Thursday, September 27, 2007


by Ayn Rand

This book was recommended to me almost 7 years back but somehow never got down to reading it until now. But let me tell you, I'm happy I read it now after having... lets say "grown up" ! Its very difficult to describe it, its about this architect Howard Roark, who believes that Man is born to be a creator, and altruism is actually way to rid him of all his abilities and keep him from achieving greatness. The book is written in a very gripping manner and it has a very distinctivly different way of writing. The characters are developed and explored very well, and atleast for me there were quite a few "Wow" moments. The characters leave an impact on you and it questions quite a few of your beliefs. Definately worth a read, irrespective of who's philosophy you agree with, Roark or Toohey ( the other end of the spctrum from Roark) so somwhere in between.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pariah Tales by J.P. Lowe

Good news! PARIAH TALES, a new book of short stories by J.P. Lowe has just been published by Onzo Imprints. Lowe is an incredibly imaginative, talented short-story writer, and PARIAH TALES is his third book.

What can I say? Reading one of Lowe's collections is like opening a box of delicious candy, each piece exquisite, unique, and a pure delight. PARIAH TALES is no exception. This 76 page book contains 10 short stories, many of which have previously appeared in literary magazines around the world, including Barbaric Yamp, Big Toe Review, Hob-Nob, Pens on Fire, Pulp & Dagger Fiction, Gold Dust Magazine, Internet Fiction, and Open Wide.

Very impressive. But what can readers and fans expect from PARIAH TALES? "The title says what it is, and what it's about," says Lowe. "The collection is centered around the notion of being alone, either by choice or by circumstance. Something we can all relate to at one time or another in our lives. The stories are filled with characters who find themselves set apart for various reasons. Some stories are humorous, while others are more serious, but all share this common concept."

Onzo Imprints has published PARIAH TALES in a small, signed, collector edition. If you are interested in owning a copy, send a check or money order for $3.00 made payable to: J.P. Lowe. Mail to: J.P. Lowe, P.O. Box 39, Addison, IL 60101, USA (free shipping in the USA). For more information go to or email


Review by Laura Stamps

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eleven Minutes

by Paulo Coelho
This is the second book of Paulo Coelho read by me. It was strongly recommended to me by one of my friends. But, I didn’t read it. I bought it to gift to one of my friends. After writing my name on it, when I gifted, and in the free time, I turned few pages, I was gripped by the story. So, I borrowed the gifted book from my friend, and read it.

In the start, it seemed to me as Paulo Coelho has resolved to write porn stories. But, slowly the things started changing. My perspective started changing. And I was thrilled by the story. The book is of around 270 pages, and I completed it in 2 days, reading it while eating, while travelling, and above all I compromised on my sleep.

In the first half, it became clear to me, that the story is actually having the base of the thought process, which governed ‘Alchemist’. All the same terminology, dreams, beginner’s luck, conspiracy of universe…. But, the difference was that it wasn’t any story of some traveler, shepherd, artist. It was the story of prostitute. I think , Paulo used his good knowledge of Brazil, his native place, to make the first half of the story. I was simply mesmerized how, the story line of ‘Alchemist’ be weaved into the story of Prostitute.

In the second half, the story took lot of turns. And it was mainly focusing on the very basic instinct known as sex, from woman’s perspective. The author, was trying to pass a message to the readers, that is something divine about sex. He tried to describe indirectly the female and male’s anatomy, the concept of sacred sex, the history of prostitution, the concept of masochism, and so on. It was good information.

But, after reading the whole book, what I can see Paulo Choelho has dared more than he should have. He simply complicated the very concept of sex and the relation between male and female. He tried to pass on some feel good message, but in vain.

I haven’t read any other book of Paulo Choelho, except ‘Alchemist’. After reading ‘Alchemist’, he commanded my respect, and I yearned to read more of his works. But, after reading this, all the respect has been converted to disgust, and I will refrain myself to further read any of his works.

Another anomally, in the book I found was the very title itself ‘Eleven Minutes’. The concept behind the name, according to author, is that world over the intercourse time is around eleven minutes, which drives the very name of the book. I would like to ask, how the hell he can generalize the intercourse time, when there is huge amount of variation among the races. Again, Paulo has lost his daredevil work.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by Mark Twain

This book was in my course in class 5th. And the good thing about this book was that the children, who normally hate anything related to course, simply loved it.

