Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank (author), Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler (editors), Susan Massotty (translator)

The single most poignant true-life story to emerge from the Second World War In July 1942, Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation, hide in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse.
For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered there.
Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.
In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. 
By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Her diary ends abruptly when she and her family are discovered by the Nazis in August 1944. Anne died while imprisoned at Bergen-Belsen, three months short of her sixteenth birthday, but this acute account of her life and the world around her reveals her as more human, more vulnerable and more vital than ever. 
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.  
[Book Description Source: &]

Goodreads Rating - 4.1 out of 5 ( 1,983,692 Ratings , 20,491 Reviews  - As on June 17 2017)
My Rating 5 out of 5
My Comments: A very touching autobiographical account of two years spent in hiding from Nazis. Makes us realize how precious are the things which we normally take for granted in our daily life. The narration is full of hope , inspiring and at times even humorous despite the grim circumstances in which Anne lived. Sad that she could not come out of the ordeal alive.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Inferno by Dan Brown

With the publication of his groundbreaking novels The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown has become an international bestselling sensation, seamlessly fusing codes, symbols, art, and history into riveting thrillers that have captivated hundreds of millions of readers around the world. 
Now, Dan Brown takes readers deep into the heart of Italy . . . guiding them through a landscape that inspired one of history’s most ominous literary classics.
Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. 

Disoriented and suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there . . . or the origin of the macabre object that his doctors discover hidden in his belongings.

Langdon’s world soon erupts into chaos, and he finds himself on the run in Florence with a stoic young woman, Sienna Brooks, whose clever maneuvering saves his life. 

Langdon quickly realizes that he is in possession of a series of disturbing codes created by a brilliant scientist—a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written—Dante Alighieri’s dark epic poem The Inferno .

Racing through such timeless locations as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens, and the Duomo, Langdon and Brooks discover a network of hidden passageways and ancient secrets, as well as a terrifying new scientific paradigm that will be used either to vastly improve the quality of life on earth . . . or to devastate it.

In his most riveting and thought-provoking novel to date, Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again.

Inferno is a sumptuously entertaining read—a novel that will captivate readers with the beauty of classical Italian art, history, and literature . . . while also posing provocative questions about the role of cutting-edge science in our future.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.8 out of 5 (337,395 Ratings; 33,395 Reviews - As on June 16 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments: Fast moving thriller that holds your interest throughout.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spirituality At Work by Devdas Menon

The Inspiring Message of Bhagavad Gita
In a world of rapid changes, Spirituality at Work will serve as an inspiration to find new gateways to success.
This book is based on the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita. 
It also draws inspiration from the renowned sage Sri Aurobindo's 'Essays on the Gita'.

As Stephen Covey has stated: 'Despite all our gains in technology, product innovation and world markets, most people are not thriving in the organisations they work for. They are neither fulfilled nor excited.'

Dr. Devdas Menon hopes to change this mindset of today's youth by inspiring, motivating and raising their aspirational levels. 

His book draws its content based on a theme-wise, judicious selection of 162 verses from the Gita. 
An integrated practice of spirituality through work, knowledge, and devotion - referred to as 'Integral Karmayoga', is the way forward. 
Its focus is on finding fulfilment in life through the application of conscious will.
A professor at IIT Madras and author of the bestseller 'Stop Sleepwalking Through Life!' Dr.Menon makes Spirituality at Work come alive. 
He has introduced courses such as Self-Awareness and Integral Karmayoga with great success.
He knows how to make the wisdom of the Gita relevant to young adults facing the challenges of a competitive work environment - and help them create an enriched life. 
'Spirituality at Work' is the recommended textbook for the 'Integral Karmayoga' course at IIT Madras.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4 out of 5 (1 Rating; 0 Reviews - As on May 07 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  The concept of integrated practice of spirituality through work, knowledge, and devotion  are explained in a very systematic and elegant manner.The verses selected from Bhagavad Gita are very apt for the current times and their interpretations are one among the best I have ever read.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Training from the Back of the Room! - Sharon L. Bowman

