Book Reviews (191)

  • Skin In The Game

    By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb   

    Pages: 304

    Non Fiction

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 20th May'18

    Brief review: Another masterpiece by Taleb. This is the 4th book of Taleb that I have read. A little different than the previous ones. Taleb says 'your actions and advise makes no sense unless you too have skin in the game'. In today's world, most bureaucrats, politicians, financial advisors, nobel prize winners and many other so called intellectuals take decisions and advise people without being negatively affected by the outcome of their actions. You need time and patience to read and understand Taleb. Could be heavy for first time readers but a brilliant read for regulars. 

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    By: Robert M. Pirsig   

    Pages: 404

    Philosophy

    My recommendation: 7 / 10

    Date read: 10th May'18

    Brief review: Written in 1974, it's work of subtle philosophy using motorcycle maintenance as the underlying theme. The author says we buy expensive motorcycle but don't want to learn how to maintain it. We think it's tough and irritating to fix a motorcycle when it gives any trouble. On the other hand if we know how to maintain the motorcycle, it could be fun and last longer too. He relates this to life beautifully. A large part of the book is toward discussing and describing what defines 'quality'. I started this book with a lot of excitement but it became too deep and too monotonous at times. Definitely not the first of the books to be read but a good read for someone who has interest in philosophy. 

  • The Millionaire Next Door

    By: Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko   

    Pages: 273

    Investments, Non Fiction

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 3rd May'18

    Brief review: In this well researched book,  the secrets of millionaires are revealed. How are they made and why a good earning may not necessarily make you a millionaire. Mostly, it's the concept of savings and investments which is responsible for becoming a millionaire. We have to choose between living a flashy lifestyle versus achieving financial independence. Most millionaires restrain from buying expensive cars, high label clothes and other lifestyle goods just for status symbol. They mostly live a frugal but a life of choice. Since the book is based on American culture, a few chapters could be skipped. While a few concepts are overstretched, still it makes a good reading for those looking to achieve financial independence.

  • The Art of Learning

    By: Josh Waitzkin   

    Pages: 266

    Biography, Sports

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 29th Apr'18

    Brief review: It's a remarkable story of Josh Waitzkin won the U.S. Junior Chess championship in 1993 and 1994 and also went on to become the world champion in Tai Chi Push Hands within two years of starting to learn martial arts. While many top athlete struggle to be on top of their game consistently, Waitzkin achieved excellence by his sheer dedication and practice. The book is about his art of learning. One of the things he talks about is 'investment in loss' meaning to learn by 'going down first and knowing your weakness' as an effective way to master new skills. The book is a journey of an extraordinary champion and his constant introspection and search for peace. The movie 'Searching for Bobby Fischer' is based on the book written by his father on his life as a chess player. 

  • Nudge

    By: Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein   

    Pages: 294

    Psychology

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 23rd Apr'18

    Brief review: The book talks two patterns of how human mind thinks; called automatic thinking (rapid) and reflective thinking (deliberate) and how our decisions are hugely dependent on the way we think. A small nudge can make a big difference to the outcome. It can change what kids decide to eat in the canteen. It can influence close to 100% people to donate their organs on death (Austria) and it can make a big impact on your retirement savings. Well researched book. Read slow. Richard H. Thaler (author) is also the 2017 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics. A good read. Another excellent book on this topic is 'Thinking Fast & Slow' written by Daniel Kahnman.

  • Vegabonding

    By: Rolf Potts   

    Pages: 224

    Non Fiction

    My recommendation: 7 / 10

    Date read: 13th Apr'18

    Brief review: Vegabonding means a person who wanders from place to place. It generally involves longer duration travel ranging between few weeks to few months to a couple of years. Rolf Potts is a vegabonder. He advocates to discover and experience the world on your own terms. He once traveled for 18 months straight with an average cost of under $1,000 a month. In the book he shares the idea behind vegabonding, developing a mindset to travel long and gives several  execution tips. The first section of the book is specially inspiring wherein he makes a strong case of travelling more. He strongly recommends to cut costs on things we don't need and use it for travel. Having a money rich and time poor person is worthless. 

  • Born Standing Up

    By: Steve Martin   

    Pages: 228

    Biography, Inspiration

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 9th Apr'18

    Brief review: Steve Martin was one of the world's most sought after stand up comedian during the 1970's. But it didn't last long. Not because people stopped laughing at his performance but because he chose to leave. In this book, Steve tells his story straight from the heart. How he reached from empty halls to massive attendance of over 50,000 people in his shows and why decided to abruptly end his performances. He candidly shares his personal challenges, emptiness and reconciliation with his family. A true story of sheer hard work and dedication. An inspiring and motivating read.

  • Anything You Want

    By: Derek Sivers   

    Pages: 92

    Business, Inspiration, Sales

    My recommendation: 9 / 10

    Date read: 6th Apr'18

    Brief review: I am a fan of Derek Sivers. His thoughts and blogs are inspirational. Being a budding musician he could not find a  distribution company for his album. That led to him creating one of the largest online music stores in the world for independent artists named CDBABY. Around 2008, he sold his company for $22 million and donated the proceeds to charity. In this book, Derek tells his story as it happened. It's refreshing, inspirational and motivational. A no nonsense book with absolute clarity on secret of happiness and how you can also create something big. A must read.

  • Billion Dollar Lessons

    By: Paul B. Caroll & Chunka Mui   

    Pages: 332

    Business

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 4th Apr'18

    Brief review: The book is about mistakes made in the corporate world with respect to new launches, mergers and acquisitions and other activities which resulted in billion dollar losses. More than 70% of all mergers and acquisitions fail and destroy shareholders value. Still, they are considered 'cool' on the high street. CEOs with big egos and seeking to become icons for their big bold aggressive decisions regularly engage in activities which they think will put them in history, although they make little sense. Investment Managers who claim to be advisers promote such activities because they have a vested interest to earn a fat cheque out of it. The book gives a thorough account of several such failed instancess , eroding billions of dollars of value for investors. Many of such decisions looked flawed and foolish from the beginning but they were overruled by people at the top. The unfortunate part is that inspite of such history, the game is still on. If you are interested to know how some of these 'big marriages' miserably failed, read this book. 

  • Collected Works of Kahlil Gibran

    By: Kahlil Gibran   

    Pages: 690

    Fiction, Philosophy

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 30th Mar'18

    Brief review: Kahlil Girbran's writing touches our mind as well as soul. His connects well with readers. One needs to dive deep into her own soul to fully resonate with his thoughts. His best work is 'Prophet'. This book is a collection of many of his writings, including 'The Prophet' which is by far his best work. I also liked 'The Broken Wings' and 'Tears and Laughter'.  If you like philosophy, if you feel love, if you like poetry; you must read Kahlil Gibran. Read it slow to feel it more.

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