Monday, July 30, 2007


A criminal who escapes from an Australian prison and lands up in Bombay, India finds himself totally in love with this city and its people. This nearly 1000 page story describes the city, its people, its criminal underworld and its places in such excruciating detail that even Bombay dwellers would really appreciate that the author has done his research well. The story is a first person narrative from Lindsay, about his experiences as he surrenders himself to the life and people of Bombay without realising that he himself is actually only a part in a much bigger plan thought by more powerful people. Lindsay (which is not really his "real" name) runs away to India where he comes to be known as "Linbaba". He visits a village of his tour guide/cab driver to be rechristined with the new name "Shantaram". When he is robbed off of all his money, he has no other option but to go and live in the Bombay slums. He then gradually becomes a crucial part of the Bombay mafia by joining in with Khader Khan who is the topmost mafia don at that time. Once in, he is introduced to and trained in all kinds of black market businesses like the fake passport business, foreign currency business and such. The real detail in which the author explains the functioning of each of these underworld transactions is mind boggling. As also is the explanation of all the beatings and tortures endured by the prisoners in Bombay jails. Lin himself has to endure these a couple of times and he narrates at great length the affect of these wounds on his body and moreso on his mind! He is quite a real person, not some random hero who does not crack even under infinite pressure. He does break when he loses his only friends, he does give in to drugs when he loses trust in everyone around him and he does revive himself back to avenge, to fight and to live!

All in all it is an interesting read with a good amount of humour sprinkled all over the narrative derived especially from the broken english dialogues spoken by the local Bombay'ites.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The most awaited book of millions of fans all over the world, finally released with much fanfare. Long queues snaking up outside bookstores hours before they even opened the shutters.. that is the power of Pottermania! So was the book worth the hype? Did it justify all the months of speculations? Well, the answer differs from one to another. Many are ecstatic, but many are disappointed too. What follows is my personal take on the book. I wont be giving out the actual plot and suspense as there may be those who havnt yet read it, but there will be a few things given out, so proceed at your own risk!

Well, to begin with, a month before the release, I had read a fan-written version of the Deathly Hallows, and I must admit, I almost believed that its the real one. Because the book was so gripping, so endearing and so well structured. The only thing missing was the answers to all those questions which formulated in our minds through books 1 to 6. What was Dumbledore's youth like? Why did Snape do what he did? What was Lily's and Petunia's childhood like? Why did Petunia hate the magical world? And these were the very questions Rowling has answered. And thats what makes the book so special. Its not just about the end of Voldemort, its not just about whether Harry lives or dies, but its also about answering all those smaller questions, like clarifying the fact that house-elves can disapparate and apparate where humans cant, a point which had me wondering as they have mentioned time and again that nobody can apparate within Hogwarts, but the elves kept doing it! The books about the history of people we took for granted. Its about people who wernt always the good and noble people they are in the present or wernt always mean and vicious as we assumed them to be, these people had another opposite facet too.. Which most of us would never have guessed. And that's where the genius of Rowling lies. In providing a structure, a logic, an end.. to everything that she has hitherto written. And although the quest for horcruxes wasnt too exciting, infact it was pretty frustrating when nothing really was happening, it seemed to drag on at those times, and although the destruction too of the Horcruxes wasnt too challenging, the final battle more than made up for it. The descriptions, the sheer narration where you can actually imagine each and every scene unfolding in front of your eyes, made the book well worth its Rs. 975/- price tag! However, she could have made the deaths of some lovable characters more painful. The emotion involved was far too less as compared to the beautiful way in which she portrayed Sirius & Dumbledore's deaths which had driven, me atleast, to tears. This time around, the deaths I felt, were too hurried up. It could be that because they happened right in the thick of the battle, they wernt as elaborate, but I would have expected more on the deaths of 2 characters atleast which were just brushed away. But the end more than makes up for it. No Im not talking about the Hindi-movie style epilogue, but the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore, which revealed all there was to know. And just for that 1 long conversation, this book far outperforms the previous ones. For those who have been reading Harry Potter, you obviously have to read this last one, but for those who all this has been gibberish, take my advice, read the series (you cannot substitute it with the movies mind you!), you will be a part of a make-believe world you never guessed you could ever care so much for.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

