Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Author: Rashmi Bansal
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 325
My Rating: 4.5/5

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish", as most of us know is a famous quote by Steve Jobs in his speech for the graduating class at Stanford. The words are aptly acquired as a title for this book, authored by Rashmi Bansal who is an IIMA (Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad) alumni and also the co-founder of the popular youth magazine - JAM (

I liked the fact that the book is kept really simple, including the cover pages, print and the writing. It is a collection of 25 stories of successful entrepreneurs, all IIM-A alumni. Some of these ventures are well known to us such as -, educomp, makemytrip etc which we might have used quite a lot but unware of the people behind it..This book can give a kick start for people who are keen on being entrepreneurs. It's a good source of inspiration because the stories are not just hunky-dory but details the path of struggle, multiple failures and losses that people have been through before successfully establishing themselves. One common message in all these stories is "Persistence is the key to success", so never give up!

Each one of these 25 stories are extremely inspiring. But I tried reading the book in one sitting and I found it to be a bit boring. The writing style gets to be quite monotonous. I would have preferred if the author had used varities in writing each of these stories rather than keep it in a standard format. Nevertheless, I wont complain coz its non-fiction and the content is worth more :) I also felt that expanding the stories to entrepreneurs beyond IIMA would have been good. We all know that there are many such success stories from top B-schools but I would have loved to know about people from a non-MBA background who have made it big in life. That would have catered to a wider audience I guess.

Overall I loved this book. I could see myself thinking about starting a venture and coming up with some business ideas, after reading this book.. That was the impact :) So I highly recommend this book. Even if you are not keen on entrepreneurship, it is still a good read.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keep Off the Grass

Author: Karan Bajaj
Pages: 260
Genre: Indian Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
My Rating: 3.5/5 ( Mainly for the plot and humor than writing)

I picked up this book mainly because a friend of mine, who shares similar reading interests as mine, recommended it to me. Also the fact that the book dealt with life in a B-school interested me more. How can I not read a book about MBA life?! I can relate to every bit of it :)

Let me start off with these set of lines that I loved in the book -

"It is a question of choices. You have made a choice to be friendly - or human as you call it. Maybe I have not. Maybe I define success here as getting the best job and the best grades; and not the best friends. Maybe you define it differently. I have the courage to stand by my choice. Why cant you stand by yours instead of trying to change mine?"

If you want to read the synopsis of the book, then click here. Let me not waste time and space to re-iterate whats on the book cover..

"Keep off the grass" was a different title for a book, I thought. It caught my attention in the first go. The plot is nothing great, it's a very common story probably told and re-told many times but the characters etched are pretty interesting. I had a lot of fun reading and I must say it was hilarious at some points and I used to burst out loud with laughter, much to the amazement of people around me! I could totally relate to every aspect of the student life in B-school, having lived through it myself for 1 whole year. It was almost like I was reliving some of my MBA days while I read parts of this book. But am sure, even if you are not a B-school grad, you can still relate to the student life described here...

One disappointing aspect to me was the style of writing. I wasn't quite pleased with Karan Bajaj's writing style or his skills. Heck, I am not any professional to make this criticism, but having read a lot of books of various authors across genres, I guess I do have some ability to compare and judge the writing skills. Anyways, this is again a personal opinion and there could be people who would probably love his writing.

I found this to be same as Chetan Bhagat's books, his writing and narrating style. I got to know that there's already a movie being made on this book as well. I hope we dont have *another* Chetan Bhagat in India!! (P.S: no offense meant to either of them)

I'll say that it's just about an OK book and depends on what you are looking for. If its just for time pass, light read and some amount of laugther and fun, then pick this up! It wont disappoint you, at least in that aspect.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bookish Quote of the Week: #1

We come across a lot of quotes related to books in the books we read, in websites, newspapers etc etc and some of these leave a mark on you, long after you've read them. These quotes could be just 1 or 2 lines but some have inspired me a LOT to start reading and start appreciating books in a different way! I love reading new quotes and there's something new and inspiring in each one of it! So I thought, why not share the good ones, here on my blog, once a week. Maybe it might inspire one of you, like it happened to me :)

Here's one for today -

"It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."
- S.I. Hayakawa

Isn't this so true? I've read some books where I've got so involved into the character and felt like I've that life myself, experiencing the emotions, feeling the joy and pain of the character thru out the book! What do you think? Have you had such experiences reading any books?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Angels and Demons

Author: Dan Brown
Pages: 610
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Fiction
Rating: 4.0/5
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009, Country: USA

I am not very keen on reading books in the Mystery/Thriller categories but after reading The DaVinci Code, I was very keen on picking up another book by Dan Brown. A lot of people recommended 'Angels and Demons' and so I picked this up as part of the OT 2009 challenge. The movie based on this book is releasing sometime soon in the month of May, starring Tom Hanks and I am eagerly waiting to watch this one!

I was a bit let down by this book as compared to The Da Vinci Code coz it seemed more like watching a highly dramatic bollywood movie. But hey! it's supposed to be a Thriller, so I can discount this fact and say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book which always kept me on the edge of my seat with its share of surprises and a never expected nail biting finish. I dont mind suspending my disbelief if the story is well written and it can keep me hooked till the last line of the last page!

I truly admire the way Dan Brown creates his plot...there's always something more beyond what the reader is expecting! Mystery is definitely his territory! Not to forget the attention to details and the vast amount of research that goes behind writing his book. The factual details make the story all the more interesting, coz you know you are not reading something completely fictional. The monuments, paintings, places etc described in the book and the history behind it are all hard facts...I was truly fascinated by the secrets of the Vatican and the Illuminati and the parts played by Galileo and Bernini. It takes guts to write a novel that combines the ancient secret brotherhood, a plot against the Vatican, it's deep secrets, the Pope, the papal conclave and the particles of antimatter...Kudos to Dan Brown for doing a great job with the plot!

Plot Summary: (from the web)

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society's ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared--only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra's daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization.