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Old 13th April 2020, 10:59   #226
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Please read "This is Water" by David Foster Wallace. I would rate it 5/5. Never read anything so intense. A short read but deep reflect.
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Old 13th April 2020, 14:23   #227
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Originally Posted by Miyata View Post
A 4/5.

At first I was not inclined to rating the book - Although the book is well written, centers on Maurice Hilleman while not ignoring others works from time to time, forms a great learning resource for anyone even remotely interested in the subject,....I think it could have done more!

Parts of it can get repetitive - particularly so if you are a bit conversant with the topic/subject. But my bigger grouse was/is that the author could have dwelt a bit more on the aspect of "herd immunity!" The reason being this - many people in the west (particularly US and Italy that I am aware of), voluntarily choose to skip vaccinations because of 'misconceptions' they have. Much of those misconceptions could have been better addressed with bit more depth on the specific subject.

Many vaccines we take today comes from the genius of Hilleman. And to think he (they! If there is scientist, there must be a team behind him/her) did much of the work without supercomputing makes it that much more admirable. Today we talk of using AI/ML to pick potential drug candidates for diseases - the people that will come up drugs will not be of the same mettle as folks like Hilleman was - great authority on the subject. Almost god-like (just subjective opinions).

What adds to my intrigue is something I had read wrt Munger and I had connected very well with that (even before reading it though) - "befriending the eminent dead!"

Hilleman was every bit that eminent (dead) guy one would befriend! There are quite a few on my list, but Hilleman was a recent addition.
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Old 19th April 2020, 09:13   #228
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Guys, if you're looking for a great business book to read during the lockdown, look no further than this - Amazon Link. Am just halfway through the Instagram book and will happily rate it 4/5 stars. The inside story of one of the most popular social networks. Its founding, acquisition by Facebook, challenges, troubles, unique decisions taken (e.g. not encouraging re-sharing) etc. The writing style isn't great (like say, John Carreyrou & Bad Blood), yet it's a heck of a story!

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Old 19th April 2020, 09:56   #229
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Offlate--
Digital Minimalization by Cal Newport
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

And Taleb's books any given day!
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Old 19th April 2020, 12:46   #230
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Been reading Discovery of India by Nehru. A pretty massive read and a good read thus far halfway through
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Old 23rd April 2020, 00:11   #231
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In this lockdown, I plan to finish books I bought but didn't read yet. One of such book I completed is Six thinking Hats in which Edward de Bono shows how meetings can be transformed to produce quick, decisive results overy time.

Meetings are a crucial part of all our lives, but too often they go nowhere and waste valuable time. The Six Hats method is a simple technique based on the brain different modes of thinking.

These principles have been adopted by businesses and government around the world, ending Conflict and confusion in favour of harmony and productivity.

I would rate it 4/5. Few examples on how to apply in real life would have helped more.

https://www.amazon.in/dp/0241257530/..._c7iOEbXPZZTP5
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Old 23rd April 2020, 10:46   #232
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Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia Puigcerver
Rating 3/5.
I generally avoid self help books but a lot of my friends recommended this one and needless to say I caved in. Nothing exceptional here. The usual fluff of eat well, exercise well and have a goal in your life. The entire book could have been summarized by a Venn diagram.
Avoid it.
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Old 30th April 2020, 14:03   #233
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Almost half way through on this book:

GIVE AND TAKE - Adam Grant. 4/5 - At Half Point!.

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The book is generally on the subject of things that shape success in our work.

I would have a little trouble giving it a genre or classify it. Meaning, some might consider it a book on leadership; others could take it as (empirical) science based success at work; yet others might perceive it as a self-help book.

The labels notwithstanding, it's a splendid book that pulls up innumerable (real life) references from the corporates; government/politics; etc to validate its point. I did not cross check on all the references for its authenticity, but the ones I did lookup checked out just fine accuracy wise.

The point of the book itself is this - Three sorts of people at work:

1) Takers - Focused on benefiting themselves from every interaction
2) Givers - Focused on (genuinely) enriching others through their interaction
3) Matchers - Sort of an admixture of the above two

Adam Grant makes the point, with ample references, that it is the "givers" that are often both at the top of the pile (leadership/accomplished/etc) as well as the bottom!