When in Rome

Author: Gemma Townly
To be honest when I saw the book in my friends hand and she did told me to read it I really thought it will be another management or the boring book kind of stuff. Started the first page phew... effect was spellbinding. I can never believe it. The book is so honest depiction of the feelings of a girl. She wants to be acclaimed, noted, be important and yet so confused about life. Georgie is a nice girl who is attractive good looking but always rates herself as an average. She hates meetings and office stuff. She wants to freak out, out have fun, stays at home watch TV, be very rich and lastly to have someone who don’t just love her but who love her like she is the most important in this world probably an actress. And fortunately she has David her boyfriend a nice calm, composed fellow loving her like a maniac but a boring accountant and too much workaholic. So the Rome trip they are planning for last two years is delayed despite purchasing the tickets as surprise for David because of his work. The problem starts when Georgie meets her old boyfriend Mike, a heartthrob of girls, spoilt and living parasite. But still he is most noticed guy. Mike is now having a car, flourishing business and most important he is interested in Georgie again after dumping her two years back by just leaving a note in the kitchen. David is dam against this guy and asked her to not to have a talk with him. But who the hell is telling her the reason? No one. Mike invites her to a trip to Rome. Her dream and she accepts without telling David. But David is in Rome for office work despite him was headed for Geneva. How the hell it happened??? Now they are back and David doesn’t know anything about her visit to Rome with Mike. Although she was with David all the time at visit and avoided Mike because David is now capturing her thoughts like anything. But after returning Mike wants a favor from old friend. The favor involves David and she is certain if she don’t help David is in trouble. But Mike bluffed her and he is the culprit who is guilty. Suddenly David didn’t turn out to be jsut an accountant but a high profile investigator not James Bond but at least this important that Georgie's life was in constant danger. The problem is David never shared this and Georgie never knew this. But because of her david is in deep trouble. So Gerogie and her mom stake their lives to get the ends meet again. She is successful to save David and Mike is arrested. The ending is happy but wait there is more to it. They have to redefine the relationship. So what are you waiting for go n grab a copy. I suggest all can read perhaps girls as they know all this, especially guys because they don’t know girls. Happy reading.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Scales by Anthony G. Williams

If you’ve been searching for a science fiction novel with a touch of fantasy and the pace of a thriller, look no more. SCALES is the story of Matt Johnson, a man whose home mysteriously explodes one evening. Engulfed in flames, Johnson is rushed to the hospital, his entire body badly burned. When he recovers against all odds, doctors discover his skin is now covered with a fine layer of scales, which change color according to his moods.

Thus begins one man’s journey to discover not only what happened to him but also what he has become. “The genesis of this story was a bit unusual” said Anthony Williams. “I woke up from a dream in which scales had started to grow over my skin. I lay there thinking about that for a while, considering what the consequences might be, especially if other changes happened to me as well. I kicked the idea around for months before deciding the best way to get it out of my mind was to start writing the story. Once I sat down and began writing, I just let the story run.”

In an effort to adjust to his startling new appearance, Matt changes his name to Cade, and soon realizes he has also acquired the ability to heal certain diseases. Cade’s quest leads him from one mission to the next, from healer to world diplomat to harbinger. I can’t say too much, because there are so many twists and turns in this ingenious plot I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises. However, this is such an original and unusual story I wouldn’t be surprised if a filmmaker snapped it up one day. Hollywood, are you listening?

The cover of SCALES is the most striking I have seen and not easily forgotten. “I had the idea for it in my mind for some time…just a human face transformed into a reptilian hybrid,” said Williams. “Oleg Volk, a wonderful graphic designer who had read my first novel THE FORESIGHT WAR, contacted me and offered to design the cover of SCALES for me. I jumped at the chance, of course, specified what I was looking for, and he delivered!”

This well-written novel was a pleasure to read, and I look forward to enjoying future efforts from this incredibly talented novelist. Highly recommended.

© Laura Stamps


Laura Stamps is an award-winning novelist and poet, as well as a Wiccan and feral cat rescuer. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author of thirty-five novels and poetry books, including “The Witchery Series,” a popular series of magickal urban fantasy novels found at

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Dilbert Priciple

Words can do no justice to the amazing humour that scott adams brings to the table with this book. If you are a Dilbert fan, this is a must read for you. He mocks consultants, HR policies and anything and everythings remotely connected to management right from cubicle space to TQM to compensation to leadership in this typical Dilbert satire ! A must read .. especially if you are a management student with a sense of humor :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

22 Immutable Laws of Branding

By Al Ries & Laura Ries

Smart and accessible, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the definitive text on branding, pairing anecdotes about some of the best brands in the world, like Rolex, Volvo, and Heineken, with the signature savvy of marketing gurus Al and Laura Ries. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding proclaims that the only way to stand out in today's marketplace is to build your product or service into a “brand” — and provides the step-by-step instructions you need to do so. The Rieses divulge the controversial and “rational” strategies and secrets that both small and large companies have used to establish brands. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the essential primer on building a category-dominating, world-class brand. So, one of the world's authorities on branding turns his attention to some of the best -- and worst -- decisions made by America's top companies in regard to branding.

“The 22 Immutable laws of Branding “is very similar in presentation, format and even writing style to the "Laws of Marketing". It's an accessible, easy read in which each law is broken down in to a very short chapter that makes it as enjoyable to dip in to while on the go as it does to read cover to cover. The book also covers examples cited of different companies and what were the
circumstances that could have revamped their current positions .Every example is unique and represents one of the 22 laws that the author wants to convey.

This book focuses on branding. Using brands that were current at the time, it presents the authors thoughts on how a brand should be maintained, why tightening your focus is always better than line extension and why a number of the less successful brands suffer their fates. Using a number of (mostly) anecdotal examples the essential points of what not to do with your brand are conveyed in an easy to following and occasionally light-hearted tone. Although the "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding" contains nothing as profound as the "Laws of Marketing" it does provide some valuable insights on how the big players of the time, some smart and some not so, approached their brands and tried to exploit them.

