Thursday, December 25, 2014

Book Review #26: Mouse Charmers


Name: The Mouse Charmers-Digital Pioneers of India
Author: Anuradha Goyal
No. of Pages: 344
Genre: Business
Publisher: Random House India
Price: Rs. 229/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says: 
The advent of Internet has been a significant game changer for our generation. Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by the Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in new ways. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas that put them on the same path.
Anuradha Goyal tells the stories of digital entrepreneurs like Flipkart, Zomato, ImagesBazaar, IndiBlogger ; how they started out, the innovations and technologies involved, their business models and unique marketing strategies. Inspiring and useful, The Mouse Charmers is an essential guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.

About the author:
Anuradha Goyal wears many hats to pursue her three prime passions—innovation, travel, and books. She studies business innovation, especially business models, and blogs about them. She has earlier co-authored the India Innovates Series published by CII showcasing innovations from across the country. She was a jury member for Economic Times Power of Ideas Contest in 2010. Her papers on business innovation have appeared in various journals and forums. She is one of India’s leading travel bloggers, writing a popular travel blog for a decade now. Her travel story has been published as part of an anthology ‘Celebrating India’ and her paper on ‘in-city travel’ appeared in travel journal Earth. Her stories regularly appear in various print and online publications. She has close to 400 book reviews to her credit on her book reviews blog. She is a keen student of Indian art history. She regularly speaks on these topics at various conferences and institutes. In her earlier avatar she worked in the IT industry for over a decade. She studied computer applications for her master’s degree and physics for her graduate degree at Panjab University. She currently lives in Goa.

MY THOUGHTS:
The book is about digital businesses started by Indian entrepreneurs. She has picked up several online businesses and tells us how they started off, how they operate, the challenges they face, the innovations they have made, their USPs and their future opportunities.

The author has broadly categorized the digital business into three: Commerce, Content and Connectors.
  • In Commerce section, she talks about Flipkart, MakeMyTrip, BigBasket and CaratLane.
  • In Content section, she talks about Zomato, Games2win, ImagesBazaar and Chat with Lakshmi.
  • In Connectors section, she talks about Shaadi.com, Rang De, CommonFloor and IndiBlogger.

The author further discusses the ecosystem in which the Indian digital businesses operate and survive. 
As an avid online shopper, I was able to connect to the information revealed in the book. I remember, I started to shop online in the year 2010. Initially I bought only books online and started with Flipkart. In a few months I was so addicted to online shopping that I ended up buying things which I didn’t even need. I had and still have both good and bad online shopping experiences. But thankfully I had good experiences and so I have not shied away from virtual shopping.

The author have beautifully covered all aspects of online business operations and also enlightened customers like me. I believe it is a good book for both management and IT students and professionals alike.

I give "The Mouse Charmers" 4 stars on a scale of 5.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Book review #25: Surrogate Author

Name: Surrogate Author
Author: Santosh Avvannavar and Shilpa Patil
No. of Pages: 47
Genre: Fiction/Self-help
Publisher: Hoffen
Price: Rs. 70/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:

About the author:
Santosh Avvannavar: Santosh started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. After his college education from NITK, Surathkal, he worked as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente, and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President while working at IISC, Bangalore. He has over twenty-five publications of mostly research documents in national and international journals. He has also authored sixteen conference papers and regularly writes articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He also works as an advisor for different organizations. He also dabbles in fiction writing and is the author of Adhuri Prem Kahaniya; Dear Wife, Your Husband is not a Superhero; Second Heart; Get a Job WITHOUT an Interview and Be a B.A. He likes to devote his personal time in writing for a blog, namely the Amrita Foundation for HRD (amritafoundation.wordpress.com). He has conducted seminars and training sessions for more than 35,000 people in India and abroad over the last seven years.

Shilpa S Patil: Shilpa is a faculty at KSWU, Bijapur. She holds Master's degree in commerce from Karnataka State Women's University, Bijapur and Bachelor's degree in commerce from A.S.Patil college of commerce, Bijapur. She likes to devote her personal time writing for a blog, namely the Shilpa Goldy and the blog can be read at shilpagoldy.wordpress.com

MY THOUGHTS:
The story unfolds in the form of a play. It is basically a parody of Sanjay leela Bhansali’s ‘Devdas’. Paro here is an unfinished book and Devdas is a wannabe writer. The book is targeted at aspiring writers who are somehow unable to complete their projects. Some manuscript writing tips are given at the end of the book.

Somehow the humour did not click with me. Anyways it is a fair attempt to lighten the grim situation of aspiring writers.

