Thursday, April 8, 2021

Murder at the Mushaira by Raza Mir

"Murder at Mushaira" by Raza Mir has attracted my attention the moment I saw the cover photo. I was attracted to the Detective nature of Mirza Ghalib portrayed in the book. 

Murder at the Mushaira by Raza Mir
As the name suggests, the story is based on a murder investigation that happened after a mushaira. Let me give you a little gist. One of the royal houses in Delhi had a tradition of holding mushaira during the month of Ramazan. The royal house is Iftikhar, and Miya Iftikhar had an unspoken grudge against Ghalib as Iftikhar's wife had a crush on Ghalib before her marriage. Murdered entity here is Khairadabaadi, who was a spy for Angrez and was killed just before he was supposed to give his report on newly introduced Kartoos. The story is strongly linked with the 1857 independence movement, and murder was making things more mysterious. Multiple people's lives and wealth were at stake if the case was not solved within a week. Readout how Ghalib with his unique style works on the case.

I was expecting a thriller based on simple historical fiction. But the book has much more to offer, it presents cultural fit, socio-economic scenario, slow death of Mughal Empire and rise of English rule, people's state, etc. e

Everything is portrayed wonderfully. The language is appropriate for the culturally-driven novel. The pace is medium too fast based on the plot's demand. Characters like Iftikhar & his wife, Umrao (Ghalib's wife), Inspector were given good space to get mature. You will find a strong flavor of historical facts while reading. The mystery behind the killing will keep you to edge. 

I will say the book is a masterpiece. One may give time to enjoy this book. If you are a ghazal or poem lover you will find multiple stanzas throughout the book.

This wonderful book deserves 4.75 out of 5.

Book links - Goodreads and Amazon

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds by Rajiv Malhotra

I am a data scientist and working in this domain for the last 8 years. I have solved many data problems in past and I still do that. But the hard part of our job is, it removes manual labor which was there earlier. I mean every AI project we implement, we reduce our manual labor. Yes, that's true, it is a harsh reality. Those who are listening about the boom in automobile sales in the last 3 months but same time job cuts in that domain, were shocked by this contrasting behavior. My answer to those shocked individuals is AI, it's robot-driven manufacturing that is taking more space from human labor.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds by Rajiv Malhotra

Through the book "Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds" the author Rajiv Malhotra has provided a basic understanding of AI and how it is affected our day-to-day life. His message is clear AI revolution is going on, we already gave our consent, it's just a matter of when not how. Even if you stay away from smart mobile, you use smart TV, fridges, AC, Home devices, all such things capture your unique signature. Leave all smart devices, you may not be aware that even by recording your driving sample I can make your unique signature. Somehow statistics fits everywhere in your routing as well as your life. 

Apart from personal life, the author has also given how as an economy and country we are lagging. India was and is an IT hub, but we were so busy counting BPO income that we forgot to check innovative solutions. We seldom invested in R&D. The results are in front of us, though China is still lagging in the IT industry, they dominate the Data domain and giving tough fights to the USA. Rajiv has mentioned India need a total revolution in thought process, from politician to businessmen to data engineers to the common man.

A wonderful book even for non-data science background people. Regarding content, you can read the blurb or review of other reviewers I have given my take and added my experience with this review.

I will give 4.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book link - Goodreads & Amazon

Sunday, April 4, 2021

BEYOND COVID’S SHADOW: Mapping India’s Economic Resurgence by Sanjaya Baru

I selected this book in the last week of December 2020, hoping that Covid is totally in control. Little did we knew by the end of March it would resurface with vengeance. And I finished the book during the self-isolation period.

BEYOND COVID’S SHADOW: Mapping India’s Economic Resurgence by Sanjaya Baru

The book is not written by one individual, rather written in parts by various domain specialists. It is a collection of articles from different domains affected by Covid. It was not an easy decision to lockdown, but when it was taken Prime minister must have consulted as many experts as possible. The book is designed such that in segments like Economy, Financials, People management during pandemic, trade policies, employment, etc. Each article gives us ground reality and how it was affected. It also covers plans or the possibility of coming out of stress. Whenever possible articles were supported by charts and tabulated results. 

My observations

1) This is not your casual read. It is full of facts and figures.

2) Technical terms are explained so not to worry

3) If you find any chapter heavy you can skip it. No compulsion in reading sequentially

4) Each author has done proper justice to their work and visible in their article.

I liked the book in bits and pieces. I am giving 3.25 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

BAAHUBALIS OF INDIAN POLITICS: From Bullet to Ballot by Rajesh Singh

Due to the positive image created by the movie series Bahubali, I was expecting a list of political heroes of Indian politics from "BAAHUBALIS OF INDIAN POLITICS: From Bullet to Ballot" by Rajesh Singh book. But this book gives us 11 real characters of Indian politics who reach on top using the wrong means. And then the actual meaning of the title made more sense to me.