According to Al and Laura Ries, a brand name is a name in the mind of the consumer that conveys a single proposition about a particular product or service. The power in a brand name lies in its ability to positively influence purchasing behavior. In an increasingly cluttered information society, a powerful brand image can act as a guidepost for the consumer in making a purchase decision.

What is accelerating this trend is the decline of selling. As a profession and as a function, selling is slowly sinking like the Titanic. Today, most products and services are bought, not sold. And branding greatly facilitates this process.

Branding "pre-sells" the product or service to the user. Branding is simply an efficient way to sell things. A successful branding program, therefore, should differentiate your product or service from all the similar products or services out there. A successful branding program is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like your product.

The concept of singularity makes certain that no one brand can possibly have a universal appeal. In this book, the authors discuss 'laws' of branding that they have found to hold true across innumerable product and service offerings. A major problem for companies is the temptation to extend a successful brand into other, sometimes only peripherally-related, areas. Such brand extensions only serve to confuse the consumer and dilute the single message strength of the core brand.

The 22 laws defined by authors are:

1) Law of expansion
2) Law of publicity
3) Law of contraction.
4) Law of advertising
5) Law of words
6) Law of credentials
7) Law of category
8) Law of name
9) Law of extension
10) Law of generic
11) Law of name
12) Law of sub-brands
13) Law of siblings
14) Law of clour
15) Law of borders
16) Law of consitency
17) Law of change
18) Law of mortality
19) Law of singularity
20) Law of shape
21) Law of fellowship
22) Law of quality

A very nice books to know about brands and how each law is applicable in different fields.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran better known for 'spirits rebellion' is the author of the book titled ‘the prophet’..first part of a trilogy..

In a society confused and riddled with choices and diversions where sometimes what really seems to be missing from life is life itself..the book is like a guiding light and a must read for almost anybody ,particularly a young mind who is all the more baffled…

Not everybody will enjoy this book simply because it is again ‘religious philosophy’ and thus is in its own way miles apart from practical life and all the more from professional …
But if you choose to dare..
And dare to see the present life in the mirror of ancient wisdom and see the ugliness of it all…..

Buy this book and read it..
This book is in the form of a dialogue with the prophet ‘almustafa’ who has waited twelve years in the city of orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his the book reads …(but actually it means that a great spiritual master ls going to shed his earthly garment to take up the divine form…)

And the people of oraphalese are asking this great saint about every possible aspect of it love, marriage, beauty, children, giving, eating , on and so forth…
And the language as if flows like a cascade and takes you with itself to merge in the ocean of utter bliss ..

Only if you can learn to flow with it…

I can’t help but quote a few stanzas so as to elucidate the beauty of the contents…

About clothes…
“forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter
And a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds
Long to play with your hair”

About love..
“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.But if you love and must needs have desires,Let these be your desires:To melt and be like a running brook that sings itsits melody to the night.To know the pain of too much tenderness.To be wounded by your own understanding of love:And to bleed willingly and joyfully...And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heartand a song of praise upon your lips..”

To my knowledge the book is a masterpiece …
..a true work of art….and as they say all artists are closer to god..
It is undeniably a vehicle to …divinity..or at least much better worldliness….

To read this work you can go to this link

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Positioning - The battle of your mind

"Al Ries and Jack Trout on Positioning:
The Battle for Your Mind", the book that launched the concept of positioning and caused a major paradigm shift in marketing thinking, define positioning as how you differentiate your product or service in the mind of your customer or prospect. It is where your product or service fits into the marketplace in relation to your competition based on the perception of your customers and prospects.

In this book, Al Ries and Jack Trout describe how positioning is used as a communication tool to reach target customers in a crowded marketplace. Jack Trout published an article on positioning in 1969, and regular use of the term dates back to 1972 when Ries and Trout published a series of articles in Advertising Age called “The Positioning Era”. Not long after, Madison Avenue advertising executives began to develop positioning slogans for their clients and positioning became a key aspect of marketing communications.

Book Description
Positioning, a concept developed by the authors, has changed the way people advertise. The reason? It's the first concept to deal with the problems of communicating in an over communicated society. With this approach, a company creates a 'position' in the prospect's mind, one that reflects the company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Witty and fast-paced, this book spells out how to position a leader so that it gets into the mind and stays there, position a follower in a way that finds a 'hole' not occupied by the leader, and avoid the pitfalls of letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one. Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, Positioning reveals the fascinating case histories and anecdotes behind the campaigns of many stunning successes and failures in the world of advertising.


The average American consumer is exposed to $376 worth of advertising per day over 365 days. With this enormous volume of communication, the only way to score big is to be selective and concentrate on narrow targets through Positioning. It’s about how you position a product in the mind of your prospect.

Do you know how your product or service is positioned in the minds of your customers or prospects?

Your company's position in the market place evolves from the defining characteristics of its product or service; namely, pricing, quality, service, distribution and packaging. It is critical for you to define their market position. If you do not, your competitors will do it for you. Through the initial strategy process or a stand-alone market analysis, at Image Perspective, we seek to discover your unique positioning. Once it is defined, we exploit it to secure a memorable position in the mind of your customers or prospects.

