Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Reading is a direct connection between an author and a reader. The author imparts wisdom directly to the reader. Then the magic is created!
This blog is a series of tiny reviews of books I am reading every month. This platform provides me with an opportunity to write what I have read. It gives me a chance to give something back to the writer - in form of reviews.
If you are coming to this series for the first time, please click below for more blogs:
I have kept a target of reading 52 books in 2021. So far - as of 31st March 2021 - I have finished, 17 books. I have given a list and reviews of the 11 books (of Jan and Feb) above. Below are the books I read in the month of March.
This book is a simple self-help book that covers almost all known strategies to become good at something. The author has trained a lot of celebrities, corporate leaders and students with his techniques. As mentioned earlier, most of these techniques are known to us. However, it would be a good read to go through these again and sharpen a skill if required.
The writing style is simple and easy to understand. There are quite a few examples as well. However, there are a lot of acronyms that try to overcomplicate a simple concept.
It is a good read for a beginner who wants to work on improving his/her memory, read more books, become more organized and lead a smarter life. This book will be a good start.
This is like a handbook for marathon running or running in general for fitness. The book has covered almost all the aspects related to running. It has diet plans, training plans, injury prevention tips, recovering from injury, the importance of diet, weight, sleep, stress on running and much more.
The writing style is simple and easy to understand. The book has multiple examples from real-life runners with their stories and experiences.
The book should have put more pictures of workouts (missing at places). Also, most of the reference tools of the runner's world blog are paid now. So it's useless unless you have a paid membership of the website.
A good book for beginners and intermediate runners.
3) The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek (5/5)
A finite game has 3 basic elements: 1) Set rules, 2) Defined players, 3) Start and end time.
An Infinite game is exactly the opposite of this. This book is a different take on how businesses, wars, love, friendship, education, parenting are infinite games. The issue happens, when people play the infinite game with a finite game mindset. For example, a CEO focusing on being number one - in terms of arbitrary metrics like growth, or working to improve just the shareholder value (EPS, Share price), while neglecting its other stakeholders - Customers, suppliers, employees (most imp) and society at large.
Another example: Parents push their kids for grades, or countries push for dominance - these are finite goals in infinite games - and hence these fail. The book argues that how playing infinite games with a vision and infinite mindset would lead to long term success and larger benefit.
The writing style is simple and easy to understand. The author brings a lot of good (some known and famous) examples to drive his point across. The author is really passionate about the topic and throws the current capitalism out of the window.
This is a must-read book for CEOs, leadership teams or students to get a larger perspective in life and not chase finite goals.
4) Reading with the Right Brain: Read Faster by Reading Ideas Instead of Just Words by David Butler (5/5)
This is a very powerful and practical book on speed reading. The structure of the book has concepts in chapters followed by a sample 1,000 word exercise.
The book is very simple to read and understand. The most powerful aspect of the book is that it provides practical guidelines on increasing book reading speed. The book argues that "comprehension is reading" and not the other way round. There is no point in reading fast if comprehension is very poor. The book also rubbishes claims of other speed reading techniques. The book highlights the importance of understanding phrases rather than reading individual words. When we read a whole phrase and visualise it, it will be registered in the right side of the brain.
Overall a good practical book on improving your reading skills.
5) Big Billion Startup: The Untold Flipkart Story by Mihir Dalal (4/5)
This is one of the best books on the Indian startup ecosystem, which took India and the world by storm from 2010 till date. The book chronicles the journey of Flipkart from inception till its sale to Walmart. The book provides insider views, politics, turmoil, success, grit, innovation of the founders and various other leaders who contributed immensely to its success. This book also provides a glimpse into the Indian startup ecosystem. Starting from the finance lords (venture capitals), other rivals (like Amazon, Snapdeal), large corporates and governmental policies.
The book is written in simple yet powerful language. The book claims to provide saucy details of the internal politics of the organisation - from an obscure book selling platform to becoming one the largest success stories in the global startup ecosystem. It talks about how high profile executives were hired with a lot of fanfare and then fired unceremoniously. It also highlights the greed of founders and investors who has little regard for the employees/society and are interested only to create shareholder/personal wealth.
This is a must-read book for all startup founders, employees and corporate employees who wants to take the plunge in startups. The world of a startup seems very romantic - but it is a place with failures, hard work, greed, uncertainty and rare success. Very few startups want to solve real societal problems. Most are interested in and are designed for creating shareholder wealth.
6) Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Henderson, Rebecca (4/5)
"There is one and only one social responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” - Milton Friedman (1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences).
The corporates and investors have taken this concept too seriously and have wreaked havoc in the world - in the name of capitalism. Very few firms these days are worried about other stakeholders like employees, vendors, governments and society at large. Please watch "Rotten" on Netflix to see how simple products like bottled water, chocolate, wine, sugar, avocados etc are ruining lives, funding cartels and promoting slave labour in 2021! Some of the largest and most prestigious corporates are responsible for this. Even the recent startups supported by large VC and PE funds are on a similar path.
The author, Rebecca Henderson, is a professor at Harvard. She has written a very thought-provoking book on how the current capitalism is taking Friedman's philosophy too far at the expense of society.
The book argues that in order to save the world from inequality due to crony capitalism and greed, we need to rethink how businesses are done. She provides ample examples from Lipton, Nike, Walmart and many other unknown corporates, who have worked for a larger purpose (than just maximising profits).
This is a must-read book for founders, CEOs, Govt officials, management students and employees.
That's all for now. I am planning to read few more amazing books in April. Will come back with my views on these books in a month's time.
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