Back….with book reviews

I am back after a hiatus. Have been meaning to post for some time now, but guess it had to wait till now. Last few days have all been about catching up with reading. So here we go:

MythequlsmithyaAfter having heard Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik speak, it was only a matter of time that I went ahead and purchased his books. Archana too recommended his books strongly so I had no choice and I wasn’t disappointed. Myth=Mithya is a brilliant composition on Hindu Mythology. So if you have difficulty explaining why Hindus have 330 million gods, why Rama despite abandoning Sita remains the model king, how and why the Krishna of Vrindavana differs from Krishna of Dwarka, look no further than this book. Written in a very engaging and rational way, Devdutt does not thrust his viewpoints on the readers, rather lets the stories and their explanation unfold in a very easy manner.

bonsai.jpgThe other book that I recently concluded reading was “The Case of the Bonsai Manager: Lessons from Nature on Growing.” by R. Gopalakrishnan. Reviewing the book, Telegraph writes:

The title, The Case of the Bonsai Manager, at first blush, suggests a Perry Mason whodunit. The author quickly clarifies that it is, in fact, about how not to become like a stunted bonsai and grow to your full potential as a manager. But, on final analysis, it is a book about leadership, and a powerful one at that.

R. Gopalakrishnan deploys a wondrous array of examples and analogies not just from nature but also from science, business, mythology, culture, society, history, economics, politics, religion (the list is really quite impressive) and his personal experiences of forty years in the transformation of two of India’s greatest corporations— Hindustan Lever Limited and the Tata Group.

For example, in just one of the sixteen chapters, he begins with the Australian ecosystem then goes on to Dubai’s economy, the primitive societies of Shoshone in North America and the Kung San in the African Kalahari, Joseph Stiglitz and “resource-cursed” economies, Singapore’s approach to risk relative to the US, crowd management at the Kumbh Mela, a family visit to Disneyland, the introduction of TV into Bhutan, and Philippine professor Caesar Saloma’s experiments with panicky mice, with lessons from Samuel Johnson, C.K. Prahalad, Gandhi and John F. Kennedy sprinkled across for good measure! While the book is obviously much more than these examples, their abundance and sheer diversity not only show the amazing depth and breadth of the author’s experience and thinking, but also whet the reader’s appetite and make The Case of the Bonsai Manager a page-turner.

and the last book that I finished reading was The Secret. You will either like it or you will trash it as a piece of humbug! Either way do read it before deciding. Wikipedia has a long page of discussion on it.


3 thoughts on “Back….with book reviews

  1. Hey Raj. Good to have you back after a long gap. It wouldn’t come as I surprise, that I have Myth=Mithya (I bought it a month back, yet to read it).

    Last week at Landmark, I noticed Bonsai Manager, now I regret not picking it up.

    Just three days back some one was speaking to me about The Secret. He was totally impressed. I read an article severely criticizing it when it was released. In any case, I am curious now after reading your post. BTW, you did not give your opinion of the book (was that deliberate 🙂 )

  2. Archana:

    The Secret is well written – it is all about how your thoughts can shape your future. To me it is based on the simple premise of verses from Upanishad:

    We are what your deep, driving desires is.
    As our deep, driving desire is, so is our will.
    As our will is, so is our deed.
    As our deed is, so is our destiny.

    I was with the book for 3 days and I really liked it. The reason why I did not write any comments is because of the intense debate the book has generated on the web and I do not want to have any debates on my blog. For anything that is based on faith can be easily challenged by logic. Faith is all about transcending logic and experiencing.


  3. Very well said, Raj. However, in this day and age it is very hard to avoid debate. In my Symbology blog, I find quite a few dissenting voices but at the same time there are many who have developed interest in the subject.

    I do feel, if we shy away from stating our opinion, many people who are genuinely interested in the subject, may not get a chance to know the greatness of our religion and philosophy.

    I think, people like us, who have had the privilege of great teachers should do our bit to spread the word. It is one form of Guru Dakshina to our teacher.

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