swollen ego and his Savile Row suits and his sculpted tri-continental accent?”
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