All posts tagged: book review

Many Lives, Many Masters

Whether or not you believe in science, this is one book that’s bound to give you food for thought. Penned by a psychiatrist, Dr Brian Weiss, Many masters, many lives is what he claims to be the true story of one of his patients. Catherine, a young girl troubled by inexplicable phobias, seeks his help, and when typical psychiatric treatments don’t bare results, he resorts to the rarely used practice of hypnosis. What follows is plain bizarre. In her hypnotic state, Catherine appears to visit her past lives, reincarnations of herself in varied geographical locations and time periods. Often, Catherine reaches an in-between stage, where she’s dead but not reincarnated yet, and she communicates to the doctor the messages of highly evolved spirits (called the Masters), including personal details from his own life. I know it sounds like the plot of some psychological thriller, and as I re-read it, even the highly predictable story-line of a horror Hindi movie. But that’s the beauty of it – what you believe is completely your choice. At one point, …

Of this & that

This is not a comeback post. Pledge: I have decided to stop blaming my work-life imbalance, fleeting weekends, social obligations, and deadened-by-work-thought flow for my persistent inactivity in the blogosphere. I hereby pledge to revive my blogging life. Awards: This one is long due. Thanks to Aadil for awarding me The Lemonade Blog award, and to Valerine & Varun for the International Bloggers Community award. I hereby pass these awards to Thethoughtfultrain, Manchitra & Jayesh for their comforting presence in the blogosphere. Corporate  woes: I dedicate this to all my fellow-mates in the corporate jungle. Cheers to survival! Mini book review: Tin Fish, a book about an adolescent’s boarding school life, post the emergency period in India. It’s a walk down memory lane, a back-to-the-basics lesson in friendship, and a breezy read to momentarily transport you from the complexities of adulthood. (Author – Sudeep Chakravarty) Advice: I have been aching to learn something new, something radically different. Any advice, besides a language, an instrument & a sport? Lately, I have also been fantasizing about freelance writing. …

Keep Off The grass

I finally found, read and loved a book that hasn’t been extensively reviewed (yet) on the blogosphere! If you aren’t already enticed by the title, get a load of this: an Indian investment banker on Wall Street, born and brought up in the US, decides to quit his million dollar job to go to India to find his roots. He enrolls himself at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Bangalore, and what ensues is a hillarious chase of answers, grades and weed.  Obviously, the IIM turns out to be completely different from typical B-schools in the US and elsewhere. Samrat Ratan, the protagonist, once a Yale valedictorian and a big-shot banker, is pitted against the super-brained IITians from the country, only to discover that mediocrity has its own virtues. His constant struggle between his American upbringing and Indian roots initially finds no solace in the rat-race of grades and jobs, until he realizes that relationships are what really matter.  In his quest for happiness, Samrat meets Sarkar and Vinod, the former an incredibly smart guy with …

The Diary Of A Young Girl

I am probably among the last people on the planet to have read Anne Frank’s diary, and given that, this review is probably very redundant. I am doing it nonetheless because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Anne Frank’s was one of the Jewish families that went into hiding during Hitler’s reign. Her diary is a day-to-day account of life in hiding, written between the ages of 13 and 15. Even though it was never intended for public readership, it makes for a smooth storyline and an extremely engaging one at that. It re-emphasizes, time and again, the futility of war.  Anne Frank was 13 when she started writing her diary and I’m 21, and yet, I can relate to everything she writes about growing up in a world where adulthood is defined by age and not maturity of thought. “We’re all alive, but we don’t know why or what for; we’re all searching for happiness; we’re all leading lives that are different and yet the same… People who …

Teacher Man

Frank McCourt has given a new dimension to teaching in this non-fictional account. He writes about teaching and learning and teaching to learn and learning to teach. McCourt’s journey is rooted in Ireland, from where he seeks to rise in the minds and hearts of the students in New York’s public schools, through his unconventional, inspiring approach to teaching. As he explores his own identity, he accepts that teachers don’t have all the answers, and that is only human. His creative writing class reads and sings cooking recipes, his English class discusses Little Bo Peep! Even when we don’t relate to the Irish life or the NY adolescents, we end up becoming a part of the Teacher Man phenomenon. The racy, decryptable writing makes you belong in McCourt’s classes. His humble, inquisitive approach to teaching makes you want to learn, as though it comes from choice and not force. Great teaching, great writing and very inspirational. If you’re a student, it will give you a new perspective on learning. If you’re a teacher, you’ll want …

The Last Lecture

I suppose we all have our notion of how we’ll confront death, when the time comes. Carnegie Mellon (CMU) created a platform for its professors to imagine such a confrontation and gave us the invaluable gift of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. CMU’s tradition asks professors to imagine the end of their lives and address graduating students, sharing with them their philosophy of life and what they might have done differently if they could do it again. For CMU’s computer science professor, Randy Pausch, things were a little more real. He was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live. His Last Lecture was indeed his last.  Randy’s lecture was a keepsake. It did the rounds online and became one of the most inspiring, most viewed videos on youtube [The Last Lecture, view here].  “Under the rouse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children. If I were a painter,  I would have painted for them. …

Into The Wild

Have you ever let fear deter rebellion, possibilities confine dreams or conformity define life? If yes, Christopher McCandless is probably the greatest inspiration you can find; he is the epitome of courage and bravery, an incredible example of a person who can dare to live exactly the way he wants, unaffected by all things human. In 1990, McCandless, 22, graduated from Emory University, donated his Harvard college fund to charity, and set out to explore the wilderness of the American West, harboring a dream of an “Alaskan odyssey”. A follower of Tolstoy and Thoreau, he chose of a life of isolation and asceticism. In the book, Jon Krakauer follows McCandless’ journey into the wild, and lends this true account his own expertise as an avid mountain climber. Often contrasting McCandless to other adventurers, Jon Krakauer glorifies, objectively, the boy, his life, his dreams and his conquests. During his travels before his self-imposed solitude in Fairbanks, Alaska, McCandless befriended strangers time and again and left an indelible mark on their lives. Again, through his heart-wrenching story, McCandless …

Ignited Minds

With development, technology and partriotism as dominant themes, Ignited Minds, written by India’s ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam, is dedicated to the youth in India. Contrary to my expectations, it has a strong inclination toward science and a lot of technical jargon. In fact, there’s not even a slight touch upon entrepreneurship and business as driving possibilities towards India’s growth. From an economic perspective, a lot of growth factors for the country have been omitted. I suppose that as a scientist-turned-author, President Kalam retained his primary focus on science as a measure of a country’s progress. I don’t deny that it is one. But it kind of limits the scope of the book in more ways than one. Firstly, the book is more of a theoretical listing of India’s technological achievements thus far, rather than a practical guide to lay the youth on the right track to grow India. Secondly and honestly, I found myself skipping paragraphs and pages of scientific descriptions. Maybe I’m a little late in reading this one. Maybe it would’ve made more sense …