Excerpts from You Don’t Need A Godfather

As my roommate was going home he handed me over a copy of this book called You Don’t Need A Godfather which he ordered from Flipkart last week. I’d not heard the name of the book, but since it was a small book I thought of reading it up anyways. As I turned a few pages, I realized that this is a handbook for your everyday endeavors – personal as well as professional, but mostly professional. There is nothing new this book offers that has not already been told yet, but the way Elango R. – the author of the book – presented it is novel and worth commending.

The ladder of professional success is not an easy one to climb, but if you know the technique you will climb it up effortlessly. And this book does exactly that. It offers you the tools which make your journey to the top easy and effortless. These tools are not as easy as they look while reading. They need a lot of practice. However, once practiced well, these tools will only enhance your productivity given you have the wisdom to take right decisions.

Having read the entire book in two days, I thought of writing a post on my blog. This post is simply a list of some of the DOs and DONTs manifested in the book.

  • Learn to take responsibilities of your actions instead of playing the blame-game.
  • Never be “a victim of the circumstances”: Create your own opportunities.
  • Focus on weaknesses and not just your strengths – for how else will you know your true potential?
  • Corporate ethics were formed for a reason. Respect them.
  • Personal branding is important – what’s your brand?
  • Social networking is also important, but learn to draw a line which makes sure your brand doesn’t degrade.
  • Tune your networking ability to a natural skill, not an action item.
  • Communicate effectively keeping your audience and objective in mind.
  • If you do what you always did, you will get what you always get. Learn to do things differently but don’t diverge the focus from the objective.
  • If saying NO is important, then say it. DO NOT HESITATE.
  • Set up your own Golden rules and never break them. They are non-negotiable.
  • Learn to laugh with people and at yourself. Don’t get too bothered about your goof-ups.
  • Be the boss you want your boss to be. (Personally, the best line I’ve come across this book) 🙂
  • Whenever things get comfortable and less challenging, it’s time to re-evaluate.
  • Don’t fall into the success trap.
  • Learn to manage the creative tension. 

I liked the way Elango managed to explain the underlying concepts of corporate leadership by drawing a comparison with the real life stories of his son, Agastya.

It is indeed a wonderful book to read. Recommended.

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Immortals of Meluha starcast

Recently I’ve dinished reading the first installment of the Shiva trilogy- The immortals of Meluha. It was a good read. The entire book seemed to me like a readymade script. So while I was reading the book I could visualize the film that it was going to be. According to me following are the actors who can do justice to the film:

Shiva – A character that demands swagger, shrewedness could be best portrayed by none other than the bollywood Greek god Hrithik Roshan. Ajay Devgn would be a close second.

Sati – A Beutiful warrior princess. Only Priyanka Chopra could bring life to such a wonderful character.

Shantaram Quotes

Here’s a list of some of the best quotes I’ve come across in Gregory David Roberts’ “Shantaram”. I liked these lines very much and hence I’m trying to make a collection here so that I can refer to them whenever I want to. 🙂

