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?

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 🙂

Pavid Pavillion

This is the last one of the novel, which I took from my fathers’ bookshelf. I finished reading it on 5th only, but didn’t got much time to write the review here. It will be a really short review.

Pavid Pavillion

By Sidney Sheldon

Rating: 1/5

This will be a short review because there is nothing much to comment on. This one was one of the early work of Sidney Sheldon. Even, it’s ISBN has been reassigned to some other work of his. It can show you how Sidney Sheldon moved from meaningless & gibberish stories to the master- plots of his thrillers. This has been a disappointment , as I expected to find suspense or thriller. Well, I was bemused by the plot though.

2013-08-05 18.07.25ggg

This book has portrayed the sexual scandals of the high society of Hollywood. Well, not of a society but of some well connected characters. The connection is their sexual encounters & its a messy mesh. Every character seems to be copulated with some other character. All the feelings of envy,jealousy,anger, love,passion – I mean almost every type of human emotion without its depth has been presented via the characters. Each chapter has some form of sexual encounter placed as per the story-line.
I can’t pinpoint the protagonist of the novel. It looked like bunch of bunnies having sex in a glamorous world. And the scenes are not explicit like the mommy porn – ’50 Shades of Grey’. They will give the idea what’s been done.
The whole point of the book was like creating a bunch of characters – with each having some motive embedded with high sex drives.(too high sex drives) . In the end the author just kills them one by one. Letting them die into the nothingness where they originated from.
Yeah, that’s all.

The book cover was totally apt for this one. The main women who survive are blondes with blue eyes. But I still don’t understand why each book of Sidney Sheldon has a girl/woman pic on its cover.
This was a waste of time. Glad! I finished fast.

I won’t recommend it. I think, its not even in print now. For the best of you, You won’t find it in any book stores. 😛

Arigato.

P.S – My frequency of blogging will decrease from now on. As I have to study for the mains exam & I am in flow now-a-days. 😀

Social Theory and Development Administration

Bear with me, I am almost done with text-books. Only 4 more are left, of which, reading 2 of them depends on the result.

Social Theory and Development Administration

By Mohit Bhattacharya

Rating: 5/5

After reading this book, I realized why so many engineers(& others) are taking Public Administration as an optional. The whole study matter engulfed me into so many diverse and myriad philosophies & ideologies. So many concepts which I used to take on face value got clarified & many others I learned. The rating shows my bias towards this book – after all it added a bunch of new intellectual pathways into my knowledge circuit. This is the first book I read by ‘Mohit Bhattacharya’, there are his other works on public administration only.

The book is divided into four sections. Each section dealing with particular topic of Development Administration,Governance,Decentralization e.t.c at length. The text flows effortlessly & gives you a smooth reading speed, keeping in mind the complexity of the concepts.

First Section, starts with the introduction to the term ‘development’ & ‘development administration’. The concept of ‘Development’ is dealt with, showing the historical underpinnings of it. The different theories explaining the meaning of ‘development’ & there evolution. Right from colonialist point of view to the post-developmental-ism. Ideologies of Modernists, Sustainable development, environmentalists,feminists,Gandhian,Marxists, Capitalist – each have been explain thoroughly & succinctly.

Second section, explains the concept of the new buzz word – Decentralization. The various participatory development means, voluntarism,empowerment & sustainable development methods are investigated. The difference between all the concepts involved in decentralization discourse has been identified. Third Section, is concerned with the matters of ‘Good Governance’, Rights and Ethics in development. How the concept of development administration has changed to concept of good governance. What is the right-based approach. The Ethical concerns in ‘Development’. These are some of the issues explained in this section. This section has taken heavily from the international conventions & UN surveys. It was like reading the critique & summary of the methods being proposed by the United Nation Organizations & World Bank.

The last section tries to present the ‘New Paradigms’ in the Development discourse. The challenges in the new millennial. Civil Society & Social Capital evolving as the third leg in the whole discourse alongside private & public players.There is a huge section dealing primarily with the Gender issues & Equality. The last part provides a solid discussion on the ‘Capability Approach’ of Amartya Sen.

This book is just amazing for a novice intellectual trying to understand the debates on development. There is no single path which has been effective & is the ultimate solution. When I compared my line of thoughts with all the theories – I found myself nearing the Neo-liberal & anti-development streams. (Yes, this type of combination can exist acc. to me). However, the highlights for me was the Amartya Sen’s Capability approach. I should have studied his works earlier, it is so close to the new understanding I was tinkering with in my head.

About reading it – if you are one of those who criticize government on each & every thing – please read it. At least, you will know more points on which you can criticize the govt. Also even if you are layman & can’t understand much of it – ‘there is always some thing new to look to’. People already dealing in such issues & the scholars, please recommend me further readings like this.

About UPSC candidates, it’s a must book for Public Administration optional(or Mohit Bhattacharya’s other book). For GS, I don’t consider it of much use as you can never get enough space & time to write answers if you go according to it. Howsoever, I will recommend reading it to better understand the general discourse on development. It will help expanding your viewpoint & understandings.

Arigato 🙂

 

The Doomsday Conspiracy

I am always ready to use up my time reading a fast pace thriller. what is required is the fleeting free time – to relish such stories.

The Doomsday Conspiracy

By Sidney Sheldon

Rating: 4/5

I should have been reading my course-material for tomorrows test but couldn’t put it down. I thought it would be again some ‘Secret Agent’ thriller trailing all around the world & US. And it was like that only with a huge difference. The difference was – Sidney Sheldon. This is the third one i have read so far & each and every one was un-put-down-able. He is master of thrillers – in future i will pick up his work without any second thoughts.

The protagonist is a NSA agent, Commander Robert, who was also an ex-Viet veteran. He gets a simple mission to track few people in Switzerland, though without any leads on them. He does that easily, and one by one they all start dying. They were terminated by a secret world organization which was trying to hide the crash site of an UFO. All this is presented early on, so there is no jack-in-the-box moment about there motives. You will know what will happen to each one & to the protagonist. After all the witness are terminated and next in line is our protagonist. The story picks up into Spy-vs-All Spy chase. I wouldn’t spoil the climax because once you start reading it – you already have it in your head.

The feature which keeps this book abreast is the story-telling. It will be like watching a movie. You will never leave it until you finish it. The love-angle of the protagonist has been so efficiently used to keep up the scenes. Every piece of information was placed there to pique the story in the direction reader wants & then it changes the route mid-way. There is the UFO angle but in between the trail, you will totally forget about them.

This is an amazing book to read. I would surely recommend it to anyone.

Arigato 🙂