Book Reviews

Author: Sirshree
Publisher: Penguin Books India
(Pp 160, ISBN 978-0-143-41519-0, Rs 150)

The One AboveWhat will you do if God was your neighbor – living in the same building as yours, helping you find happiness in your current state of life? Imaginative but so peaceful! The book shows how to infuse passion and energy into everyday activities, both at work and at home. The book helps to accept all happiness and sufferings to reach a state where whatever be the circumstances, you are happy.

The book does not preaches, instead all the mantras of life are woven together in a form of a story where Ecklavya, an architect by profession, is unhappy. He asks God to come down to his rescue and God does come in the form of a neighbor. Ecklavya does not know his name but he calls him ‘The Above One’ or ‘Tao’ and starts sharing his feelings with him. Tao teaches him practical ways of being happy and dispelling common beliefs about unhappiness and pain and provides insights into the real causes of suffering. Towards the end, Ecklavya learns how to be happy and so do the readers.

In all, motivating book which keeps you glued till the end. Beautifully presented, it makes an interesting and very helpful read!

Author: Dirk Collier
Publisher: Amaryllis
(Pp 609, ISBN: 978-81-910673-6-1, Rs 695)

The Emperor’s Writings Great Mughal emperor Akbar is believed to be illiterate – that he could not read more than a few simple words here and there and that he could barely sign his own name. But, undoubtedly, he was a learned man with wealth of knowledge in his mind – the knowledge he had gained from thousands of books that had been read to him.

The book ‘The Emperor’s Writings’ narrates the true story of Akbar’s life and times, his swift and spectacular rise to absolute power, often against overwhelming odds, and his remarkably modern vision of a prosperous, diverse and tolerant Hindustan, against the backdrop of his eventful personal life, his relationship with his favourite wife and tragic conflict with Salim (Jahangir), his only surviving son and bitter rival.

It is not just a historical novel – it offers a unique historical perspective on the heart and soul of the Indian sub-continent. Brilliantly written, the books takes us down the memory lane – towards the days of the Mughal reign in India and gives us a glimpse of the life of Akbar the Great, the most powerful and wealthiest monarch of his time.

Author: Shiva Prakash
Publisher: Amaryllis
(Pp 258, ISBN 978-81-910673-3-0, Rs 195)

Touching Distance: The Great Indian MBA Dream The book peeks in the life of millions of Indians who think gaining the MBA degree would change their life forever. Their ambition to do something in life land them in a swanky MBA degree college, the curriculum and the culture puts them in awe. But, does the life really change after the MBA degree? Seen through the eyes of a witty, idealistic and ultimately fatalistic south Indian protagonist, the story evokes humour and captures our dilemmas. The story revolves around Shiva, who is fed up of his software programming job and pines for an MBA degree to change the course of his life. He quits his job, takes an education loan and lands in one of the finest Indian B-school.

But, as they say that there is a plan bigger than your own. The same happens with Shiva who after completing his MBA, finds himself in the same office where he was working before. But, his perspective towards life change. He no longer sees his job as boring or unworthy. Probably, the degree of MBA has given him the vision to see things in a different perspective.

The storyline is so realistic that people who have gone through this stage can actually relate it to their lives. It is an enjoyable read for all those who are bugged by the great Indian MBA dream.

Vegetarianism for a Healthy Body and a Cool MindAuthor: Bodhipaksa
Publisher: New Age Books
(Pp 101, ISBN 978-81-7822-355-1, Rs 25)

Priced nominally, the book aims at informing about the different aspects of vegetarianism. It will help people make a sensible choice because we are what we eat and we create a world and environment in consonance with our personality. It gives an examination of vegetarianism from a Buddhist perspective. It is concise and would prove accessible for non-vegetarianism who are curious but not yet convinced to go vegetarian.

Speeches That Reshaped the WorldAuthor: Alan J Whiticker
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
(Pp 302, ISBN 978-81-8498-164-3, Rs 300)

Speeches That Reshaped The World is a collection of the greatest speeches of modern times- speeches that instigated war and called for peace, that liberated women and recognized AIDS sufferers, that aimed to abolish poverty. It includes speeches that not only shaped and changed the world but also moved us to action - emotionally, politically and socially. In fact, this is a collection of the most potent and memorable speeches given since the year 1900. Nearly sixty speeches have been categorized under politics, civil rights, war, great women, change and peace and reconciliation. A significant facet of the collection is a section devoted to female voices- speeches of immense clarity and hope. There are a dozen speeches by female orators- including heads of state, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Israel’s Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, Hillary Clinton and the unsung voices of Elizabeth Glaser and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Many of these speeches are inspirational and historic. John F Kennedy’s “ Ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”; Nelson Mandela’s statement ”I am the first accused…” from the dock at the opening of his defince in 1964 Rivonia Trial where he spoke of his ancestry and the struggle for black equality in his white dominated home land; Mahatma Gandhi’s momentous arguments in March 1922 at the historic trial when he was charged under Section 124A of the Indian penal code, when he defended his case on the grounds of ‘law versus conscience’ and many more such historical speeches have been included in this.

These speeches have recurring themes of politics and diplomacy, war and peace, freedom and justice, civil rights and human rights. What they all have in common is the rhetoric: the power of persuasion. These speeches carry the hopes and regrets of our modern world, and become even more powerful and poignant with the passage of time.

Alan J Whiticker, born 1958 is an Australian non-fiction author with currently over 35 published books.