When positioning your company, it is important to consider the following elements: the attributes that differentiate your product or service in the market place, your competition and the demographics of your target market.

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind-one that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, advertising gurus Ries and Trout explain how to:

- Make and position an industry leader
- Position a follower so that it can occupy a niche not claimed by the leader
- Avoid letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one.
- Positioning also shows you how to:
- Use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share
- Build your strategy around your competition's weaknesses
- Reposition a strong competitor and create a weak spot
- Use your present position to its best advantage
- Choose the best name for your product
- Determine when-and why-less is more
- Analyze recent trends that affect your positioning.

Ries and Trout provide many valuable case histories and penetrating analyses of some of the most phenomenal successes and failures in advertising history. Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, Positioning is required reading for anyone in business today.


By Joseph Heller

Catch-22 is a satirical, historical fiction novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the latter stages of the Second World War from 1943 onwards, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the Twentieth century.The novel follows Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier, and a number of other characters. Most events occur while the airmen of the Fighting 256th (or "two to the fighting eighth power") Squadron are based on the island of Pianosa, west of Italy. Many events in the book are repeatedly described from differing points of view, so the reader learns more about the event from each iteration.

I have heard about this novel a lot from my friends, from different magazines and other sources. So, I got it as my birthday gift from one of my close friends. And after hearing a lot about it, when I read it. At start, as usual I thought the plot is being built. And the problem was even after 100 pages I still felt I need to be more patient and let the plot build. But around 150 pages, I lost my patience and simply torn the book and threw it in the dustbin. This was happened to me for the first time. I don’t understand why the book was written and why so much popular. According to me, it was pure clutter. My biggest mistake in my reading life was to read this shit 150 pages and to corrode my mind with this shit. I simply tell anybody to not to read it if you intend to and throw it in dustbin if you have already got the copy of it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

All The Troubles of The World- The Short Story

By Isaac Asimov

This story is part of Isaac Asimov's The Complete Stories Volume 1 series.I read this story around 7 years back. It was just my intro to the mature sci fi world. First time I came to understand what is MULTIVAC, a giant computer or network of computer or Giant Human Computer or ……………………….

The story is about very advanced stage of human civilization, where the whole world is governed by MUTIVAC. The earth is in the happiest and most prosperous state ever. No sign of crime. But if somebody has seen the movie ‘Minority Report’, the similar things start occurring. Yes, according to me ‘Minority Report’ is based on this story by Isaac Asimov.

I can’t tell you about the whole story, coz it’s a suspense sci-fi and one of my favorites.

Some interesting fact about this story.

Once Isaac Asimov was being interviewed and enquired that how he comes up with so many new stories, to which, he replied that according to him there is no new story but the old story in the new form. He gave the example of the reviewed story that it was adopted by him from Age old story of Old Greek Oracle.

So, at last I will recommend this book to any person with brains enough to imagine beyond the world and time. This story is indeed unique

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lair's poker

Lair's Poker by Michel Lewis

Just finished reading Lair's Poker. The book is about the author's days as a bond trader with Solomon brothers, and how the rise and fall of solomon brothers and the bond market sort of co-incided with his career. Lair's Poker is a game where each player holds a dollar bill in his hand and each one makes a claim about the count of a particular number. E.g four 7s i.e there are four 7s in the numbers of the dollar bills of all the players combined. The next guy can either up the number or call a new bid for another number and the game goes on till some one challenges the call made by a player.

Apparently it was the favourite game of Bond traders on the solomon floor.
An interesting and gripping book about the life of a trader during the good old days when rules were not so strict. Narated in a very lucid manner without any unnecessary jargon. Makes an interesting read even if you have no intentions of being an i-banker.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


By Leon Uris

I can't tell you what is there in this book, because I m not qualified enough to say that. And it will be blasphemy to try to do that. But I will try to tell why you should read this book. So WHY!!!!

  • Read this book if you want to know how a person feels if thrown out of his home for 3000 years.

  • Read this book if you want to know how a person feels when treated as a secondary citizen for 3000 years.

  • Read this book if you want to know how a person can still love God when God shows the utmost brutality towards him.

  • Read this book if you want to know what is Ghetto.

  • Read this book if you want to know how a person feels, when he knows his whole family is marked with most brutal death.

  • Read this book if you want to know how it feels, when a person contributes in the low level work of the actual execution of his whole community.

  • Read this book if you want to know how it feels, when everywhere you see but only one that is enemy.

  • Read this book if you want to know, what patriotism is.

  • Read this book if you want to know how it feels, to be in a Concentration camp.

  • Read this book if you want to know how it feels, when your new born baby is snatched from you to be thrown in concentration camp.

  • Read this book if you want to know what is ISRAEL all about.

  • Read this book if you want to know why there is constant war in GULF.

  • Read this book if you want to know how Judaism gave birth to two of the most followed religions of the world.

  • Read this book if you want to know what impact Holy Wars is having on today’s political landscape

  • Read this book if you want to know, that why everybody says “Its good to die for your country”, while Israeli’s says “It’s good to have country to die for”.

  • Read this book if you want to understand, how a teenager is trained to become a soldier for the survival.

  • Read this book if you want to understand, what despair is.

