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Archive for the ‘Business Management’ Category


Start-Up City
Moloy K Bannerjee, Siddharth Bannerjee & P. Ranganath Sastry | Collins Business | Rs 450

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 11.49.35 AMIndia’s software technology sector came into existence sometime in mid-1980s. It picked up pace in 1990s and today, it is the most talked about aspect of foreign investment in the country. ‘Start-up City’ tries to capture how 10 Bangalore-based companies became part of this story. The writers provide some interesting insights – Indian entrepreneurs they aver know how to ‘adapt and adjust’. Many built their companies by selling computing and analytics software like, Tally or by providing technology solutions to government agencies or projects. They are mostly risk averse, preferring to ‘play safe’. Instructive.

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Inside Chhattisgarh: A Political Memoir
Ilina Sen | Penguin | Rs 399

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 11.50.04 AMIn 1980s Dr Ilina Sen and her husband, Dr Binayak Sen joined the fiery political philosopher and trade union leader Shankar Guha Niyogi in coal mining district Dalli-Rajhara, Madhya Pradesh, as political activists. After spending seven years working here the couple shifted to Raipur in 1988. In Raipur, they moved away from political activism. They bought an acre of land, built a mud house, started the Rupantar Trust and got involved in health worker training in Bagrumnala village nearby. Then came Binayak’s arrest, the fight to free him and the couple’s exit from Chhattisgarh.

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Kerrigan in Copenhagen
Thomas E. Kennedy | Bloomsbury | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 11.49.50 AMIf you’ve been to Denmark it’s likely you stopped by Copenhagen. Next time, take Kerrigan with you and read him in the city to top up on alcohol, history, literature, art and jazz. You guessed it right. This is a guidebook to city’s drinking joints. Kennedy has written three other novels on Copenhagen. This is his fourth. In this one the author tells the story of “the city of ever changing lights” by discussing with the reader beer, wine, Hans Christian Andersen and Goethe, sculptures of dead men in parks and women in bars. Hic!

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today dated 18 January 2015)

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The Ex-Files
Vandana Shah | Penguin | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.07.05 PMTechnology has made us believe that we all live in a global village, ground facts however are different. Each nation and each society is bound by its own mores and social inequities. Vandana Shah’s coming of age autobiography about a 3-year-old marriage and a 10-year-long divorce reflects the conflicted India we live in. On one had we have ‘well-to-do’ and ‘well-educated’ people who feel entitled to control women (be it fathers, relatives, husbands, sons), and on the other we have Shah, who’s asking, “Will someone please get up and change this system?” It’s a long battle. Still.

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The Small Big
Steve J Martin, Noah J Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini | Profile Books | Rs 399

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.07.27 PMModern studies in the field of neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology and behavioral economics have given us many insights about how we react and why. The authors of this book have gathered some of these ‘insights’ to help people organize their businesses and manage their employees. These tips warn the writers need to be used judiciously and wisely, “Trying to use too many tools of persuasion at once could actually make it more difficult to achieve the outcome you are hoping for.” In other words, the tips may not work all the time!

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Pathfinder
Angie Sage | Bloomsbury | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.07.43 PMEveryone needs magic. Angie Sage re-kindles it in her story of Alice Tod Hunter Moon, a young Pathfinder who leaves her seaside village in search of a lost friend, Ferdie. Rumour has it that Ferdie has been taken by the mysterious creature caked Garmin and Alice needs to rescue him. Set against the backdrop of Cornwall marshlands, this story is part of a trilogy sequel to the adventures of Septimus Heap and Jenna, the princes. For those who love the warmth and humour of Sage’s stories this trilogy is a special gift this season. Enjoy it.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 28 December 2014.)

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My Experience in Governance
Dr MA Ibrahimi | Har Anand Publications | Rs 595

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.03.39 PM In this entertaining memoir, the former chief secretary to Bihar government, Dr M.A. Ibrahimi, describes his years as government servant in some of Bihar’s most notorious districts. In late-1980s Dhanbad, he says, coal mafia ruled the district and many mafia dons were former labour union leaders. In Bhagalpur he describes the communal killings that followed the transportation of bricks, called Sheel Raths, to Ayodhya. He also talks of caste, regional and religious affiliations among the bureaucrats, police and in some cases, the judiciary. These things need to change, he says. We agree.

