Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Art of Happiness - Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler

Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling.
And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. 
He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and a hugely sought-after speaker and statesman. 
Why is he so popular? 
Even after spending only a few minutes in his presence you can't help feeling happier.

If you ask him if he's happy, even though he's suffered the loss of his country, the Dalai Lama will give you an unconditional yes. 

What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that the very motion of our life is toward happiness. 
How to get there has always been the question. 
He's tried to answer it before, but he's never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand.

The Art of Happiness is the book that started the genre of happiness books, and it remains the cornerstone of the field of positive psychology.

Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. 

Together with Dr. Howard Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. 
Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness is a book that crosses the boundaries of traditions to help readers with difficulties common to all human beings. 
After being in print for ten years, this book has touched countless lives and uplifted spirits around the world.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.13 out of 5 (54,666 Ratings; 1620 Reviews - As on Aug 20 2016)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  This book makes it to most of the lists of Top 10 happiness books that I found in the internet. Though Dalai Lama has been credited as the main author, the book is actually an interpretation of the views expressed by Dalai Lama when interviewed by the co-author Dr. Cutler, a psychologist.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Simplicity - Edward de Bono

Simplicity is the classic work about making the complicated simple, from world-renowned writer and philosopher Edward de Bono. 
From confusing manuals to uninterpretable jargon to bureaucratic red-tape, modern life can be highly complicated and frustrating. 
For many of us it is almost impossible to make sense of. 
In Simplicity, lateral-thinking guru Edward de Bono shows us how to bring simplicity into our increasingly complicated lives. 
Through his ten rules of simplicity, he encourages us to be creative and break down the complex into manageable and recognisable parts. 
By making the complicated simple, you will free up time, reduce stress and make better decisions.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.7 out of 5 (297 Ratings; 23 Reviews; as on Aug 13 2016)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: Though there are no path breaking techniques taught in this book, the concept of Simplicity and the general approaches to achieve is well explained in a concise manner. 
The book is "Simple" and light read, living up to its title. 
Liked it more than than the previous book of Edward de Bono  (Lateral Thinking) which was rather an insipid read, though the technique "Lateral Thinking" was path breaking.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

हिन्दी हास्य व्यंग्य संकलन (Hindi Hasya Vyangya Sankalan) - श्रीलाल शुक्ल, प्रेम जनमेजय (editiors: Srilal Shukla, Prem Janmejaya)

भारतेन्दु काल के पहले का काल मूलतः कविता पर केन्द्रित है। 
उसमें हास्य-व्यंग्य की स्फुट रचनाओं का सर्वथा अभाव नहीं है, पर वहाँ हास्य के स्रोत और स्वरूप उतने वैविध्यपूर्ण तथा उन्मुक्त नहीं हैं जितने कि वे आधुनिक साहित्य में पाये जाते हैं।
 भारतेन्दु काल से लेकर आज तक के हिन्दी व्यंग्य की गुणवत्ता के विकास का ग्राफ चकित करने वाला है। 
इस दीर्घ अन्तराल में हिन्दी व्यंग्य के कई आयाम खुले। कई पीढ़ियों के प्रतिभा संपन्न रचनाकारों ने अपने सृजन से इस विधा को पुष्ट किया। 
हिन्दी हास्य व्यंग्य का यह संकलन इस विकास यात्रा की बानगी है। 
इस काल के प्रायः सभी प्रमुख लेखकों, हर पीढ़ी और रचनाधारा के वैविध्य का प्रतिनिधित्व हो सके तथा पाठकों के सामने हिन्दी हास्य-व्यंग्य की एक मुकम्मल तस्वीर प्रस्तुत हो सके - संपादकों ने इसका पूरा-पूरा ध्यान रखा है। इसके संपादक श्रीलाल शुक्ल तथी प्रेम जनमेजय हिन्दी हास्य व्यंग्य के क्षेत्र में ख्यातिप्राप्त रचनाकार हैं। 
(Source:  Book Cover)
My Rating: 3 out of 5

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Principles of Product Development Flow - Donald G. Reinertsen

Second Generation Lean Product Development
"...the dominant paradigm for managing product development is wrong. Not just a little wrong, but wrong to its very core." 
So begins Reinertsen in his meticulous examination of today's product development practices. 
He carefully explains why invisible and unmanaged queues are the underlying root cause of poor product development performance. 
He shows why these queues form and how they undermine the speed, quality, and efficiency in product development.
Then, he provides a roadmap for changing this. 
The book provides a well-organized set of 175 underlying principles in eight major areas. 
He shows you practical methods to:

  • Improve economic decisions
  • Manage queues
  • Reduce batch size
  • Apply WIP constraints
  • Accelerate feedback
  • Manage flows in the presence of variability
  • Decentralize control
The Principles of Product Development Flow will forever change the way you think about product development. 
Reinertsen starts with the ideas of lean manufacturing but goes far beyond them, drawing upon ideas from telecommunications networks, transportation systems, computer operating systems and military doctrine. 
He combines a lucid explanation of the science behind flow with a rich set of practical approaches. 
This is another landmark book by one of the foremost experts on product development.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.25 out of 5 (767 Ratings, 63 Reviews)
My Rating 4 out of 5 
My Comments: A very useful and concise guide on effective product development in a very complex and dynamic business environment. 

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Nano - Robin Cook

A lavishly funded, security-conscious nanotechnology institute in the foothills of the Rockies, Nano is ahead of the curve in the competitive world of molecular manufacturing, including the construction of microbivores, tiny nanorobots with the ability to gobble up viruses and bacteria.
But when Pia Grazdani takes a job there, she’s shocked by the secretive corporate culture.