I give "Surrogate Author" 2 stars on a scale of 5.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review #24: Life, Job or Country



Name: Love, Job or Country
Author: Rohit Agarwal
No. of Pages: 258
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Frog Books (An Imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs. 175/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
Avinash and Chetan live in different domains, while one is an ambitious marketing professional; another is a hard-core spy out to serve his country. Avinash is struggling to retain the new job he has joined. Chetan has recently shifted from Colombo to Ahmedabad, as station head of R & AW. Destiny bring them together when Tamanna, the love interest of Avinash, leads him to an unthinkable terrorist plot emanating from a Pakistan based Jihadi group. The Story moves across the Indian subcontinent , from Pakistan to Bangladesh and Nepal to Sri lanka uncovering a deadly terrorist plot which can put Indian union in danger. It has to be seen if Chetan is able to stop the terrorists before they strike and if Avinash is vindicated in his trust in Tamanna.

About the author:
Rohit Agarwal is a 39-year-old marketing professional, who works in the mid-management level in a textile company based in Ahmedabad . His work experience of about 15 years is based mainly in Ahmedabad. He has travelled extensively within India and abroad in the line of duty. He is excited and moved with stories, as he is an avid reader. This is his debut book.He resides in Ahmedabad with his two kids and wife. He can be reached at a.rohit1975@yahoo.co.in

www.rohitagarwal.in 

MY THOUGHTS:
Cover: The cover shows a couple watching as a airplane on fire descends over a city.
  
Writing: I found the narrative not very interesting and plain.
  
Story: As the blurb says, Chetan and Avinash are brought together in Ahmedabad through Tamanna, the love interest of Avinash. The story moves forward by alternate narrations by Avinash and Chetan.

Avinash gets a job in a textile company and meets Tamanna. Although his professional life is quite dissatisfactory, his personal life blooms. But life takes a turn for worse when he’s asked to bring a gift for Tamanna’s uncle from a friend. Meanwhile Chetan takes a transfer to Ahmedamad to be with his wife. He meets Avinash in connection when Avinash accidently stumbles upon a terrorist attack plan.

The author has incorporated real Indian political events in the plot and changed the names only slightly, e.g., Pramod Mahajan became Aamod Mahajan and Bharatiya Janata Party became Bharatiya Party.

I didn’t really like the book. It didn’t keep me hooked at all. I found the narration boring and unnecessarily long frequently. I felt that Chetan’s part was comparatively written better than Avinash’s part. If you are looking for a light read or something to read while travelling, you can give this one a try.

I give "Love, Job or Country" 2.5 stars on a scale of 5.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review #23: Unravelling Anjali


Name: Unravelling Anjali
Author: Nim Gholkar
No. of Pages: 357
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: BecomeShakespeare.com
Price: Rs. 299/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
1998 Australia. Anjali Jathar is looking forward to life as an immigrant bride following her arranged marriage to ambitious divorcee Ravi. Settling in, she explores not just a new culture but also her new found freedom. But life is less than perfect. Ravi’s constant travel and preoccupation with work leave Anjali feeling increasingly unloved and lonely.

Enter Jake Ellis. Charmed by Anjali’s exoticism, he finds himself gradually falling in love with her. And so begins an emotionally intoxicating roller-coaster ride.
‘Unravelling Anjali’ is a cross cultural tale delving into love, lust and relationships. What happens if a woman meets her soul mate after marriage…and it’s not her husband?

A riveting read, ‘Unravelling Anjali’ is a vivid portrayal of commitment, betrayal and the struggle to find one’s identity in a foreign land.


About the author:
Nim Gholkar was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She graduated in English Literature from University of Bombay, Mumbai before moving to Australia in 1996. Her blog Nim s Niche is a kaleidoscope of musings on life and its many reflections. She loves traveling, reading, playing badminton and singing karaoke. Unravelling Anjali is her debut novel. Nim lives in Sydney with her husband, three children and a lovable Rhodesian Ridgeback called Cody.

To know more about Nim, visit: 
Website: www.nimsniche.co.au
Facebook page: Nim Gholkar
Twitter: @NGholkar
Email: nim@nimsniche.co.au

MY THOUGHTS:
Cover: The cover is bright and eye-catching in orange showing the back of a girl. The back is made up of puzzle pieces which are yet to be put in place.

Writing: The narrative is in the form of a diary of the protagonist. Anjali.

Story: The plot is not really complicated but straight and credible. An Indian bride, Anjali, married to a divorced NRI, Ravi arrives in Australia with hopes and dreams of love and excitement. But she finds that her husband is an authoritarian workaholic and spends most of his traveling and working. His Indian friends become Anjali’s friends too. Unexpectedly, Ravi’s ex-Australian wife Anne also becomes good friends with Anjali. The book is about Anjali’s journey of how she sorts herself out in a new land.

The plot is familiar but fresh. The characters pulled out from real life, the story can be true as well. I enjoyed the book and nowhere did I feel any portion had been over or underdone. In short, a good book.

I give "Unravelling Anjali" 4 stars on a scale of 5.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review #22: God Is a Gamer


Name: God Is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
No. of Pages: 310
Genre: Thriller Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: Rs. 299/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CROSS GAMER, BANKER, POLITICIAN AND TERRORIST WITH VIRTUAL MONEY?