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The Fuss About Queens And Other Stories
Darius Cooper | Om Books | Rs 225

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.04.21 PM“Every story worth telling has to begin from some extraordinary premise or thesis. The ordinary just has no place in any good story,” says Darius Cooper in his introduction to 11 short stories presented in this book. He says he has written these stories to understand the sense of ‘daily homelessness’ that he has experienced as a member of Parsi community in India. In his first story ‘The Metaphorical Spot’ he writes, “These days Socrates swims in Neelkantha’s bloodstream,” cleverly using the image of Shiva having swallowed the poison just as Socrates or more obliquely, Parsis have done.

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Think Like A Freak
Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner | Allan Lane | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.04.05 PMIn their first book ‘Freakonomics!’ economist, Steven D Levitt and journalist, Stephen J Dubner pushed for thinking out of the box, in this book, they tell us that people are more self-interested than they admit and that they don’t mean what they say. If you want to quit, do it. Don’t wait. Quitting is not about failure. It’s a choice. “The two of us have had more luck and fun writing books together than we could have imagined,” they write, though at one point, they could not imagine quitting what they did before.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 30 November 2014.)

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Kamadeva: The God Of Desire
Anuja Chandramouli | Rupa | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.22 PMIn telling the story of Kamadeva, Anuja Chandramouli picks up stories from the Atharva Veda, the Puranas and the Bhagwad Gita to draw a linear narrative of the life and times of the God of Love. In her tale, women talk of equal rights but accept that they need to be ‘protected’. There is also a passage that describes a royal feast that includes: biryanis and kababs (delicacies that arrived in India with the Mughals). And then there is the written language – Queen’s English peppered with British sit-com gags like ‘don’t get your underwear in a bunch’ and the Indian English favourite, ‘bloody good’. Oh!

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Consiglieri: Leading From The Shadows
Richard Hytner | Profile Books | Rs 399

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.36 PMRichard Hytner was the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. Then he chose to be Deputy Chairman in the company. Why? He says he decided to become a deputy because he was rarely happy making the big, ugly decisions he had to make as the top man. In the hierarchy of numbers the importance of being an alpha male in a company can be self-destructive. “Other than in communist idylls and Hot Chocolate lyrics, not everyone can be a winner all the time,” he says. It’s time, Hytner asserts, to give due to the second rung in command.

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One Hundred Days
Shweta Modgil | Tara | Rs 199

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.47.48 PMIf you want a lesson in how India’s rich young adults live and dream, this book will give you one. Neel gives up her job to find her ‘dream’. Her friend decides to chronicle her ‘search’. They have set 100 days to achieve the target. There is no struggle here, just vapid self-absorption, aided by mollycoddling family members. Neel wants to learn acting. Rich doctor brother in USA enables it. In between the girls dine in upscale South Delhi restaurants and swim in boutique hotel in the hills and encourage each other to ‘dream’.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 12 October 2014.)

 

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The Planner
Tom Campbell |Bloomsbury| Rs 450

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.14.03 PMMany young people join the government sector with the idea of contributing to society. But when they find themselves at work, as Tom Campbell’s character the 32-year-old James does, they feel that somehow life is not what it seems. James’ friends appear to be happier and more successful. He envies them and tries to change – by planning a new life for himself. Located in London, the writer explores the nagging anxieties that dog men in capitalist society. This book will resonate with those who leave their government jobs to join corporate world in India.

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Leadership: The Gandhi Way
Virender Kapoor| Rupa| Rs 195

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.22.52 PMGandhi is always fashionable. He figures on our currency notes, looks down on us in school and government lobbies and offices, and of late, he has been invoked in government scheme kicked off by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Virender Kapoor, a self-professed thinker and inspirational guru points out how Gandhi can be relevant in liberalized industrial India. Some of his tips include: an emotional appeal always works, leaders must practice what they preach, diplomacy is a form of non-violence and last but not least, find yourself a guru, someone who’s wiser than you.

