5 books you should read this year

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One week into the new year and we probably are looking at our list of things we want to do this year. If reading more is one of the things on your agenda or you are looking for book recommendations, here is my list.
books reading list 1. Linchpin by Seth Godin
A powerful book which helped me make a big career move. Acted more like a guide who pushed me off the cliff so that I could learn to fly.

2. Discover your Destiny by Robin Sharma
This book was like God sent. Happened to pick it up at a time when life was going through a rough patch. Inspired and put me back on the right course.

3. Rashmi Bansal Book Series 
Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, Connect The Dots, Take Me Home – 3 of her books influenced my decision to quit a regular pay job and take up the challenge of running a business with my wife.

4. Dave Trott Books – Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking & One Plus One Equals Three
These 3 books by Dave Trott are a wonderful read. Don’t get mistaken that it’s only for those in advertising or marketing. Anybody can read this book and start making decisions which are more about common sense.

5. Autobiography of a Yogi 
A book much recommended by @rodinhood (Alok Kejriwal) This has been a very tough read for me. I have left this incomplete and I do hope to go back and finish it soon or maybe even re-start. There is something about the book which draws you in and puts you in a very different zone.

What are you planning to read this year? Do share your recommendations with me in the comments.

What my 2 year old kid thinks of the Kindle?

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Kindle Printed Book

As a practice every night I try and read for at least 30 mins before I sleep. The other night I was reading on my Kindle. My little one walks into the room and comes around the bed side to see what I am doing. I see her pick up one of my other books (print version) and ask me why I was not reading this one.

I replied – “Papa wants to read this one tonight (and I point to the Kindle).”

Her response “Papa see this book (pointing to the printed copy) so nice colours – blue, pink, orange so nice nice, this (kindle) is only black black, not nice”.

She puts the book back on the table, smiles and walks out of the room. Least bothered if her opinion has made me switch to the “nice bright book” instead of the boring Kindle.

Books I read in 2011

books 2011
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After the attempt to do at least 10 books for a year, this year I had a rather poor reading record. I finished reading 4 books and hopefully will finish reading at least 1 more before the year ends. Resolution for 2012: More reading for sure.

books 2011

Books I read in 2011

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison

This was a reading recommendation from Gauravonomics and I am glad I picked it. After reading Linchpin from Seth Godin, I think this was a good next, since it all kind of moves towards the same direction of how little cog wheel actions of life can help one move towards the bigger goal. How you need to make those little moves to get closer to the road you want to walk.

Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India by Santosh Desai

I picked up this book after listening to Santosh speak at the TEDx Gateway in Mumbai. Great speaker and also does an interesting column in Times of India called City City Bang Bang. I read a few columns and was curious to see what’s in the book. But I was disappointed. Besides a few of the topics I found the others to be a bore, very verbose and over-written. And I was also hoping to get a better picture of the Indian, but it’s very top layer perspective.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Fiction is a rare pick and this one was purely because of all the hype and noise it created. The trilogy became famous and I decided to make a start. Enjoyed it and thanks to the storyline its a rather quick read. Look forward to the movie next year.

Diana’s Ring by Sunil Bhatia

This had to be read. Diana’s Ring is cousin Sunil’s first book and I think he’s made a great start. Here is my review post.

The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence by Tom Peters

In Search of Excellence was the first book of Tom Peters that I read. I was very impressed with his writing style and rather inspired. I try and shape my presentations around his writing style. I haven’t yet finished reading it, but I like how the 163 ways of excellence are written in short easy to understand chapters. A few personal notes and mini-case study make for an interesting read.

Creative Mischief by Dave Trott

Dave’s blog is an excellent read and soon after I become a regular reader I spotted Dave tweeting about his book. It took a while for the Kindle edition but I am glad it did come out finally. The book is a good read if you’re into anything creative. It helps refresh your perspective and also gives you new thinking methods.

Did you read something interesting this year? Share your favourite books with me in the comments area.

How I spent time during the X’mas holidays

Giraffe at the Nairobi National Park
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The 2011 X’mas holiday has been rather wonderful. Spent some lovely time exploring Nairobi with wife and a new set of friends we have here.