The story is about young boy Tom Sawyer and his friends Huckleberry Finn, Joe Harper and his girlfriend Becky Thacher. Another legendary character in the story is Aunt Polly, the foster parent of Tom.

The story is full of adventures of Tom and his friends, which are quite common in childhood like stealing, acting as Pirates. The boy is really dare devil and diplomat. The best of his tricks I remember is about painting the fence, where he convinces all his friends that it’s a very enjoyable job, and he takes payment for allowing them to paint the fence.

The number of sequels to this novel has been written Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer Detective.

It is considered to be the legendary work of Mark Twain, and became International Bestseller. Number of movies were also made based on this novel.

I recommend it to all the children, to have fun. And also, I recommend it to all the adults, who wants to revisit the memories of their childhood.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Its Your Ship by Captain D Michael Abrashoff

A review of the book
by: Captain D Michael Abrashoff

“It’s Your Ship”


Peter A Hunter, author of Breaking the Mould, reviews a new and unlikely management book by US Naval Captain D Michael Abrashoff.


Captain Abrashoff has written a phenomenal book about the journey he made with his ship the USS Benfold, a guided missile destroyer, from a vessel that was failing on all counts, into the best ship in the US Navy at a time of active conflict in the Persian Gulf.
You could be forgiven for assuming that this was another book about a Gung Ho great guy who dragged his crew kicking and screaming up to standard through his sheer force of will and amazing personality.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Captain Abrashoff realised that the only way to achieve the best for his ship was for his crew to want to achieve the best.
He knew that telling his crew to be the best would not make a blind bit of difference, he knew he had to create the environment in which they would want to become the best and he did that by allowing them to become proud of what they did.
This book tells the stories of what he did, and how the crew responded, to change this crew from a collection of losers into the tight knit crew of the most effective ship in the Pacific fleet.
Captain Abrashoff ‘s efforts were always about the way his crews felt about what they did.
By changing the environment that they worked in he changed the way that they felt about what they did and the result was their phenomenal performance.
As he said, “Given the right environment there are few limits to what people can achieve.”
In this book Captain Abrashoff shows us what happens when we do receive the suggestions from below, not only the hard financial value that occurs when we do something in a different way as a result of listening to the needs of the workforce but also the change in the way that we make the workforce feel about what they do as a result of the fact that someone has listened to them Normal behaviour is to ignore the junior.
One of his crew, David Lauer, had been ignored in his last job before being transferred to USS Benfold. He had ended up on a charge of insubordination and had been transferred as a last resort.
By listening to his ideas and giving him the authority to act on them Captain Abrashoff allowed him to become the imaginative independent thinker that he always had been instead of the insubordinate ne’er-do-well he had been forced to become because nobody would listen to his ideas.
In one environment David had been ignored, the result was his dysfunctional behaviour.
On USS Benfold he was listened to and as a result became Captain Abrashoff’s personal assistant bypassing on the way five more senior people.
The fault was not his, it was the environment that had been created for him on his previous ship where nobody had listened.
Captain Abrashoff understood that the way people behave is the result of the environment that the manager creates for them.
He was the manager of his ship and he deliberately set out to create the environment in his ship that allowed his crew to take pride in what they did.
The performance improvement that resulted for his ship, and in some cases for the entire Navy, were phenomenal.
The stories that Captain Abrashoff tells in this book are not however about the Navy.
These are stories about people and how there are two ways to manage people.
The first is the traditional command and control that Captain Abrashoff found so destructive when he first arrived on the USS Benfold.
The second is the supportive recognition driven environment that Captain Abrashoff created.
The way he did this, the stories and the strategies he used, translate into almost any working environment on this planet because the performance improvement he created was not about the Navy or process.
The performance improvement on USS Benfold was about people and an understanding that the way they are treated has a direct affect on their ability to perform.
The manager is responsible for performance, but most managers drive performance down by shouting and telling people what to do.
Captain Abrashoff discovered how to drive performance up by listening to what his crew needed to do a good job, then he gave them it.
As he said: “The more I thanked them for their hard work, the harder they worked.”
Any manager reading this book will recognise problems and performance that they see on a daily basis in their own organisation.
Unlike most management books, Captain Abrashoff does not suggest academic solutions or strategies that might work.
He tells simple stories of what actually happened, what did work and can be repeated in any organisation.
Captain Abrashoff’s philosophy is simple and the results are stunning. If you don’t read this book, when you start to lose your market share, consider seriously if it might be because your competitors have read it.

