Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Book review - WORK HARD-LY: A Cheat Guide to Success

During my childhood when I used to play 8-bit console games, I always wanted to know which cheat codes can make my game easy. I remember my dad telling me there are no cheat codes in life. You need to play the game of Life with proper rules. After 20 years those lines are still fresh in my mind. I never found cheat codes, yes but from time to time I kept finding guidelines to drive life organized or less stressful. Last month while window-shopping on Amazon I saw the latest releases of the month in self-help & professional life section, that is when I saw this peculiar title "Work Hard-ly - A Cheat Guide to Success". It instantly gripped my attention, I selected the book without delays.

"Work Hard-ly" is a micro read with less than 100 pages. The author Monica has listed down problems faced in day to day life by a normal person, problems such as office politics, appraisals, various etiquettes, smart working, balancing work life, etc. The content is filled with pointers and short narration/examples. It has a pictorial presentation to keep interest intact. "Time for an anecdote" sections give a boost to reading, just by digesting this you may achieve a lot. 

Good points about the book
1) to the point content
2) ample examples & anecdotes
3) simple language
4) figures for better understanding of topics
5) less theoretical
6) good choice for beginners

Ok concluding notes, I can say not cheat codes but the book contains tips for smooth professional life (chores 😂)

I will give 3.75 out of 5 to the book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book review - Road to Absolution by Karan Pillai

We are back with another book review, a poetry book called "Road to Absolution". Poetry books are my breaks in my onslaught of fictional reads. I take it from time to time to keep myself attached to other genres. This time I took 2 poetry books back to back. The first one was Bleak Hope and now this one. 

Book blurb
Don't we all crave for those moments when we could break free from feelings that hold us back or bring us down? In moments like those, all we need perhaps is someone or something that could show us the way.
"Road to Absolution" is written with simplicity. Poems are written as straightforward as lines coming out of a person. The poet has avoided using complex word phrasings. I feel if you can convey your message with simplicity there is no need to confused your readers. The subjects covered in poems are human relations, emotions, and desire. And I would say poems are on proper theme, earlier poem books I read were a compilation of multiple subjects, wherein here I found direction. I am not sure whether to call it a theme poem or title poem, absolution is one of the top three best poems I liked in the book.

I would say if you want to start reading poems then you can start with this. It will not bore you down but encourage you to take more books in the future. Those who don't fancy poems can also easily read it. Having said that regulars can also relish these poems. Take your diary, you may need to write down a few for future quotes. A recommended read. A short read which you can take during your travel, but I suggest you take it where you can find peaceful/calm environment so that you can digest and understand the poem's message.

I would rate 3.75 out of 5 to this book. 

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon and Flipkart

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Review of Book Series - The Sullied Warrior Duology

I have seen the first part about "God of the Sullied" 3 months back and I was really impressed by cover and title. The blurb was equally interesting. I wanted to know what the book is all about. I was expecting it to be a Mythological or historical fiction. Luckily by the time I decided to go for the book, there a second part of the sequel "Long live Sullied" was also out. So my expectations went high because I have seen only successful books get a chance for the sequel to get released. And one fine day I found such an attractive combo deal on duology that I could not refuse. I simply grabbed them. I know I am supposed to review both books separately but looking at content I think I will go with a single review.

The story is simple. In a small village in the border region of Rudraputra lived a family of Vyasa. His son Eklavya is our protagonist. As per his birth charts & Kundali, he was destined to be a great person. But that unfortunate child lost his mother when he was born. He was raised by his father and a caretaker lady (Amma). After marveling first 3 years in Gurukul when Eklavya came back for a vacation, he received a shock. From there he left for a journey to find the truth. Read the book to know more.

The reason why I am writing a combined review of duology - after reading 2nd part I found that 40-50% of the content is repeated only POVs were changed. Remaining 50% can be clubbed in 50-70 pages and clubbed with part one, thus removing the necessity of two parts. Well, that's my feeling.

Talking about meeting expectations it was not even half of the hype I created in my perception. I found the story dull. The author has written a story in historical age but it was not leveraged greatly. The only interesting part was a few philosophical dialogs. There were many shortcomings in a plot that could have been taken care of. The author has given the rushed ending of part one and ended up giving sluggish part two. Also, I cannot correlate why the Ikshvaku dynasty mentioned when there is no such significance found in the story. He could have named it Gupta, Maurya, Yadavas as clan name was irrelevant.

