Goodreads Reading Challenge – 5/12

Today, I went to a local saloon (or some people may call, a barber shop) and found myself to be on a waitlist. There were quite a few people before me. Appointment concept is for only for those places which call themselves professional and cost you your arms and legs. The output from both the places are same, in my opinion. You lose some damn hair. I don’t want to sell my kidney to get a haircut. This place had some magazines that were from last year. Few more months, and they could be sold on ebay as antiques. So while I was wondering how to utilize the time usefully I got reminded of my reading challenge.

The last time I wrote about the book challenge I had completed 4 out of 12 books. I had also mentioned a list of books that I am intending to finish reading this year. I have started at least four of them and finished reading one-fourth of each of them. Should I claim that as one more book? Anyways, coming back to the topic, I was going through my Kindle app to see which of the downloaded books I could read. I finally chose the one – ‘How to live on 24 hours a day’ by Arnold Bennet.

How to live on 24 hours a day

I bought this book from Amazon, if I could call that buying, because it featured in classics and free ebooks section. I have never heard about this author before. However, I liked the title and bought it. My expectation from this book was that it would be something like ‘Stay alive all your life’ by Norman Vincent Peale. Instead this book actually gives you pointers on how to literally use 24 hours a day. I would not claim that it’s a self-help book. Nor would I say it would give you clear processes like Getting Things Done. Instead, it just picks your brain about how you might have been wasting time and what could you do instead.

It was written a century ago but some of the points are still relevant. The book started off with explaining about how everyone is given 24 hours every day and how we could perceive it as a currency. Most of the time management books focus majorly on the work hours. How distracted are you at work, how much time are you wasting at work, how productive can you be at work? Now entrepreneurs may like those books because they directly reap the benefits of hard work. But for people in jobs, working for others, it may sound like a propaganda to work hard for somebody else. What I like about this book is that it ignores the work hours completely. It assumes by default that work hours are productive. The question directly is how do you spend the remaining hours? How can use that time wisely to do more. Doing more doesn’t mean working the same ‘work’. It talks about doing more to improve your knowledge, your art, your family relationships or anything else.

I felt that I was starting to get bored when the author picked up few average people and tried to explain what they could do productively instead of what they were doing. There were different possible options but none of them conclusive. The author himself says that this is not a handbook and there is no one solution. He, in fact, warns the readers to start slow. May be, squeeze out 7 hours a week to do something else rather than over confidently doing more and falling hard.

It’s a light breezy read of 25 pages, giving some good insights and throwing some good questions to ponder.

PS: I should keep such books handy to complete my challenge this year, I guess.

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 5/12

Today, I went to a local saloon (or some people may call, a barber shop) and found myself to be on a waitlist. There were quite a few people before me. Appointment concept is for only for those places which call themselves professional and cost you your arms and legs. The output from both the places are same, in my opinion. You lose some damn hair. I don’t want to sell my kidney to get a haircut. This place had some magazines that were from last year. Few more months, and they could be sold on ebay as antiques. So while I was wondering how to utilize the time usefully I got reminded of my reading challenge.

The last time I wrote about the book challenge I had completed 4 out of 12 books. I had also mentioned a list of books that I am intending to finish reading this year. I have started at least four of them and finished reading one-fourth of each of them. Should I claim that as one more book? Anyways, coming back to the topic, I was going through my Kindle app to see which of the downloaded books I could read. I finally chose the one – ‘How to live on 24 hours a day’ by Arnold Bennet.

How to live on 24 hours a day

I bought this book from Amazon, if I could call that buying, because it featured in classics and free ebooks section. I have never heard about this author before. However, I liked the title and bought it. My expectation from this book was that it would be something like ‘Stay alive all your life’ by Norman Vincent Peale. Instead this book actually gives you pointers on how to literally use 24 hours a day. I would not claim that it’s a self-help book. Nor would I say it would give you clear processes like Getting Things Done. Instead, it just picks your brain about how you might have been wasting time and what could you do instead.

