Monday, April 30, 2012

Globalisation and its discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

I first heard Joseph Stiglitz speak at the World Social Forum at Mumbai, India. What he said made a lot of sense. He had captured the pulse of the developing countries arguments against free trade, which highlighted the hypocrisy being advocated by the West.

Remove free trade barriers, introduce capital account convertibility, free market exchange rates, allow foreign direct investment, tighten monetary policy, introduce fiscal austerity measures - these are all part of the agenda being pursued by the IMF and World Bank.

However, the real issues, like unemployment, lack of institutions and institutional capabilities, property rights and judicial structures - all these need to be tackled along with these reforms being advocated. You cannot call for removal of food subsidied when your population is living on subsidised food and cannot afford anything else. It would be naive to blame developing countries for poverty in agriculture, when it is the very same agricultural sector in the developed countries that is being subsidised heavily, keeping international prices of the commodities low and hence, the farmes in the developing countries impoverished.

After all, one neeeds to take a decision - what kind of world are we aiming for?

Stiglitz's book is seminal in the field of understanding globalization.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Before I go to sleep by S J Watson

Now I came across this book on the web and it was mentioned that it was one of the year's best crime thrillers. So I decided to buy a copy and read it.
It is good. It will hold your interest. It's a bit like 50 First Dates combined with Gothika (sort of).
The only downside was that I figured out the plot before it got unravelled. I hate it when that happens!! Though the reason I think is watching too many Dexter and Criminal Minds episodes.
Kudos to S J Watson - I believe this is her first book and it's already been picked up for a movie. I hope they do justice to the book.
One irritating thing in India is that the electricity keeps going off. We are on the inverter right now. Come summer and the capital crumbles. Sheesh.
I can sleep without A/C - that's not what bothers me. What bothers me are the mosquitoes!!
Maybe someone should write a book about this? I don't think it'll sell though!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why so Stupid? by Edward De Bono

This books looks at how one thinks. I read it in February and didn't have the chance to post online about it till now.
Edward de Bono is one of the world's foremost thinkers. He is credited with the term "Lateral Thinking" which is used so freely nowadays. He originated the term PO - provocative thinking and advocates the use of "hats" - white hat (information, careful, critical, thinking), red hat (emotions, feelings, intuitions), black hat (negative), yellow hat (logical) and green hat (creativity). He does not like the thinking process to be based on argumentation.
According to him, the same person who is advocating a particular idea should be made to also go against it. In that way the thinking and decision making of the idea will be honed. He says that he would like to see constructive and creative intelligence rated above critical intelligence.
It is an interesting book and interesting idea.
I don't agree with his solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I don't think zinc levels in people's blood streams have anything to do with it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Thanks to the ongoing raging war between internet websites selling books in India, I was lucky to get (free) a copy of this book.
Now I know what you are thinking - I've become a mama and now I've started reading books on how to become a better mama. Something like that may be true, though I have unintentionally done it!
Sophie, Lulu and their over ambitious mom are the main characters in this non-fiction book about an over achieving Chinese (2nd generation) Mom raising kids in today's America.
There are some LOL moments. Some are truly ring a bell - like how she approves of tennis (it's not bowling)...
I guess in the end all parents don't want their kids to have any regrets. As I write this, Aditi is precariously balanced on my lap watching me type on this "strange" machine (she is only 5 1/2 months old!!).
What were my regrets?
Funny enough, not learning a musical instrument!! :) :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters


Once you get started on a series, you get hooked!!

This is the fourth book of Amelia Peabody that I'm reading and I am loving it (as the advertisement goes!)

Even the cutie Ramses has grown on me. Though I disagree with her parenting skills. I don't think it is right to keep criticizing your offspring so much, no matter how precocious he may be!!

I also like the series because it tells you a bit about the ancient culture of Egypt - beyond just the pyramids. You learn about Ramses, Sethos, archaeology, Sneferu. I believe all the sites written about in the books are real. For example, a place called Dahshur with the Black Pyramid actually does exist. So do the Mazghuna pyramids.

I hope to go to Egypt one day and see these pyramids. It would be SO AWESOME!!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This is the third installment of the Hunger Games.

And it is amazing!!

There is a lot of depth in what she writes. It may appear to be a love story, a rebellion, a gruesome gladiator game.

I sat up till 11:00 last night, after my baby fell asleep, reading the last hundred pages of the trilogy. It was worth all the effort and the time taken away from sleep!!


Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal

I normally avoid the business section of any bookstore. It is dreary, full of management jargon, bordering artificiality. There is always a gimmicky three liner that strives to catch your attention. I feel that in all these types of books, one chapter is more than sufficient. Why even bother having more to read?
Stay Hungry Stay Foolish is different. Quoted from Steve Jobs, this book looks at inspiring stories from IIM A graduates who chose a different path. They sought to become entreprenuers and there stories are quite amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved reading through it! I would recommend that all business students, entreprenuers and aspiring "anything" read this book!!