65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn
The author's four-step instructional design and delivery process involves learners every step of the way. 
Designed to be user-friendly, Training from the BACK of the Room! is filled with definitions, descriptions, and practical training strategies for each of the 4 Cs:
Connections—Fifteen opening activities that connect learners to the topic, to each other, and to what they want and need to learn.
Concepts—Twenty strategies that engage and involve learners during the lecture or "direct instruction" training segment.
Concrete Practice—Fifteen strategies in which learners actively review content and practice skills.
Conclusions—Fifteen learner-led summaries, evaluations, and celebration activities.

In addition, the book offers "nice-to-know" information that will add to what you have learned: the secret about adult learning theory, a new way to write learning outcomes, The World Cafe, tips for interactive e-learning, and other useful resources to expand your learning adventure.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.27 out of 5 (136 Ratings; 18 Reviews - As on April 23 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  A very innovative approach to training that promotes Learning by Doing. Techniques described in this book will appeal to learners who tend to get quickly bored by lecture style delivery by trainers.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Barnabas - Bombay's First Private Detective by Sangeeta Nambiar

British India. 
The summer of 1942.
From the leafy lanes of Wodehouse Road, a British woman goes missing from her home. 
Her husband Thomas Stanton, wants to keep the police out of the loop, and thus calls in Bombay's first Private Detective, Barnabas Mehta.

Barnabas, the son of a cook, has been brought up under the tutelage of his father's employer, Francis Curtis, and thus knows the ways of the British. But that isn't enough to solve the mystery for him. 
His search for Rose leads him to the by-lanes of Girgaum where he finds a murder to solve and webs of deceit to traverse. 
Who would murder Rose so brutally? 
Family secrets and the machinations of an evil mind they're all there for Barnabas Mehta to unveil! 
A gripping murder mystery, set against the events of the Indian freedom struggle.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.25 out of 5 (20 Ratings; 8 Reviews - As on April 14 2017)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments:   Well written enough to keep you engaged. The identity of the murderer is rather easy to guess for a seasoned detective fiction reader though.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Thriller That Shook A Generation 
Five prominent biophysicists give the United States government an urgent warning: sterilisation procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. 
Two years later, Project Scoop sends seventeen satellites into the fringes of space in order to 'collect organisms and dust for study'. 
Then a probe falls to the earth, landing in a desolate area of northeastern Arizona. 
A little while later, in the nearby town of Piedmont, bodies are discovered heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. 
But the terror has only just begun, because when they try to find the cause of death, the scientists don't realise just what kind of unearthly danger they are dealing with...Brilliantly filmed by Robert Wise in 1971, The Andromeda Strain was the first book to introduce Michael Crichton's audacious combination of believable plots and white-knuckled excitement to a wide audience.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.87 out of 5 (173,920 Ratings; 2448 Reviews - As on April 13 2017)
My Rating 3.5 out of 5
My Comments:  Keeps you fully engaged and almost convinces you that it is a true story. The narration of the climax could have been better.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Essential Kanban Condensed - David J. Anderson and Andy Carmichael

Kanban is a method of organizing and managing professional services work.
It uses Lean concepts such as limiting work in progress to improve results. A Kanban system is a means of balancing the demand for work to be done with the available capacity to start new work. 
This book provides a distillation of Kanban: the "essence" of what it is and how it can be used. 
This brief overview introduces all the principal concepts and guidelines in Kanban and points you to where you can find out more. 
Essential Kanban Condensed is a great resource to get started or continue exploring ideas for evolutionary change and improvement in business agility.

[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.95 out of 5 (21  Ratings; 4 Reviews - As on April 10 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  A very precise summary of The Kanban Method that serves as a great introduction to the topic and provides guidance for further study. 
Probably the first book one should read about The Kanban Method.  

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