It was written a century ago but some of the points are still relevant. The book started off with explaining about how everyone is given 24 hours every day and how we could perceive it as a currency. Most of the time management books focus majorly on the work hours. How distracted are you at work, how much time are you wasting at work, how productive can you be at work? Now entrepreneurs may like those books because they directly reap the benefits of hard work. But for people in jobs, working for others, it may sound like a propaganda to work hard for somebody else. What I like about this book is that it ignores the work hours completely. It assumes by default that work hours are productive. The question directly is how do you spend the remaining hours? How can use that time wisely to do more. Doing more doesn’t mean working the same ‘work’. It talks about doing more to improve your knowledge, your art, your family relationships or anything else.

I felt that I was starting to get bored when the author picked up few average people and tried to explain what they could do productively instead of what they were doing. There were different possible options but none of them conclusive. The author himself says that this is not a handbook and there is no one solution. He, in fact, warns the readers to start slow. May be, squeeze out 7 hours a week to do something else rather than over confidently doing more and falling hard.

It’s a light breezy read of 25 pages, giving some good insights and throwing some good questions to ponder.

PS: I should keep such books handy to complete my challenge this year, I guess.

The Indian Jam Project – Star Wars Tribute

You would have already known by now that I am a fan of he group The Indian Jam Project. I have already posted about their version of Interstellar and The Game of Thrones themes. They recently released their tribute to Star Wars soundtracks. At first I was not able to appreciate it because I haven’t heard much of the original sound tracks. But after listening to it for few times, it grew on me. It actually is very good and the transitions from one theme to another is lovely. My favourites are Imperial march, Cantena band and Duel of fates. 

Tip: Hear using good quality headphones and with eyes closed. Cheers!

Goodreads Reading Challenge–2016–4/12

It is almost a custom that every year I sign up for a reading challenge in Goodreads. The result is also consistent just like my gym membership. I sign up for a year and hit the gym in full enthusiasm for two months. And then I never think about the gym or its membership for another ten months. Similarly, I challenge myself every year that I will read these many books this year. I buy those many books as well. But I never go past three or four. This year I have set myself a realistic (I hope so) expectation of 12 books, ie, one per month. I am at the same point now where I gave up in the last two years. Four books. I am making this public to see if that would help me in staying in and finishing through my challenge this year.

Following are the four books I have read so far this year.

The Greatest Salesman in the world – Og Mandino

I have heard about this book from a number of people. It was also widely recommended by many famous personalities. This was always on my bucket list. Finally, I managed to get a copy of this. To be honest, I was disappointed. This book may have been a great book when it got published first time. But I felt it was just a hype. It was an autosuggestion list disguised as a book. The actual message does not even start until 50% of the book is over. I felt like it was a cheap version of The Alchemist. I didn’t like The Alchemist much either. May be it was because of the hype. Or may be, I do not like the style. At least, The Alchemist was better in story telling. That said, this book is a breezy read. Not a time waster.

Delivering Happiness – A path to Profits, Passion and Purpose – Tony Hseih

I loved this book. This is the story of Zappos and how its culture towards Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction evolved over time. There are some very good ideas to improve the company culture. Written by a CEO, I was afraid that I will be bombarded with jargons but I was wrong. Tony’s style was simple and conversational and very engaging. I would recommend this book to anyone.

The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone

I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I love Grant Cardone’s enthusiasm and energy. I stumbled upon his videos in youtube and I liked his style. On the face and no non-sense advices. I bought this book because I liked his videos. There were some great points and some okay points in this book. I felt that the book was never ending. Partly because the author, true to the name of this book, tells a message 10x times in different wordings. But, this is a good read. Some of the topics like 10X actions are sensible.

The Secret of the Mantle – Harini Chakrapani

I have already talked about this book in my earlier post here.