The good part it language is easy and you can read both books in less than 5 hours if you read at stretch.

I will give 3 it off 5 to "God of Sullied", 2 out of 5 to "Long Lived the Sullied" and 2.5 its of 5 to duology.

Link of "God of the Sullied" - Goodreads & Amazon

Link of "Long Lived the Sullied" - GoodReads & Amazon

Monday, February 17, 2020

A Mythological Startup Fiction - Startup Secrets From The Ramayana by Prachi Garg

The last book of Prachi Garg "the legend of the startup guy" left me amazed. She brought a completely new approach in retelling Lord Ganesha's story concerning startups. And I think with success of that style the author is back with another retelling. This time we have Ramayana with the context of a startup. 

The story starts with Ram's consultancy company closed down due to his over-trusting and lenient nature. He ended up signing a deal with Kartikeyi and got huge liabilities on the company. In dire times he sat with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita to brainstorm where they went wrong. It was then Lakshmana and Sita told Ram many of his follies. They explained to him how his nature of not keeping business and personal relations separate had cost him his firm. They also understood their weakness in handling a professional firm with focused efforts. From these learning, they determined to come back with a focused business plan. They decided to move out of their territory of Ayodhya and gave a fresh start. What would be their strategy? How will they give a fight to the mighty business empire of Lanka.inc and it's successful tycoon Ravana? Read the book to know more.

As I said earlier, it is a completely new way of retelling which gives you entertainment of mythology with learning in Startups. It includes hundreds of things to learn which can save your boat. And the book is not just for an entrepreneurial enthusiast but even for professionals. Many things are covered to enlighten us. Prachi had used simple language so that English beginners can read it. She has avoided using marketing jargon and has stayed with layman's terms.

A nice read. I will give 4 out of 5 stars to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Feeling low - Check out Review of our Inspirational Read - The Juggernaut Within by Vivek Ishwar

I was thoroughly impressed by the author when I have read "Walk the Fire" by Vivek.    His thought process (while preparing that compact book) was delivered wonderfully. So I have decided to read the next book by the author. And when my friend informed me about Vivek's next release, I was excited. I grabbed the book within a week in it's released and here I am to discuss the same book "The Juggernaut Within"

As the title suggests, this book is more focused on how we can control our fears and unleash or full caliber. The author has started with barriers to our inner self, the ones which keep us at bay. Then he took those barriers one by one and showed how they affect us negatively. Following that comes ways to overcome such obstacles. He has taken the support of the law of abundance and law of scarcity for many topics, which I found novel. He has taken many examples from his life or his clients' experiences to explain his ideas. For readers, he has kept apt questions in each segment so that the reader can work out whether he should be concerned about said topic or not and how he should evaluate if he is concerned.

Good points about the book
1) A short book, if such books exceed a certain length then it becomes heavy.
2) Easy language. The simplicity of words make read smooth, especially self-help.
3) Support for examples & exercises (questions), without which self-help becomes a mere educational book.

Points of improvements
1) A few examples I found not sound enough to explain the said topic.
2) I was not able to align with all explanations of the law of scarcity & abundance.

Overall a good read to build your self-confidence and become a goal-oriented person.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thank God I'm Fired by Sandeep Pawar - Book Review

Go and ask any IT guys what is the toughest part of their job switch period? Well, it is the notice period. That deliberately kept (mostly) non-productive time of their life, which can be used better way, was usually wasted in make documentations, following exit process and sitting ideal as new assignments are not existent. I had served 3 full notice in my life (approximately 6 months of my life). Many guys lose a chance to win extra bucks (joining bonuses & incentives) as they cannot do it without paying penalties in the current job.

Few lucky guys get an offer and the company asks them to leave immediately with full pay. Such lucky guys even get joining bonus from the next company. Well, such cases are rare 1 in 100 resignees (I assume).

The story of "Thank God I'm Fired" is there story of one such lucky guy. The protagonist of the story is Raghav, a software professional with a non-circuit branch. He found himself a misfit in his IT job. He got fired a minute before he could send his resignation. Do read the book to know why he wanted to resign.

