Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Gut-wrenching noise of the goat from across the street. 
It is hard to bear the sound of his agonizing bleat. 

He somehow knows what is in store but probably hopes for a miracle. 
What he does not know is half the world has to cry for the other half to cackle. 

Note: This post is not intended to offend or hurt anyone. It is only the expression of a personal feeling and can be applied in multiple situations.

How a Good Person Can Really Win - A Book Review

Book Review: Pavan Choudary’s “How A Good Person Can Really Win

I enjoy reading genuine self-help books that combine inspiring thoughts with compelling and actionable approaches, ideas and tips. A visit to a well-stocked book shop will prove to you that there is no dearth of books in the self-help sectionBut as a devoted pursuer of books, I think there are a few things to be wary of.

Depending on the phase of life you are in, your view of life in general and preferred approaches to dealing with its challenges, some books stimulate your thoughts and coax you into taking positive action while some other books are, at best, boring or misleading. Before you impulsively purchase a book, you need to relax, sit down, flip through the book, connect with its theme, structure and ideas. You also need to check if the writing style of the author appeals to your subconscious before you pick it up and rely on it to change your life. 

Well, for a change, I did not have to do any of this to read "How a Good Person Can Really Win" (HGPCRW). The book found me via my blog. To start with, I feel quite lucky about it. 

HGPCRW is not a book that one reads, feels good about and forgets. Nor is it a book that gives you something on the lines of a DIY (do it yourself) kit that you build and reuse everywhere. I think it is a book that you need to keep on your table and refer to regularly. It has plenty of interesting and thought-provoking stories and snippets that one cannot read once and absorb forever. It is a 'situational' book; a book that will give you something to ponder over in many important situations that you may find yourself in. 

The book is split into three parts and the author has done some excellent and appropriate anecdotal research for each of these sections. Part 1 outlines the characteristics of people who resort to vile-like qualities characters. Part 2 unveils advice for the naive and is focused on specific situations. Part 3 gives the reader a set of powerful values to derive inspiration from.

Part 1, to me, was interesting and somewhat like reading the Politics and Page 3 sections of the newspaper. :-) It also made me wonder if normally good-natured people would resort to any of the vile-like methods when under severe pressure. When I moved on to Part 2, I was excited and intrigued by the stories and the anecdotes. Some situations were so familiar that I found myself grinning and reading the insights with gratitude. Part 3 seemed shorter than the other two parts but was a fascinating read because it was packed with concise and powerful ideas. 

In a nut shell, I think this book will be a reliable "guide" that can be approached for advice during difficult situations. The insights will, I think, fascinate and appeal to many a mind.

Disclaimer: The publishers offered me the book for a review. However, the review is a pure reflection of my own experiences and thoughts and not influenced by any external entities

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!

This post is in response to the excellent IndiBlogger contest "The Idea Caravan"  jointly conducted by Franklin Templeton Investments 

The contest presents a number of inspiring TEDx format videos that throw the spotlight on people passionate about a specific cause and let them share their stories 

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.


The talk that I've zeroed in on is the one by:

Arunachalam Muruganantham -

Watching this man talk, I am filled with as much positivism and hope as with wonder. If one were to use the phrase "Food for thought" in the context of his talk, what one sees is an exciting and quirky buffet; a long queue of healthy as well as tasty dishes!

This talk, in a nut shell, is profound at many levels. 

Ironically, I am, perhaps, not going to promote his cause per se as much as the other underlying messages that this man has for the world. 

  • To start with, the talk is delivered in the form of an engaging story, filled with passion and natural humor. A great way to connect with and influence the audience, whatever may be the cause! #Leadership
  • Even for a language enthusiast like me, the spelling mistakes and broken English were not distractions. It was easy to dive into his talk with the curiosity that is natural when one watches a 'little educated person' (in his own words) whose impressive ideas contradict such a declaration. #Passion
  • If it was not already clear, it becomes clear after listening to this man that real education is not necessarily about going to school, religiously running through prescribed text books and clearing exams with high scores. Raw talent, that highly sophisticated and not so well understood element, cannot be ruled out. But it needs to be supported by a lot of reading, observing, thinking, adapting and doing and this is quite different from formal education! For example, he talks about a fascinating management idea such as "fail fast in order to succeed"! #Ideas #Education
  • He goes on to passionately advocate that Business is not about chasing money; it is about pursuing something that will have a measurable social impact! The precise measure is, in my view, a point that needs to be very carefully determined, but if all corporate entities were to have such an attitude, it is hard to fathom the good that it can do to the world at large. #Values
  • It is more than obvious, as one watches him, that we can learn to achieve anything, however ignorant we may be at the start. The approach that he emphasizes upon as a solution is "trial and error". Of course, it needs to be backed by purpose, vision and patience. #Perseverance 
  • He declares "To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!" Now, if that's not one of the simplest and most amazing philosophies in life, I don't know one when I see one. What a positive way of looking at a problem and turning it on its head in one swift and glorious gesture. #Wisdom #Positive_Thinking
  • Other subtle messages that come through are worth every minute of the talk - one needs to be prepared to take a lot of risks, throw caution to the winds, appear weird and maybe even lose the people because of whom one was inspired in the first place! #Paradox 
I'd like to finish by saying that this story is a perfect example of the fact that success does not come easy, but if one is obsessed with the purpose, dismissing the obstacles in the path of success begins to look extraordinarily easy

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Where Are We Going?

Arguably, the world at large is increasingly building low-quality products and services and is not able to support the multitude of greedily acquired customers because of wanting to scale up and grow (greed, unreal targets and what not) whilst not investing in equivalent support structures. 

This means excessive multitasking, absence or lack of well-placed specialists, lack of focus on the core product or service, complexity etc. At the other end, sometimes the supporting structure even when present is so detached and clueless that it does more damage to the existing equation. Think call-centers. 

Systems and individuals are stretching so much to keep pace with the world that they go beyond natural limits of elasticity and lose their original strength gradually or break. More alarmingly, such a misled world influences systems and individuals to lose sight of or compromise their real needs and values. :-/ #banks #insurance #outsourcing #retail #manufacturing #construction #you-name-it