  • Sometimes even with the purest intentions, we make things worse when we do our best to make things better – Lin
  • It is the mark of the age in which we live that the style becomes the attitude, instead of the attitude becoming the style – Didier
  • That is how they manage to live together, a billion of them, in reasonable peace. They are not perfect, of course. They know how to fight and lie and cheat each other, and all the things that all of us do. But more than any other people in the world, the Indians know how to love one another – Didier
  • It’s a fact of life on the run that you often love more people than you trust. For people in the safe world, of course, exactly the opposite is true – Lin
  • If fate doesn’t make you laugh, then you just don’t get the joke – Karla (one of my all time favorite quotes 😉 )
  • The worst thing about corruption as a system of governance is that it works so well – Didier
  • There is no act of faith more beautiful than the generosity of the very poor – Abdullah
  • Sometimes the lion must roar, just to remind the horse of his fear – Abdullah
  • There is no believing in God. We either know God, or we don’t – Khader Bhai
  • Shame gives exultation its purpose, and exultation gives shame its reward – Lin
  • People do not understand the truly fantastic effort required in the corruption of a simple man. And the more simple the man, the more the effort it requires – Didier
  • News tells you what people did. Gossip tells you how much they enjoyed it – Didier
  • Only a wicked man can derive benefits from good works. A good man, on the other hand, would simply be worn out and bad tempered – Didier
  • When we act, even with the best of our intentions, when we interfere with the world, we always risk a new disaster that mightn’t be our making, but that wouldn’t occur without our action – Lin
  • Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things – Karla
  • Fear and guilt are the dark angels that haunt rich men – Khader Bhai
  • Despair and humiliation haunt the poor – Lin
  • Trouble is the only property that poor people are allowed to own – Johnny Cigar
  • Love seldom concerns itself with what we know or with what’s true – Lin
  • The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards – Abdul Ghani (how true!)
  • Nations neglect no men more shamefully than the heroes of their wars – Abdul Ghani
  • You are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely, to a child. And you are not a good man until you earn love, truly and freely, of a child in return – Khader Bhai
  • Optimism is the first cousin of love, and it’s exactly like love in 3 ways: it’s pushy, it has no real sense of humor, and it turns up where you least expect it – Lin
  • The sane man is simply a better liar than the insane man – Khader Bhai
  • Fate has every power over us, but two. Fate cannot control our free will and fate cannot control lie. Men lie, to themselves more than to others, and others more often than they tell the truth. But fate doesn’t lie – Khader Bhai
  • The truth is found more often in music, than it is in books of philosophy – Khader Bhai
  • Good doctors have at least three things in common: they know how to observe, they know how to listen and they are very tired – Lin
  • Suffering is the way we test our love, especially for God – Khader Bhai
  • Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is: love and it’s duty, sorrow and it’s truth, In the end that’s all we have – Lin
  • Friendship is also a kind of medicine, and the markets for it too are sometimes black – Lin
  • There is no reason good enough to make us fight with each other – Qasim Ali
  • Justice is a judgment that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. Justice is not the only way we punish those who do wrong. It is the way we try to save them – Qasim Ali
  • Poverty and pride are devoted blood brothers until one, always and inevitably, kills the other – Lin
  • Nothing grieves more deeply or pathetically than one half of a great love that isn’t meant to be – Didier
  • One of the ironies of courage, and the reason why we prize it so highly, is that we find it easier to be brave for someone else than we do for ourselves alone- Lin
  • There’s no meanness too spiteful or too cruel when we hate someone foe all the wrong reasons – Didier
  • Any Indian man will tell you that although love might not have invented in India, it was certainly perfected there.
  • We usually do, something worse than we can imagine is stalking us, and set to pounce. Fate’s way of beating us in a fair fight is to give us warnings that we hear, but never heed
  • Mistakes are like bad loves, the more you learn from them, the more you wished they’d never happened – Karla
  • Silence is the tortured man’s revenge – Lin
  • Prisons are the temples where devils learn to pray – Lin
  • In prisons, a man rations his smiles because predatory men see smiling as a weakness, weak men see it as an invitation, and prison guards see it as a provocation to some new torment – Lin
  • Every virtuous act has some dark secret in its heart and every risk that we take contains a mystery that can’t be solved – Khader Bhai
  • The only victory that counts in prison, is survival – Lin
  • Guilt is the hilt of the knife that we use on ourselves, and love is often the blade; but its worry that keeps the knife sharp, and worry that gets most of us, in the end – Lin
  • You can never tell how much badness is in a man until you see him smile (a very nice thought, indeed)
  • Despotism despises nothing so much as righteousness in its victims – Lin
  • If you turn your heart as a weapon, you always end up using it on yourself – Lin
  • Gold fires the eyes with a different kind and color of greed. Money’s almost always just a means to an end; but, for many men, gold is an end in itself, and their love for it is the kind that can give love a bad name – Lin
  • Happiness is a myth. It was invented to make us buy things – Karla
  • Redemption’s climb is steepest if the good we did is soiled with secret shame
  • The effect, no matter how skilfully achieved, is always born in the artist’s intuition. And intuition can’t be taught.
  • We can deny the past, but we can’t escape the torment. The past is a speaking shadow that keeps pace with the truth of what we are, step for step, until we die – Lin
  • It’s okay if we all learned what we should all learn, the first time round, we wouldn’t need love at all – Karla
  • Pity is the one part of love that asks for nothing in return and because of that, every act of pity is an act of prayer – Lin
  • Black money runs through the finger faster than the legal, hard-earned money. If we can’t respect the way we earn it, money has no value. If we can’t use it ti make life better for our families and loved ones, money has no purpose – Lin (again one of my fav quotes 🙂 )
  • I think wisdom is over-rated. Wisdom is just cleverness with all the guts kicked out of it. I’d rather be clever than wise, any day – Didier
  • There’s a kind of luck that’s much more than being in the right place at the right time, a kind of inspiration that’s not much more that doing the right thing in the right way, and both only happen when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment.
  • The soul has no culture. The soul has no nations. The soul has no color or accent or way of life. The soul is forever. The soul is one. And when the heart has it’s moment of truth and sorrow, the soul can’t be stilled.
  • One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek for it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow.
  • The only force more ruthless and cynical than the business of big politics is the politics of big business – Didier.

