Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Complete Adventures of Feluda - Volume 1 by Satyajit Ray

Summary Of The Book 
This first volume of  omnibus collection of the renowned Feluda stories presents 16 tales of murder, mystery, and a whole lot of adventure.
For anyone who has been a fan of the Feluda-Topshe-Jatayu trio, this intriguing corpus of detective tales becomes an ideal book to own.
Satyajit Ray, the literary genius, conceived the idea of a Bengali version of Sherlock Holmes somewhere around the 1960s.
 Between 1965 and 1992, he wrote more than 30 detective stories.
The main character was Pradosh C. Mitra, better known as Feluda, an Indian version of Sherlock Holmes. 

The author also introduces readers to the Indian version of Watson or Topshe, Feluda’s 14 year old cousin, and a flamboyant and bumbling writer, Jatayu, who accompanies the other two. 
Feluda is a genius and Topshe is a dedicated admirer.
Feluda is also very picky and only chooses cases that promise a lot of intrigue and mystery.

In these plots of intrigue and sobriety, Jatayu is the ray of sunshine amidst the dreary clouds. 

He is quite a character with his English, which is often misspelled, his average writing, and his affinity towards free-verse poetry, not to mention his deductions, which are seldom right.
 He offers comic relief in these tales and has often been compared to Agatha Christie’s Ariadne Oliver.

Feluda, too, is quite an interesting character. 

He goes to sleep late but rises early, and he is a great lover of food. 
He only ever smokes Charminar cigarettes, drinks lots of tea, and never misses a session of yogasana.

In this collection, perfectly compiled, the stories are chronologically arranged so as to enable the readers to be able to trace his development from an amateur to an expert detective, well versed in his art.

With minimum violence, perfect plots, and riveting twists, this collection of short stories is an absolute treat for kids and adults alike.

Satyajit Ray’s writing in these stories is racy, intriguing and delightfully humorous. 
He manages to intertwine the suspense and drama of a detective story with the humour of class apart characters.
For anyone who is a fan of quality detective fiction, this book is a must read.
[Summary Source:]

 My Comments
I read the Volume 2 of this compilation almost five years back. See my review of the same in this blog.
Was happy to read the Volume 1 and enjoyed every bit of it.
I highly recommend anybody interested in detective stories in classic mold of Sherlock Holmes's cases to read this book

Goodreads Rating - 4.43 out of 5 (1691 ratings)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Confident Coaching - Amanda Vickers and Steve Bavister

From executive mentoring to life coaching, more and more people are turning to and/or training as coaches.
This book covers the fundamentals for those looking for an introduction to coaching.
It also offers practice and extension for people with some existing coaching experience, whether they work inside a company or in a freelance capacity, in life coaching or executive coaching, or are managers wishing to coach their in-house teams more effectively. 
Areas covered include the various stages of coaching; fundamental models, theories, and concepts; interventions; timing; and practical tips for dealing with challenging situations. 
Sample coaching interactions are included to bring techniques to life, along with activities, case studies, anecdotes, and diagrams.

[Based on the book description on]

 My Comments
A very good introductory book on Coaching.

Buy the Kindle book version.
(Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.)

Inside Knowledge by Michael Backman

Streetwise in Asia 
Business information is one thing which should not be economized on.
While doing business in Asian markets it is very essential to understand that the scope of what constitutes business information is much wider. 
Asian business community  does not draw a solid line between the  business and non-business activities. 
Many apparently non-business aspects like family, personal connections, leisure pursuits like Golf, art collection etc. have a business component.

This book by bestselling author Michael Backman provides crucial insights into such Asian business themes. 
Through numerous examples, case studies and anecdotes it provides a  valuable guide for anybody who wants to business takes in Asia by enabling them get to grips with Asian business and understand how Asia really works.

The book begins with a chapter on people's names in Asia which shows how important it is to understand Asian naming structures for doing business in Asia.

Thereafter the book is divided into two parts: "Places" and "Markets".

"Places" includes  chapters which describe the business scenarios of  China,  Central Asian States, Malaysia and Nepal. It also has a chapter on Australian expatriates which analyzes their prominent role in the Asian offices of accounting, law and other professional services firm.

The second part of the book "Markets" deals with various commodities, products and crazes that are either unique to Asia, have come to be dominated by Asian countries, or have a particular Asian flavor.
The markets addressed  include business process outsourcing in non-Indian Asian countries like China and Philippines; Asian art and antiques; birds' nests; rare fish; diamonds; casinos; sandalwood; arms and ammunition; bad loans and distressed debts.
This part also has chapters on the secrets of Asia's five-star hotels and their guests; Thailand's sex industry; Asia's Coffee Shop revolution; India's wealthy Parsi community.

A very interesting and informative book that provides the much needed nuances to successfully do business in Asia or with Asian communities. 
Almost a decade has passed since this book was published. So some  facts and figures mentioned in this book would have become outdated. It would be great if the author comes out with a revised and updated edition of this book.

A highly recommended read !

Goodreads Rating - 4.67 out of 5 ( 3 Ratings)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gravity by Brian Clegg

Why What Goes Up, Must Come Down
This book is a history of gravity, and a study of its importance and relevance to our lives, as well as its influence on other areas of science.
Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. 
Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. 
Although ludicrously weak compared to the other forces (a tiny magnet can hold up a piece of metal against the gravitational attraction of the whole Earth), gravity permeates our everyday life and being.
We begin with humanity's earliest ideas of how we remain stuck to the ground - a significant consideration when you realize that despite the myths, educated people have known the Earth was a sphere since the time of the Ancient Greeks. 
Along the way we'll see how the Arabic scholars explained the force of gravity, why Galileo didn't need to drop balls off the tower of Pisa, exactly how Newton came to his conclusions and why he refused to 'frame hypotheses' about gravity. 
Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn’t explain how it worked at a distance. 
Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending general relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. 
Not only did this explain how gravity worked – and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components – but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity’s effect on time. 
We will explore the concept of action at a distance, and see how Einstein transformed our understanding of gravitation with general relativity and consider whether the graviton will ever be discovered. We will see how birds, bees and rockets seem to defy gravity, and whether the concept of anti-gravity can move from pure science fiction to possible fact. 
Whether it’s the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates.
Gravity never fails to fascinate...

[Based on the book description on the author Ben Clegg's website and]

Hear Brian Clegg talk about gravity in a radio interview.

 My Comments
Many books and authors of this genre claim to explain abstruse concepts in a manner a layman can easily understand. Unfortunately though their intentions are good, they fall woefully short of this objective (at least as far as I am concerned !).
But this book came the closest in my opinion . I understood more than 80 % of what it was trying to explain.
Therefore highly recommend it to all the readers of the Popular Science genre.

Goodreads Rating - 4 out of 5 ( 3 Ratings)
Buy the Kindle book version.
(Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.)