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Archive for the ‘Economy – World’ Category


Arvind Krishna Mehrotra: Collected Poems
Introduction by Amit Chaudhuri | Penguin | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.29.21 PMIt’s a delight to see Penguin bring out a collection of poems by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra covering the period from 1960s to the present. It includes not only his own poems but also his translation of Prakrit love poetry, Kabir’s ‘dohas’ and string of Hindi, Bengali and Gujarati contemporary poets such as Nirala, Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, Adil Mansuri and Shakti Chattopadhyay. Wish there was more – as Mehrotra invokes Kabir, “There is enough ink/To fill the seven seas,/Enough paper/To cover the hills,/It won’t even do/For the first verse, says Kabir.”

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When Google Met Wikileaks
Julian Assange | Navanya | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.28.49 PM“Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. The firm’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower,” warns a blurb on the back flap. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, knows a thing or two about this having met Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt while living under house arrest in London. He says people, “Don’t appreciate how much large technology firms can threaten the liberty of individuals” and they don’t really understand what Google can do, if it turns rogue. Frightening.

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Young Turks
Shareen Bhan & Syna Dehnugara | Random House | Rs 599

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.29.08 PMAnchor and series editor of ‘Young Turks’ on CNBC-TV18, Shareen Bhan, says that in the last 15 years she has met people who have the ‘courage and tenacity to think differently, think big, and challenge the status quo’. In this book she selects 13 such entrepreneurs. The list includes a mobile data base company, bus ticketing firm, online retailers, internet marriage bureau and digital asset managers. There is not a single woman entrepreneur among them. The tech industry in India, it seems , is driven by the same fund traditional businesses are. Men invest in men.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 14 December 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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As China Goes So Goes The World
Karl Gerth| Hill and Wang| 258 pp, $ 16

This offering from Oxford University historian is a masterful study of the economic evolution of contemporary China. He asks the question, we sometimes stumble upon in our moments of lucidity – ‘what are the ‘collective’ implications of ‘individual’ consumer choices for China’ and ‘how does it affect the rest of the world’? They are already shaping the future, we will all share, says Gerth. Chinese government and business leaders, for instance, view domestic ownership of global brands and intellectual property as symbolic of national wealth and power, the economic equivalent of hosting the Olympics, but much more permanent. Think of the consequences? Think about what India is doing.

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 The Global Economic Crisis Through an Indian Looking Glass
Adarsh Kishore, Michael Debabrata Patra & Partha Ray| Sage| 318 pp, Rs 795

When a book opens with a foreword that states that ‘the recent global crisis was truly global’ and that the authors wrote it while serving the IMF one doesn’t exactly shiver in anticipation. One doesn’t expect any meaningful insights either. But one does look for an analysis irrespective of whether the writers toe the government line or not. And one assumes that the book is not a just an ego massager. But assumptions are often proven wrong. This lofty presentation is just a sequencing of crisis and policy responses thereof. Its analysis of impact of global crisis on India is to view RBI’s policies through rose tainted glasses. All is well, no mess. Just rising inflation.

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Conqueror
Conn Iggulden| HarperCollins| 546 pp, Rs 299

The intriguing thing about writers of pulp, whether its about modern events or history fiction is their ability to build stories into roller coaster ‘epics’. Iggulden, as the book jacket informs us, is one of the best selling authors in this genre. His first was on Julius Caesar followed by Mongol Khans of Central Asia. The latter comprises four books. The first three look at the exploits of Genghis Khan and the fourth Conqueror at the world of scholar king-turned empire builder, Kublai Khan. It will not be long before writers such as Iggulden will start tearing into our history as well. Think ‘Babur, the Mighty Tiger’ or ‘Akbar The Great’.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 4 December 2011)

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