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Back in Time
Andaleeb Wajid| Bloomsbury| Rs 250

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 5.25.31 PMAimed at young adult reader, ‘Back in Time’, written by a Bangalore-based writer, Ansaleeb Wajid, is part of trilogy in which a teenaged girl, Tamanna travels back in time to the 1980s to discover reasons for the way her life is in 2012. In the second book, Tamanna finds herself back in 1980s and becomes privy to dark secrets that emerge as she interacts with her new found boyfriend, aunts, grandmother and strangely, her mother and father before they get married. A delightful, fast read.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 5 October 2014.)

 

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Six Meters of Pavement
Farzana Doctor | Rupa | Rs 295

In Six Meters of Pavement the author integrates the life of three characters to tell a story about loss and redemption. In it we meet Ismail Boxwala, a middle-aged Toronto resident, who can never forgive himself for causing his daughter’s death, his neighbour, Celia and a young bisexual woman Fatima Khan around whom the plot is built. Kicked out of her home for her ‘perverted’ lifestyle, Fatima approaches Ismail to mediate with her conservative Indian parents. This book, her second novel after Stealing Nasreen, won Farzana Doctor, a Canadian writer based in Toronto, the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in the lesbian fiction category.

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I Heart New York
Lindsey Kelk | HarperCollins | £ 6.99

This picture perfect teen novel encourages young women a change of scene to overcome their love troubles. In this case the heroine moves from London to New York to re-invent her life. While in England she does pretty little in New York she hits the web with a daily blog about her sex life. It gets her the attention she craves and of course, a job with a magazine. In between we are treated to sightseeing trips in and around New York. This is Kelk’s third book in the series after I Heart Hollywood and I Heart Paris.

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Content is Currency
Jon Wuebben | Nicholas Brealey Publishing | Rs 595

In Content is Currency, web strategist Wuebben explains the fine art of content development and marketing by utilising Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) techniques. “From what I’ve seen in the business world 80 per cent of businesses know only limited amount about the web and mobile content and how it affects them, no matter what they may think they know,” he says in the opening chapter of the book. Each of the chapters offers an overview of a ‘content type’, industry trends, best practices, how-to advice and case studies. Useful for any business, you may be engaged in.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 15 July 2012)

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The Peacemakers
Manu Bhagavan | Harper Collins| Rs 499

Meticulously researched and lucidly written, Prof Bhagavan’s The Peacemakers, resuscitates the Gandhi-Nehru ideal of ‘One World’ that has over the last 50 years been dismissed by the policy makers and political establishment as an idea that had worn its time. The book makes three distinct historical claims. One, that Gandhi and Nehru agreed that the idea of ‘nation states’ was pernicious and oppressive. Two, India played a central role in splitting civil and political rights from economic rights at the United Nations in the 1950s, and three, Nehru’s foreign policy of ‘Non-alignment’ was not an incoherent practice of neutralism but a pro-active policy of engagement.

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Rivers Past
Amiya Banerjee | Whitewater Publications| Rs 175

Rivers Past draws a picture of a hapless Delhi that over the last 20 years spilled over the banks of Yamuna and lost its moorings. For Banerjee, a psychiatric by profession, the perplexity of modern day human condition mirrors the incoherent and bullish rise of the townships that dot East Delhi’s landscape. There was a time, says the author, when we were a great nation. “It didn’t last long. We’ve fallen fast, in just one generation. Then, we were willing to pay with our lives for what we believed in. Now, the opinions and principles of a man can be bought and sold in cash.”

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Take Charge
Gaurav Marya| Entrepreneur India| Rs 495

How do you develop an entrepreneur mindset? The writer of this book, says, hey look at me! Marya’s first book, we learn, was a primer on franchising based on his business experiences. His second, Take Charge, argues for a way that “would empower successful entrepreneurs to distill knowledge from their experience and disseminate this knowledge through books, seminars and workshops.” It seems, Marya’s venture into publishing, (Entrepreneur India Publishing Ltd is his own venture) is his first step in this direction. The book just wrote itself. With the help of references from books past and uninhibited downloads from the Internet.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 22 April 2012)

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