  • Read this book if you want to understand, what faith is.

  • Read this book if you want to understand, what courage is.

While reading this book I cried for hours. And it is one of the only three books I have wept while reading. One is Lajja, you can see its review in this blog and the second one is this and wait for the third one. What I can say about this book is that it’s a matter of experience rather than narration.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


By Herb Cohen

Regardless of who you are or what you want, you can negotiate anything, promises Herb Cohen, in his masterpiece YOU CAN NEGOTIATE ANYTHING. Herb Cohen has been a participant in thousands of negotiations, including every situation imaginable, from mergers and acquisitions to hostage and terrorist negotiations for law enforcement agencies. Herb Cohen was a consultant to some of the largest corporations in North America. He has advised presidents on everything from domestic policy to hostage crises to combating international terrorism. In addition, he traveled internationally to conferences and conventions, where his entertaining and informative style made him a sought-after speaker. Successful is the right word for Herb Cohen.

Every day, you negotiate for something: from mergers to marriages, from loans to lovemaking; this book proves that prestige, money, security, justice, love - it’s all negotiable. This straight-talking guide shows you how to get what you want by dealing successfully with your mate, your boss, your children, your best friends and even yourself. As Cohen counsels, "Power is based upon perception - if you think you've got it then you've got it. Be patient, be personal, be informed - and you can bargain successfully for anything."

“Wow” is what most people would say first, after Cohen's book is finally put down. Because of his remarkable effectiveness in delivering the point of effective negotiating you feel that negotiating is not some hidden art or that ‘Harvard or INSEAD’ education is necessary to be effective in the everyday occurrences that we deal with on a regular basis. There are as many techniques and methods of negotiating as there are people and cultures in the world, but this book focuses on simplicity as well as effectiveness. The methods are hilariously portrayed and the terms are easily grasped by the reader without the necessity of classroom discussion or instructor evaluation. Guys…this is real stuff! Use this book daily and change your life forever. These are home truths on negotiating tactics from one of America's professional corporate negotiators. You are unlikely to learn much you haven't heard many times before and many of the examples are very "homely" as opposed to corporate. His writing style is casual, with a conversational tone, and his applications of techniques are presented in a down-to-earth manner that the average reader can easily relate to.

The book is divided into four sections. It begins with defining the term ‘Negotiation’- what is it, why do we need it, where can we use it etc. According to him this real world is a giant negotiating table, and whether anybody likes it or not, he or she is a participant. Herb then went on to describe the term by giving a real life personal experience. The first section, furthermore, introduces the three basic components of negotiation as the perception of power, time investment and constraints, and the balance of information between the parties. The author discusses tactics that employ these three components to control negotiations.

The second section of the book gives an in-depth description of power, time, and information. The power chapter, 40 pages long, brilliantly outlines fourteen specific types of power essential to understand when negotiating with others. Cohen effectively addresses the psychological element of power. The information in this chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

Different negotiation styles are discussed in the third section. Win-Lose and Win-Win negotiations are described in detail, to include countermeasures to avoid being victimized if involved with a Win-Lose negotiator. The examples provided in this section are both interesting and informative.

The fourth section is a short collection of additional illustrative stories. If the author had excluded anecdotes, this book would have been a twenty-page booklet instead of a 255-page awe-inspiring piece of writing, but the extensive examples effectively clarified the pertinent points of negotiation, serving as an amusing, yet effective teaching method.

This book is an excellent introduction to negotiation for the causal reader, but is not appropriate as a quick reference guide because of the illustrative nature of the text, with information buried within stories. It is not that after reading this book one will become master in the art of negotiations, rather this book will initiate one's journey in the world of negotiations. This book really gives a great launching point for those who wish to carry out successful win-win negotiations in every facet of their lives, be it at home, with suppliers, at your favorite shop or at work.

This is an absolutely fascinating book. I recommend the book to anyone interested in successful and fruitful negotiations. We all have the potential to negotiate, and this book unleashes that power. It’s a rare work of sublime genius.


Powerful Sleep – Secrets of the Inner Sleep Clock

By Kacper M. Postawski

Do you sleep for 8 to 10 hours only to wake up with the feeling of tiredness, dizziness and sleeplessness ?Do you experience insomnia on Sunday nights ?Are you one amongst those who think that longer hours of sleep is more important than shorter quality sleep ?Do you want to seriously consider doing something to fix this problem and not sure how to start about ?

If the answers to the above Questions are correct I would strongly suggest you to read this book and religiously implement the suggestions in book.

Powerful Sleep – Secrets of the Inner Sleep Clock by Kacper M. Postawski (aka The Insomnia Terminator) is an excellent source. Just imagine what radical changes you could create, and what things you could accomplish in your life if you were able to sleep just half as much as you do now !

Sleep is actually quite a complex mechanism that can be OPTIMIZED, by taking some simple measures in your life to reduce your sleep by hours and have more energy in your life than when you slept longer .Here are just some of the powerful realizations Kacper points out in his book:

  • The four most important elements, which your inner sleep clock relies on to determine when to sleep, how long you sleep, and how energizing your sleep is. Discovering these principles will allow you to gain a firm understanding of how to gain control over your sleep and daily energy level.