These are some of the quotes that I have jotted down in my quote book while reading the book. However, there a few more quotes that I’ve highlighted in the book itself and I’d be writing them soon. Do comment if you like any of these quotes or come up with your own list of quotes from your fav book.

PS: I’ll be writing a review on Shantaram soon. It was an awesome read. And I urge everyone reading this post to read the book as well.

2 states (Chetan Bhagat) – Review

2_States_-_The_Story_Of_My_Marriage

2 States.

This time Chetan Bhagat has come up with a perfect recipe for entertainment by making a mixture of two different cultures. The reader is, without exception, assured to fall in love with this book. A deep research on the cultures of Tamil and hard-core Punjabi families adds extra flavor to the already tasty story of two smart IIM A grads and their extra-smart ways of convincing each others’ parents for their marriage.

The ingredients (characters) of the recipe (story) are simply beautiful. (especially the character of Krish’s mom. Boy! I totally loved her sarcastic replies). A little bit of spice (proposal in the middle of the interview) and sweetness (Krish’s attitude towards Ananya’s parents) and to some extent emotional Aty”Achar” (his father’s visit and all) makes the dish more delicious.

The first 50 pages of the book are the most entertaining ones. I read them again and again and yet again and literally rolled over the floor laughing my ass off ( in short ROFLMAO’ed :P) enjoying the protagonist’s thoughts about her as “being just friends”, the interview with the psychiatrist and his mother’s sarcastic comments on the day of convocation.

An easy-go attitude and tension-less approach of the story develops the pace of the book in such an excellent way that the reader would never like to keep the book down. Even if one wants to go to loo, he’d take the book with him and read it there. 😛

The little observations like, “her perfume reached us 3 seconds before her” and “couldn’t help but mention that she hadn’t waxed …” etc etc makes the things come alive and makes it easy to imagine the picture right in front of your eyes while reading.

All I wanna say is swallow the item in one gulp for better results. This is definitely digestible. 🙂

According to me it is the best book written on marriage for Indian audience till date. (Well, I haven’t read many on this subject. But for as of now, yes, this is the best.)

PS: If not Dharma productions, at least Rajashree productions has to fund this story for making this into a family-film and I’m damn sure this one will strike the chords of every Indian audience across all the states by topping the charts for several weeks to come.

The monk who sold his Ferrari – excerpts

These are a few lines from the book which left a deep impact upon my life. My daily activities have changed a lot. I’ve always heard about people who are health conscious, diet conscious, but for the first time in my life, I heard the phrase time conscious. I liked it a lot.

Excerpts:

Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.

Life is all about choices. One’s destiny unfolds according to the choices one makes.

