Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts



                                          Courtesy : My Smartphone Samsung E7 with 13 M.P Camera

The man appearing in this photo is Suresh Mondal who hails from West Bengal and came to Delhi for survival. He chose rickshaw pulling as the best bet to earn those needy bucks.   When I took his service  to return home from  market during my stay at Delhi a few years ago ,  I was stirred to write his story.

When I conversed  with  Mondal, his smiling gesture gave me a hint that he might open up to share his life with me.  As expected, the whole ride was very pleasant as Suresh though with his wiry frame, peddled his way effortlessly with no strain.   When asked why he came to Delhi for this kind of manual labour, he said that he didn’t get employment throughout the year in his home district Malda, West Bengal which forced him to come to Delhi.  He further stated that he has some   land but not worth to be cultivated due to inadequate rains, coupled with insufficient irrigated water in the area.  

Suresh stands as a latest example of countless people who don't get adequate employment in their towns/villages  throughout the year.  How he manages his life with  a petty daily earnings of Rs.500/- is a million-dollar question.  Myself being fairly employed with five-digit salary in government service is taking a bated breath to manage my house-budget.  But countless manual labourers like Suresh  do manage their lives and we must learn so much from them.

When I dwelt on Suresh's life,  immediately my heart filled with gratitude  as  Almighty showered his blessings abundantly on me as  I was not given the role of Suresh to play.   When I listened to his story, it not only soothed my nerves but I became a little more compassionate and gave Rs.10/ -  extra to him in addition  to the fare bargained.  In a spur of moment, I further loosened my purse strings and gave a further of Rs.10/-   for contributing this story, which had multiplied his joy and he thanked me with a pristine smile.  



There was a time in my life when I was fully invaded by West's Self Help Books and for some months, Oriental Philosophy which  include the   Ancient Indian  Texts which were in my shelves did not ignite me enough until September, 2013 when I found this masterpiece  which rebooted my whole perspective.

American Veda, the title looks odd but it surely ignites the wisdom hunters.

The famous Indian-American doctor and New Age Rock star of Spirituality and fatherly figure Deepak Chopra terms the book as an illuminating, gracefully written, and remarkably thorough account of India's spectacular impact on Western religion and spirituality.  

 The writer Philip Goldberg is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates.  

The book is a fascinating look at India's remarkable impact on American culture.  It gives a scholarly explanation of how Indian Ancient Texts found their way into the libraries of Ralph Waldo Emerson  to H.D. Thoreau.

It has also interesting chapters of how Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda who rushed to America  to propagate the Message of India and  how they changed the world-view of millions of Americans   and thereby radically altered the religious landscape there.

When any Indian read this book, his/her  outlook changes  on Motherland - India and patriotic fervor surges and  paves way to read and understand this great nation's philosophical system.

In one sentence,  I could say that  the book takes you to the peak of understanding  of Indian Philosophy and  transform your own life.   A priority read!



Paulo Coelho is a popular Brazilian lyricist and novelist. His bestseller 'The Alchemist' has been translated into 80 languages.

The beauty of this novel lies in its simple narrating style with a profound wisdom.  A shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his motherland in Spain to an Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in Pyramids.  In the process of his journey, Santiago turns to find the treasure within.  It is a book that every dreamer must read.

It reaffirms the power of realizing your dreams.  The anecdotes/quotes in this book baths your soul.

The gist  of this book lies in the following the paragraph :

"When people consult me, it's not that I'm reading the future; I am guessing at the future.  The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances.  How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present.  The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it.  And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.  Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children.  Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.''


1.  Walden by H.D. Thoreau  ( free download  on internet ) *****

2.  The Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma (free download is available on internet ) *****
3.  Tuesdays with Morrie : an old man, a young man and life's greatest lesson  by Mitch Albom ****
4.  The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.( free download is available
 on internet) *****
5.  Cheerfulness as a Life Power by Orison Swett Marden ****
6.  An Iron Will by Orison Swett Marden ***
7.  How to succeed or stepping stones to fame and fortune by Orison Swett Marden. ***
8.  Google Speaks - Secrets of World's greatest billionaire entrepreneurs - Sergy Brin and