  • How to optimize your Inner Sleep Clock so that it's possible for you to reduce your sleep by up to 3 hours, and increase the quality, and power of your sleep (If you don't do this, you will do more damage to your body than good by sleeping less.)

  • What really happens to your body while you sleep? While most people think sleep is just "sleep", your body is more busy when you're sleeping than when you're awake. The inner sleep system is a complex mechanism which is affected by many things you do on a daily basis.(Most of them you're not aware of). This is a key understanding to optimizing your sleep.

You can find anything and everything related to sleep on the website .

This book is a wonderful tool for anybody who wants his life to be better. I highly recommend it .In case you want a copy of e-book do write me at ritz,


Friday, July 13, 2007

The Witch of Portobello- Paulo Coelho

The book written by Paulo Coelho is another attempt towards spirituality as he has made in his other books, in a manner that slowly takes you into an altogether different realm.

It is one of the masterpieces in terms of language and style, written in an innovative manner. It consists of several opinions and perceptions of people about Sherine Khalil, the protagonist, commonly known as Athena. The story builds upon the various aspects of the same person’s personality because each one has a different perspectives related to what they observed in Athena, a witch, a magician, a challenger, an object of love, selfish women, based on their experience. The way it consolidates various stories, knits them into one of the most wonderful voyages of a women, who was left by her gypsy mother in the childhood and had to struggle though drastic situations to emerge as a spiritual mother in the community, is really captivating.

Athena was named by her parents as Sherine Khalil but she liked herself to be called Athena. She was staying with her parents in Lebanon. Civil war broke out, and she predicted that it will be a very long affair, taking away various lives and causing huge bloodshed. This made her parents to leave the place. They went to Europe.

There she lived a normal life for quite sometime. Meanwhile, she was told that she was an adopted child and her mother was a gypsy. But things restored to normal after that. She fell into love with a person named Peterson in the college, and urged him to marry her at a tender age of 19 years. She wanted her child to have a low generation gap so that they can be friends like, understanding each other in the best possible manner. She wanted to become a mother. Once she achieves her aim by marrying her husband, he gets a feeling that she married him for her own selfish aim. He leaves her and she does not react very strongly. This made him more intent on leaving her. Later, she joined a job and tried to put an end to the emptiness in her life. She loved her child Viorel a lot and tried to keep him off all her worries.

The house she lives in has a person named Pavel Podbielski practicing dance ceremony in his house. This enchanted Athena very much. She feels a spiritual freedom during dance and her energy level reaches to the maximum which makes her feel satisfied and let her concentrate on the bright spot. This also improves her efficiency at work with her colleagues. She lets them learn the same dance which makes her popular to a great extent in the office that her boss envies her. The productivity increases to a record level. This showed her employer that she had a lot of substance in her practices. She helps him get the deserved appreciation through helping him make a presentation of a very spiritual path followed by her, so as to be implemented in other branches as a performance improvement method. The basic concept was that people were happy in their life and were trying to achieve the maximum potential after realizing it in the spiritual dance.

Later she learns calligraphy in the desert by Nabil Alaihi. He helps her learn very quickly and help her attain spiritual feeling during that writing art. He tells her to enjoy it and make it her very own way to realize herself. She follows the technique as well as the art behind it. But in spite of all this, there were times when she felt that there were big gaps in her life. She was not convinced in her life. She is told by the calligrapher that there are blank spaces in her life which are meant to be filled. This makes her decide that she needs to meet her mother, her birth mother who left her to the fate.

While going to the gypsy town, she meets Edda, a woman who knew why she was here and had come to help her understand her life in a better way. She also meets Heron, a journalist, who falls in love with her. All this time, she has fallen in love with some Scotland Police Officer. But his name is told afterwards. She meets her mother Liliana Seamstress and sought her love and questioned her as to why she left her like this. Her mother feels delighted to see her again and tries to answer all her questions. She also wanted her to prosper mad leave the place as soon as possible.Hence she returns to her home. Then she went to meet the woman she met on the way, Edda to learn more about herself and the solutions to her problems. Since then, she learned the art of getting all peace she wanted within herself, performing all sorts of magic and teaching people to think differently and strangely, completely out of any rulebook or leaving behind all perceptions. This brought her to a different platform.
She became the mother, Hagia Sofia, to solve all problems of each individual, though she was the same. She felt a completely different identity within herself. She had a chain of followers, who felt the change within themselves due to her teachings and lectures.

Moreover the journalist helped her wherever she needed him, and loved her silently. His girlfriend Andrea too followed Athena earlier. But then she thought she was a witch who wanted to attract attention and using everybody for political gains. Still she went to Athena and learned from her as the teacher and could learn all methods of teaching others, what she herself didn’t know and learning in the process. This made Andrea, a play actress, an even better performer of such events. During all this process, she was defamed in the city by a person who filed a suit on her that she was violating Christian laws and was a witch. She was terrorizing atmosphere. There were updates on the newspapers and gossips from all sides. Suits were filed for the succession of the child, Viorel. She was troubled by that. She did not want to lose her child and was not ready to subdue to all the rumored news.

