Showing posts with label BOOKS/WRITERS-ENGLISH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BOOKS/WRITERS-ENGLISH. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2018

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Moths to the Flame: The Seductions of Computer Technology - by Gregory Rawlins

It’s been nearly 2 years since I completely read a whole book; life was so busy (or you call me lazy:) that I got a chance to pick a few books here-and-then, but never managed to finish one. To its credit, this book “Moths to the Flame” from Gregory Rawlins, published by MIT Press made me to hold it tight till I complete it.

Moths to the Flame is a perfect mixture of visualizing/learning through the futuristic computer technologies through a historical view.

As the author Gregory Rawlins, who is a professor of artificial intelligence engineering at Indiana University, himself says,
"For two decades now I've been awaiting a book explaining computers and their social consequences to literate readers without using any unnecessary jargon or pedantry—or math….....I particularly wanted a book that I could buy for my father, who's an accountant of the old school, to explain something of the mysterious world I live in.”
He sets the goal for this book very clear that It’s not for computer geeks -for whom this book may look like a Montessori scribble; rather it is for the old school of people who has no/less knowledge about modern computers– it’s a kind of “computer technologies for dummies” book :)

In this book, the author takes us on a historical tour of the world surrounded with modern technologies, with a lot of humor, yet in a thought-provoking script. The technology area he introduces, are not limited only to hi-tech industry, instead he explains technology from events applied to everyday life, video games, movie animations to space engineering and deep root military innovations.

The book's first four chapters explore the worlds of privacy, virtual reality, publishing and computer networks, while the last four focus on social issues such as warfare, jobs, computer catastrophes, and the future itself. Throughout unusual analogies and historical comparisons - from Egyptian pictograms to the codebreakers of World War II - gives us a context for the computer age, showing how new technologies have always bred intertwined hope and resistance.

I enjoyed this book, at least it taught me the skill of explaining some hi-tech stuff in simple words. But, for some reason the book was not a big hit in the market though, people complaining as the author did not explain the technologies not as deep as the famous technology writers Neil Postman or Roszak; but if you want just a simple book about modern technologies, and would like to buzz through in a couple of days, go get it – you’ll not be disappointed.   #mit #mothstotheflames  #computer #technology #gregoryrawlins

Thursday, April 5, 2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Got an opportunity to read Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". Stephen speaks about the basic principles and habits that will make you effective and help you achieve your goal.

Just trying to scribble the essence of the great book....

1. Be proactive

The first habit, being proactive is perhaps deeply embedded into the management psyche. It is important to focus on the long-term goals and think about the long-term consequences of our actions. Having a proactive attitude is a state of mind which makes a positive difference to almost every situation.

2. Begin with the end

For many, being successful at their chosen career does not bring any sense of real satisfaction. According to Covey, this comes because they do not begin with the end. Beginning with the end means to define the purpose of life. Only when you are clear about what you want (as your ultimate goal) you can be happy. Otherwise, you may spend your life in the pursuit of happiness.

3. First things first

‘First things first’ is nothing but time management. To get on with this, it is essential to first define what is important. Your work can be divided into the four categories – urgent and important, important but not urgent, not important but urgent and finally not important and not urgent. Completing your work according to your priority list will automatically help you manage your time.

4. Think win-win

‘Think win-win’ is again an attitude of the mind. This trains your mind to always find solutions that will truly benefit both sides of a deal/argument. The more you practice this habit, the more committed you will become to find solutions which would benefit both the parties. Stephen Covey has slightly amended the wording as Think Win-Win or No Deal. This attitude works well because it liberates people from the effort of trying to persuade the opposite party or compromise. Rather, it helps to strike a deal that will benefit both the parties.

5. Seek first to understand

‘Seek first to understand’ is not just about letting the other person speak first; it actually is the effort to understand what is being said by others. We often tend to misunderstand and misinterpret what others say. Therefore, it is important to carefully listen to and apprehend what is said in a meeting or a discussion to work on the right path.

6. Synergize

The word synergy means joint work and cooperative action. Therefore, the sixth habit talks about joint meetings and discussions between the heads of each of the parties in order to creatively brainstorm on a problem. Finding a synergistic solution means finding a solution which is better than what an individual party would have proposed. A synergistic solution can only be found if both the parties commit to the idea of working out a solution that would benefit all parties involved. In such a scenario, investing time and effort to come up with a joint solution proves fruitful.

7. Sharpen the saw

According to the seventh and the last habit, you are the saw. To ‘sharpen the saw’ is to become better, keener and more effective. Highly effective people always take time to ‘sharpen the saw’ that is to engage in activities that would enhance the different human conditions - the mind, the body and the soul.

Great book - Another must have in your library.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Year without "Made in China"

The Author - Sara Bongiorni made an unusual New Year’s resolution. She and her family pledged to spend the year without buying anything from China.

Bongiorni tells often funny, occasionally humiliating stories centering around her difficulty procuring sneakers, sunglasses, DVD players and toys for two young children and a unconvinced husband.

What I feel,
Though she justifies her thoughts with statistics on job loss and trade deficits, I wouldn’t completely agree her to the point of singling out China, when cheap low quality products-are produced (or demanded) from other countries too.

With little insight into global economics, I feel, It is fair to pass judgment on a country’s manufacturing practices as so bad and cheap.

Though there’re major downbeats like China-specific complaints and anti-globalization aside, the story is a fun read for a weekend afternoon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Gift by Cecilia Ahern

The Gift is written with Cecelia Ahern's customary magic.

Lou Suttern is an extremely busy man, and he just doesn’t understand why his family (especially his wife) doesn’t get that. He works incredibly hard every day, getting to work before anyone else, because he wants to show he’s valuable. So what if he misses family get-togethers and his children barely know him? He defines success through his job, and he’s certainly doing well there.

One day, on his way to work, Lou meets Gabe, the incredibly perceptive homeless man who sits across the street from the office. Feeling generous, Lou offers Gabe a job. But what Lou doesn’t realize is that this small action will change his entire world and how he perceives what is in it.

The Gift was a very interesting; well-written and easy to read. It has a message to all the people, who puts work before family. It's a morally induced book with the old "time is precious" motto.

Different & unexpected plot from Cecilia. But still,I loved it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My History of Reading

I have been fond of reading ever since I was a little kid – not books, but magazines, newspapers, Novels and, of late, Books, websites, blogs, etc.

I remember, the first book/magazine, I started reading was “Siruvar malar” (Supplementary of Dinamalar Tamil news Paper) and I read that as long as I was in Primary school. In addition, I used to read all Tamil magazines and short story books.

As a kid, I was a big fan of Super Hero Novels. There were numerous Thriller Novels by various authors. I read many Historical Novels. English books were very rare, and apart from my knowledge.

As I grew up and moved into middle and then senior school, there was big dip in my reading habit; At around my 9th to 12th Class, I almost stopped reading, other than my School text book. When I was promoted as a college student, again I found lots of free time, to re-start my reading.

Since then, I’ve been reading & reading, whatever I see. I read Novels, Books, Magazines, Blogs in both languages. But I could feel that, my reading choices have been very diverse over the time; my reading tastes have definitely changed over the years.

I wish to write about such Books/Novels, which affected/admired me ever. My intention is not to review / comment on those books (I’m not even eligible to think of it ); but I’d like to keep their memories and to promote those books to other readers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2 States : The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

Just started reading Chetan Bhagat's latest novel " 2 States : The Story of My Marriage".

Love marriages around the world are simple:
Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.
They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:
Boy loves Girl.
Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy.
Boy’s family has to love girl.
*Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family.
*Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other.
They get married.

2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince.

Hope it's going to be another entertainer. Will let you know ppl, once I complete the book.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Anything For You Ma'am

Recommended by ‘The Special one’ , I rushed to get this cute, blue covered book, some three weeks ago. Can a love story be narrated in that simple way, I wondered… after reading a few pages itself .

It’s also a story of a final year student of IIT,Delhi. , who falls in love with her sister’s friend.He wants to make a trip to meet her girl Shreya in Chennai,where that girl lives..

He has to make escape of his educational tour to meet this goal as Chennai is two far from Delhi so he steals the same dates just to get out from the city in name of educational tour.

The story then moves with how he fools his professor, who is very passionate about his project and make his escape.. .Few twists and turns take place in this endeavor and in the last, everything fall in its right place.

As many ppl say, it’s more like a commercial entertainer - the charm of campus life, loads of humor and friends, Lively love story of an aspiring young man, the simplicity of relationships and the sweetest joys are spread just perfectly into the book.

In many scenes you ll think as it is all happening to you. You can not avoid a smile while reading this book. Language as simple as one speaks in his daily course.

On the bad side, there were many places so dramatic and lengthy, which made me yawn and took me some two weeks to finish with the book. The book has an interesting plot but a little too obvious anyways.

I’d say it as "Good" and recommend for a light reading .

Five Point Someone (What not to do at IIT)

Though I didn’t write for a month, I’d a chance to read two novels; both are penned by IItens; Both have loads of humor and romance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novels.

The first one is,
Author :Chetan Bhagat

Five Point Soemone is a story about three guys in IIT, Delhi, the 'fun' they had during their fours years together and how they almost screw-up their degrees in the process.

It begins with a guy (near death) is being rushed to a hospital and then flashback. The author, Chetan Bhagat, takes you through the four years of the three guys, Alok, Ryan and Hari (supposedly the author himself) starting off with a ragging episode.

Ryan saves the other two from some vulgar ragging and their friendship is sealed. Ryan is rich, smart and handsome guy who apparently has 'everything going for him', while Alok is is poor, intelligent, fat and (almost) ugly guy who has 'all the problems in the world'. And Hari is somehwere in between.

In the first semester itself they score a five point something score in their exams and that is how they come to be known for the rest of their stay, 'five point somethings'.

Ryan is irritated with the ' Grading System' because it does not allow one any freedom to innovate things, but rather produces human machines. He proposes that the three friends have all the fun they can have as 'these are the days to do it' and so between movies, food, chess, porn and vodka they spoil their studies. They never rise above their five point something.

In the meanwhile Hari falls for the daughter of their HoD. To impress her dad,he wants to score an 'A' for his course. And the easiest way to do,it is steal the paper! (Ryan's idea) So Hari goes to the professor's house to meet the daughter and with no one at home they end up in issues - get caught and expelled for a term.

Having 'screwed up' their degrees and chances at a decent job, they come to their senses and work hard on a project........................ the story goes.

What I say...
The title ‘Five Point Someone’ indicates the relative grading system in IITs. Five pointers are the worst performers in the class and are generally ignored by all the professors. The incidents, the characters, the plot everything is described very well. The book explains ‘What not to do at IIT’. Ironically you will find those ‘not to do’ things interesting :-D.

The narrative which is very humorous, witty & hilarious; provides light reading. But sometimes got irritated by the lengthy scences and wondered whether humor is a bit over done, especially when there are situations that call for atleast a grain of seriousness.

Maybe thatsy it is regarded as a book version of “Dil Chahta hai”.. Overall , I'd say it as Pretty Good but Not Excellent

Monday, September 8, 2008

If Tomorrow Comes .....

A novel which I read recently..."If Tomorrow Comes..."

Author : Sidney Sheldon
Genre : Thriller
Published on: 1985

The story starts with the suicide of Mrs.Whitney, mother of Ms.Tracy Whitney. Tracy who is engaged to Chrles Standhope, and carrying his life within her, is shocked with the news of her mother''s death. She comes to know that her mother has been cheated and forced to sell her business. On hearing this, Tracy got furious and goes to threaten the guy (Joe Romano), who cheated her mother into accepting the truth. Things goes completely against her and she ends up in jail.

This is where the story actually begins. She faces big challenges and tragedies with the Prison atmosphere and some incidents in the jail. After many troubles, she is released for good conduct (she saves the kid of the warden, dumping her plans to escape). Then Tracy starts destroying the people, who are behind the death of her mother and for ruing her life. Ernestine, jail cellmate of Tracy helps her for the revenge operation.

With no one ready to employ her, she indulges into robbery out of desperation, where she was surprised by her own talent in this field. Something which starts as the means to stay alive later turns into passion and there is no stopping her unless Jeff Stevens enters her life(and later manages to enter into her.....heart). A competition starts and they are now stealing for pride.

Finally they end up together getting engaged and still they can’t be stopped.

A typical Sheldon class novel, it has lot of “masala”, which is not new for Sidney Sheldon. A good entertainer, especially the way both Tracy and Jeff steal, it makes for a good page turning stuff.

A novel worth reading for some nice entertainment..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese? Published nearly a decade ago; me just now got the chance to read :-)

Author : Spencer Johnson
Genre : motivational
Published on: 1998

It Starts with a group of friends meeting up after their high school reunion. One of the friends begins to tell the story of "Who Moved My Cheese?" and at that point the author begins to describe, symbolically, the manner in which so many people in this world deal with change in their lives.

Four characters (Sniff,Scurry,Hem and Haw) live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. The maze is where you spend time looking for what you want. It may be the organization you work in, the relationships you have in your life, or the community you live in.

Two of the characters named Sniff and Scurry are mice. They represent parts of us that are simple and instinctive. Hem and Haw are the little people, representing those complex parts of us as human beings. Sometimes we are like Sniff, who anticipates change early by sniffing it out, or Scurry, who quickly scurries into action and adapts. Maybe we are more like Hem, who denies change and resists it out of fear, or Haw, who learns to adapt in time when he sees something better. Whatever part of us we choose, we all share the common need to find our way in the maze of life and succeed in changing times.

Haw comes to many realizations during the story that help him move on, and he writes them on the wall as he goes. Here's the summary he writes in the end:

Change Happens
They Keep Moving the Cheese

Anticipate Change
Get Ready for the Cheese to Move

Monitor Change
Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When it is Getting Old

Adapt to Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Move with the Cheese

Enjoy Change!
Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese!

Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it Again and Again
They Keep Moving the Cheese

After the story, the friends take some time to discuss its meaning. One of the most insightful parts of the narrative is when they realize that they can apply these principles to their personal lives.

It's really worthy & quick read at just 96 pages, and it addresses life changing principles that can greatly alter our degree of satisfaction in life.