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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 books of 2011

As the year comes to an end, here’s a list of the most read books in 2011 at 

1. Revolution 2020

  A story about childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti who struggle to find success and love in Varanasi. However, it isn't easy to achieve this in an unfair society that rewards the corrupt. As Gopal gives in to the system, and Raghav fights it, who will win? From the bestselling author of Five Point Someone, one night @ the call center, The Three Mistakes of My Life and 2 States, comes another gripping tale from the heartland of India. Are you ready for the revolution? 
2. The Incredible Banker

 "The Incredible Banker", a tale of corporate politics, deceit, relationships, frauds and money laundering releases raises some interesting and some worrying aspects of living life the foreign bank way. A crucial question, to answer which the reader will have to navigate his way through this 300 page blockbuster, is - What does the embedded "Red" in "The Incredible Banker" signify?. Read the book to un ravel the mystery.

3. Cold Steel

An epic corporate battle that sent shockwaves through the political corridors of Europe, strained the world's financial markets, enriched 30 hedge funds, and permanently transformed the global steel industry — is meticulously detailed in Cold Steel, the riveting story of dueling titans of the business world.

4. The Toyota Way

The Toyota Way is the first book for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability.

5. What would you do to save the world?

"What Would You Do to Save the World?" is a delightfully entertaining first novel which reveals the dust behind the diamonds, the tears behind the plastic smiles, and dishes the dirt on what really goes on behind the scenes of a beauty pageant.

6. Happionaire's Cash The Crash

What Shahrukh Khan can teach you about investing? How to detect a crash before it comes. Future Investment Opportunities? Why you never have to be unemployed? Here’s a book on How to benefit from crashes, slowdowns and recessions.

7. Shopaholic & Sister

Sophie Kinsella has conquered the hearts of millions with her New York Times bestselling Shopaholic novels, which feature the irresistible one-woman shopping phenomenon Becky Bloomwood. Read more to know the twist and turns of the story.

8. The Great Mutual Fund Trap

Convinced that your star mutual fund manager will help you beat the market? Eager to hear the latest stock picking advice on CNBC? FORGET ABOUT IT! "The "Great Mutual Fund Trap shows that the average mutual fund consistently underperforms the market, and that strategies for picking "above-average funds -- everything from past performance to expert rankings -- are useless.  This book is the best pick for those interested in the share market. 

9. Interpreter of Maladies 

In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through India to their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice.”

10. The Google Story

A Pulitzer Prize winner from the Washington Post whose beat includes Google, Vise and co-author Malseed (who worked with him on The Bureau and the Mole) tells the tale of how two doctoral students built the little search engine.

Those who still haven’t read any of these books can RENT them at

Happy Holidays and Wishing you a great “read – a – thon year 2012”. 


Monday, December 19, 2011

10 great ways to inculcate reading habits

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham

Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.

Other than that, try these tips to cultivate a lifetime reading habit:
  • Set a high goalTell yourself that you want to read 50 books this year (or some other number like that). Then set about trying to accomplish it. Just be sure you’re still enjoying the reading though — don’t make it a rushed chore.
  • Always carry a book. Wherever you go, take a book with you. The book can stay with you in the car, travel to office with you or everywhere you go. If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s appointment or a delayed meeting/train or air travel), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time!
  •   Set times. You should have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone). And if you also read every time you’re sitting on the can, and when you go to bed, you now have four times a day when you read for 10 minutes each — or 40 minutes a day. That’s a great start, and by itself would be an excellent daily reading habit. But there’s more you can do.
  • Make a list. Keep a list of all the great books you want to read. You can keep this in your journal, in a pocket notebook, on your personal home page, wherever. Be sure to add to it whenever you hear about a good book, online or in person. Keep a running list, and cross out the ones you read. Tech trick: create a Gmail account for your book list, and email the address every time you hear about a good book. Now your inbox will be your reading list. When you’ve read a book, file it under “Done”. If you want, you can even reply to the message (to the same address) with notes about the book, and those will be in the same conversation thread, so now your Gmail account is your reading log too.
  • Find a quiet place. Find a place in your home where you can sit in a comfortable chair (don’t lay down unless you’re going to sleep) and curl up with a good book without interruptions. There should be no television or computer near the chair to minimize distractions, and no music or noisy family members/roommates. If you don’t have a place like this, create one.
  • Read to your kid. If you have children, you must, must read to them. Creating the reading habit in your kids is the best way to ensure they’ll be readers when they grow up … and it will help them to be successful in life as well. Find some great children’s books from and read to them. At the same time, you’re developing the reading habit in yourself … and spending some quality time with your child as well.
  • Read fun and compelling books. Find books that really grip you and keep you going. Even if they aren’t literary masterpieces, they make you want to read — and that’s the goal here. After you have cultivated the reading habit, you can move on to more difficult stuff, but for now, go for the fun, gripping stuff. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown … all those popular authors are popular for a reason — they tell great stories. Other stuff you might like: Vonnegut, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Nick Hornby, Trevanian, Ann Patchett, Terry Pratchett, Terry McMillan, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All excellent storytellers.
  •  Make it pleasurable. Make your reading time your favorite time of day. Have some good tea or coffee while you read, or another kind of treat. Get into a comfortable chair with a good blanket. Read during sunrise or sunset, or at the beach.
  • Blog it. One of the best ways to form a habit is to put it on your blog. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s free. Have your family go there and give you book suggestions and comment on the ones you’re reading. It keeps you accountable for your goals. You can always share your blogs with us on 
  • Have a reading hour or reading day. If you turn off the TV or Internet in the evening, you could.
Adopted by:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Librarywala Super Saver offer!

