Book Reviews (204)

  • The Sports Gene

    By: David Epstein   

    Pages: 353

    Sports

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 19th Jun'18

    Brief review: In this path breaking and award winning researched book, David Epstein thread bares the secret of success of athletes and goes on to suggest that human genes has a lot to do with why they excel. While hard work, dedication and practice definitely yield results, having a special gene makes an athletes job much easier. So much so that sometimes, less practice is good. It is surprising but being a descendant of certain tribe, living in a certain environment or being blessed with specific genetics can help you skip the queue to become a champion. Endless examples from the real world of sports will keep you engaged, though at times, the author gets into too much detail. A long book which can be read by skipping the part where it gets too deep to understand the composition of human body. 

  • Mavericks at Work

    By: William C. Taylor & Polly LaBarre   

    Pages: 304

    Business, Inspiration

    My recommendation: 7 / 10

    Date read: 13th June'18

    Brief review: The world is changing rapidly and non-stop innovation is happening. Still, there are few companies and people who are make headlines. They are called Mavericks at work. The book identifies such companies and their leaders. You will find examples of how companies like Google, Southwest Airlines changed the rules of the game. You will come across bold strategies of little known leaders which made them icons of the business world. The book is a collection of several such stories which will keep you excited to read the next page. 

  • Blink

    By: Malcolm Gladwell   

    Pages: 300

    Non Fiction

    My recommendation: 8 / 10

    Date read: 6th June'18

    Brief review: The essence of the book is about our inner instinct of knowing something in a flash (blink of an eye) without having to process loads of data about the subject. We make an opinion about something in a moment without knowing why. 'Blink' gives you interesting accounts of how fire fighters make life saving decisions instantly, how army men make their choices without having sufficient information and how someone can decode your life history by just looking at you for a second. Sometimes, our gut feeling is more effective than cautiously made decisions. An interesting book.

  • 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.

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