     Larry Page by Janet Lowe. **
9.  Children's History of India by Sheila Dhar. ****
10.American Veda by Philip Goldberg **
11.The Power of Positive Living by Norman Vincent Peale ***
12.How to enjoy your life and your job by Dale Carnegie ***
13.Khushwantnama by Khushwant Singh **
14.Use your brain -Change your Age by Dr. Daniel G. Amen ***
15.The Language of God by Francis Collins   **
16.The emotional life of your brain by Richard J. Davidson ***
17.1 Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson ***
18.The Happiness project by Gretchen Rubin **
19.Freedom from the known by J. Krishnamurti ***
20.A book of simple living by Ruskin Bond ****
21.Osho - The way of Sufi **
22.O mind relax please by Swami Sukhbodhananda **
23.Rumi selected poems ***
24.Don't lose your mind, lose your weight by Rujuta Diwekar ****
25.The Art of happiness - HH Dalai Lama ***
26.Karma Yoga by Swami Vivekananda ***
27.Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill  (free eBook is  available on internet ) *****
28.Code Name God -by  Mani Bhowmik **
29.Who will Cry when you Die ?  By Robin Sharma ***
30.Ageless Body and Timeless Mind by Deepak Chopra *****
31.The wisdom of healing by David Simon **
32.The war of world views : Science vs Spirituality by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow **
33.The View from the Centre of Universe by Joel R. Primack & Nancy Abrahams **
34.The Tell-tale Brain by V.S. Ramachandran ***
35.Awaken the Giant within by Anthony Robbins *****
36.Mindisght by Daniel J.Siegel ***
37.Use your Head by Tony Buzan ****
38.The Power of your subconscious mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy *****
39.No man is an island by Ruskin Bond *****
40.The selected poems of Subramanya Bharati *****

Code indication:

Grab immediately *****
Priority ****
Must read ***
Take your time **

Note : There is no one star book in the list



All the Self-Help books do magic provided  you scrupulously follow their principles with a firm resolve.

I had seen  Gopi Kallayil’s  first You Tube video in March, 2013. His lecture  discussed how  we addict with technology, especially with internet and cursed with a continuous partial attention.

In continuation of his efforts to guide people to live a conscious life, Gopi brought out this amazing book called The Internet to the Inner-Net : Five Ways to Reset your connection and live a Conscious Life   and it has all the necessary ingredients to guide a person for a rich inner life.

Gopi belongs to Kerala, but after studies he went to US in search of a  job and currently he is Chief Evangelist,  Digital Transformation and Strategy at Google.   The book is a technologist's solution for vibrant inner life .

When he imparts yoga training to Googlers, he calls them  yoglers.   He says that the most sophisticated technology is already within you. In response to  his fast-paced professional life, Gopi found his own solutions and this book is the summation of what he progressed on the path of Enlightenment.

The book offers tools to integrate your inner and outer worlds.   In one word, it is a must read book for  those who want to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives.



If you want to read  something on Indian Mythology,  turn to Devdutt Pattanaik.  He is a medical doctor turned leadership consultant.  More than that, he is a prolific writer on Indian Mythology.  His popular work Business Sutra is a course for management graduates at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, India.

Through these timeless books, Pattanaik  attempts to  narrate all the mythological wisdom in business parlance. 

The title of this book The Success Sutra, an Indian approach to wealth is very catchy.  The specialty of Devdutt books is his signature doodles along with prose.




Being creative means not to limit your potential with past experience as a bar you set for yourself. The ultimate lesson of creativity is to recognize the need to act upon those strengths/ talents which would put you into next orbit. Day after day when you are on this mindset and start working, the magic happens and success embraces you.

Books factor a lot to stir the creativity in you. That’s why book reading should be nurtured to grow in life. The book I am going to introduce you is: Men of Steel. It is a book based on one of the best known journalists Vir Singhvi’s candid conversations with top Indian business leaders. Published by Roli Books in 2007, this book peeps into personal lives of India’s best business minds like Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sunil Bharati Mittal, Azim Premji etc.

Each leader’s strategy to strive for best in expanding his business empire is truly inspiring & rewarding and the best part of the book is how they handled their crisis times. Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla says : brand is not about individuals, whatever it stands for is really a tribute to the team we have created.

Amongst those businessmen Mr. Singhvi portrayed, my favourite one is Azim Premji. I like him because, he maintains low public profile. He is like a silent dynamo. He says that he was groomed to believe that values are more important than money. His advice to spendthrifts is even when I was young, my family never believed in spending much money or in conspicuous consumption. If we went for a holiday, it would be to Mahabaleshwar or some place like that. We would not go abroad. I still have that same attitude to money.

The best advice from Premji is this: I am very careful not to lose my temper when I am in office.

A lot needs to be learnt from these giants. They don’t want to be in limelight. Their activities speak louder than their words.

The life of every successful business man is like diving into rough sea and balance in the midst of turbulence with knack.

This book in nutshell offers the perennial wisdom from some of the best business brains of India with a global presence!



