Tag Archives: reading

The Reading List

The one great thing about the library or the LRC (Learning Resource Center) at ISB is the wide variety of books available for one to read. Since we are pretty much allowed to issue a lot of books (I dont even know what the upper limit is…), I usually end up picking up 1 or 2 of them whenever I go there to study/discuss something with the group etc. However, as always, theres not much time to actually read the books, and I end up with an increasing pile that I need to read.

While I havent recently had much time for reading, the near future may actually give me a chance, so heres a list of my stack of books, so to speak. Making a public commitment is always supposed to help in motivation, right?
1. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman: Absolutely on top of my list, this is supposed to be THE book talking about product design and how designers/engineers may forget about the user while making sure aesthetics/functionality is complete in a product. An interesting read with lots of real life examples.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen: Part of a series of books by the Harvard professor, this book defined the very concept of ‘Disruptive Innovation‘, very important in the technology industry, and almost solely responsible for a whole course on the topic here at ISB. Hence my interest in learning more about it.
3. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson: The book by Wired magazine’s editor already has attained cult status in the way it attempts to explain a new way of doing business by concentrating on a large number of items with low demand for each. This so called ‘long tail’ effect is especially useful in the information age with models such as Amazon/itunes using it to build up volumes over the net.
4. fire in the valley by Paul Freiberger & Michael Swaine: This is another book that caught my eye randomly in the library. The source for the movie ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley‘, this 500 pager (2000 edition) is a history of the early years of silicon valley and the PC industry as it was evolving pre 1985, covering the rise of giants such as Apple, Microsoft etc. This is more of a personal interest thing, and something I am aways ready to read more about!
5. Snapshots from Hell by Peter Robinson is supposedly a great book and a look at the authors life at Stanford GSB. I am sure its going to be an interesting read, and I look forward to similarities with life at ISB!
6. Computer Networks by Andrew S. Tanenbaum: Surprised to see this staple of computer science graduates in the list? I was even more surprised to find a complete rack of the most common/recognised computer books in the ISB library! Lets just say I need a basic refresher to prepare myself for what I am planning to do post-ISB.
7. Just for Fun by Linus Torvalds with David Diamond: Linus’s biography. Do I even need to explain why I want to read this one? Only problem is I saw it on my table yesterday, but cant find it right now! Oh well, it’ll turn up.
8. Tintin and Co. by Michael Farr: One of the leading British experts on Tintin, this book is a look at the different characters appearing in the enduring comic series by Herge.
So theres the list. How many of these I actually end up reading, lets see… 😉

Now Reading: Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States

Chetan Bhagat has stepped into a fair bit of controversy over the last month or so with the whole twitter #chetanblocks thing and then the ‘3 Idiots’ credits issue. Talking about his books however, I did find his first book, ‘Five Point Someone’ pretty interesting, primarily because it was a good description of engineering life. I cant say the same thing about the next couple which were strictly ok, though I did make it a point to read them. I managed to snag a copy of his latest book, 2 states, from a classmate 2 days back. The ‘Now Reading’ in the title is kind of inaccurate since its a short 270 pager that I finished in a couple of hours.

The book is based on the real life story of Chetan’s own marriage to his South Indian IIM-A classmate. I did find the story interesting actually, with descriptions of life in South India for a North Indian and typical descriptions of Punjabi families in Delhi who only and only care about money and showing off. Added to it is Chetan’s take about a career at CitiBank for someone who’s in it solely for the money before he can retire and become a writer.
While the story is interesting, the fact remains that its a typical Chetan Bhagat book. Typical? A friend on twitter summed it up pretty well: “well thats with most of his books…he starts off as a loser…gets a chic in the end…is it on similar lines by ne chance??”
And thats pretty much what happens here as well. While I actually like the story, Chetan’s writing style is another matter. The story could definitely have been better written, and it doesnt seem to have the impact it could have had. Of course, thats my unqualified opinion. Till next time…
Meanwhile, in ISB, the interview season starts mid-Jan, and PPTs and applications/resumes are in progress 😀

Now Reading: Matthew Reilly, Moving Mt. Fuji

After a lot of selling from my quaddy Ashish, I finally decided to give Matthew Reilley a try. He’s a big fan. I started on hte books in chronological order, and what can I say? I am hooked. I have always been a fan of good action writers with Alistair Maclean being one of my absolute all time favorites, however, Matthew Reilley is pretty good! The books are action packed, with never a dull page. The chapters seem to be in small bite sized pieces, but with so much action crammed into everything, you can never stop yourself at the end of a chapter alone!