Hi Reader, 
We hope you are doing great and are enjoying your days reading some lovely books. Our main aim of starting was to reach out to each and every household and spread the love for reading. Due to time and space constraints, reading takes a back seat in our ultra-modern life. 

But with's, free delivery and pick up service, as well as 'Rent-Read-Return' concept, this hindrance gets completely removed. And you enjoy convenient reading sitting right at home! 

To reach out to a lot more book lovers, we have come up with a special Super Saver offer, wherein, registering with us can fetch you waivers on Registration Fees, Security deposit as well as on monthly rental plans as much as Rs. 1000! Isn't that superb?

So, just call us at:
Mumbai and Pune - +91-24175646/47/48 
Bangalore - +91-80-41440033

And take home your Librarywala membership! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020: Book Review

At last, I finished reading Mr. Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020. Being his fan, I have read his last four books with quite interest and passion. There's nothing which can touch Five Point Someone. Reading it, many youth started scripting a book and they are successful writers today but still, no one has been able to write a better story than Five Point Someone. After that, CB's One Night @ The Call Center came in the market and people rejected its climax. His 3rd book- The Three Mistakes Of My Life was quite interesting and he wrote it with wit and knowledge. It was not just a fiction book but it gave a true image how people think about rival religion in small village and how some chaps from village can dream big and make it turn true. Then came his 2 STATES which brought Chetan Bhagat back in form and people started loving him again. 2 STATES was loved by almost every age group audience and CB got a new group of fans. Chetan Bhagat almost became star with 3 Idiots release and 2 STATES success. He released his latest venture- Revolution 2020 on 7th October this year and 5,00,000 copies are already been sold. Congratulations, CB.

Coming to Revolution 2020, CB promoted it as a Love Story rather than a story about Corruption and Ambition. Yes, they are the subheading of the book but still, he focused much on the Love Story while promotion rather than the other two topics. So, let me talk about the Love Story first. Its about Gopal who is in love with his childhood friend- Arti. Arti sees him just as a friend. Like any other girl. :-) Gopal goes to Kota for his IIT preparation as he fails once. In the absence of her best friend Gopal, Arti falls in love with Raghav. Raghav got admitted passed JEE exam the time Gopal failed in it. Gopal started feeling inferiority complex because of Raghav and he became jealous of him. From here, the story takes lots of twist and turn. For that, pick up the book. Coming to the corruption, it is shown quite nicely as Gopal chooses the way to meet his ambition of being very rich. Raghav is shown as ambitious person for bringing Revolution in India. Gopal keeps playing game with him as he always wanted to fail him but he couldn't do it in school days.

Well, I am sad to say that I didn't found Revolution 2020 any special. It is just another book for me. Yes, the CB readers who have only read CB will like it because they haven't seen other talents of India. I have found better story than R2020 in other books. When you attempt Fiction, it should be at the level where the reader starts jumping while reading the book. Five Point Someone had that effect but R2020 lacks. The love story is also boring because you never find anything cool happening except Gopal trying for Arti and Arti ignoring him for Raghav. Yes, the story takes turn after 180 page and this is when you start loving it. Coming to the Corruption part, CB started it quite nicely but he didn't show a way to deal with it or any kind of exposure to what really is happening in real India. Ambition part is the best part of the book where Gopal is shown striving to pass in his JEE tests but fails every time while Raghav does it. Then, Gopal become ambitious for being rich while Raghav becomes ambitious for bringing revolution in the country. 

