Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

My Booker Predictions

October 7, 2006

Booker Shortlist 2006

The Man Booker Prize will be announced this coming tuesday Oct 10th. I haven’t yet read any of the shortlisted books. However, my winning bets would be in this order:

  1. In the Country of Men – Hisham Matar
  2. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  3. The Night Watch – Sarah Waters
  4. The Secret River – Kate Grenville
  5. Mother’s Milk – Edward St Aubyn
  6. Carry Me Down – M. J. Hyland

The bookies favorite is Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch’. Will have to wait for another three more days to see if my prediction will ring true.

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The Economist, The Logician & The Mathematician

September 30, 2006

Holy Cow!

Three Wise Men

I recently got to read the erratically cerebral brilliance of Mark Haddon’s writing in his ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog at the Night Time’. It is a book like no other in the sense that it conforms to no set writing order and still carries off an amazingly wierd story about the mindmappings of a mentally challenged boy. The above bit is a little joke from that mindmap.

The Process Manifesto

August 14, 2006

“Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.” Bruce Mau in ‘Life Style’

[Source: From an entry in the W+K Studio blog]

The most densely populated place on earth

August 6, 2006

As kids we learn about all these little facts about humans and geography like the state of Assam in Eastern India has the highest rainfall, Tokyo is the world’s most densely populated city in the world etc etc. And here’s one new one I learned from Joe Sacco’s graphic book journalistic travelogue ‘Palestine’.

Palestine

Early ‘Long Tail’ Wisdom

August 2, 2006

Long Tail

Now that Chris Anderson’s much awaited and blogged about book ‘The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less For More’ is out, everybody’s probably busy blogging about the virtues and vices of the book. I was curious to check the origins of his Long Tail philosophy and landed on this early (and pretty much the first published) article in Wired Issue 12.10, October 2004. And for me, these two paragraphs pretty much laid the foundations to the Long Tail theory:

“Hit-driven economics is a creation of an age without enough room to carry everything for everybody. Not enough shelf space for all the CDs, DVDs, and games produced. Not enough screens to show all the available movies. Not enough channels to broadcast all the TV programs, not enough radio waves to play all the music created, and not enough hours in the day to squeeze everything out through either of those sets of slots.

This is the world of scarcity. Now, with online distribution and retail, we are entering a world of abundance. And the differences are profound.”

And abundant it is. I’ve lost count of the new artists I’ve come across (and wanted to check out) through Pandora.com and Last.fm; books and movies through the endless ponderings through favorite blogs and Amazon.com and even lost track of the interesting blogs that you come across through the favorite blog links of my bookmarked blogs. Not to mention the myriad links through del.icio.us. We’re truly lost in abundance. And it’s good.

Speed of Change

August 2, 2006

Evolution

“Change is hard. Change is hardest on those caught by surprise. Change is hardest on those who have difficulty changing too. But change is natural; change is not new; change is important.” – These are the hard-driven points on change from an employee memo of David Schlesinger (head of Reuters America) back in 2004.

And this memo is presented as a call for awakening towards the sweeping changes in business taking place in a constantly globalising world economy in Thomas Friedman’s book ‘The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century’. And this is only the first chapter that I am in so far.

Friedman divides the globalization eras into three categories.

1. Globalization 1.0 which is from 1492 – 1800 (From Columbus’s discovery of America to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England) resulting in shrinking the world from a size large to a size medium
2. Globalization 2.0 which is from 1800 – 2000 (Industrial Age to Information Age) resulting in the world shrinkage from medium to small

3. Globalization 3.0 which is pretty much the last six years of internet, e-commerce, blogging, tagging, internet telephony and evolving day-by-day so to speak and apparently shrinking the world from size small to tiny and flattening the playing field at the same time

Now what is truly interesting to me is the speed of change in these three eras. The first one lasted for about 300 years, while the second era about 200 years (outlasting the above-average age of a person). The third one is about six years old and growing (Its just started first-grade school) and we already have an astounding amount of information covering the brief twenty-first century. What has truly changed now is that the dissemination and ready availability of information for everyone (at the click of a mouse button as they say!) has accelerated our thinking and perception relative to older eras.

I’m just getting into the preceding chapters and will keep adding thoughts and observations, as I journey through the ten forces that flattened the world and its aftermath.

Idea v/s Execution

July 24, 2006

Disruption

Even us souls who inhabit the world of advertising often confuse between the ‘idea’ and ‘execution’. Think about explaining the difference to the average joe out there. Which I’ve occasionally had to, with mixed success. So it gives me great pleasure to bring to light Jean Marie Dru’s simple explanation of the same. Was going through his classic book ‘Disruption – Overturning Conventions and Shaking Up the Marketplace’, and found the brilliant idea v/s execution differentiation and by far this is the best. No wonder Dru is who he is.

“The idea expresses the benefit in an engaging, distinctive way. The execution is the way the idea is presented, explained and depicted (and not the way an ad is produced). Its role is to enhance the idea. An execution is an idea about the idea. In other words, the selling idea dramatizes the benefit, and the execution dramatizes the idea.”

And while we are on ‘Disruption‘, here’s another one of Dru’s timeless gems on inspiration.

“There are a multitude of registers and innumerable sources of inspiration. If we are observant, everyday life reveals thousands of customs, habits, and reflexes. Little things we steal from people, as an artist would, and which provide an inexhaustible source of inspiration.”

Title-Combo Quote for the Day

July 20, 2006

Seize the Day Or the Day Seizes You

“Seize the day or the day seizes you.”

[Source: Combination of the titles of Saul Bellow’s classic ‘Seize the Day’ and Rajorshi Chakraborti’s new book ‘Or the Day Seizes You’]

Triple Quote of the Day

July 7, 2006

Paul Theroux Travels

“The more you write, the more you are capable of writing. Only amateurs wait for inspiration, the rest of us go to work, writing is work.”

“Nothing is more truthful than the fiction of a place.”

“Photographs appear not to be revealing of the person taking it, but in reality, says everything about the photographer.”

Paul Theroux (Novel & Travel Writer)

[Source: The Hindu Literary Review, July 2, 2006]