To give you some idea, I went through his first 3 books in 4 days some weeks back (yes this blog post is, as always, overdue)! And especially considering that the only time you can get in ISB is against normal sleeptime, I didnt get a lot of that. So much so that I had to ask Ashish to keep the books away from me, till whenever I have enough time to sit and read one of those in a single sitting. 🙂
I am currently reading ‘How would you move Mount Fuji?’ by William Poundstone. A great book about puzzles, based on the kind initially popularised in the high-tech industry, this book was on my reading list for quite some time, till I saw it lying in the library. I am about halfway done, and it does have some very interesting puzzles that force you to look at problems from a number of different angles.

Inheritance Cycle: Check, and the urge to write

So like I mentioned in my previous post, I finally finished reading the third book in the Inheritance Trilogy nee ‘Cycle’ (refer to previous post) by Christopher Paolini. The book did leave me a bit underwhelmed actually. While I do realise that the writer says he could not see everything coming together in a third book to conclude the storyline as planned initially, the third book felt pretty weak overall. Of course, the fact that what was supposed to be the final book as now turned out to be another in the series could be a reason for my bias as well. It was still worth a read, if only to stay with the story while waiting for the next (and hopefully last!) book in the series.

While the student life @ ISB keeps us pretty busy and doesn’t give one much spare time, I keep getting the feeling of writing on some topic I read about, the only problem being that something or the other always comes up. There’s always an assignment or a speaker session to sidetrack the mind. I have a whole notebook kept aside now where I keep jotting down thoughts and stuff I need to write/blog on once I get time.

In better news, my persistence paid off and I finally got an article of mine published in a proper magazine last month and two more are coming this month 🙂 At least I have some writing skills that someone else finally thinks are worth something! Usually it’s when I sit down to write that I realise how much I love writing. Once the flow of words starts, there no sense of time or page limits in my mind, and thoughts just form themselves into sentences as required.

I really do need to start writing properly more often, or at least blogging about all the many things I keep thinking about. Those who have seen my browser windows will know what I mean. At any given time I have 20 or more windows open just to track topics of interest that I want to read up on or write about somewhere…..

Here’s to more frequent writing. Maybe something like keeping 15 minutes aside each day will help!

As for the book to take up next, its a draw currently between writing more frequently, books on negotiation, or Mathew Riley…

Gameworld Trilogy: Check, Exams and Reports Due: Check

Ok, so I finally finished reading Samit Basu’s Gameworld trilogy. A worthy ending to the trilogy with almost same or better levels of humor and a good plot to back everything up as well. I needn’t have worried that the follow ups may not be as good as the first one. All 3 are decent books, with liberal doses of humor and references to Western movies as well. The third one had equally crazy reference to LOTR/ even one to braveheart.

The third and last book took me some time since the last few days have been pretty busy. Not that its any less busy at present, but now that I have finally managed to get time to finish it off, I can rest easy. Till I pick up the next book of course.
Meanwhile, life @ ISB goes on as it always does. Lots of reports to finish this week, and exams the next! Its just my luck that the 4 subjects I took up this term all have reports due AND exams, unlike other subjects which have no end-term exams, with grading consisting of individual/group assignments as well as in-class quizzes and group projects. Ah well, to work!
PS: Next Up: The long pending ‘Brisingr’ by Christopher Paolini. I need to finish it. Only regret in advance: he should have finished the Inheritance “Trilogy” (Now they call it a ‘Cycle’!) as planned rather than extending it to a fourth and last book (fingers crossed).