The feeling of nostalgia didn't leave me while reading the book. Those noisy cafeterias, tea shop outside offices, long hours in cubical and boring full house meetings, the list is endless. It reminded me of those guys who keep finding startup ideas which he never is going to try for himself. I like motivational lines used in stories at various places. The way Raghav found out his passion and his dedication to giving it a try.

It is a short read with a fast-paced narrative. You may finish this little guy in 1-2 hours.

3.5 for a refreshing read.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Kurukshetra: The Aryavarta Chronicles Book 3 by Krishna Udayasankar - a book review

Due to the high number of review requests we receive every month, we rarely get a chance to read one book twice. Even in such times, Govinda was one of the books which got a place in a twice-read shelf. Frankly speaking, I had lost hope of reading further books in Aryavarta Chronicles as it was discontinued. But re-launch of the same by Penguin publishers has given me hope. I quickly re-read the first part (latest edition) and grabbed the 3rd part. I will come back to the second part as and when I get my hands on the same.

Aryavarta Chronicles is a retelling of the epic Mahabharata where author Krishna Udayasankaran has brought the concept of Firewright & Firstborn. In the first part, we came to know the hidden agenda of Govinda Shauri behind the destruction of Firewright guilds throughout India even though he being Firewright, but in the climax of the first part, he was asked to stay out of Bharatvarsha by Queen Draupadi. I am not sure what exactly happened in the second part, but the third was more concentrated on the Kurukshetra war (I know it is obvious from the title) what I actually mean was the alliance, peace proposals, war preparation & actual war and revelation of Govinda's true motive.

I don't want to reveal plot so let me take you through my observations
1) This story portrays Suyodhana as a righteous and capable ruler. The weakness of his character was his priorities when it comes to decision making. While Yudhisthira is shown as an arrogant ruler but his capability of taking a stand was faster
2) I have read many versions of Mahabharata, but none of them has shown Yudhisthira like Krishna. In Aryavarta Chronicles Yudhisthira was the most confused, meanest, self-proclaimed righteous, arrogant character.
3) Shikhandin is not shown as eunuch instead shown as an able warrior, a shrewd strategist and a loyal friend
4) The action and morality are clubbed and can be seen hand in hand at places.
5) I have read the Kali series by Anand Neelkathan, so I found many similarities between both series.
6) In all the books I have read, Karna was always shown with more of a better person than wrongdoers. But here things are different.
7) Lengthy description and discussion among characters in cryptic morality have increased my reading time. It could have been simpler but I think then I would not be Krishna's work.

My advice - if you are an open-minded person then only take this book. Else you may not enjoy it.

I will give 4.5 out of 5 to this masterpiece.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon and Flipkart

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Review - Bleak Hope: A Teenager's Collection of Poems

Even though I loathe self-help, I read that genre more often than poems. Due to its complex nature, you need more concentration & patience to read & digest poems. One or twice in a half year I take poetries because more than that I won't be able to give justice. But I think a book like "Bleak Hope" has increased my curiosity for the genre, I think I will work on the overall quota of poetry books now.

Another thing that I cannot comprehend was the fact that the poet is just a teenager. The vastness of her understanding of the world is visible in her poems. Coming to poems covered in the book, the poet (Anwesa) has taken some burning issues like humanity, violence, terrorism, human trafficking, pollution, rapes and many more and woven poems around the subject. She has used simple wordings so that her message can reach to even novice readers. The messages were clear and can show us the ground reality of today's world and situations. Poems that touched my heart are
1) House of ice breakdown 
2) Through a Child's eyes
3) See the Light
4) Stolen Childhood 

I liked the small image of a girl given on each page. Surprisingly I visualized that girl's emotion was set as per the tone of the poem, but in reality, the girl drawn has a natural posture. Talking about the selection of the title, I think the poet must have seen the severity of issues discussed in her poems, and unless God intervenes there are bleak possibilities of correcting/handling those issues. Well, this is my assumption, the actual reason may be different. Given a chance, I would like to know her reasons for the title.

For me, it is 4 out of 5 for these beautiful poems.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart