Gautam gives me no choice but to be bitten by the big book bug. I don’t mind being ‘bugged’, for once. Here are my answers:
Number of books I own: Need to count to give you a 100% accurate number. When last counted, it was approximately 300+ including the Tintins and the Asterix & Obelixes. I sometimes go around thinking that I earn only to buy books. The maximum percentage of my spending goes to the Gangarams, Strands, Crosswords and Sankars of Bangalore, and for that matter, any other city I visit.
Last book(s) I bought: I have never bought a book. Asking me to get my head examined? Read it again...I have never bought a book. Every book-purchase transaction (or should I say strategy?) that I am into is about buying books…many books. I have an obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to books. Okay, cutting all the crap out, the books that I last bought were: Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, In Your Dreams by Tom Holt, The Best of Rumpole by John Mortimer, and Pour Your Heart Out by Howard Schultz. Wisdom of Crowds was more or less an impulsive purchase based on some things I’d read about the book earlier. In Your Dreams and The Best of Rumpole were risks, so to say! Bought them based on the facts that they were books belonging to the ‘Humor’ category and based on what I found on the covers and some contents inside the books. The Pour Your Heart Out book was a purchase that was influenced by a friend.
Just can’t wait to read all of these books. But they may have to wait longer than I, along with my 100+ other books to be read.
Last book I read: Freedom’s Way by Bloch Jorgensen. This one was a gift both in the literal as well as figurative sense. It's a lovely and brave book that is quite unconventional and extremely strong in its communication. The language is fascinating and the potential it promises that the reader has, cannot but leave her/him a changed person.
Five books that mean a lot to me: This is a very tough one for me. But let me see if I can do some sort of justice to the question. I take the liberty of mentioning more than five. These books are in the order in which I came across them.
1. 100% Mind Power by Jack Addington – Category: Self Development/Achievement – This was an extremely accidental purchase and in the most unlikely of places. I was out in Goa on a college tour and there was a book exhibition on, on one of the beaches! I just barged into one of the stalls and picked up this book. It was perhaps one of the first ever books that I read in this category. And, it changed me completely. It instilled a whole lot of faith in me and opened the doors of new possibilities to me – it taught me that the human mind has amazing and unbelievable capabilities that one ought to make use of.
2. BPR by Michael Hammer and James Champy – Category: Business/Processes – This was a book that one of my classmates recommended to me in my MBA and I went over to the college library and gobbled it up in just 2 sittings. It somehow grabbed my attention and got be fascinated with the concept of process improvements. I developed a love for processes and process improvements after reading this book. (Well, I do know that BPR isn’t what you’d call a successful concept)
3. The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt – Category: Processes/Industrial Production – This was another book I read while doing my MBA and it left me spellbound. It was the first time I’d come across a management book written and communicated in such a interesting/captivating way. It read like a novel and this is what I know to be storytelling now. Great way to communicate and help the reader understand and develop a passion for the topic being spoken about!
4. The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand – Category: Fiction/Philosophy – I just love this book! For its attitude, philosophy and approach to work :-). I’d overheard quite a few people talk about this book and had been trying to make a mental note of the title and author but never got around to buying the book till I started working. I love Howard Roark’s (the hero of the book) philosophy - work for work’s sake and nothing else. He is so detached that he almost seems inhuman. But a closer look at his attitude will show that he is so passionate about his work that nothing else matters to him once he gets down to work. The beauty is that he does not actually look out to grab projects from anyone else and simply takes what comes to him if he is okay with the values of the person giving him the job. What matters to him are his values and his work. Period. In fact, the book reminds me of the Gita at times. The philosophy is revolutionary. Anyone who reads the book will either love it or hate it but just can’t ignore it.
5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Category: Fiction/Spirituality – I like the book for its climax, for its author’s philosophy, for the dreams, courage and faith that it nurtures in its readers. It lays out life as it; manages to bring out reality and dreams in the same breath (book/story). It is hope, personified.
6. The Paradox Process by Derm Barrett – Category: Thinking (out of the box) – This was a book I read only last year. I found it to be fascinating and exciting. It led me into a completely new way of thinking. It seeded new thoughts in my mind and led me to the conception of a model for collaboration. It was the single most important reason why I wrote a paper on collaboration and went to my first truly international conference to present the same - It was the single most important reason why I got to go to Australia.
PS: Would love to add all of the P.G Wodehouse Books to the list. Humour - is what gives me the fuel for life. And, it’s a pity I can’t talk about Calvin and Hobbes Comics and the Asterix and Obelix Comics as well.
The people tagged below have to answer the same questions I did, on his/her own blog and tag five more players. My to-be-bugged list is as follows: