Why are you being educated?

To disappoint all those readers who thought its a post by me – it is better than the general book review post. At least read the quoted part. 🙂

Why are you being educated?

By J Krishnamurti

Rating : 4/5( 1 point for reiterated parts in the later chapters)

It was my first peek into J. Krishnamurti’s philosophical ideas and thoughts.
(For those who want to know more about him or want to gain some insight from his work – check http://www.jkrishnamurti.org )
I found them really interesting and enlightening in the educational aspects. I have only read the education part after reading this book. I will later check the other areas also.

About the book – it is a collection of talks which J. krishnamurti gave in various Indian universities during 70s & 80s.
His chief concern is to awaken the students from the fact that the pursuit of knowledge does not liberate man from his fundamental ignorance of himself. While knowledge is indispensable, it also creates the illusion that we have the intelligence to meet  the challenges of life, and this makes us neglect the vast and subtle field of the human psyche.

In my college time also, there were some leaders(thought leaders & political leaders) who gave speeches at seminar. The difference between their speeches & the speeches in this book is vast. It may be the time which has changed or may be the leaders who have drastically changed. Perhaps we as a society have forgotten and ignored such topics on human psyche. That was thought to be of vital importance just a few decades back.(Or may be I was not fortunate to listen to such speakers in college time)

To give you the idea about what is in this book, i will put some of its passages here:

Are you going to waste your life? passing some exam, getting a job, being trained to imitate. That is what you are being taught : to imitate, to conform, to fit into the pattern. And is that the end of life? Then you ask : ‘ What shall we do ? Is there something else ?’ To find something totally different from all this, you have to have a great deal of intelligence. Intelligence is not knowledge. Knowledge gives you capacity, position, status but knowledge is not love, knowledge is not compassion. It is only where there is love and compassion that there is intelligence, and that intelligence of thought. So are you wasting your life ? Nobody can answer that question except yourself. The purpose of life is what you want.

If everybody is second hand, who is first hand ?
( To find out first hand, don’t be second hand )

Is this knowledge, or is it total ignorance, when we cultivate information, when we learn from others what we are and how we should think & what we should think ?

And there are many more questions on which a student can mull on. Though, at present time, when I interact with my friends & family, they still have the same trepidation. Then I wonder should they have asked these questions to themselves by taking some time out of their race for knowledge.

I do ask similar questions from time to time. It keeps me grounded. I would like you also to reflect on them – so please pick up this book, if you can. Or you can check his site and read or listen his speeches from there.

Arigato. 🙂

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Body Language

I think I have already read this one. But still read it to make sure. Finished it in my journey from kolkata to hyderabad yesterday.

Body Language

By Julius Fast

Rating: 2/5

Being an psychology enthusiast, books like these naturally attract me. After reading it I am not sure whether I read it or not. Though, I found the reason for that – the research & findings given in the book have aged for the present times. There are much better & more enlightening research on the cause & effects, meanings, perceptions of body language. And it is mostly western(American) based, so again disappointed that nothing on Indian psych is researched anywhere yet.

Julius Fast starts the book with giving the reader introduction to a new stream of science – Kinesics. It gives example of how the body language gets misinterpreted by people from different culture & profession. Then it moves to the boundary hypothesis of humans, like an animals’ territorial conceptions. The different areas or zones of introverts & extroverts are looked into. Three chapters deal with this space & its invasion. After that the Masks com in focus. The facial masks/expressions which people wear to hide, to confront, to comfort, to restrict e.t.c. Then the language of touch is explored – how a touch can show a persons’ character. Language of LOVE is the heading for the next chapter – well, I will say it was not even in its infancy stage.( There are lots of research available on that- mostly western, but I find they work in Indian context also many times).
The last few chapters deal with small pointers of Kinesics viz – positions,points,postures,winking,blinking and nods. I am sure you must be knowing almost all of it by now. They are just common sense observations & it is amateur ‘psychology’ enthusiasts first reads/observations. The last chapter deals with new language being developed to study Kinesics. And the various use & abuse of such studies becoming generalist.( They can never be – it has been sort of proved by the failure of teleological science in practical world.)

So my suggestion, you can pick it up if you really want to. But there are much better & fresh studies on the same matter.( And I am not pointing to the popular – Men from Mars & Women from Venus). There are lots of them available now – ‘best’ start with Dan Ariely books.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – I have read almost 15-17 books while I was away from blogging. What do you guys suggest – should I post there review also?

