The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian

Written on 7:23 PM by Tushar

This book is a great choice if you are not in a mood to know more about things flattening the world (The world is flat), communism (Animal farm), investing (Rich dad poor dad), racism (How to kill a mockingbird), history (India - The definitive images), self-help (Eat that frog, How to win friends and influence people)…Well maybe I gave you my excuse for picking this one. Regardless of what your excuse is, this is an incredibly fun book to read.

Also since it had the word “Indian” in its title it caught my attention. (I enjoy reading novels or stories with Indian characters). But after browsing through it I figured out that it was a (fictional) diary of a ‘native’ or ‘red’ Indian boy –Arnold Spirit Jr.

Arnold hails from a (red) Indian reservation (he refers to it as ‘rez’) in WA. His life is in a mess and he is so frustrated at God that he wants to ‘kill’ him. He is not particularly attractive, has suffered from a serious brain damage as kid and at a tender age of 14, has attended 42 funerals. His dad is an alcoholic, mom does not have a steady job and sister is a hopeless romantic who has run away to fulfill her fantasies. So he decides to break free from the rez and moves to a ‘all whites’ school in a nearby town.

This move also not very well received by Arnold’s community and he is accused for being a ‘white-lover’. His best friend Rowdy is mad at him for ‘betraying’ the tribe which supposedly has ‘cursed’ the tribe leading to a couple of deaths in his family. He is also having a tough time getting settled in new school which is in town where even cops are so racist that (native) Indian drivers are getting a ticket for DWI (Driving While Indian)!

In such hopeless situation, drawing cartoons is Arnold’s way to vent frustration.

Native Indians were nomadic but now most of them have settled into reservations created by the government. But Arnold Spirit is turning a nomadic again in search of a better life and greener pastures.

The book is really witty and filled with really nice cartoons which accompany the story as seen here.

Great read and Sherman Alexie totally deserves the slew of awards that were bestowed upon him for this book. Recommended!

How to win friends and influence people!

Written on 8:32 PM by Tushar

If you’re one of those who hate self-help books (maybe because you think perfection ko improve karna mushkil hota hai) then you can stop reading here. No donut for you :P

While growing up, this is probably the first book in this genre that I had heard of. Since it is written half century ago I was skeptical whether its advice is still relevant. I already had got myself burnt by reading ‘Eat that frog’. I guess only because I could get hands on its audio version we decided to give it a try during our road trip to Southern California during Thanksgiving. Both of us loved it and finished (listening to) it in two days flat!

The book is replete with great and easy-to-follow advice .All the “techniques” (Btw it would be really ironic if you realize that you need to learn/master a something as fundamental as “Smile!”) are explained with the help of witty anecdotes. This is unusual given that most of the books in self-help genre are such that you immediately figure out that their authors are the ones who need help the most :)

I’m so impressed that I’ve put its summary in my office. Highly recommended!

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Live In Concert!

Written on 3:18 PM by Tushar

I love Sufi music! So when we learnt that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was going to perform in Bay area how could we let this opportunity go! Even though the show was poorly organized Rahat mesmerized the audience and created magic through his voice! He sung most of his immensely popular bollywood songs which stand out from the noise just because of his voice. The best part was that he also sung a lot of Qawaalis that are made immortal by his uncle, Shahenshah-e-Qawwali Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Here are some of the songs that he sung. (Invested an entire Sunday morning to find nice videos of Nusrat and Rahat in action.Don't forget to have a look!)

On a side note people were literally throwing money on him which we thought was really inappropriate. But after looking at this youtube video it seems it's a tradition in the country Rahat belongs to! So never mind :)

Eat that frog!

Written on 3:51 AM by Tushar

If you eat a frog every morning then that will probably be the worst thing you’ll do that day and you are rest assured that nothing worse will happen to you. That’s the (only!) point this (rather forgettable) book is trying to make.

It (repeatedly!) reminds the reader of the 80/20 principle and suggests various techniques (using lists, ABCDE method etc.) to identify tasks which will have a positive impact on life and suggests to tackle them first.

There is nothing new and even though this book is just about 100 pages; in my honest opinion that too is overkill. Maybe I am spoiled due to abundance of useful information available on the internet in a concise form (blogs, articles etc.) that I feel that if the author were to write this book in 2008 he would happily settle for a blog entry instead of writing a book. I had high expectations from this book maybe because a sane friend suggested it :) Even though it is evident that I did not like it I will not say that it was completely a waste of time. But again, if you ask me glass is always half full!

Rich Dad Poor Dad and Rich Dad’s Prophecy

Written on 3:23 AM by Tushar

Does this book need any introduction? I don’t know why I did not read it for so long. Better late than never!

Pretty much everyone I deal with in day to day life knows how to earn money; there are a few who know how to manage it and then there are a precious few who know how to manage it effectively! The people in the last category are commonly known as ‘RICH’!People usually take all matters related to their careers seriously, work really hard to get a promotion or a salary increment yet are completely ignorant and are at the mercy of someone else when it comes to taxes, investment and long term decisions related to financial matters. After going through these two books I have realized the importance of having a good financial IQ and how to work towards improving it.

In Rich dad poor dad Robert Kiyosaki touches upon following principles.

  • The rich don’t work for money
  • The importance of financial literacy
  • Minding Your own business
  • Taxes and corporations
  • The rich invent money
  • The need to work to learn and not to work for money

Even though the book is a pleasure to read and does not take infinitely long to finish here’s a summary for the fast-food generation.

In ‘Rich dad’s prophecy’ he predicts a stock market crash in near future (2016) and also discusses 401K and other retirement plans along the way. Even there is not even a remote connection between his predictions about the stock market crash and the current economic recession it gave me a good insight into things I was looking around for an advice.

As a side note this was the first time that I tried audio books and I am completely mesmerized by this phenomenon! This is perfect for someone like me who cannot get enough of reading and is always trying to get more done in the available time. I finished these two books in less than a week and that too while doing activities like driving and washing dishes :) I am hungry for more and will encourage you to try out one!

India The definitive images

Written on 1:46 AM by Tushar

It’s quite funny to “read” a book containing photographs (along with some commentary) and then write a review about it. But believe me this book is worth it.

After staying in US where people call half century old stuff “historic”, I desperately want to read up some book about India’s magnificent past (Any suggestions?). So I grabbed this one when it came in my way. Even though it does not quench my knowledge thirst in any way ; after investing about a couple of hours into it I touched upon some epoch- making events in Indian History and also came to know about origins of some of the most famous photographs.

Apart from an introduction from Khushwant Singh it contains timeless images from some of the most celebrated photographers such as Raghu Rai, Steve McCurry , Raghubir Singh and others. Recommended!

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