Investment in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.

Dare to dream that you are more than your current circumstances.

The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.

The price of greatness is responsibility over each of your thoughts. – Churchill.

Persistence is the mother of personal change.

Luck is nothing more than the marriage of preparation with opportunity.

The best thing you can do for yourself is regularly move beyond it.

Stop being practical.

Never be ashamed of doing that which is right.

Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.

Only those who seek shall find.

Imagination is more important than knowledge                                  – Einstein.

* Goal setting is very important.

You will never be able to hit a target that you cannot see.

5 Simple Steps to achieve the goal:

  1. 1. Form a clear mental image of the outcome.
  2. 2. Get some positive pressure.
  3. 3. Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it.
  4. 4. Magic rule of 21.
  5. 5. Smile…

Pressure can inspire on to achieve great ends.

A goal not committed to paper is no goal at all.

Never do anything because you have to. The only reason to do something is because you want to and because you know that it is right.

Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all living beings.

A burning sense of passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams.

Change is the most powerful force in our society today.

Those whose cups are always empty will always move to higher levels of achievement and fulfillment.

How could a person possibly lead a corporation if he cannot even lead himself?

The only limits in your life are those that you set yourself.

Make a written inventory of your weaknesses.

The next step is to face them head on and attack your fears.

Happiness comes through the progressive realization of a worthy objective.

Focus on those things that your conscience and your heart tells you to do.

A book is the best friend of a wise.

All the mistakes you will ever make are already made by those who have walked before you.

The only way to improve your tomorrow is to know what you did wrong today.

We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh        – William James.

You sow a thought, you reap an action. Reap an action, you sow a habit. Sow a habit, you reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as to think.

–          Emerson.

Failure means not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less.

Every arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of one hundred misses.

Failure is your friend.

When spider webs unite, they tie up a lion.

Lack of willpower is a mental disease.

Truly enlightened people never seek to be like others.

Wisdom without proper tools of its application is no wisdom at all.

The first step is to start doing the things that you don’t like doing.

You have the power to be more than your environment. Similarly, you have the capacity to be more than a prisoner of your past.

Keep pushing yourself. Nothing great has ever been achieved without tired and timeless efforts of the wisest people on this planet.

The trick is to keep setting the mark higher and raising your standards continuously.

Planning is equally important as Goal-Setting.

To achieve 100% results in planning, have the discipline to focus your time around your priorities.

Enlighten people are priority driven. This is the secret of time mastery.

Having the courage to say NO to the little things in life will give you the power to say YES to the big things.

The best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. The second best is today.

Never be the prisoner of your past. Be the architect of your future.

Realize that the most noble thing you can  give to others is your time or your energy.

A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses – Chinese Proverb.

Compassion and daily acts of kindness make life far richer.

Take the time to meditate every morning on the good you will do for others during your day.

Every dawn is a new day to the one who is enlightened.

The past is water under the bridge and the future is a distant sun on the horizon of your imagination. The most important moment is NOW.

Never put off happiness for the sake of achievement.

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

Live for today – there will never be another one quite like it.

Life doesn’t always give you what you ask for, but it always gives you what you need.

Simply follow the path of your dreams, in full expectation of the bounty that is certain to flow.

You don’t observe things Dr. Watson, you just see them.                   – Sherlock Holmes.

Everyone on this planet is a wonder of this world. Every one of us is a hero in some way or the other. Every one of us has the potential for extraordinary achievement, happiness and lasting fulfillment. All it takes are small steps in the direction of our dreams. Like Taj Mahal, a life overflowing with wonders is built day by day, block by block. Small victories lead to large victories. Tiny, incremental changes and improvements will create positive habits. Positive habits will create results. And results will inspire you towards a greater personal change. Begin to live each day as if it was your last. Starting from today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do. So not be denied your destiny. For what lies behind you and what lies in front of you matters little when compared to what lies within you.

The fifth Child

The Fifth Child

Just today I read the book “The fifth child” by Nobel prize winning author Doris Lessing. Did I like the book? Did I not? I don’t know. All that I know is that the climax of the book could have been better.