From the bestselling author of ‘If God Was a Banker’ comes the first ever bitcon thriller. ‘God Is a Gamer’ is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains. Predators are prey, assassination is taught by ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

Moving from Washington’s Congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the corporate boardrooms of Mumbai, this is Ravi Subramanian’s most gripping novel yet.

‘Banker by day, writer by night’—FORBES

‘Impressive entertainment value’—TIME OUT

About the author:
Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazingly exciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. It is but natural that his stories are set against the backdrop of the financial services industry. In 2008, his debut novel, If God Was a Banker, won the Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award. He won the Economist Crossword Book Award in 2012 for The Incredible Banker and the Crossword Book Award in 2013 for The Bankster. His most recent novel is Bankrupt. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini, and daughter, Anusha.

To know more about Ravi visit www.ravisubramanian.in or email him at info@ravisubramanian.in. To connect with him, log on to Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorravisubramanian or tweet to @subramanianravi.

MY THOUGHTS:
Cover: The cover is quite appealing with the title embossed in bold gold letters. Like his earlier books, the covers shows the silhouette of a man. This time he is standing and looking at the White House.

Writing: The writing is crisp engaging. Chapters are short and ranges from 2 to 4 pages.

Story: The plot is set against the banking industry. A senator, who is a close aide of the President of USA, is assassinated. A planned ATM heist loots millions from NYIB (a MNC bank) by making unauthorized transactions across Washington. Both events send the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai. Aditya and Sundeep run a banking services outsourcing company  and gaming company that is struggling to break even.  Swami, the head of NYIB’s retail business, is upset with the ongoing internal state of affairs; while NYIB’s CEO slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. Enter Varun, part-time drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. The beautiful Tanya falls for Varun. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions.

The author has brought together things from the present world: facebook, online games, virtual money, cyber crime, plastic money and so on. So it was interesting to know how things work in these aspects.

Although I started reading the book in snippets, it was actually a single day I took to complete it. It is an engrossing read and did not lag at any point of time. I felt as if I were reading the work of an international thriller writer. I only wish that the motive of the actions was more solid and credible.

I give "God Is a Gamer" 4 stars on a scale of 5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review #21: 7 Secrets of The Goddess

Name: 7 Secrets of The Goddess
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
No. of Pages:259
Genre: Mythology
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Price: Rs. 395/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
As nature, she is mother
As culture, she is daughter
Creator of humanity
She is wealth, power, language
Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati
She is Devi
Answer to that masculine anxiety
Which keeps resisting enquiry

Locked in her stories, symbols and rituals are the secrets of our ancestors. This book attempts to unlock seven.

About the author:
Devdutt Patanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession, and a mythologist by passion. He writes and lectures extensively on the relevance of stories, symbols and ritiuls in modern life. He has written over twenty-five books which include 7 Secrets of Hindu Calender Art (Westland), 7 Secrets of Shiva (Westland) and 7 Secrets of Vishnu (Westland).

To know more visit devdutt.com

MY THOUGHTS:
Cover: The cover is an illustration of Balambika, who is said to be the daughter of humanity.

Writing: The writing is crisp and to the point. There is no unnecessary narration. The language is simple and easy to understand.

Story:The author has elaborated and explained the history and symbolic meaning of seven goddesses in mythology.
  1. Gaia -- Male anxiety is outdated
  2. Kali -- Nature is indifferent to human gaze
  3. Gauri -- Culture is dependent on human gaze
  4. Durga -- Everyone lives on the edge of fear
  5. Lakshmi -- Wealth can liberate
  6. Saraswati -- Imagination can expand or contract the mind
  7. Vitthai. -- Affection dissolves boundaries
Every even page contains illustrations and photographs while the odd pages goes on with the written content. Although the author has mainly focused on the hindu goddesses, he has also encompassed the some prominent mythological goddesses from other faiths and other parts of the world.

The book has helped me understand the society as it is today. The various customs, restrictions on women, women code of conduct, societal norms and prejudices. The way women are perceived and treated from time immemorial till today has been a planned and designed concept. Being an advocate of women empowerment and gender equality (sometimes termed as feminist), revelations from the book have added fuel to my thoughts.

I have earlier read Devdutt's Myth=Mithya, which I had immensely enjoyed. Mythology has always attracted my attention and being able to understand the true meaning behind these mythological characters and stories have taken my love for mythology to another level.The author's simple way explaining the hidden meaning and symbolism of mythology is appreciable.

Like the author's earlier works, this book too is engaging and interesting. I have grown up listening to the various hindu mythological gods and goddesses. So getting to know the real significance behind those stories feels liberating.

If you love demystifying symbolism, then this book is another treat for you. This book is the fourth title in the "7 Secrets" series of the author. I am now eager to lay my hands on the others too.

I give "7 Secrets of The Goddess" 5 stars on a scale of 5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!