Ethics, Business and Society

I was lazying around with this one. Only took 6hr long stint.

Ethics, Business and Society: Managing Responsibly

Edited By Anana Das Gupta

Rating: 4/5

There are some books which can be read both for pleasure and for knowledge. Well, I get pleasure in reading such stuff. This book is really well presented and easily readable.

The book is a compilation of papers & articles written by prominent contributors like N.Balasubramanian, Parthasarathi Banerjee, Arindam Banik and others. The book is divided into two Sections .

First section presents the broader canvas on Society,Business and Ethics.The basic concepts can be understood very easily from the first paper. The relations & connections are presented in such a manner that anybody can grasp it. Second chapter covers the continuum of changing definition of Governance & Economic Development. The next six chapters give different case studies on topics of Corporate Philanthropy, CSR( Corporate Social Responsibility), Technical Education, Management Education and Civil Society.

Second section is concerned with the future vision and role of Ethics in Business and CSR.  Stakeholder management promotion of CSR by Usha Jumani is interesting & illuminating. Next two chapters deal with perspectives in Environment and Science & Tech. Prasad Kaipa’s Indian Model of Leadership pointed to many ignored points but there is no clear solutions stated there. Any suggestions would have been appreciable. The chapter on Gandhian Perspective provides a rejuvenated outlook for Gandhi’s viewpoint in the present context of Business & Government ethics. The last chapter makes a point about importance of having independent directors on the company board.

This is a really good book to gain some insight about topics of ethics,CSR e.t.c. I would surely recommend it to anyone interested in non-fiction books.

From point of UPSC preparation, GS-4 paper – this book may or may not help. There is no clarity about GS4 paper this year. So it doesn’t hurt to have some more knowledge. If you have time, you can go through it. At least you will have better perspective on the same issues, plus there are some suggestions provided in the case studies.

Check it if you are interested.

Arigato 🙂

 

Hind Swaraj

For so long I wanted to read the vision of our Nations’ father -Gandhiji. Whenever he talked to Nehru on issue of India After Independence,he used to refer this work to him . The renewed interest in ‘Non-violence’ & ‘Satyagrah’ as tools for protest, all around the globe, increased my desire to read it. And I bought this thin vision document, which costs around Rs50 in general plus add the import charges. It was a dumb decision on my side.
Later, I came to find the whole book on internet – Open for everyone to read. [check — http://www.mkgandhi.org/hindswaraj/hindswaraj.htm ]

They have whole collection of his work if you are interested.

This is less of book review, more of personal take on it.

Hind Swaraj

By M.K.Gandhi

Indian Home Rule

 

The book is written in the form of conversation between the Editor of newspaper Indian Opinion & its’ readers. It is a compilation of the conversations Gandhi Ji had with the readers. It is divided into separate topics which concerns the future of Home Rule system in India. Gandhi ji answers the questions rattling the mind of the common Indian. Through this conversation he starts to present the picture of his vision to the readers. How he imagine the Indians should live their life under their own rule. The topic goes from meaning of Swaraj to England,Civilization,Condition of India, How to become free, till his conclusion of Home Rule/Swaraj.
Please read the online version if you want to know what actually is written – it will hardly take an hour to go through it.

Now about my views on it. First of all, I would like to point that when I read some persons’ vision – I try to accept all the arguments presented. It helps me understand and have a peak at what the person wanted to convey. Like when I read Mein Kampf by Hitler, I understood his point against Jews as he saw it. The historical time period & conditions do play a role here. And it never means I concur with them .

It’s important to go through all the mud to find the gold dusts in it. There are many lessons from Mein Kampf also. And so I wanted to find some shreds of silver in Hind Swaraj.

Initially, I agreed to his problem with the profession of Lawyers in the society. But then a small conversation with friend bounced me on the other side. The point which was interesting is that – I find similarity in tactics used to resolve inter-office disputes in the corporate. They don’t need any lawyer, they use the established hierarchy & it is solved amiably most of the time. As I understand, he thought that going to lawyers for every conflicts make the conflict permanent in the psyche. There is no scope for inter-party compromise or solution, like self-handling the solution without violence, keeping in line with natural laws & social norms. And the lawyers do suck/depend on quarrels of people for there work. Don’t they?
However, Judiciary is the only governance body which is trusted by the people. His vision for other democratic body has failed today(in some way). Moreover, his prescription would have helped breed more narrow-mindedness & tunnel vision decisions. Imagine Khap Panchayat & Westernization.