She’s warned by her boss not to investigate the other work being done at the gigantic facility, nor to ask questions about the source of the seemingly endless capital that funds the institute’s research. 
And when Pia encounters a fellow employee on a corporate jogging path suffering the effects of a seizure, she soon realizes she may have literally stumbled upon Nano’s human guinea pigs. 
Is the tech giant on the cusp of one of the biggest medical discoveries of the twenty-first century—a treatment option for millions—or have they already sold out to the highest bidder?
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.11 out of 5 (2437 Ratings; 440 Reviews)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: As I was reading this book, I had almost made up my mind to give it a 4 star rating. But the abrupt and disappointing climax put me off and I ended up giving a 3 star instead.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

ஸ்ரீ ரமண மஹரிஷி - பாலகுமாரன் (Sri Ramana Maharishi by Balakumaran)

ஸ்ரீரமணர் பால பருவத்திலேயே ஆன்மிகப் பக்குவம் நிறைந்தவர். ஆனால், அவருடைய குடும்பம், அவரைப் புரியாத புதிர் என்று நினைத்தது. 
திருவண்ணாமலையில் தவம் செய்து உலகுக்கு அவர் தெரிந்தவுடன், பலர் அவரைத் தங்கள் கோணத்தில் பார்த்தனர். 
இறைவனை அடைய வேண்டும் என்று பக்குவப்பட்டவர்கள்கூட இறைவனை சீக்கிரமே அடைந்திட அவரை நாடினர். 
ஆனால், அத்தகைய அவசரக்காரர்களுக்கு ரமணர் இசைந்து கொடுக்கவில்லை. உள்ளத்தில் உண்மையாக இருந்தவர்களும், அப்படி உண்மையாக இருந்து யோகத்துக்குப் பக்குவப்படாதவர்களும் அவரிடம் பயப்பட்டதே இல்லை! ஞான மார்க்கமும், வைராக்கியமும் சிறந்தவைதான்.
அதன் வழியாக சீக்கிரத்தில் இறைவனை அடையலாம் என்றாலும் அது ஆயிரத்தில் ஒருவருக்கே வாய்க்கும். 
அதற்கு பக்குவப் படாதவர்களுக்கு பக்தி மார்க்கத்தையும், குரு சேவை மார்க்கத்தையும் வலியுறுத்தியவர் ரமணர். 
ஆகவேதான் கொஞ்சம் அகங்காரம் உள்ளவர்களுக்கும், மனத் தெளிவு இல்லாதவர்களுக்கும் அவருடைய செயல் புரிந்துகொள்ள முடியாமல் இருந்தது. 
எது எப்படியிருந்தாலும் அவருடைய சந்நிதியில் உட்கார்ந்தவர்கள் மன நிம்மதியை அடையாமல் போனது இல்லை என்பதே அந்த மகானின் கருணை வெள்ளம். 
இவை அனைத்தையும் தனக்கே உரிய எழுத்து வன்மையுடன் சக்தி விகடனில் தொடராகப் படைத்தார் பாலகுமாரன்.
 அதன் தொகுப்பாகிய இந்த நூலின் மூலம் ரமணர் என்ற இறைவனுடன் வாசகர்கள் கலந்து பேரின்பம் அடையலாம் என்பது நிச்சயம்.

[Book Description Source:  ] 
Goodreads Rating - 4.17 out of 5 (18 Ratings; 1 Review)
My Rating 4 out of 5

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Urban Shots: Bright Lights - Paritosh Uttam (Editor)

Urban Shots: Bright Lights is a collection of stories written by various Indian bloggers and writers like Ahmed Faiyaz, R. Chandrasekar, and Malathi Jaikumar. 
The collection contains a total of 29 stories contributed by 21 authors. 
It has been edited by Paritosh Uttam, a popular writer himself. 
The stories  at once delightful, intense and disturbing, each narrated with an honesty of voice that peels off the layers of contemporary India to reveal colorful and thought-provoking glimpses of the intriguing labyrinth that forms urban India.
The highlights of the stories are the myriad interesting characters that they present - young, old, happy, talkative, infatuated, insecure, secretive, rebellious, and submissive. 
A seven-year-old girl who wishes to get married, a ten-year-old one stalked by painful memories of her mother’s death, a gabby filmmaker-turned-cab-driver, a nosy neighborhood lady, an unsuccessful salesman, a besotted 27-year-old, an ill-tempered retiree, a submissive wife who has suffered enough, a struggling artist, a grumpy literature-loving teacher - the collection features numerous characters, the likes of which readers are sure to have encountered in their own lives at some point of time.
For example in the humorous 'Maami Menace', Sathyavati racks her brains to escape an overbearing elderly lady; the charming 'Good Morning Nikhil' follows a baby's antics around the house; and in the curiously touching 'Hot Masala', Mr Kamath hatches a wicked plan to show his family better days. 
Through narratives that are happy, sad, dreamy, bitter, funny, and magical, the stories cover the entire spectrum of human emotions. From romance to suspense and from drama to comedy, the collection offers a little bit of everything that makes contemporary urban India the colorful complexity that it is.
Filled with compassion, wisdom and gentle humour, the stories in this anthology are as much about urban India as they are about the flawed people who inhabit it.
[Book Description Source:  and] 
Goodreads Rating - 3.19 out of 5 (58 Ratings; 6 Reviews)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: By and large a decent collection of short stories especially considering the fact that most of them are penned by part-time or first-time authors. Quite a realistic depiction of urban Indian life in these stories. 
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