Books… Books… Books

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I haven’t stopped reading instead my reviews are now posted on goodreads. I love that site, it helps me keep track of books I want to read, recommend a book to people and read reviews before purchasing a book. It’s the most brilliant website ever. I wish there was something similar for movies as well. I could keep a track of what I want to watch there.

Currently, I am reading Chocolat and then going to watch the movie too. Here are the books I have read recently:

  • Travelling to Infinity : My life with Stephen Hawking

Author : Jane Hawking

Where do I start? I picked up this book after watching ‘The Theory of Everything’ which is based on this book. I had expected to read about Stephen Hawking and how he became a great theoretical physicist with his wife’s support. What I got instead was an insipid account of useless details of Jane’ life which have little or nothing to do with Stephen.

There are details like how she painted the house or what they ate for dinner or how her daughter likes ballet and so little about Stephen himself. I read half of the book and still did not know why they got married. I didn’t know who Stephen or Jane are as human beings and what do they feel. It’s one of the worst books I have read.

If you are a writer you should read this book so you know what a book should not be like.

It broke my heart to leave the book midway but it was an absolute waste of my precious time.

  • My Name is Abu Salem

Author : Hussain S Zaidi

I like Hussain Zaidi’s books. He writes on people we are all curious about- the hard core criminals of the country. I finished this book in a few hours.
This book tracks the life of Abu Salem from birth till now. It’s a fascinating read because Hussain gives details like how Abu thinks he is as good looking as a star and is looking for fame. It also focuses on his wives and the relationship with Monica Bedi without entering the gossip territory. So, no, there is nothing about Monica and Rahul Mahajan because that is not relevant to Abu’s story.
The end is scary because Abu is still in prison but his chances of going scot free have improved since Saba took over his case. And all because the Indian government has made so many blunders.
All in all a good book and worth reading.

Please do read this book.

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist : From Book to Film

Author : Mira Nair

I’ve the read the original book and watched the movie and love both of them. I loved how the book is different from the movie… it’s so nice when the director brings something to the table in terms of interpretation of the book instead of putting to film what’s given in the book. This book is about Mira Nair’s journey to make the movie from the book.

It’s a short read and you get to know about how the actors were cast, how the funding happened and how even a reputed director like Mira Nair has to struggle for funding. I thought Kate Hudson looked fat and ugly in the movie but on reading this book realized that she had just delivered a child so wasn’t in her best shape.

It’s a good, short read.

  • Riding in Cars with Boys : Confessions of a Bad Girl who makes good

Author : Beverly Donofrio

I watched the movie and then picked up the book. I thought Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie was extremely selfish and hoped in the book she has some redeeming qualities. And I was right. Since the book is from her point of view rather than her son’s, she comes off as a better person than in the movie.

The book captures her tale quite well. My biggest grouse with the movie was that it didn’t cover ‘how’ she became a writer while the book does, even though briefly. Also, the book gives closure to her relationship with her parents and her son.
There are times when she whines too much, she is selfish, self centred, ignores her son etc. But then again, so are we all. It is human nature. And that is what I like about the book. It does not gloss over the negatives. Not that she is brutally honest since she does defend herself. But it’s honest enough for me.
I liked it

  • How Google Works

Author : Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg

As a rule I don’t read management books. I think very few people have management skills and am not wasting my time reading books on shit which only 5% of professionals have. And management books are boring, preachy and far from reality.

But I picked this book anyway.

It took me a while to warm up to this book and almost a month to finish reading it. But it’s been worth the time. It is about Google culture but so much more than that.
I was surprised to see a whole chapter on how to interview. I thought about it so many times when interviewers turn up to interview a candidate without even checking your CV. The success of an interview is as much a responsibility of the interviewer as much as of the interviewee.
There are many more such gems.. stuff that we wished happened in our company. So many things just struck to the core. I have attended so many meetings where the top management has no clue what is happening and nobody wants to hear the truth.
Loved this book. Please do read it. There were places where I was thinking ;

‘That’s exactly what I think. Why aren’t things done this way? Why doesn’t management think like this?’

  • The End of Innocence

Author : Moni Mohsin

I loved Moni Mohsin’s books – The Diary of a Social Butterfly series. They are so funny. I picked up this book hoping it would be good.

I finished reading this book weeks after plodding through it. When I love a book, everything in my life is forgotten and the book takes precedence and when I don’t like it I have to push myself to read it. The End of Innocence is the latter kind of book.
Till mid way, nothing much happens. After that there is some action but it is not thrilling or shocking or anything. I didn’t feel anything while reading the story. The story could have been so much more but Moni Mohsin does not pen it well.
Please avoid. There is nobody who can like or appreciate this one.

  • Steve Jobs

Author : Walter Isaacson

I am not an Apple fan. In fact, except the Ipod I find the other devices too complicated to use. So, I wasn’t really interested in Jobs and didn’t understand all the hype around him and Apple.
Until now.
The best part about the book is that it is independent from Jobs. Jobs probably didn’t even read it before or after it was published. And that makes it reasonably accurate. The portrayal of Jobs is brutal and rightfully so. When I had read only 10% of the book I hated Jobs and wasn’t sure I will be able to finish the book. But things got interesting mid way… so interesting that I was up till midnight to finish the book. It broke my heart when he passed away.
Are there any management lessons to be learned? Probably not. Jobs was flawed but a visionary. And sometimes, all it takes is a vision and a can do spirit.
This is a superb book and everyone should read it.



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