Chetan Bhagat, better known for his fiction novels,  stands as publisher’s delight.  He  is  special to me. because, he  believed himself as a writer which led him for  leaving plum investment banker job  to settle as writer.   


Chetan Bhagat over the years earned reputation as a Youth Writer. So whatever comes from his pen  becomes instant success and youth read him more than any other age group.   His style is very simple  and I felt that much of his writings are driven by economics and politics.    He  is a mass writer and  knows the pulse of youngsters.   


This book depicts his take on very contentious issues plaguing the society and his writing was aimed at youth to bring   a positive change in the governance.  


LPitroda said that there is no dearth of problems in India and what we need is courage and conviction to fight for larger good.  Before expecting societal transformation, it is individual’s stereotypic chalta hai mindset  that needs to be changed.   Internet with  free flow of information already brought considerable change, but a lot needs to be done and it is people's  combined will that would transform the face of India.


Public luminaries   are  armed with sound academic credentials must influence India’s thought process.  What they  articulate through their writings and other forums must be heard  by those in Power and let us hope that brighter  days are ahead if we could  ensure cent percent literacy in the country which is still an uphill task.

With this note, I recommend you to  buy  this book to inject patriotic fervour into your veins !



A  pity parrot was seen languishing in the cage of one of our resident's apartment some years ago.  That crazy soul who put that parrot in the cage might be  trying to draw raw pleasure by locking up it in the cage.   He might have committed  this act mechanically like  planting   his choice sapling in his backyard.   His argument is agreeable if it is plant life.   But  it should not be the case with  birds.  Birds  look more beautiful when they fly.  When you put them in the cage they can't even flutter their wings freely and  it is against Nature's Law.   Like the way we want freedom, other species also want that prized freedom !

When I saw bird sellers during  one of my visits to Chandini Chowk  in Old Delhi , I was disturbed by the way people stood up in lines to purchase birds so as to beautify their living spaces. It is totally ludicrous.

 If you understand the scheme of Nature, including flora and fauna, you come to know that you can worship beauty in Nature by simply gazing and to hone this skill, you needs a little contemplation. !   



The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read. 

                                                           - Mark Twain

My personal library is built over a period of  more than three decades. Perhaps it is in January, 1990,  I added my first book to my personal library when I was in my final year of graduation. 

Computers were then in nascent stage and they  were being used mainly for bookkeeping and secretarial works. The internet revolution has still not dawn in.

In fact, the  idea to have a personal library was in seed form much before it surfaced  in 1990  when my desire to improve my  language abilities shot up to unfathomable levels.  My visits to district and community libraries during childhood days  further strengthened the need to have my private library so that I can read my interesting  stuff at my own pace and time. In my younger days whenever I see librarians,  I cherish their job as they get ample opportunity/time to read all the interesting stuff.

Like Rome was not built in a day, my library has taken years in building up. I choose my books  very carefully.  The sources of knowing good books are many viz.  newspapers, magazines, TV news, book reviews, visits to bookstores etc.  But a final decision is only after seeing  the contents and  reading reactions. The chapters also play a role in selecting a book.  Generally, my choice of books are : self-help, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, personality development. My taste of books is an assortment of  both humanities and sciences.

Whenever I am in low mood, I open the door of my bookshelf and gaze them to recoup my energy.     I read simultaneously 8-10 books in daily instalments.  When I don't find time to read, I feel dry.  During the course of reading, I also take notes in  separate notebook, so that the  information would be handy to me whenever required.

Personality development guru Robin Sharma in his book Who will cry when you die ? suggests  to build a library of heroic books.   In that book Sharma suggested 13 heroic books  of which I read the following six.

- Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

-The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

-Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

-The Power of Your subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy

As a Man Thinketh, James, Allen

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

I want to add one more book Awaken the Giant within written by Anthony Robbins.   


Books change your destiny. Personality development guru Anthony Robbins says that music change your state of mind and books change your focus.

Let me wrap up the importance of books  with these  immortal words of Ruskin Bond:

“Book readers are special people, and they will always turn to books as the ultimate pleasure. Those who do not read are the unfortunate ones. There's nothing wrong with them; but they are missing out on one of life's compensations and rewards. A great book is a friend that never lets you down. You can return to it again and again and the joy first derived from it will still be there.”



One day, I believe we will be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology.

                                                                     - Mark Zuckerberg

One thing I can certainly say is to share our thoughts, the existing technology itself is more than enough and what you need is  time to devote for it.


