Saturday, August 26, 2017

Books I've read recently - #6

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
I picked this book up almost by accident. This book will clearly classify as seminal work. The high level essence of this book, I already knew. I guess most of us know. Which is, why deep work is important. The powerhouse impact came from the elucidation of the undercurrents and the implications. In a distraction happy world, people who do deep work are a rare breed. While it is inevitable it brings success and money, and perhaps fame, my takeaway was more significant (personally). It was about learning. It opened a window in my head about something I always knew but did not know. This book is a must read.

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
 I just had to read this following the earlier one (above) by Cal Newport. While verbose, I guess erring in favor of repeating is perhaps better than skimping. While not as impactful for me as 'Deep Work', this is still significant. Career capital, which this book defines, and deep work go hand in hand, so this is a must read as well. The most significant bit for me came in the appendix where the author describes how he applied each of the rules defined in the book in his own life.

 This was a charming story. The writing is simple and the story doesn't involve a major plot twist either. A bit boring in the middle, but I loved reading it. Without spoiling, a hat tip for keeping Kat's and Deb's friendship intact. I was half expecting a backstab. We can do without those - thank you very much!

The Gravy Train
 Thanks to Kindle, I am picking up interesting titles which I wouldn't have otherwise. I liked the narration. My gripe (not attributing to the author) was that 70% of the wall street and investment terminology went over my head. The author either had to be verbose and lay it out for laymen like me or assume knowledge and narrate it for the comfortable. Fair enough, he chose the latter. The story would have added two notches additional enjoyment if I had the concepts down. I like the thriller aspect of the story.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rate my life - 2017

While I didn't intend it this way, this has become an interesting ritual - since I now have historical data to compare.

While I can't comment on the scientific veracity of this quiz, some interesting things I see which correspond properly with the way I "feel" about these parameters:

Mind -> Steadily improving from 6.7 to  7.3 to 7.5
Body -> Vacillating, but "healthy"
Spirit -> Steadily improving from 5.7 to 6.5 to 6.8.
Friends and Family -> My hopeless areas, but improved by a whole point
Love -> Incredibly sustaining at same value
Finance -> Improved a tad

To be honest, my active work involves working with mind, body and spirit alone. The last three are left to providence. As damning as it sounds, the work done with the first three will invariably percolate to the last three.

This is now, 2017

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 7.9
Mind: 6 7.5
Body: 7.8
Spirit: 6.8
Friends/Family: 5.8
Love: 7.3
Finance: 9.4
Take the Rate My Life Quiz
This was 2014:
This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 7.8
Mind: 7.3
Body: 9
Spirit: 6.5
Friends/Family: 4.8
Love: 7.3
Finance: 9.1
Take the Rate My Life Quiz
And this was 2013...
This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 7.3
Mind: 6.7
Body: 8.4
Spirit: 5.7
Friends/Family: 4.8
Love: 7.3
Finance: 9.1
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Unsolicited musings - #1

Amused at the reactions to Rahman's concert walkout. My take on this is simple: This was a private, for-profit event. People who paid for it were customers. They left because they did not perceive it as value for money. There was a mismatch between expectations and reality. While some aspects have their root in the ongoing Hindi/Tamil debate, it certainly isn't worth Mr Goswami heading a panel discussion.

Listening to Na Hi Shiva Sneha from Damaru. The Sanskrit, the drums and the notes intertwine so impeccably. They touch spots within and cause a blissful frenzy. Very easy to get lost. The entire album is a treat, though three or four songs are well known to Isha folks.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Books I've read recently - #5

I can't believe its been such a long time I've posted something here. Here's a hopefully not-so-useless post to break the jinx

Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga
It was a given that I was going to read this eventually. Roughly 40% of the content, I had heard from Sadhguru earlier. But the content is recontextualized into a coherent structure, while still being freewheeling. One of Sadhguru's fears was that left to societal whims, Madonna would become the origin of Yoga. If nothing else, there is a certain necessity to establish unequivocally that Adiyogi is the source of Yoga. There is a certain segment that finds voice through Arundhati. While being a tad verbose at times, there is no question the woman can write. Damn!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
You know there is something about the book when one of the testimonials read "I read your book and it became clear I needed a divorce". What was odder was that I intuitively felt the book would live up to the testimonial. Meeting, certain subliminal dots would be connected to reveal why it is so. There is a certain grace and beauty to Japanese culture which views everything with a sense of gratitude even when things get discarded. They are thanked and sent away with gratitude. I have hardly implemented anything from this book, but I know I will. Waiting for my wife to come on board so things can be done together.

Tor and The Dark Net: Remain Anonymous Online and Evade NSA Spying (Tor, Dark Net, Anonymous Online, NSA Spying) 
You might find this book a bit too technical for your liking, but read it anyway. It is important. When the whole NSA fiasco broke out, one argument put forth by proponents of NSA (or similar Government programs) work  was "If you've got nothing to hide, why fear?"
I would like to turn this argument on its head and ask "If I am doing nothing illegal, its none of your business what I do". We can debate endlessly, but I believe I am allowed to take a personal stand on this. Just because information flows through a common medium (called the Internet), it isn't necessary to allow spying just because it can be done. As more and more people become aware of how to use these technologies, it might just be possible to make information flowing through the digital pipes opaque rather than transparent.
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