R2020 is good in parts but talking on the whole, it is not something special which I would recommend everyone to read. I don't know how some people are rating it as the best by Chetan Bhagat but I would still go for his 1st and 4th book. After seeing CB growing in last 2 years, you expect something larger-than-book from his book but it turned out to be just-another-fictional-attempt. I also felt the lack of sense of humour where Chetan Bhagat is the master. The book doesn't make you laugh out loudly like his other books does. Hence, I didn't found any kind of Chetan Bhagat effect in the book. And, the title of the book is shown as the failure which pisses one off at the end. The one who is corrupted still remains rich in the end. The one who tries to bring Revolution is forced to shut up and sit. Is this what you expect from a book which is named "Revolution 2020" and written by India's most successful author. Sorry to all the CB's fans for breaking your heart. I am also one of them and thus I can't talk good about him even when he hasn't done anything good to be spoken about. I will rate this book 3 out of 5. 

Now I am waiting for the 6th book. :-) 

Abhilash Ruhela 

Our Twitter Friend

Saturday, October 1, 2011 reviews: The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

The Secret Of The Nagas by Amish Tripathi
Westland Publications

Readers were brimming with questions as they turned the last page of The Immortals of Meluha. They wanted to know if Shiva would switch loyalties from the Suryavanshis to the Chandravanshis? Who were the Nagas? How will Sati be rescued after being kidnapped by a mysterious Naga warrior? All the answers and much more are answered in Amish Tripathi’s latest offering ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ as we’re thrown into the narrative exactly from where the first book ended. And the breathless pace of the action ensures a sleepless night or a postponed lunch, at the very least!

Shiva, the Tibetan warrior and protagonist looks resplendent on the glossy cover of this attractively designed book. In an attempt to avenge the murder of his friend Brahaspati who was killed by a covert Naga assasin , he chases the mysteriously-hooded Nagas all across ancient India to find their secret. The descriptions of the places have been reconstructed from what you can identify about them from the present and from what the legends and stories from the past tell us about them which add to the enigma of the story. Shiva learns that appearances can be deceptive as he learns that the Nagas are not serpentine, evil creatures but humans with physical abnormalities who have been abandoned by their family because the law demands Nagas be exiled. The Nagas have their own empire and the precise location of their capital, Panchvati, is a carefully shielded secret. The identity of the Naga assassin and Panchvati are discovered in this fast-paced thrilling adventure. A delight to read about is the passionate, mercurial, sassy character of Anandmayi, who lights up the page every single time she makes an appearance. New characters form a part of Shiva’s entourage which only makes the wait for the next book more thrilling.

The writing once again is simple and relatable to readers across the spectrum. The grammatical errors and sloppy editing can be slightly overlooked due to the enticing strong characters and gripping events. While the  suspense quotient is slightly lower in this book compared to the first, the philosophical elements keep the reader engaged. The author highlights the balance between good and evil, existentialism and consequentialism. The book is an apt sequel to the first book and focuses on Shiva's search for evil and his want to destroy it, only to find that nothing is what it seems.

For making mythology come alive in a world of futuristic technology, Amish Tripathi is deserving of much applause and accolades. The book is a complete page-turner and definitely a must-read.

Librarywala gives the book a rating of 4 on 5.

Do feel free to share your opinions on the book with us.

Happy reading!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Review: Don't Bring it to Work by Sylvia Lafair.

Hey Librarywalas! 

We received an excellent review of the award-winning book 'Don't Bring it to Work' by Sylvia Lafair. For those unfamiliar with her name, she is a business leadership and communications expert, and President of CEO – Creative Energy Options, Inc., a global consulting company focused on redefining leadership and optimizing workplace relationships. Her award winning book “Don’t Bring It to Work” has been ranked in the top of Amazon’s Best Selling Workplace books.   She is often quoted as a workplace relationship expert in newspapers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal,, USA Today, Time, New York Times. She was also recognized as one of  the Top 25 Women In Business in 2011. 

Here's the review of her book: 

You know the type; the guy who leaves the meeting when it becomes tense. Or maybe there is the gal who says she will get her part of the project done on time and it never happens. Perhaps you or your colleagues fit one of these profiles. These are the types of behaviors that diminish trust, accelerate conflict, and limit productivity.

Dr. Sylvia Lafair shows how behavior patterns that we learned in our original organization, the family, follow us right into our present organization at work. Think about it, work and family are quite similar. There are bosses (parents), co-workers (siblings) salaries (allowances), specific rules and regulations to follow to be accepted.

When stress at work hits the hot button we all tend to revert to the patterns of relating we learned as kids to survive and be secure. This happens under the radar of our conscious behavior. Once it is possible to observe the pattered responses (easier to first see on others) there are simple and quick ways to make change happen for the better.