She got recorded with her lover Heron’s help, her testament, which contained all her commitments to Heron himself as well as what she needed to tell the world. Her cause, her ambitions, her power and everything that was needed to be told was recorded. Later on she got disappeared and newspapers expressed one day that she was brutally murdered by some gang. This really upset the journalist. Later in the story, the police officer comes across as a spy or the person who collected information through various perspectives understood through a dialogue. It’s Athena’s birthday which is being celebrated on her home. The Scott wanted to gift her record collected by the perspectives discussed in the book.

She did not die but to recover safely from all the problems, she was pretended to have died. So that suit ends there and then. She was sent to another country because she wanted to have a peaceful, contented life with the Scott after all this. Andrea was better at handling the goal of knowledge, thus satisfying the motto of Athena. Hence the story ended as well.
The book explains all the mystery which prevents us from enjoying our life in the fullest manner. It explains the inquisitive and never satisfying qualities of a human. The spiritual learning is very well explained. It is a book which is a must read for all those who have a philosophical bent of mind.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"The Dresden Files" series

by Jim Butcher

No contemporary Occult fiction collection would be complete without Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” novels. This series is so popular with dark urban fantasy fans that a television show, “The Dresden Files,” has been created from the concept.

So far Butcher has written nine novels in the series, and I hear he envisions twelve more. Certainly good news for Occult fiction fans!

Harry Dresden is a Wizard, the only one in Chicago who advertises his services, working from a sparsely furnished office, the level of disarray always dependent upon whether his latest visitor was human or not. He scrambles to pay the rent every month, since his cases rarely turn out the way he imagines. This is due partly to a steady stream of questionable clients, but mostly to Harry’s heart, which shimmers with gold and never considers the current state of his wallet.

Harry lives in a basement apartment with no electricity. He uses candles for light and suffers through cold showers, since electrical appliances tend to misbehave in the presence of a Wizard’s energy field. Harry’s “lab” sits beneath the apartment, stocked with hundreds of items used for spellcasting. Here you’ll find Bob, an ancient air spirit who inhabits a dusty human skull and is the source for most of Harry’s spells. Besides being a virtual encyclopedia of magick, Bob possesses a wry wit, providing the perfect touch of reality and humor to Harry’s chaotic days.

Butcher has succeeded in creating a cast of delightfully complex characters, yet each scene in these novels flows as smoothly as city water from the tap. I cannot say enough about his talent as a novelist. Butcher wrote the first book in this series while he was still in school. It was awful. But he continued to tweak the story for several years until it reached the high level of craftsmanship fans of Occult fiction demand. And the rest is publishing history.

Any reader who values expertly written dark urban fantasy, dazzling magick, a fast-paced plot, and hilarious characters should definitely consider Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” series as an essential part of their Occult fiction collection. I know I do.


Laura Stamps is an award-winning novelist and poet, as well as a Wiccan and a feral cat rescuer. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author more than thirty-five books, including "The Witchery Series, " a popular series of magickal urban fantasy novels published by Kittyfeather Press at .

Special Note: I would like to thank everyone who left such warm and welcoming comments in response to my first review. I'm glad you are enjoying my reviews, and I am happy to be a part of this lovely and vital blog.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor

NOVA Dad: This review was originally posted on my blog on June 27, 2006 and is an exact reprint of that post.

After just two days, I finished reading Barbara Brown Taylor's latest book, Leaving Church, and I was so amazed and overwhelmed by what it contained that I felt I should make an attempt at a review. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had read a review which included the statement that this book should be required reading for someone considering the ordained ministry. With the reading done, I can say that I agree wholeheartedly with that thought -- but I would take it a step further and say that it should be required reading for anyone who is in the midst of their own spiritual journey. Already, my copy is marked by many of those colored page markers, and I know that every subsequent reading is only going to provide me with the opportunity for more underlining, more highlighting, and more reflection.

The book appealed to me on many different levels, and unfortunately there wouldn't be any way that I could possibly try and cover them all -- it truthfully is something that is best discovered by taking the time to read it yourself. However, I do want to try and touch on some of the ideas and thoughts that jumped out at me. On one of the most basic levels, the story appealed to me because the church where she was rector -- Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, Georgia -- reminds me in so many ways of the small country church in Virginia I attended in my teen years. Several important components were there: a small and tightly-knit congregation -- in fact, more of a loving family than a mere congregation; a historic old building; and a rich history and presence in the community. More than that, though, Rev. Taylor's description of her time there -- from her first Sunday to her last -- displayed vividly that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present and constantly moving through the church and the lives of those who attended.

As someone who has only recently been introduced to Rev. Taylor's work, I approached the book with an enthusiasm based solely on the positive comments that many others have made to me about her writing. However, nothing could have adequately prepared me for the powerful emotions I felt from the first page to the last. I could relate on such a deep level with so many of the emotions she experienced and feelings she felt, particularly as she completed seminary and came to the realization that the ordained ministry was for her. Reading about her experiences brought even more focus and clarity to the call I am feeling now: my desire to share my gifts and talents with a vibrant, growing, changing faith community; my desire to be a companion, a teacher, a friend, and a support for a congregation of people engaged in their own journeys, great and small; and my desire to come into a closer relationship with God, a deeper understanding of the life of Christ, and a greater awareness of the power and beauty of the spirit.