The Story, in short:

The story is about a married couple, David and Harriet, who bought a big house and have decided to raise many children. The first four deliveries were normal. But the fifth one was a bit abnormal. The fifth child, Ben as he is named, is very strange and gives cold, dangerous looks to everyone. The whole family of David and Harriet are against his living in the house and so everyone decides to send him to an institution. After a  few months, Harriet could not control her emotions and gets back to the institution to her child. She gets carried away by looking at his condition and she decides to bring him back home. At home, he is not whole heartedly accepted by his other four siblings as well as his father.  But he does well, he learns to socialize. Harriet puts in a lot of effort to socialize him and to some extent she achieves it. In the mean while the tree other children go to Boarding school along with their maternal/paternal grandparents and start liking there. The fourth child feels ignored in the house because Harriet is busy looking after Ben and his father is busy most of the time. The fourth one, Paul, was the most amiable kid amongst all of his siblings. But as time moves, he feels that he’s ignored. Ben grows up to became a brat, a spoiled brat and he choses nasty friends who give answers to his(Ben’s) parents. He along with his gang is sometimes seen on the TV commiting crime.

The eternal happiness that the family was looking for is now gone. The fifth child destroys everything.

I liked the way the characters of Dorothy (Harriet’s mom), Harriet, David, Paul and Dr. Brett were designed. I also liked the way of showing mother’s affection and love towards an abandoned child. Her feelings about his birth, commiting a crime and all was superbly shown. What I dislike was the ending. But I came to know later that the ending was the beginning of a new book (its sequel) Ben, in the world. And then I realized that it wasn’t a bad ending afterall. All in all this is an average book. I’d rate it a 2 on the scale of 5.

In case you want to read a dull horror story you can put your hand on this one.

Will come up with a post on another book soon. Happy reading!!

PS: Ernest Hemingway’s fiction Old man and the sea compelled me to read a book by another Nobel winning author. But not every book written by Nobel prize winning authors is awesome!

PS2: Life is a “Bittersweet Symphony” 🙂

Old man and the sea

hemingway - old man and the seaRecently, I’ve read the book Old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway. Undoubtedly, it was one of the finest piece of fictions I’ve ever read in my life. The best 127 page fiction. 🙂

You can read the summary of the story from Wiki. So I’m not discussing about the story here. I’ll be dealing with the way of writing and the pace of the book.

The book has been written in an awesome way. The character of the old man has been beautifully designed. The story is quite inspiring and the pace with which the story moves helps the reader making his/her grip of the book tight. Well, I finished the book in one go. The first thought that came to my mind after completing the book was that “This book definitely deserves a nobel”. What a fantastic story! And what a beautiful way of narrating it! Hemingway, Hats off to you!

What I liked the most in this story is the psychology of the old man. When he’s alone, he speaks to himself. Every now and then he says “I wish the boy (his apprentice) was here”. Also the way he talks to the birds, to the giant marlin(which is his target) treating it as his friend and he is playing a game with it, to those small fishes, the way he fights with those sharks. I liked his way of looking at things, his zeal for catching the biggest fish, the way he keeps himself alive and pushes his limits everyday, his sacrifices, his dreams, his thinking, his character as a whole. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

It is a must read book for everyone and I feel that an unabridged version of this book should be made compulsory in high school. At least in India. Fictions are many, but getting a nobel for a fiction is something that adds icing on the cake.

After reading this book, I became a big fan of Ernest Hemingway, and I’ve decided to read the rest of his novels too. So I’ll begin with For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Happy reading!! See you soon!! Till then Bye Bye!!

PS: Reading “The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand” currently. As of now it is awesome. Will write a post on it as soon as I complete reading the book. 🙂

Lateral Thinking

The term Lateral Thinking was coined by Edward De Bono. Bono defines lateral thinking as methods of thinking concerned with changing concepts and perception.

I’d like to give a few examples here which might help you understand better about Lateral Thinking.

Problem:

A landscape gardener is given instructions to plant four special trees so that each one is exactly the same distance form each of the others. How do you arrange the trees?

The usual procedure is to try and arrange four dots on a piece of paper so that each dot is equidistant from every other dot. The problem seems impossible to solve.

The assumption that the trees are all planted on a level piece of ground. If one challenges this assumption one finds that the trees can indeed be planted in the manned specified. But one tree is planted at the top of a hill and the other three are planted on the sides of a hill. This makes them all equidistant from one another.

Problem:

This is one of my favorite problems. A man worked in a tall office building. Each morning he got in the lift on the ground floor, pressed the life button to the tenth floor, got out of the lift and walked up to the fifteenth floor. At night he would get into the lift on fifteenth floor and get out again on the ground floor. What was the man up to?

Various explanations are offered. They include:

  • The man wanted exercise.
  • He wanted to talk to someone on the way up from the tenth to the fifteenth floor.
  • He wanted to admire the view as he walked up.
  • He wanted people to think he worked on the tenth floor (it might have been more prestigious) etc.

In fact, the man acted in such a peculiar way because he had no choice. He was a dwarf and could not reach higher than the tenth floor button.

The natural assumption that man is perfectly normal and it his behavior that is abnormal.

This information was extracted from the book “Lateral Thinking” by Edward De Bono.

If you like this information please read the book. It is a very nice book where Sir Bono says that innovativeness and creativity are not by-birth gifts. Thinking can also be practiced. All that is needed is sparing some time for it.

The CATcher in the Rye

Book Review:


The Catcher in the Rye

This book is one of the frequently challenged book of 20th century for the use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst.

The Catcher in the Rye

Now, I’d like to present my own reasons why I liked this book.

Mr. J. D. Salinger has done an excellent job in writing this book. I don’t know why but as far as my survey is concerned, everybody agreed that at some point of time, he felt like the protagonist of the story. So did I. This is the most important part of the book that I liked. This is that book which shows you the dark side of yourself. By dark side I mean that part which we cannot speak out loudly in public. This boy Holden Caulfield, is a very intelligent fellow, but he’s afraid of many things in life. He keeps on calling everybody a “phony”, “bastard”, “goddam” and all that. He’s not a bad guy. He’s just afraid. But he can’t express the inside feelings. He thinks he’s alone. He hates everything. Such a condition occurs to many of us. Its a psychological state when one is very frustrated or disappointed with something or someone. All of my friends (who have read this book) have agreed that there came one such moment when the felt the same thing.

Now, lets come to the name of the book. At first, I too thought what does the name mean? But after reading the book, I realized that it’s name couldn’t be apt. This guy feels that he’s the one sitting on a mountain cliff, hidden in the Rye, trying to save children who might fall down. Hence he is the Catcher In The Rye. But after sometime he realizes that he’s the one who is going to fall down. He’s no Catcher in the Rye.

I must say, one (above 18 years of age) must read this book at least once in one’s lifetime. This book is something different. A new genre.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Games Indians Play

This post is not about the games that only Indians play. This is the name of the book I’m reading currently. Its an awesome book written by Mr. V. Raghunathan. The specialty about this book is that it uses the concept of game theory (which is one of my favorite subjects) and its application on Indian audience. Its one of my favorite books because it deals with 3 of my all time favorite subjects viz Economics, Game Theory and Cognitive Sciences. The others being Mathematics, music and Psychology.

I like the the chemistry between these subjects and most importantly, the way these subjects were related to one another was awesome. Another best thing I liked about it was the tag line. The most catchy I’ve heard in recent times. “Why are we the way we are?” and its answer very beautifully explained in Indian terms as “We are like that only.” After reading the book (I’ve not completed it yet), I felt that its now time we reform the phrase to “Only we are like that” by doing something really extraordinary. By proving ourselves to the world. By showing that we, Indians are inferior to no one in this world of competition. We have proved this many times in history and we will repeat the history and this time it will be big and legendary.