The good news is that, using the OUT Technique, to OBSERVE, UNDERSTAND, and TRANSFORM the annoying and outmoded patterns, they can be turned into their positive opposites. Those in leadership positions, in family business, or on the accelerated path as entrepreneurs can learn new ways to foster cooperation and even increase better customer service by knowing what to do in times of crisis by applying this revolutionary technique.

This book gives an understanding of the 13 most common patterns in the workplace and how to transform them.Avoiders become initiators of difficult conversations, procrastinators become realizers getting work done in a timely fashion, and super-achievers become creative collaborators.
“Don’t Bring It to Work” is filled with a wealth of real life anecdotes and practical workbook-style exercises that clearly show how anyone can change conflict into cooperation and soar in work productivity and success.

Do share your opinions on the book with us.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top 10 Movie Adaptations of Books.

Hey Librarywalas!

Compiling a set of criteria to judge which movies adapted from books are the best is almost as difficult as compiling the list itself. Listing those adaptations that have garnered the biggest box office is simple enough, but to many, that would exclude a number of “best” adaptations. Should only faithful adaptations make the list? Bestsellers and blockbusters? Critically acclaimed? Classics?

This list includes adaptations that, for the most part, fit most of those criteria. Inevitably, some excellent films inspired by literature have been excluded. In the end, any top ten list that is not based entirely on statistics is bound to be subjective. This compilation, however, includes films likely to be included on many lists of the top ten movies adapted from books.

 1. The Harry Potter series

It is impossible to exclude the Harry Potter film franchise from the list of top ten adaptations. A decade of J.K Rowling bestsellers inspired a decade of blockbuster movies. The films managed to meet the expectations of millions of avid fans, an impressive feat in itself.

 2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Fans of Middle Earth had to wait nearly fifty years for the film industry to develop the technological advances necessary to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s world to life. Peter Jackson’s films captured the heart of the books that propelled the fantasy genre into mainstream.

3. The Godfather

While Mario Puzo may not make the list of great authors, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptations of the book have become classics. The inside look at the Mafia was made memorable by stellar performances by a star-studded cast.

 4. Dracula

While the Twilight movie franchise delights fans of Stephenie Meyer’s books, this list pays homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, adapted deliciously in Tod Browning’s 1931 film of the same name. Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the vampire is unforgettable.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

 Literary masterpieces can be the hardest to recreate on film, but Robert Mulligan’s adaptation of the Harper Lee novel succeeds beyond expectation, capturing the underlying terror of the segregated American south as seen through the eyes of a child. Gregory Peck’s portrayal of lawyer Atticus Finch is simply stunning.

6. The Shining

 Many Stephen King novels have been adapted for the screen, but only one was directed by Stanly Kubrick, and only one starred Jack Nicholson. Kubrick’s fine attention to detail and Nicholson’s intense portrayal of insanity added layers of suspense to the film.

 7. Schindler’s List

 Few films have captured the horrors of the Holocaust better than Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s book. The movie would stand on its own merits, even if not based on a harrowing but inspiring true story.

 8. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Arthur C. Clarke wrote a fine book, but it is doubtful even he could have imagined the impact that Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation made on the film industry. The film also had a profound influence on the way many people think about science and religion.

 9. Great Expectations

 David Lean’s version of the Charles Dickens work is a premier example of how effective adaptations can be when the characters of a classic novel are brought to life. The viewer is immersed into Pip’s world, sharing his encounters with each eccentric character in a way seldom experienced in cinema.

 10. Rebecca

 Including David O. Selznick's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel in this list pays homage not only to the book and the film, but to the performance of its stars, Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and to the film noir genre. Rebecca is a study of stylized suspense.

Conrad King is a contributing writer at

Thursday, August 25, 2011 Reviews: The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Hello Librarywalas!
There are a few books that leave a lasting impact on the literary scene. The Immortals of Meluha burst in to the Indian books circuit, and took it by storm. This is our review of the national bestseller. Do give it a read.

Title : The Immortals of Meluha
Author : Amish Tripathi
Publisher :Westland

Mythology and faith have always been held on a giant pedestal in India, and millions are pious believers of myriad Gods. Against that background, Amish Tripathi’s debut novel is mythology on steroids! The book is the first installment of The Shiva Trilogy. Rooted in ancient scribes and corroborated in parts by history, The Immortals of Meluha is two parts action, one part drama and five parts speculative fast-paced fiction. How can it not enthrall readers, when its core premise is that Lord Shiva wasn't in fact a Lord, but a mere mortal that was immortalized by legend?

“Whether a man is a legend or not is decided by history, not fortune tellers.”