There are several sections where she discusses her great love of the outdoors -- remembering her childhood experiences and, later, relating the extreme pull to the property that she and her husband Ed bought outside Clarkesville and where they made their home. For three very important years of my early life, I lived on a 200-acre farm, and I cannot think of any time in my life where I was happier than having the freedom to explore the woods, wander the fields, and just enjoy the solitude and the sights and sounds of nature. I didn't realize it at the time, but it is impossible to get a full sense of God's presence in the world unless you are out in the world and experiencing every bit of it (sucking the marrow from life, as I believe the line from "Dead Poets' Society" went).

At its very core, though, the true power of the book -- aside from the power of the Spirit -- comes from the power of her words. Again, it would take a thorough reading to understand both the meaning and the context of what she has to say, but here are just a few examples of the beautiful, powerful, instructional, and loving words of Rev. Taylor:

"I did truly love helping people. It was not only chief among the reasons I had decided to seek ordination; it was also, I believed, why I had been born. To help lift a burden, to help light a path, to help heal a hurt, to help seek a truth -- these struck me as the sorts of things that human beings were created to do for one another...." (p. 47)

"I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them." (p. 107)

"Those who became ordained were not presented with Moses or Miriam as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as flawed human beings still willing to lead people through the wilderness. We were not presented with Peter or Mary Magdalene as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as imperfect disciples still able to serve at our Lord's right hand. Instead, we were called to fill in for Jesus at the communion table, standing where he once stood and saying what he once said. We were called to preach his gospel and feed his sheep." (p. 150)

I really feel that this book is a love letter in the truest sense of the word: a love letter to her husband, Ed; a love letter to her parishes in Atlanta and Clarkesville; a love letter to her students at Piedmont College. Above all else, though, I think it is a love letter to God -- the God who was patient through her own faith journey and her joyful acceptance of the Episcopal Church, the God who nurtured her through seminary and the ordination process, the God who guided her through many years of active ministry, and the God who held her hand and put an arm around her shoulders as she came to grips with the difficult decision to leave the smaller church and live more fully in the larger, more universal church.

Buy this book, read this book, and share this book!! You will be blessed beyond measure, be taught by an extremely talented and wonderful writer and minister, and be moved to the point where you yourself feel like you have taken the journey with Rev. Taylor and have come out the other side having grown and become a stronger and more aware Christian -- both self-aware and aware of the power moving through the world.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Reiki ...

Reiki is a form of spiritual practice, proposed for the treatment of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual diseases. Mikao Usui developed Reiki in early 20th century Japan, where he said he received the ability of 'healing without energy depletion' after three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama.

Principles of Reiki
  • Just for today i will live the attitude of gratitude
  • Just for today i will not worry
  • Just for today i will not be angry
  • Just for today i will do my work honestly
  • Just for today i will show love and respect for every living thing

It is gods love in its purest form

It is completely unconditional

It demands nothing of the giver nor the receiver

It propounds no creed or dogma

It requires no specific belief or in reiki itself

Used in its traditional form, as developed by Dr. Usui system of natural healing, reiki heals the body and emotions, brimging them into balance and promoting health, happiness, prosperity and long life.

How to go about Reiki?

  • Look for a right/ traditional master; there are lot of fake master who have made this a profession for money... they will give advertisement in papers etc and make fake claims of curing diseases. Reiki dont claim anything ... it is just the grace of reiki which cures all this
  • There are different levels of Reiki - Level 1 & 2 and then if you are interested you can yourself become a master and take a pledge to make other people learn and practice Reiki, who are interested in it
  • Level 1 & 2 are both 2 days workshop, where the master will sensitise you with the philosophy of Reiki, different bodies in a human being, chakras in body and trasform Reiki into you by opening chakras. The Reiki transfered to anyone will remain with oneself throughout life
  • After 2 days workshop of Level, there is 21 days purification process where one has to spend 3 minutes on all 24 points, starting from Eyes to Root Chakra (that means 72 minutes in all everyday). This process will heal all the body parts and will positively effect your mental, emotional and spiritual being
  • If after practicing for 21 days, you feel that you want to continue, you can ask your master for the next Level 2 workshop. After level 2, your powers will increase 4 times and one will be able to practise distance healing (which is not there in level 1, where one can practice only touch healing)

Let me share my personal experience with Reiki. I was sensitized with this practise in my MBA days from one of my junior, Abhijeet Bhagwat. I was always interesting in learing it but coudnt get time and the right master. After i came to Kolkata, i explored about a traditional master here, and was lucky to get in touch with my master - Parul Datta. It was an enriching workshop in my tight schedule here and convinced me to practice Reiki sincerely, 72 minutes a days. It's been 2 weeks now and have seen positive changes in myself.

I would recommend if you people are interested in Reiki, you can contact my motherly master.

Parul Datta

5, Lake East, 3rd Road, Santoshpur

Kolkatta - 700075

Contact - 033-24169868, 09831021793

With lots of love and light,

Nitin Kochhar (09831055237)