Some points from the book I read so far -

Quote:
Takers may rise by kissing up, but they often fall by kicking down

Although takers tend to be dominant and controlling with subordinates, they’re surprisingly submissive and deferential toward superiors

As takers gain power, they pay less attention to how they’re perceived by those below and next to them; they feel entitled to pursue self-serving goals and claim as much value as they can. Over time, treating peers and subordinates poorly jeopardizes their relationships and reputations.

If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships
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Old 10th May 2020, 12:31   #234
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Is there a name in oneirology for dreams where we claw with our fingers for something or where we exert ourselves to gain or do something all to no avail? – for that is the sense we obtain after onerously plodding through the pages of Herbert Asbury’s “The Gangs of New York.” Now, “The Gangs”, around 350 pages, was first published in 1928 and, therefore, is Asbury’s view into his past tense comprising around 75 years – verily, the story starts in the 1820s. It will not be wrong if we are questioned about a 2020 viewpoint of the 1927 viewpoint into the time between the 1820s and 1920s. When we accept these kaleidoscopic boundaries, we do so with the express intention that that kaleidoscope elucidates those colorful characters so that we can mindfully see them, smell them, understand them, and above all live with them, as they ransack the Lower Manhattan.

The cosmeticized romanticism of the gangsters has been clavered into the oeuvre of the mass media, both print and screen, in our age of instant instantiation. Inevitably, our curiosity into gangsterism – in no small measure fired by our own Bombay underworld, although it has to be averred here that there is nothing “under-“ about the gangs of New York – having first satiated itself upon the local lore, but being of an itinerant predilection, slakes its thirst upon the yakuza, mafiosi, and other such distinguished thuggery. Piqued by Mario Puzo’s hoodlums and goaded by umpteen directors, actors, and such other connoisseurs of classic carnage, we cathect onto the seedbed of organized crime and its bosses and thus, inexorably, end up with the storied Al Capone, and then segue into other equally prismatic overlords such as Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. These distinguished gangsters are thought to be forerunners of the modern-day crime syndicates; however, often, within the US, these initial figures rose from the dying embers of their illustrious predecessors in New York and Chicago, faded and felled by history – a history that starts almost a century before. This book is about those founding fathers.

The striking difference between the modern-day gangs and the old, despite matched in ferocity and bloodthirst, is the modernism steeped in the modern criminals – these moderns often, although on several occasions sprang from cruddy poverty and privation, are superrich, suave, educated, arty, and punctilious, and reigned over large cross-functional swathes such as business, politics, and, be surprised if you will, philanthropy. Au contraire, the gangs of yore comprised the very dregs of society, born and raised in abject poverty, without any skills or competences, and therefore, not surprisingly, without jobs and therefore without a decent way to earn their roof and bread – mostly uneducated and unlettered so much so that a ruffian who can read or write is a person of note and the one who can write poetry can claim the high seat in the gang as its bard. Their only source of livelihood is their bodies, for both men and women, and their skills range from simple pocket picking to murder and mayhem, and within the continuum, lie artisans such as gamblers, peddlers, sluggers, sneak thieves, confidence men, and these used assorted weapons such as bludgeon, knife, blade, and later pistols. “The Gangs” provides an up-close view of the original gangs such as “The Five Pointers,” “The Bowery Boys,” and “The Gophers” and their popular protagonists such as Mighty Mose, Biff Ellison, and Monk Eastman. It also covers their geography of operations such as the docks, dives, dance houses, resorts et al. Asbury conjures a vast miasma interspersed with vapors of politics, gender, race, nationality, poverty, and, above all, the overarching fear of uncertainty.

“The Gangs” is a monumental work and a vast repository of chronology and events and therein lies its flaws. “The Gangs” is not so much an engaging materialization of the macabre as a staccato of unrhythmic data. Asbury’s diligence of details is exemplary and the “The Gangs” is a veritable database of streets, dates, and characters, and we can only sympathize with him the apparent lack of characterization. In fact, the book reads like an agglomeration of newspaper clippings made into a papier-mâché through the agency of copious ink. The riffraff pass-through our minds like quiet shadows of retreating apparitions, perhaps shamefaced for their failures to light up the lamps of our knowledge. Even so, the information gathered in this book will be mighty helpful to those inside the grottos of the academe. Asbury had provided, at the end, a list of the slang words of the early gangsters, which can be of interest to the reader if not useful, followed by a bibliography and an index. A move was made with this book as a base, directed by Martin Scorsese and featured Leonardo DiCaprio; however, the movie has its own independent storyline with only its ambience borrowed from “The Gangs.”