The story is set in 1900BC in Meluha (or the Indus Valley Civilization), an almost Utopian empire built centuries ago during Lord Ram’s brilliant reign. However the country is in a state of disarray as the Chandravanshis and evil Nagas align to terrorize the Meluhans, the sacred Saraswati river depicts signs of extinction and the magical ‘somras’ is depleting. The only spark of hope is ancient lore that states-when problems become insurmountable for ordinary men, the Neelkanth (savior) will appear. Chapter 1 ‘He Has Come!’ kicks off with a burly, battle-fatigued Shiva in a dilemma over an enticing offer from Nandi, inviting him and his tribe Gunas to inhabit Meluha.  Shiva finds himself responding to the call of destiny while finding love of his life, forming brotherly associations with some and leading a whole country against evil.  In the midst of awe-inspiring battle, Shiva rises to the occasion as the ultimate warrior, simultaneously coping with the trials and tribulations of ordinary mortals.

His tryst with inner demons, confusion, frustration and desperation to find the ultimate solution and the final realization will surely resonate with people of all age groups. The contemporary and conversational style of writing has clearly been used favoring the mass appeal, and has worked like a charm. The careful reader will find hidden nuances in Amish’s writing- the references to untouchability, terrorism and even immigration-which offer much fodder for thought.  The author creatively brings out every human’s stubborn resolve in prescribing to particular set of beliefs and believing that his way is the ‘right’ way.  One can draw many parallels with modern scenarios, especially with the Anna Hazare-lead anti-corruption movement gathering steam.

This concoction of angst, drama and romance makes for a heady read. Fusing fact, faith and fiction seamlessly, this is a book that deserves a marathon read, as it keeps you hooked from start to finish. The sequel to this book ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ is now out and promises to be an exciting read as well. gives the book 'The Immortals of Meluha' 4.5 on 5.

Feel free to issue the book online on the Librarywala website here: 

Amish Tripathi is a marketing whiz and has generated a huge fan following due to his out-of-the-box techniques to reach out to readers. Do connect with the author here:
The Shiva Trilogy website- 
Amish Tripathi on Facebook-

Feel free to share your opinions on the book with us. 
Happy Reading!

Friday, August 19, 2011 Interviews: Stephen Gallup, Author of 'What About the Boy?"

Hey there, Librarywalas!

A few weeks ago, we had posted an introduction(First Look) to Stephen Gallup’s much awaited memoir “What About the Boy?” A story of undying devotion to his developmentally challenged son, the book promises to take readers on an emotional roller-coaster like none other. We got chatting with the author, and asked him some pertinent questions about his book.

1.   “I had no reason to be over-optimistic,
But somehow in his smile I could brave bad weather.
What about the boy?
What about the boy?
What about the boy, he saw it all!”
…So goes the chorus of the Tommy soundtrack by The Who.  How did you identify with these specific lyrics when you chose the title of the book?

You are quite right about the source of the title. Like my book, Tommy happens to be about a disabled kid. Another similarity is that, in the rock opera, the boy Tommy inspires a messianic movement, and there are points in our story at which the search for a response to Joseph’s condition leads his mother and me into cult-like situations.

But the reason for the title What About the Boy? is not complicated. The adults have their own agendas. Early in my story, the doctors suggest counseling for Joseph’s mother and me, rather than exerting themselves to understand his problem. We, his parents, are not immune to being side-tracked into battles that don’t have a direct bearing on the problem. “What about the boy?” means just what it says: How much of all this adult activity really pertains to what the child needs?

2.       Tell us a little bit about the book. What should readers expect from it?

Ultimately, this is a true story about people who faced an uphill battle in the absence of dependable guideposts and forged ahead only on the basis of what felt right. Readers with an interest in children will likely be affected more strongly than others. Some parents have told me this story made them want to hug their kids.

3.       Why did you feel the need to document your life and your son’s story? How long did you take to write the book? Was it difficult?

At first, the writing was simply an effort to make sense of it all. And it became an emotional outlet. In those days, I never imagined that any of it would be published.

Writing about this ended up consuming most of my creative energies for a period of at least two decades. That’s not to say I worked on it all that time. Many times I put it aside for a year or more, and just pondered it. Each time I picked it up again, I had new thoughts and a more refined concept of what the story was all about. Making sense of the experience has certainly been difficult for me, but it has led me to an understanding I otherwise never would have had, and hopefully to transform the specifics of our story into something everyone can recognize.

“Is it possible to push a kid too hard? Absolutely! Pushing is the opposite extreme of complacency, and both are wrong. It’s especially wrong if the child perceives that becoming ‘perfect’ is his or her only hope of winning the parents’ acceptance.”

4.       You have tremendously gone out of the way to better your son’s life, even opting for highly unconventional, scientifically unproven methods, which have been met with resistance in some circles. What would you like to say to these skeptics?