Explored

We visited the Nairobi National Park. Saw a few animals – Giraffes, Baboons, Bisons / Wild Bulls, lots of deers. Unfortunately could not see any of the wild cats. I guess the lions decided to take a year end break and disappeared into the jungle. See a collection of my photos.

Giraffe at the Nairobi National Park

Giraffe at the Nairobi National Park

Went to Village Market, which had some very nice X’mas lights and a big X’mas tree. Played a round of bowling after so long I can’t remember.

Shopped in the Masai Market which happens on Saturdays at CBD [Opp. Hilton Hotel]. Wife says its much bigger and better bargaining possible. I was happy to pick up a few trinkets for my office cabin.

Feasted

After almost 4 months of it’s opening, I finally got the opportunity to go and have a meal at KFC. My tip: Skip the burger and go for the bucket instead.

Enjoyed a X’mas lunch at Osteria Del Chianti. Once more we relished the wood fire oven pizza and the Ice-cream Sundaes.

Strawberry Sundae - Osteria Del Chianti

Tried the famous sugar-cane juice and maru na bhajiya at Diamond Plaza. Mumbai ki yaad aagayi. 

Consumed

My favourite two got together and created magic once more. Farhan Akthar and SRK did an awesome job on Don2. I think they are taking Indian films a step higher when it comes to action, special effects and production quality.

Not a very bag fan of Sherlock Holmes, but enjoyed the bit of mystery which the famous detective cracks in his latest – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

The holidays gave me ample time to complete Season 5 of Entourage. I am half-way into Season 6 now.

A brisk read and I was able to finish Creative Mischief by Dave Trott. Also started reading Steig Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. My blog post for books of 2011 will be online next week.

Configured

Picked up a few lessons and made some Lightroom Pre-sets for 4×6 prints, flickr exports. Installed the LR/Mogrify 2 plugin for Lightroom. Now adding watermarks and that lovely black border to selected photos becomes really easy.

Ensured I did a data backup for both the laptops. A combination of the Time Machine Capsule, Sugarsync [referral link] and Dropbox manage the important files but I also did manual backup of the iPhoto folders.

I have now activated Google Plus. So join me there as I share more of my content – writing & photographs.

This has been a lovely time and now for the first weekend of 2012, I am going to just put up my feet, sip on some beer and think about 2012: Goals, milestones and action plans.

Books I read in 2010

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At the start of the 2010, I read @jax ‘s tweet which said he wanted to read 100 books in 2010. Got me kicked. I said if not 100 I should at least do a ten to my record. And here it is, a snapshot of the books I read this year.

You Can Negotiate Anything – Herb Cohen

A book recommended by my father-in-law and I am so glad I took time to read it (actually a lot of time to finish it). Picked up some rather important skills and talking points which I am sure are helping me deal with clients and vendors with a lot more confidence.

Call of the Mall – Paco Underhill

This book is like a digest for the mall economy. Although very old now I think some of the key learnings of the mall culture are very important for who has anything to do with retail trade. How consumers behave, what irritates them and what are the essentials for a retailer in the mall. Also how malls just like hospitals need to be designed by retail experts and not just architects with great designs. Next on my reading list is the updated version of Paco’s Why We Buy.

Bollywood: A History – Mihir Bose

Loved this one. Start is a bit boring since you cant connect much, but then as you move into the 50s and 60s cinema you get to know the life of stars, how filmworld behaved back then. How the stars were Gods and producers mere worshippers so that they would be present on their film sets. There is a good chapter on the making of Sholay. Very interesting info from behind the scenes. Highly recommended if film making is your interest area.

Go Kiss The World – Subroto Bagchi

I was expecting a lot more advanced career advice. But I think the book is recommended for those who may have just started their career. And especially entrepreneurs would get some good lessons from how Bagchi quit his job and started Mindtree Consulting.

The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma

After reading Robin’s Discover your Destiny I truly became addicted to his words and beliefs. The book had tremendously helped me overcome a rather difficult patch of misery and sorrow. So I was very excited to read this next which was based on achieving more success at workplace. However I don’t think it could say something very different from what he’s always been telling in life. But nevertheless his books are always an inspiration and great to read on those nights when you wish you could have done a lot more better in life.