Writing on daily basis will strengthen your expression and it  has  a therapeutic effect.   When you write on consistent basis,  your soft skills  would also improve  with time.  But the problem with the majority of folks is that we stop writing after leaving colleges.  Most of the Multi-national companies when they make campus selections, they are wary of these abilities in fresher’s who come for employment.  Because, they know that there is no institutional mechanism to  inculcate  their writing abilities beyond + 2 education  when the teaching of language subjects ends.


So daily reading of newspapers, magazines is a must so as to excel in written word.  Apart from that, everyone must inculcate reading habits by choosing a book  to read so that it would motivate them in their personal life.   The point is that the mind should not be kept blank after work hours.  

Think creatively and harness your potential. When one  strives to enrich  his/her written expression,  it will give immense positive psychological benefits.   



If you can think that infinite power, infinite knowledge and indomitable energy lie within you, and if you can  bring out that power, you also can become like me.

                        - Swami Vivekananda

When I wake up in the morning,  my first task is to flip through my table-top quote calendar to get a daily dose of inspiration.  This bangs my day productive.

One blessing I enjoyed in my formative years was, my parents never  pressed me to study for exams and giving this liberty helped me to handle my affairs confidently.  

In fact, it was not the trend in those times to plan the children for dream careers as we do now a days. My father was busy in his office trade union activities and mother being housewife had limited interference in  my activities which didn't mean that I was a rudderless ship.   I used to observe the world around me and  tried to harness my potential. It helped to blossom  my ''Free Will''.   

We generally tend to believe that outside agency is more influential  than the inner instinct.  This is squarely wrong.  You have an amazing technology within you which could convert the bread into blood, says noted Indian spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

If you observe your body processes, you  find that almost all critical life processes are on auto-pilot mode and your subconscious mind is the presiding deity of all such systems and sub-systems.  But your conscious mind is left with a highly combustible material called 'Free Will'   This 'Free Will'' do wonders if it is rightly harnessed for personal growth. One  should not be too sensuous and   need to take decisions on moment to moment  basis cautiously to enrich in life.

There is a great saying : Wisdom is knowing what to do next; skill is knowing how to do it; and virtue to doing it. 

When you wake up in the morning the day should start with a bang.  The best way to do is choose your set of  ''Power Quotes''  so that  the power of those words  starts flowing into your system.  By cultivating it daily, it almost becomes your muscle memory and  strengthens your habit muscle.  My morning's fiery quote since 2004 is  this :


Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; 

powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing;

 forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.

                                                               - Orison Swett Marden

No doubt that inspiring personalities radically influence your actions.  But the secret lies  in realizing your self-worth.  If you start taking everything as a learning experience, you would be on the growth path.  Ralph Waldo Emerson says that every man I meet is my superior in some way and in that I learn of him.

Knowledge is not pumping information into your head as  show-off before others.  It is to remain   wise   every moment and contemplative in actions.  This happens when you have confidence on you. 



Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.  

                           - Benjamin Franklin


If you ask me what's my first piece of writing, I would say without hesitation that it is on 'Swami Vivekananda' way back in 1989 when I was  studying second year of graduation.


Vivekananda's fiery words  put me on my path.      I used to read a lot since then and I find writing as an 'outlet' to express my creative energies.  


In spite of so many ups and downs in my life, reading and writing remained my all time passion.  The idea to have less friends is to work more on harnessing my own potential.  Since, I learnt the stenography which involves hard labour, I find no burden on my mind to spend extra hours for educating myself.


I started my personal library way back in 1990 with handful of books of Vivekananda's literature. A cardboard box was turned  into book shelf  and books were kept in orderly fashion.

I was groomed in a serene atmosphere where I was gifted with a plenty of solitude. I  used to  spend more time in public libraries and nurtured my reading hobby.

The habit of jotting down the date of purchase of a book came from my father whose book Bhagavad Gita purchased in 1960s was in my possession now.  In fact that book was my first training ground to improve my vocabulary.   Some times, I read aloud the stanzas to feel as if I am a news reader.  


Now when I look back all those books,  fond-memories of those times with vivid details bath my soul.  


Whenever, I feel  low, divine intervention comes through a  fiery book which kindles my imagination and sustain my writing saga.  


My philosophy is, have a childlike curiosity to widen the knowledge-base.   The humanities and sciences must be devoured in a healthy dose according to your appetite.  I read commerce in my graduation, but science is my charm.  My personal library is dominated by books on neuroscience/psychology, philosophy/ self-help etc.


I continue to draw my inspiration by  reading and re-reading  those  books  and pass on that wisdom to  my posterity for their benefit !