My essential message to skeptics is this: When families come to professionals with a little child who has obvious problems, they expect those problems to be taken seriously. If they perceive that the doctor’s office amounts to a revolving door that dumps them back outside, with nothing having been accomplished, you shouldn’t be surprised when they go elsewhere. In this book, I am not arguing in favor of any specific alternative treatment. I’m only saying that doing nothing is no option. You don’t approve of what we did? That’s fine. What do you think would have been better, and why is it not being offered?

5.       You say that “wellness and potential are every child’s birthright. And I’m quite sure society is served when children have it.” Please elaborate.

The first part of that statement is simply an article of faith. I cannot prove it to be true, but I doubt there will be much debate. As people live and make choices, and mistakes, we naturally find that our future options in life become more limited as a result. But little kids have done nothing to limit their options! I believe each kid deserves a chance to step into life and do his best.

And there really should be no argument with regard to the effect on society when this happens. Look at it from the point of view of a taxpayer. With regard to a stranger’s child, born on the other side of the city, which would you prefer? Someone who remained helpless and dependent on the world for everything, throughout his life? Or someone able to grow and take a productive role in the world—and who knows, maybe even one day solve a problem for you?

6.       What is your opinion of the Librarywala service in India, and the blog?

Since our earlier contact, I have spent some time browsing around the Librarywala blog and I like it very much. The site seems to include a nice balance of types of books, fiction as well as nonfiction and also both new releases and classics. We mustn't forget the classics! I regret that I know little about the cultural life in India, but I believe you are filling a very important role….

Mr. Gallup’s story is one of courage, love and an undying belief that a silver lining does exist. In a heart-wrenching story where all hope for a better future may have been decimated, the father’s pledge to his son depicts that no one is immune to the sunshine effects of hope. In this day and age of sky-high parental expectations, the book teaches us that one must not forget to let children be children, and to fill their lives with affection over expectation.

Do write in with your opinions.

Till then,
Happy Reading! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011 Reviews: "The Tenth Unknown" by Jvalant Sampat

It is often said that an author’s debut novel is always semi-autobiographical in nature. To that extent, we may safely deduce at least one fact about Jvalant Nalin Sampat after reading The Tenth Unknown. He was the bright-eyed student who sat on the first bench in every History class while his friends stared at the ceiling with glazed eyes! Historical thrillers, with their mix of fact and fiction, have held readers captive for years but the genre is largely unexplored in India. However, Sampat’s ‘The Tenth Unknown’ can be called India’s answer to The Da Vinci Code.

The novel begins in March 1939, a few months before the start of World War II. The narrative is weaved on the same lines as Talbot Mundy’s 1923 novel The Nine Unknown. Folklore suggests that The Nine Unknowns are a two millennia-old fictional secret society founded by King Asoka to preserve and improve on nine books of secret knowledge. Each of the books deals with a different branch of potentially hazardous knowledge, spanning subjects from psychological warfare to cosmology.  These books are hidden in clandestine locations in different parts of the world. The fast-paced, high-octane thriller depicts how the first of these is acquired by German archaeologists during the British Raj in India, knowledge of which goes on to become the backbone of Adolf Hitler’s success. The ensuing race of the Germans to get their hands on the remaining eight, the British attempts to thwart their efforts coupled with the Nine Unknowns desperately trying to protect these books makes for a brilliant read.

The characters in this book are meticulously constructed, with just the right shades of grey to make them relatable to readers.  The world of Prithvi Rathore, the elite arrogant Anglicized Indian is turned upside down when his grandfather, one of the Nine Unknowns, assigns him to protect the books from the Nazis. Dismissive of the Indian nationalist movement, one sees a change in Prithvi’s heart once he is refused entry at the Madras Gymkhana on account of his skin color. He scours the world with valor in his search for the all-powerful literature. On the other hand, Joseph Heidler, reluctant member of the Nazi party, who is assigned to hunt down the remaining books, makes for a superb antagonist.

The one thing that jumps out as one flips the pages of this book is the painstaking research that has gone into making this book a delectable mix of intrigue and action. Travelling from the ruins of Nalanda University to the mystic Angkor Wat, the locations too have been depicted with great precision. The author’s natural flair for the English language places the book on a pedestal that not many Indian authors find generally place on.

The book jumps from conversations in one country to the conspiracies of the other swiftly, which might make it a tough read for some. However, this book delivers on quality of prose, astonishing obscurities and insightful characterization. It’s a must-read and would make a great companion for a solitary train journey.

We give The Tenth Unknown a 4 on 5.