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

I admit. I am not a regular watcher of his TV show ‘No Reservations’ but I think the man got me curious to read more about this foodie experiences. And Kitchen Confidential was a good pick. Great inside story of what happens in restaurant kitchens and the life of chefs and cooks. I think an important lesson I took from this reading was that if I do ever start a restaurant I am going to need a very strong partner in the kitchen – an area where I won’t have no experience at all. So if you’re thinking of getting into restaurant business – read this one for sure.

The Flipside – Adam J. Jackson

Not that I don’t like them but I realised that I end up reading quite a few self-help books. At times they get repetitive but there is nothing more supporting than reading one of these books when going through a tough phase. The Flipside shares the stories of quite a few people who started a new chapter of life when things went wrong. It’s super inspiration and a must view for the pessimistic out there. The author also tries to write a little guide on how to look the positive things in times of crisis.

Linchpin – Seth Godin

Linchpin is my first Seth Godin book. I think I was saturated at my job and this book came in as a great inspiration just at the right time pushing me off the edge and helping me make a switch. Although Seth says at the end of the book that he does not intend to make you quit your job – for me, I think he just did. The book highlights the changing work scenario where being a cog worker won’t make you big anymore. At the same time the changing scenario demands and makes it easy for you to be linchpin at work. It’s notable to read – You can’t always do what you love, so to be the best start loving what you do. In another few months, I am surely doing a re-read of this book, because it can only add more value and demand you to do the best at work and your life.

So this is how the 2010 reading list looked like. Before the year ended, my wife gifted me the Kindle which I am hoping is going to help me read some more. If not books, more white papers, articles etc.. Currently I am reading Santosh Desai’s Mother Pious Lady – Making Sense of Everyday India and The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion.

My Current Reading List

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My wife says when I enter a book-store I smile like a kid allowed to go shopping in a candy store. I often have to be reminded that there are yet some books which remain unread. There is a constant battle as to what to read – the things I like to or the things I have to. As much as I love reading I feel I am slow and sometimes take much longer than needed to finish off books. Also I am a spoilt reader, so at any given time I am reading a minimum of two and at times even four. A habit which I am going to get rid off soon.

I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my reading habits.

For news and current affairs my source is yet the morning newspaper.

To keep up with the ad world happenings

My magazine rack includes …

  • Better Photography
  • I used to read Outlook [Probably my only read for political stories] but guess I am going to switch to OPEN magazine very soon.
  • Sometimes I browse through Reader’s Digest.
  • And if I am lucky I read borrowed copies of The Economist.

As you would see I am yet a heavy print reader. But there are a few blogs which keep me addicted.

Currently on my book-shelf

  • Linchpin – Seth Godin
  • The Little Big Things – Tom Peters
  • Richard Branson – Business Stripped Bare
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

Next on my shopping list is the Kindle.

Harishchandrachi Factory

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Last night the MacBook refused to go online. After a 2 hour struggle it just won’t work.

So I gave up. Which lead me to dig out the DVD of Harishchandrachi Factory [Theatrical Trailer] – A Marathi film depicting the struggle of Dadasaheb Phalke in making Raja Harishchandra in 1913, India’s first feature film, thus the birth of Indian cinema. The film was selected as the official entry from India at the Oscars. I was particularly interested in watching this film because I am currently reading Bollywood: A History by Mihir Bose which traces the birth of Indian Cinema.

Harishchandrachi Factory

 

A 90 minute entertaining film made with a lot of character from those days. It traces the path which Dadasaheb Phalke had to walk to fulfill his dream to make India’s first “moving picture”. Some learning from the film –

At a time when a government job was the most secured profession or to do something tried and tested like setting up a printing press for him was so much easier. But he instead thought against the wave and decided to make India’s first motion film.

Your dream needs to be fueled by your own passion, first. Dadasaheb Phalke almost sold out his house to pursue his dream and even left his pregnant wife and went away for 2 months to London.

Dadasaheb fought against all odds – an almost lost eyesight, limited financial resources, friends and neighbours declaring him mental and almost taking him to the Thane Mental hospital. And then they were all proved wrong.

Ideas don’t come when you sit with a pen and paper and wait for them. Ideas come when you least expect them.

And lastly, a man set out to achieve something can’t do much without the support of his loved ones and a few kind hearted souls around him.

I strongly suggest you go pick up the DVD of this movie and watch it. Has English sub-titles for people like me who are not completely at ease with Marathi.