Outlook, India's English Weekly News Magazine in its 12th January, 2015 edition chose Jawaharlal Nehru's much acclaimed book " The Discovery of India' as one of the 100 Great Books of the World.  

On one fine day in  May, 2014 when I went to a old newspaper vendor shop  which I do regularly to buy second-hand books,  this book  was stacked along with some other old books and kept in a dusty corner.   I bought   a couple of others books  including  this one  for a price in kgs.  

But Outlook's description of the book woke me up from the slumber.   The  magazine termed this book   as  rambling account of the history and culture of India - from  Indus valley civilization to the British Raj.

In his Preface to the book Nehru says that the book was written in Ahmadnagar Fort prison during the five months (April - September, 1944).  The contents of the book offer a scholarly look into India's past,  and no doubt  that it is a thoroughly researched book with a minefield of information nowhere found in a single book.

Being an Indian, it is the duty of every one of us to read the book, not as an obligation but for the love of such rich cultural history which no country in the world has ! 



An English news daily  in its  23rd December, 2014 edition brought  an interesting piece of article captioned " A Monk's take'.  It is a journey of a man from corporate walls to Himalayas in search of Happiness.

His   "About Me' page describes himself as  following :  

My achievement is not what I have,
My introduction is not what I do,
It is but who I am.
A nobody.

I sing I laugh I dance I clap,
A speck of dust in the infinite creation,
A vast ocean in the tiny dew drop,
A Himalayan stream,
The still mountain,

I am That.
So are you.
Compassion is my religion and love, my only philosophy.

It is palpable that when a person reaches to that level of wisdom, he doesn't  give much credence to his past life.   When it comes to his website, it  has very interesting videos and other reading stuff.  His  memoir "If Truth be told'  gives a gripping account of his spiritual journey from corporate life to serene sanyasi life at Himalayas.  



Nobel laureate Max Planck once said that science can't solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of  the mystery that we are trying to solve. But that can't stop us from doing scientific research which is taking us to new frontiers.

The book "The Universe inside you' by Brian Clegg is such a minefield of scientific information that would surge your scientific temper. Irrespective of stream you studied in your academics , it is a book that must be read to know more about human body and functioning of brain. Here there should not be an argument that my genre is fiction or something other etc. Some books that provide you basic information should be swallowed like hot peanuts.

It is true that some scientific jargon create hurdles but if you are ignited  with curiosity you could easily peddle up on your reading journey. The book has interesting chapters like atoms to standard model, fourth state of matter to what kind of stuff you are to mysteries of brain. 


The author in his introduction says that we all have our own laboratories in the form of our bodies – hugely complex structures that depend for their functioning on all of the many facets of science and nature. 


Honestly the book needs to be adorned in your personal library !




Bill Bryson's book " A short history of nearly everything' is a book which must adorn your personal library as it has a treasure trove of information relevant to current needs.


The book is US's National Best Seller. New York Times described it "Destined to become a modern classic of science writing'.


The book has interesting stuff all about everyday science from Universe to Earth, Atom to Life and what not. To put it in one line about the book: It travels through time and space to introduce  the world, the universe and everything.  


The book is an answer to Bryson's own curiosity about the world around him. He patiently puts to pen the answers to his quest  from Big Bang to the rise of civilization. It is a book  in layman's language and a  must read for all ages ! 



If you want to know what the science did so far to humanity, you must read this interesting book. The science here is explained in the clearest terms. It is not a simple casual read and you must come back and forth to get answers  to some of the curious questions the children ask us on science.


The book explains in simple prose on space, time and evolution laced with humour and clever thought experiments. You get very straight answers to some of the baffling questions like How old is the Universe ? What causes tsunamis ? What was the first man, or woman ?


Writing a difficult concept in simple prose is not easy and it demands tremendous mental energies. When you write science for common folks, the task becomes  tougher. French philosopher Blaise Pascal rightly says that I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. It means, to make anything simple, it requires  much time and the benefit is obvious : message goes straight into reader’s' mind.

Dawkins, is an evolutionary biologist and a hardcore atheist. He has written many popular science books. His 2006 book 'The God Delusion' had sold more than 2 million copies and was translated into 31 languages.


When it comes to this book, I could clearly distinguish my knowledge before reading it and after reading it. The author  says that life got started more than three and half billion years ago and what we are today is simply an evolutionary process and there is nothing like God. His argument is that human brains and human hands evolved by natural selection. Like this, there are so many fascinating facts the reader would know when he or she starts reading this book. I could say that this book simply ignites you to read the whole book in three or four sittings.


This small volume definitely enrich your knowledge on science merging all branches of knowledge into one interesting narrative.

A priority book to read !