Do share your opinions with us. 
Till then,
Happy Reading :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Strategic Acceleration "Succeed at the Speed of Life" by Tony Jeary

We're absolutely flooded with book reviews of late, all so articulate, we hardly have a choice but to publish them in our little corner of the cyberspace. The book in question is "Strategic Acceleration" by Tony Jeary, coach to the world's biggest CEOs. In an era of information anxiety and cut-throat competition, this is a must-read. While the world deals with the debt crisis and stock market losses as best they can, one can learn how to strategize their way to success with focus and clarity by following the tenets of this book. 

The word “strategy” is a tricky one.

On the one hand, we all know its importance. We know that great things can’t happen without one, and bad things happen when there’s not one. “Strategic thinkers” are assumed to be the best kind of thinkers, at the pinnacle of success.

On the other hand, we use the word “strategy” typically more as part of an excuse than anything else. “Why would we build that website when we don’t even have a web strategy?” “We can’t decide to move into that market until we have a market strategy.” “We shouldn’t even consider moving in that direction because it doesn’t sync up with our strategy.”

It’s as if adding “strategy” to the end of any kind of initiative automatically makes it heavier, more important, and oftentimes now too complicated and serious to even consider.

Which is one of the reasons I enjoy Tony Jeary’s Strategic Acceleration so much. It demystifies “strategy” and turns it into the action-rooted idea that it’s meant to be. And I’ll confess: much of what’s in it is stuff I already know. But it’s also stuff I’m not doing. Jeary simplifies it and makes you not only get, but also want to do it.

Here are five key takeaways for me:
1.    The three enemies of speed and results are a) absence of clarity, b) lack of focus and c) poor execution. Jeary centers his book around this three principles, and it makes for an extremely logical process. Get clear, get focused and then get to work.

2.    I’ve underrated the importance of clarity. Of all the great takeaways I personally had, I definitely come back to the importance of clarity. It seems I simply skip this step in my mind and want to get right into planning and execution. But you have to be sure of what you’re planning for, and you have to be sure everyone else knows what you’re planning for. You can’t assume they get it. And you definitely can’t assume they are as passionate and sold out to it as you are. So spending time clarifying the vision is never worthless exercise. In Jeary’s words, “Clarity is achieved when ideas and concepts are clearly explained and presented internally and externally.”

3.    Critical Success Factors are... critical. Jeary coined the term “Critical Success Factors” for those things that have the most influence in gaining success toward the end goal. We too easily spend valuable resources on not-so-critical factors. Meetings come to mind, as does email management. When you’re clear on the objectives, then clarifying your Critical Success Factors becomes markedly easier. Then you simply have to focus on them. As Jeary explains, “As simple as it sounds, focus is the ability to keep those main things the main thing as we go.”

4.    You need a system for success. As fun as it is to just react, and as boring as it is to do the same ol’ stuff all the time, systems are critical to achieve success. Even if you’re clear on where you’re going, and you’re focused on the best ways to get there, it still won’t happen if you don’t execute those things that must happen with excellence. So how do you communicate for better execution? What defines success (that you can measure)? What are the benchmarks? Get systematic about your success so you can clearly determine when and if it’s successful.

5.    Speed matters. We may like to gripe about the pace of life, and how nice it would be to slow down, but the fact is that our lives are only going to get faster. Which means businesses must be fast. And successful. And strategic. What worked 20 years ago from those strategic giants we so admire won’t work today. Sure, the principles can still be applied, but in the heart of the action, the pace of business changes how we actually make all this stuff happen. Find ways to get faster without sacrificing value or excellence.

 Brett Duncan is Vice President of Global Marketing at Mannatech, located in Coppell, Texas. He also shares his marketing ideas regularly at his blog, Follow him on Twitter: @bdunc1. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson is a fable about the importance of embracing change. It is about two mice and two little humans that live in a maze. They have a supply of cheese that they live on until one day it is moved. The two mice quickly go and search for the cheese while the two humans stay behind thinking the cheese will come back.  As time goes by, they realize that they need to start moving to find cheese, but one of the humans refuses to do so. Weak of hunger, one of the humans sets out to find the cheese and finds clues along the way as to where it is. He ultimately finds the cheese and meets up with the mice who found the cheese much earlier.

The moral of the story is that change is inevitable and the best thing to do is be prepared to embrace it or get left behind. The two mice were prepared and ready to go searching for new cheese the minute it moved while the two little humans weren’t. By the time one of the little humans realized this, he almost died due to lack of cheese from waiting so long. As in the business world, the person who doesn’t adjust for change is left in the dust. This was the little human who refused to go look for the cheese thinking it would come back. 

This is a short fable that does an excellent job at illustrating the importance of embracing change in the business world. It is a best seller that everyone should read, especially those in the business world!

