Sunday, July 4, 2010

A few Book reviews

First another sincere apology to all my blog readers- I managed to post just one entry in the past month[June]. Here are my excuses:

1. I am lazy
2. I had my sixth semester exams, which I messed up [except for the java exam].
3. My summer training has started, and I am traveling frequently to Kolkata and then back home every week.
4. The biggest culprit- My modem got damaged after suffering from a lightning discharge which got transmitted by the telephone wire. So I was left without a stable net connection, and rarely came online.
5. I am indolent, erm isn’t that the same as point 1? :-D

Anyways, to take a slight break, no serious topic this time. Will write short reviews on a few books [which I have read recently/am currently reading]. Would like to thank one of my best friends, Girish, for lending them to me.

1. The Double Life of Ramalinga Raju, by Kingshuk Nag[former Times of India editor].

This one is an excellent work compiled by Nag, and gives us a detailed insight into the Satyam Scandal. What were the things that actually went on in Satyam, even years before the news broke out. As the tag line says- ‘How did an IT czar run a $2 billion company to the ground?’ We get to know the entire life history of Raju, and also his family, and the other conspirators who were responsible for this nefarious act. Raju’s lust for acquiring land led to his downfall. Also included- Extensive coverage of Maytas Infra, a real estate company run by Raju’s son. Very highly recommended. Nag has a great writing style. I could not put the book down. I felt I was reading a comic book, and not a book on corporate chicanery.

My score- 8.5 out of 10.

Plus- Great highlights, factual, exhaustive
Minus- Nothing much really, maybe the author could have written a bit more.

2. What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Those who are Gladwell followers will possibly have read this one too. This guy is a genius. Period. I have never in my life seen such an accomplished and versatile Non-fiction writer in my entire life. He used to write articles on Business, Medicine, law, etc for the New Yorker magazine[from which the articles in this book are taken] and is now writing books dealing with the intricacies of human behavior. Why do people do the things that they do? Gladwell has further increased my interest in psychology. This book is a collection of different articles which he has written in the past, after doing extensive research. His topics are quite diverse- Why is Heinz still the leader in the Ketchup market? What do hair dyes have to say about women independence? Why should we not hire people who are too-smart? What are the harmful effects of having too much information? What is the art of failure? How can we predict Dog patterns and avoid dog attacks? For what purpose was the birth-control pill invented? How can we hire the right candidate for our job? Who was responsible for the failure of Challenger space-shuttle? Are smart people over-rated?

I guess you got the idea. Go and get the book and unravel the Gladwell magic for yourself. I bet that you will be hooked. Do read his previous books as well if you haven’t already.

Final score- 9.5 out of 10 [sorry, but nothing’s perfect in this world]

Plus- Everything
Minus- Nothing. [Sorry, but am a bit biased towards Gladwell]

3. The High performance Entrepreneur, by Subroto Bagchi:

First of all, let me say that this book is not for everyone[at least that’s how I feel]. If you have no interest in entrepreneurship, the chance is that you may not like this book. Though the author has written it in a very reader friendly approach, and you should have no problem understanding the text. In short, it’s totally non-esoteric. However, I would recommend you skip this one if you have no interest in business, corporate life, etc. This book gives you an insight into setting up a business of your own, ie a profitable company in which you[along with your team-mates] are the boss and you have to make the rules. However, entrepreneurship is a very tricky business and out of every 100 start-ups, just a few are likely to succeed and make it big. This book will give you lots of tips on Do’s and Don’ts and things to keep in mind while setting up an entrepreneurial venture. I have not yet completed the book, but have found it simply amazing. Bagchi has a great and lucid writing style, and tells us a lot about his company, ie Mindtree. He says that the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur is resilience. For an aspiring entrepreneur like me, this book is almost like a Bible.

Rating- 9 out of 10.

Plus- Great guide-book for all budding entrepreneurs. Lots of comprehensive features about the intricacies of setting up a business from scratch.

Minus- Not really recommended for people who have no interest in business, entrepreneurship, etc.


Abhid-d said...

Hi. I came across your blog from Facebook. It gives a good insight into various issues that surround us, in which I too have an interest.

gk said...

ur welcome................:)

Aphron said...

Was missing your blog posts. Good to see you back, Interesting books and even i have become a Malcolm gladwell follower! He is really a genius. I should try out High performance entrepreneur.seems to be a interesting read.

Satwinder Singh said...

@Abhid_d: Thanks a lot... hope you enjoy reading the posts. :)

@gk: arigato.. :-)

@Aphron: I will be busy entire July, will probably not get enough time to write full fledged blog posts now that CAT is approaching. Still, will keep updating from time to time. Gladwell is a genius, keep an eye out for all of his books. :)

Prerna Munshi said...

So, going by your reviews, I feel like reading:- What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Thanks , this was really informative! :-):-)

techie said...

Good reviews, just to add a point, all the articles in "what the dog saw" are available freely on gladwell's site ,complete with beautiful layouts and cartoons so u could just browse them online instead of buying the book

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