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.

Opinion: Know Your Child – H.H.Sri Sri Ravishankar

Know your child

I first noticed this book in Flipkart. Then I picked it up from Crossword after few days. The tag line ‘The Art of Raising children’ made me think that this book would be a full-fledged multi chapter manual on how to raise your child. It was rather a collection of excerpts from H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar’s speeches across the globe. After the initial chapters, you cannot avoid the same points repeating again and again. There were some brilliant ideas and some ideas that are common.  Some key points that I could recollect after reading the book

–  An infant smiles 400 times a day, a child 15 times and an adult hardly smiles.

– There is no harm in accepting education as a business as long as the management treats the customers, aka students, as kings

–  Parents should not hesitate to scold/reprimand the kids now and then so that the kids get used to this and does not suffer when they are treated badly in outside world (mostly applicable for West. In India, this is still very common)

– Children should be given spiritual training, yoga, physical activities, pranayama etc to avoid stress

–  Government and Corporates should work together in increasing the quality of the education. More corporates should come forward to adopt areas/schools

–  Children should be encouraged to meet one new friend each day.

–  Teachers should be role models. They should imbibe values deeply into children’s mind.

–   A child should be allowed to talk to people of all age ranges.

Sparing some good points and ideas, I felt this book was full of marketing message to get your child to enrol for YES, YES+ programs etc. If not that, then there are examples of how these programs transformed the behaviour of unruly children. It’s a good one time read that could be rented from library. I did not see this book as buy-worthy although price is less.