This review was sent in by Adam Bruk, an online marketing specialist tracking retail trends in Socks 4 Life( During his free time, he enjoys reading business books and golfing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: 'Spin-Free Economics' and 'Animal Spirits'

When a man with a shining Ph.D. at the end of his name who was written a bestselling book called Businomics is interested in a guest post on our blog, we Librarywalas think we're doing something right. His name is Dr.Bill Conerly, Ph.D. and he is also co-author of Thinking Economics, a high school textbook used in 24 states in U.S.A. Two of his articles are required reading in graduate courses at MIT and Wharton. 
He sent in his review titled "Good Books on Economics" from the Businomics Blog, recommending 2 books on the subject that will make the average man comprehend the nuances of modern economics. Do read on:
Nariman Behravesh's Spin-Free Economics is THE book I'll recommend when I'm asked to recommend a book for the layman.  It's not too technical, but it covers all the key elements involved in modern discussions of economics. In contrast to many other books I've browsed, this book is written in clear English.  If you wonder how a Ph.D. can do that, there's a simple explanation:  Behravesh has been working outside academia for decades.

The book's title makes it sound like a Fox News product, but that's terribly misleading.  It's broadly mainstream.   I agree with almost all of it.  Where I disagree,  Behravesh is presenting a more mainstream view than I take.  But about 95 percent of his content is I heartily endorse.  Who said we economists never agree?  (In fact, Behravesh has a chapter about what we economists agree on--it's surprisingly more than you might think.)

An interesting book--which I recommend only for people who have fully internalized Behravesh's book--is George Akerloff and Robert Shiller's Animal Spirits.  They look at how we humans are fallible and prone to errors, a topic in which both authors have contributed academic research.  They are challenging the mainstream view described by Behravesh--but only around the edges.  Unfortunately, they emphasize those edges, rather than the core of economics which works tremendously well.
For instance, back in the late 1960s two economists (Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps) figured out that there is no long-term tradeoff between inflation and unemployment.  Bringing inflation down permanently requires only a temporary price in higher unemployment.  Later research found that low inflation tends to be steady inflation, which is very favorable to long-term economic growth.  The conclusion: keep inflation low, and don't try to fight unemployment with higher inflation.
Akerloff and Shiller challenge the basis for this conclusion when the inflation rate is in the neighborhood of zero.  And they are probably right.   However, huge economic damage has come from policymakers who tried to use inflation to reduce unemployment, triggering the boom-bust cycles of the 1970s.  Akerloff and Shiller say that Canada's effort to bring inflation from two percent to zero percent may have caused unemployment to be 1.5 percentage points higher than it otherwise would be.  However, they don't mention that when the basic lesson was ignored in the U.S., we had unemployment rise to nine percent in 1975 and well over ten percent in 1982.  I would prefer that the general public around the world learn the basic lesson, even if that means occassional errors through lack of understanding the advanced lesson.
 If you're headed to a Ph.D. program in economics, read this book.  If you just want to understand general economics, which works almost all of the time, stick with Behravesh.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: The Complete Guide to Spotting Accounting Fraud and Cover-Ups

Our Librarywala website has a whole lot of corporate members and they're feeling slightly ignored with our reviews on books in the fiction category. So we gladly dedicate this book review to all of them!

The book we bring to you was the first place winner of the Indie Awards held in 2010 in the Finance Category. Guest reviewer, Erin E. Schmidt Smith pitched in this week with her review of Martha Maeda's brilliant book on accounting fraud. By all standards, this is a book that will definitely help you spot a muddled up balance sheet when you see one! This is what she says about it:

When I first started The Complete Guide to Spotting Accounting Fraud & Cover-Ups: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply by Martha Maeda (Atlantic Publishing Group, 2010), I thought I was going to be bored. Actually, this book is quite fascinating. It promises to be easy to read, and it lives up to that promise, even for someone who'd had no background in accounting or finances.

There are plenty of examples, including the cases of Bernard Madoff and Martha Stewart and examples from Coca-Cola, AOL, the International Olympic Committee and more that show how the lessons apply to real life. As a psychology major, I found the discussion of psychopathic personality disorder in business especially fascinating.

 This book is also very thorough. It discusses in detail the different kinds of frauds that are most likely to occur, why they occur, and who is most likely to be involved in them. More important, it details the ways owners of businesses large and small and investors can keep an eye out for the various kinds of fraud. Numerous resources went into researching this book, and Maeda shares the particularly valuable and user-friendly resources with the reader.

 According to the introduction, organizations in the USA lose about 7% of their annual revenue to fraud, or an estimated $994 billion total. For these reasons, anyone who runs a business or a charity (even church groups) or who has investments should read through it at least once.