Peter A Hunter
Author – Breaking the Mould

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

I read this book around 2 years ago. Actually I bought it for somebody else, but couldn't remove my hands from it.

At that time, I met a fatal accident and was on total bed rest. My biggest challenge was not to read or think any stuff, which may bring out aggression stored in me. That could have been fatal from healing point of view. So, out of all the other books I picked this one.

The best thing I liked about the story was its fabel or fairy tale like approach. It can be as meaningful to the adult as it can be to the child. The story answered many questions, which were still unanswered in my life. And gave a very positive feeling about the very thing called 'life'.

The best line out of the book is " If you really want something, the whole of the universe conspires along with you". I fully agree with this line as it has come 100% true in my life till date. The best phrase in the book is 'The Beginner's Luck', which again I have experienced many of times in life.

The style of writing is typical of Paulo Choelo, where he tries to bring the inspiration and enlightenment in life via simple but eternal entities like wind, river, trees,desert,.......

Though the book gave me a feeling of vindication, which I am sure every reader must have got, but I doubt it. Actually, the problem is that the thoughts and feelings expressed in the book, can't be expressed but has to be experienced. So, till the time I don't fully experience most of the things in the book, I am bound to doubt it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Breaking The Mould

By Peter Hunter

This book was recently gifted to me by my friend. He has been insisting me to read it for last three years. But, I was lazy and not interested. So, now when he just gifted to me, I was caught, I had to read it. And so I read it.

The book was about the ‘Change Management’. I have myself seen, lot of consultancy projects going on in the companies I worked for. Normally, they are at the top and middle management levels. And rarely at lower management or operator level. Above all, I never saw actual results being delivered. So, according to me all these change management drives were nothing more than lip service.

With these preconceived notions, under compulsion I picked up this book. But, there was one relief, very small size of the book. So, I started reading. And found its about oil rigs. Now, oil rigs are greek to me. Still, I carried on. And after 20 pages, my interest started building up. Though I was not able to visualize the exact actions going on the rig, but I could very well correlate the attitude and feelings of human beings with the operators in the production department, where I worked.

I carried on. There was one story, then there was another. In each story, there was one technique of change management was described. It was all beautiful and vivid description.

The best part about the stories I liked was the actual results the methodology delilvered and these were the real life stories, not the cooked one’s.

At the end of the book, I was just wondering that ‘Why I didn’t read this book 3 years ago?’ I am sure, had I read it three years ago, it would have helped me and the environment around me in a substantial manner. After I read it, I just called my friend who gifted the copy to me, and apologized for not taking his advice and reading it since last 3 years.

Now, I recommend this book, to all the professionals(irrespective of the field), who want to make the working environment around them to be more conducive and efficient. And if you don’t read this book now, and do read it later on, and you remember my advice, then do mail me and apologize :)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

MAD MONEY - Watch TV Get Rich!


Do you invest in stocks or may be plan to do so in near future.

Have you learned the tricks actually rules and the methodology to make most out of the stock market?

Well if the answer is no for the above question, then I recommend GRAB THIS BOOK.

The author of this book is James J Cramer who has a vast experience in stock markets and is a one fun guy to watch on his TV show that hosts on CNBC, USA. He is as colorful as a stock analyst 62 years old can he doesnt look like 62 at all.

Here is how the book goes:

Jim (James J Cramer) educates about the stocks in a very easy way. He starts with how to identify your financial goals, and your risk taking ability.

From there he builds on how to identify the right stock for you, he teaches about how and what kind of homework to do before investing into a particular stock.

He then goes on to explain how to buy stocks, how to do the maintenance homework on each stock you own and then about the style to sell the stocks to register some BOOYAAH...MAD MONEY into your accounts!

His stuff works man...his stuff works. He also talks about some new rules he came up with since his earlier books.


Lets make some money, MAD MONEY!

- Rishab