BAAHUBALIS OF INDIAN POLITICS: From Bullet to Ballot by Rajesh Singh

The book is based on 11 notorious characters who used their power to the extreme that they reach mainstream politics. Many of these characters started as Robinhood or messiah of poor or Dalits or tribesmen. On another end, few were more deep-rooted in the criminal world. They knew staying mainstream crimes won't be a long-running game, they took use of their power or support of their follower and became MP or MLAs or higher up in political parties.

My observations

1) Author has gathered good information about each Bahubali. Each of them got around 15-25 pages. I knew looking at their life's events this is not even the tip of the iceberg, but the author has done a good job.

2) Language is easy and writing is smooth.

3) You can find many of these characters on Google as well, and probably more in-depth. This book can reduce your efforts of Googling. 

I found the book a one-time read. I will give 3.25 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Crusader: How Modi Won 2019 Elections by Randeep Sisodia

As I am in quarantine due to Covid, I decided to take few serious reads now. The first book I took was about our Prime minister Modi Ji. The name is "The Crusader: How Modi Won 2019 Elections" by Randeep Sisodia. I had read how he won the 2014 election, so it was obvious I would read this book as well.

The Crusader: How Modi Won 2019 Elections by Randeep Sisodia


Before I start I would like to tell readers that the book is short and full of details and strategies. The total length of the book is 199 pages. Having said that book is the result of detailed research.

The author has started with the history of why there came a group of extreme power people (he called them darbari) into existence, who were more worried about not repeating Modi as PM. The way the author explained why this group hated Modi so much is eye-opening. Here author explained it was not the plan of political parties to have Mahagathabandha but this group. They planned to bleed Modi in 1000 small cuts. I liked the way in further chapters the Author explained how his leadership and willingness to improve India as a nation made him victor once again in 2019.

The book is a must-read for not only Modi supporters but also for those who wanted to explore politics as a career. It can also help people in their domain of leadership. I like the smooth and simple narration style of the author. I like the way every comparison or example gives us an exact idea of the context. Even if you are not interested in politics, you can enjoy this book.

I will give 4.25 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Inside Story of Indian Banking by Sandip Sen

We used to use as much jargon as possible during MBA GD/PI. But once we landed in our jobs, we were faced with the actual implementation of those jargons. I feel the field or domain having maximum jargon must be the banking and financial domain, every year governing bodies introduce multiple laws and new jargons to follow. 

In India no matter from which age group you belong, you must have heard at least one scam in this domain every five years. With so many rules and regulations, with so many audits to follow, and even with such a digitized state how people are still fooling around authorities. It is a big question. I had many such doubts when I picked up this book.

The Inside Story of Indian Banking by Sandip Sen

If you are not aware of the history of Indian banking, then how you can judge current regulations. To bring you to the same level, the author has started with all basic details on how banking started in India. Then the author takes us to a post-independence era where banks started facing real problems, following which nationalization came. The author has properly covered those details. Then comes post-1991 liberalization, and the country started getting competent banks from private sectors. Through this author has covered many big scams and how they happened. The last segment of the book covers the solution accumulated by the author from his experience and experiences of various stalwarts of the domain.

My observations

1) Though the book is non-fiction the writing style makes you feel it like a fiction one

2) There was an order in which content is prepared and that can keep readers interest intact

3) Author has made all efforts to keep the book less academic and keep it reader-friendly (not student-friendly)

4) Language and wording are easy and smooth. One can finish this book in 3-4 sittings. 

5) Minimum use of jargons and if they are used, they are explained in layman's terms.

Overall a good attempt to bring facts of the financial domain. I will give 3.75 out of 5 to this book.


Book links - Amazon & Goodreads

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Brand New Start - the Power of Personal Branding By Mainak Dhar

I selected "Brand New Start" by Mainak Dhar due to following reasons

1) Author Mainak Dhar

2) Attractive cover giving confidence of Superpower

3) long subtitle "Fast-Start Your Career with the Power of Personal Branding"

4) Chances of learning something new

Brand New Start: Fast-Start Your Career with the Power of Personal Branding by Mainak Dhar

I took this book in the morning. I read the first few pages where the author describes why one should read this book. And that's it, 160 pages were finished in the next 3-4 hours. The section I liked the most is "Three reasons why you should listen to me and one reason why you shouldn't". Here I liked the frankness of Mainak over the acceptance of his limitations. In a very friendly manner, he tells us that he is not a counselor but a direct or indirect person in the decision-making of things discussed in this book.

As the blurb suggests, the content of this book is all about personal branding. Yes, you heard me right. Though our world works on product and personality branding, we mostly fall on the consumer side. This book tells us the supplier side. I mean it shows what a brand for a person is. The initial section tells us all about personal branding by removing myths and by answering general questions. The later section discusses how to make a brand out of us. The material is good.

My observations

1) Very good content creation. Text, charts, and figures were proper. Even larger than normal font size helps in reducing bored-ness in reader

2) Kind of good topic for a self-help genre

3) For new entrant a good read, for those who have read already established book, this book may not give too much novelty

4) I found fewer examples and cases. I feel those are the heart of self-help books. Else self-help will be an academic book for me.

I would like to thank Writersmelon for providing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Nice self-help deserves 3.75 out of 5.


Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

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