While we get desperate to conclude this book anon, we found ourselves assailed by a constant fusillade of dates and data. All these would have been fruitful if only Asbury lets us live among his hooligans so that we may know them better; however, for some unknown reason, he keeps us at an arm’s length, only showing us a fleeting glimpse of his men and women so that, realizing that we are taken on a wild goose chase, we are forever clawing with our fingers for something or exerting ourselves to gain or do something all to no avail.

Cover source: Google
Name: The Gangs of New York
Author: Herbert Asbury
Rating: 2/5 stars
Recommendation: Avoid
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Last edited by murillo : 10th May 2020 at 12:42.
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Old 14th May 2020, 10:16   #235
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Deep Work by Cal Newport
Rating - 4/5

This book is a definite must read if you often find yourself wondering where did your day go OR why you havent managed to make much progress on some of your goals (personal or professional). Based on research as well as practical experience, the author provides us with different tools and strategies that can help with making progress. While some of the views and examples quoted are a little extreme, they do drive home the point about distractions and how they eat away from focused work.
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Some of the key points from the book that really resonated with me are:

Quote:
In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.
Quote:
You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.
Quote:
The Zeigarnik effect. This effect, which is named for the experimental work of the early-twentieth-century psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, describes the ability of incomplete tasks to dominate our attention. It tells us that if you simply stop whatever you are doing at five p.m. and declare, “I’m done with work until tomorrow,” you’ll likely struggle to keep your mind clear of professional issues, as the many obligations left unresolved in your mind will, as in Bluma Zeigarnik’s experiments, keep battling for your attention throughout the evening (a battle that they’ll often win).
Its not just a theoretical book but also offers practical strategies that can be applied to everyday life. I have started following 2 of them:
1. Reduce distractions - have started using the digital well-being settings on android to restrict time on apps. Definitely helps with time management and ensuring that you are focused.

2. Rhythmic deep work schedule - have carved out 75-90 min of my day for focused work with zero distractions. I have been doing this for the last 2 weeks and has ensured that the pace as well as volume of work I am getting done has increased. This has also kind of increased the ease with which I can get into a focused mode.

Going forward, I will definitely be incorporating other sets of tools/strategies suggested in the book.

Last edited by procrj : 14th May 2020 at 10:17.
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Old 18th May 2020, 10:45   #236
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To BHPians following this thread, just a note = have been sharing reviews on some amazing automotive books on the car books thread (Must-Read Car Books for automotive enthusiasts). Don't miss those.
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Old 19th June 2020, 10:45   #237
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Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Rating: 4/5

The book is a toolkit to help us get better at negotiations. The focus is on the psychological aspect of negotiations and how people respond to various words, phrases and questions. Author provides examples from business world as well as hostage negotiations, which has helped him build out the framework. Would recommend this book as it helped me get one level deeper w.r.t understanding people. Some of the tools recommended in the book are quiet intuitive and many of us would have used it or would have faced it during negotiations. The good part is that these tools/techniques can be used in most day to day situations as well, example: setting expectations with you kids, getting your better half to see your point of view etc.

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The big question is, do the tools work? I tried to use some of the learning from the book during discussions at home and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. 'Mirroring' and 'calibrated questions' are what I have been trying to actively use, and the results have been encouraging. Definitely plan to get comfortable with the other tools listed in the book and use them when needed.
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Old 10th July 2020, 13:42   #238
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No offence to Indian writers, but I find business writing to be terrible in India. That's why I spend more time on NYTimes, Bloomberg & Fortune than any Indian business website.

But here is a book that bucks the trend. A great book on a great company. Strongly recommend it for the inspiring story, as well as the enjoyable writing style. Buy it NOW and enjoy your weekend

Rating a full 5 out of 5 stars - link

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Old 12th July 2020, 11:17   #239
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Hi GTO, Many thanks for this recommendation. You made my day. The amount of research that has gone into this piece is mind-boggling. Hidden inside were those Amazon stories, and I found those fascinating as well. A definite 'must read', (and Mihir Dalal is certainly in the league of International writers). Big Thumbs-up for this one
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Old 12th July 2020, 11:41   #240
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Originally Posted by procrj View Post
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Rating: 4/5

The book is a toolkit to help us get better at negotiations.
Thanks for sharing. Reminded me of another book (Getting to Yes) I read on negotiating few years back. Was a decent read for sure. Might be of interest to you if you haven’t got it already.
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