I found his problem with Doctors was misplaced. Also the Problem with Machinery of any kind was back-ward looking.Though, I found his methods of protest i.e. Passive Resistance was a watershed in raising voice.

I would like to leave the criticism. Now about the silver linings.
Acc. to me, Gandhi Ji wanted Indians to be dependent on their Soul force to achieve their goals.
The first basic pushing force is sexual(from lizard brain) in nature, so he was for maintaining chastity for life.
The second is money, (from rational mind), which is being used in contemporary world to make people work hard. It has been mixed with the sexual motivation is also being used in a way so as to make people crave for healthy bodies.(Don’t you agree?).

The last one, which is hardest to follow & is independent ,in a way ,is the path of soul. And I can bet that you will agree on this. If you don’t then why the hell books like ‘ Monk who sold his Ferrari’ became so famous. So many management books I have read – with repeated suggestion of self-actualized motivation for living ones life. And as a creative(self-claimed :P) I know how much will-force is required when you make something just for the sake of it.

If you can conquer it than you can conquer the direction of your life & head it anywhere you like. Gandhi Ji wanted each individual to be a self-actualized fountain in him/herself. I found his idea being individualistic to its core; each bonded together in a complex mesh of Hindu(People of India not religious) way of life. Each empowered by the strong will of soul force, healthy body & sharp mind.

Even the visualization of each person being a fountain making ripples in the vast sea of humanity. Each ripple touching, reflecting, penetrating other ripples. The image is so awesome.

Actually, I wanted to find some Business model or Organization model in this work. And to tell you the truth I have formed a picture of it, though its still hazy. Also, the new buzz words disrupting the Organization/Systems like Cooperatives,Share economy, peer-to-peer economy, open models,e.t.c are in some way have adopted his ideas. I tried fitting disruptive entrepreneurs, new technology, social networks and creative innovators in his model – few areas did overlapped with his vision. The new internet technology base may make his vision a possibility in some way or other.

The whole idea of reading Gandhi Ji’s work is to get to the roots of his arguments. And then growing it for contemporary world adding the new innovations as fertilizers.

I will read more of his works & his vision in future. How can Gandhi Ji’s vision be completely ignored, rejecting it as Utopian??
His ways of passive resistance revolutionized the means of Protest all around the world. There is much more one can learn from him.
After all, isn’t it the desire of humans to achieve Utopia, how may impossible that dream be.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – The views are personal as per my rationalization & understanding of his works. One can always differ from them. Also I desire to fit his model into the contemporary models of development,business & productivity. When I read this post – I find some points are not so clearly presented – sorry for that. I visualize the ideas, I am still learning to put them on paper & clearly convey the image to others.

Confessions

Four months – that’s what took me to complete this book. Mainly because I was reading it on the small screen of my mobile. See the progress yourself.

Capture

This is a work of classics which I find myself inept to truly comment on. Not because it should not be done so, rather because I consider my understanding & knowledge of classics still inadequate to make statements. I would need to re-read them some more times to fully understand the importance of such composition.
When I started reading Homer’s Odyssey , I was irritated by the repetitive lines & the constantly crying Hero. Later I realized that it was written in a poetic form, that’s why the repetition & the emphasis on the emotional state of the Characters.

Confessions

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rating : –

The book was a compilation of the ten parts of Rousseau’s memoirs from different stages of his life.
(Sorry, I would not go in the general routine of discussing the chapters, as there are too many. Instead I will get directly to the review of this book)

Connected – that is the feeling which kept me going, making possible to finish this book. With the history lessons learned for the exam, I was able to visualize & understand the conditions of Rousseau’s era. The childhood to youthful days were so interesting for me, that at most of the incidents, I felt emphatically feeling his state of mind. He was same like anyone of us(boys). His thoughts, his manner, his desires – it was uncanny resemblance to an introvert, shy, clumsy person from present time.(yeah you can point to me here) Each time he fell for a women or girl he was unable to express it, due to his shyness. There was rarely any ideals formed till his teens. In his teens how he made the jump into the uncertainty, clueless about his future destinations. It was inspiring.

Then in his middle life – how he formed his career, solidified his interest in drama. The many different roles he had to play before he became known for his work. If one wants to become an entrepreneur or pursue Arts than his confessions is must for that inner motivation.

The words he used, his style of writing is amazing. I was ecstatic while reading it, constantly saying how can he? how can he?. Incredible use of language.