Now, here is the list of books that I want to read this year. Some of them are from previous year’s list Smile

  • The Seven Secrets of Shiva – Devdutt Patnaik
  • Elon Musk: Inventing the Future – Ashlee Vance
  • Scion of Ikshvaku – Amish Tripathi
  • Ramayana – C.Rajagopalachari
  • The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive – Brendon Burchard
  • Getting Things Done – David Allen
  • Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore, Regis McKenna
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith

If you do not see any update on the books that I read periodically then feel free to nudge me, alright!

Goodreads Reading Challenge–2016–4/12

It is almost a custom that every year I sign up for a reading challenge in Goodreads. The result is also consistent just like my gym membership. I sign up for a year and hit the gym in full enthusiasm for two months. And then I never think about the gym or its membership for another ten months. Similarly, I challenge myself every year that I will read these many books this year. I buy those many books as well. But I never go past three or four. This year I have set myself a realistic (I hope so) expectation of 12 books, ie, one per month. I am at the same point now where I gave up in the last two years. Four books. I am making this public to see if that would help me in staying in and finishing through my challenge this year.

Following are the four books I have read so far this year.

The Greatest Salesman in the world – Og Mandino

I have heard about this book from a number of people. It was also widely recommended by many famous personalities. This was always on my bucket list. Finally, I managed to get a copy of this. To be honest, I was disappointed. This book may have been a great book when it got published first time. But I felt it was just a hype. It was an autosuggestion list disguised as a book. The actual message does not even start until 50% of the book is over. I felt like it was a cheap version of The Alchemist. I didn’t like The Alchemist much either. May be it was because of the hype. Or may be, I do not like the style. At least, The Alchemist was better in story telling. That said, this book is a breezy read. Not a time waster.

Delivering Happiness – A path to Profits, Passion and Purpose – Tony Hseih

I loved this book. This is the story of Zappos and how its culture towards Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction evolved over time. There are some very good ideas to improve the company culture. Written by a CEO, I was afraid that I will be bombarded with jargons but I was wrong. Tony’s style was simple and conversational and very engaging. I would recommend this book to anyone.

The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone

I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I love Grant Cardone’s enthusiasm and energy. I stumbled upon his videos in youtube and I liked his style. On the face and no non-sense advices. I bought this book because I liked his videos. There were some great points and some okay points in this book. I felt that the book was never ending. Partly because the author, true to the name of this book, tells a message 10x times in different wordings. But, this is a good read. Some of the topics like 10X actions are sensible.

The Secret of the Mantle – Harini Chakrapani

I have already talked about this book in my earlier post here.

Now, here is the list of books that I want to read this year. Some of them are from previous year’s list Smile

  • The Seven Secrets of Shiva – Devdutt Patnaik
  • Elon Musk: Inventing the Future – Ashlee Vance
  • Scion of Ikshvaku – Amish Tripathi
  • Ramayana – C.Rajagopalachari
  • The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive – Brendon Burchard
  • Getting Things Done – David Allen
  • Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore, Regis McKenna
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith

If you do not see any update on the books that I read periodically then feel free to nudge me, alright!

Book: The Secret of the Mantle

I had two plans about a career as a writer when I was growing up. Plan A, a no brainer, was to become a professional writer. Plan B, the backup plan, was to at least be a friend of a professional writer. Since you do not see me boasting about any book that I have written, you could safely assume that Plan A didn’t work out yet. But, Plan B worked like a charm. One of my friends, Harini Chakrapani, published her first fiction “The Secret of the Mantle” recently.

Continue Reading…

Music: The Indian Jam Project #2

When I was in school, I had to choose any of one of the cultural activities from Violin, Harmonium, Flute, Vocals, Drawing, Tabla and Mridangam. The classes were two times a week for about 45 mins. I wasn’t interested to sing and didn’t want to scare away people. I was also not into drawing as an art (As an after thought, I should have taken this course. At least, I would scored more in my biology diagrams). Among the others, the easiest to carry around was a Flute and I chose to learn flute. Continue Reading…