There is rarely any chapter presenting his role in French Revolution. At the end part, I expected to find that. Instead I found that he was constantly repudiated & condemned for his work. And also by those, for whom’s rights, he stood for. In the later years he spent his life in peaceful solitude with his close ones. His strong will & faith in his personal maxims kept him going till the end. Just like M.Gandhi kept on going.

There are some incidents where I was amazed & shocked to find that Rousseau was involved in such deplorable acts. Then there were incidents which were amusing like his attachments with the opposite sex. In whole, it is an inspiring & awesome work of Rousseau.I should not label it as his work – it is actually his confessions. His log-book or diary where he wrote his memoirs. Also, he started it in his thirties after discerning his own self with rational thoughts & idealism.( I hope my log book will help me in my later years & reflecting on my growth in life.)

I also noticed that how so strongly affectionate & attached he became to women. The inference to women was still in the form of objects. Women were still not seen equal then. The concept will come later in the history.

I found many practices which one can take up to improve upon his/her life. And it is applicable in today’s world also. Like…
– Jumping into uncertain seas to embrace your life & find your true self. ( Leaving the clock-mechanic apprentice & start on a journey around Europe)
– To keep on going even if your work is eccentric to the popular trend. ( Popular censor to your drama in opera houses)
– Be bold enough to present your thoughts even in face of danger.(King’s Army or Church coming to capture you)

You can find many as per your needs & mental level.

I can go on about Rousseau’s life. That’s why I said – I will have to re-read it. Each time I will find something new inside.(like our NCERT 11th & 12th books :P). So I will stop here only.

This one is a classic. And you must pick this one up. If you feel inspired by people’s life or like reading autobiography’s  – this one is for you. Keep in mind the era & Rousseau’s time.(Brush up on Europe’s history a little).

Arigato 🙂

P.S – Should I post the snippets I took from the books ? They are lengthy. 😛

& thank you every one for their comments on Midnight Rant.

The Upside of Irrationality

Finished this one on my flight back to Kolkata from Delhi.

The Upside of Irrationality

By Dan Ariely

Rating: 4.5/5

Dan Ariely is one of the best author who writes on behavioral economics in a smooth & understandable manner. When I first read his book – ‘Predictably Irrational’, it blew my mind. I was first time peeking into the world of irrationality of our lifes. Then came the books by N. Taleb & D. Kahneman. And now I always look for the irrational rules inherent in the day to day events. Specially in Indian scenario as I find it less explored & highly complex & varied.

The book is divided into two parts.
Part 1 puts light on the ways our behaviors defy rational logic at Work. Let me just put the names of the chapters : Paying More for Less; The Meaning of Labor; IKEA effect; Not-Invented-Here Bias; Case of Revenge. The first chapter deals with why Big bonuses are paid to the higher executives & how much does it affects their productivity.(It’s an illusion mostly). The second one shows what happens when you take away the meaning away from ones work. The IKEA effect is worth exploring. (won’t say much about it). The Not-invented-here bias peeks into our inner selfish attachments. Case against Revenge can help you take that revenge more effectively.

Part 2 deals with illogical actions we take at our home. The first two chapter deals with our capability to adapt to changes in our environment. Dan puts his own excruciating experience to explore this area. Next one is for the singles planning to get their soul-mates.(Check it out if you are single). After that it explores why we easily take money out for One person in need of help. Though reluctant in case when the no. increases. The chapter on Short-term emotions effecting our decisions is enlightening. It can really help in self-development steps.

I also have Ariely’s another book on the shelf – ‘The (Honest) truth about dishonest’. And after reading this one, I am impatient to pick it up. However, I won’t pick it up now.(Delayed Gratification & Changed Priorities – yeah I implement them into my life as well).

For books like this, I plead to people – please, please, please- read it. It’s a golden egg. It’s easily understandable. Anybody can take it up.

Arigato 🙂

Look at the Books

Camera 360

 

Camera 360

 

😀 These are the books I have got on the table. The near by Reliance ‘Time Out’ was closing, so my father bought all this on 70-80% discount.

Only the vertical kept ones are allowed to be read before Dec 5.
Everything else is for ‘after Dec 5’

And Yes I read book from the whole spectrum. The texture it imparts to your creative mind is beautiful & amazing, then just going for one type of genre.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – I also read two books between this time – ‘The upside of irrationality’ & ‘The confessions’. I will soon be writing there posts. And I am back in Kolkata(at home) for some days. 🙂