I’d rather read

Book Title: I’d Rather Read – Your favourite authors on their favourite booksid-rather-read

Authors: Various

It is a cute little book. Kudos to Rupa & Co (Rupa Publications) on making yet another lovely product, a book. As a bibliophile this book caught my attention for many reasons – its a well made book; its a book about books; its a collection of write-ups by various authors (who are all book lovers).

I kind of enjoyed every piece, soaking in the love for books that every writer possessed. It looks like there are many crazy ones (book lovers) around here. We may not meet them too often, simply because they would rather read than talk!

The book highlights the fact that people read books for many reasons. Reading without a purpose is probably the best way to read. Reading widely is another good trait to pick up. While we make our own little libraries (difficult to maintain these days); going to local libraries and breathing that ethereal air makes for great joy. The sheer variety in the approaches the authors of this volume have taken to loving books itself shows creativity and provides inspiration.

If you are a bibliophile and an avid reader – you should pick this book up. It will tell you that it is not the rich and the famous who collect and read books; it is those who collect and read that become rich and famous in their own ways.

Don’t think much about it, simply pick up the book, you may start enjoying the company of books too. Try it!

World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

While almost every day on the calendar has a reason for celebration – today is special. Because if you do ‘celebrate reading’ on this day, even a little, it can open you to a whole new world. The world will never be the same again!

I love books. I am glad that I got so many of my students (over the past year) to read books. On this day, I wish and pray that they keep this habit going, so that they will be constantly exposed to so many more worlds that exist in this world.

Happy to be a book lover. I will buy one more book today. WiI will also gift one to another.

Celebrate Reading!

Books and Me: Disrupt Yourself

Title: Disrupt Yourself – Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

Author: Whitney Johnsondisrupt-yourself

Most of the book reviews I post here contain the cover image, but today’s image is special. This is because I am reviewing a book I received as a gift from the author for New Year 2017. Hence I post the signed page from the inside of the book instead of the cover!

Thanks Whitney Johnson for sending me this signed personal copy.

I have always found ‘Disruptive Innovation’ an interesting concept. But the phrase remains muddled in colloquial usage. And now that I research in the area of ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ I understand the grave misuse of the term by professionals and novices. This is one of those books which does not distort the meaning.

While many books relating to this topic are written with the firm / organisation in mind, this book is clearly intended for the individual. The principles of ‘Disruptive Innovation’ are powerful and can be applied to one’s individual life. The author uses number of cases as well as anecdotes from her personal life to show us how we can all lead a life full of disruption.

I made a lot of notes and also during the process shared much of this knowledge with my students. In fact reading the book so fascinated me that by the time I completed it, I had almost created two new courses for my students on entrepreneurship – but ones which hopefully, will disrupt the way I teach. I think I will enjoy teaching these new courses as much as I enjoyed reading this book.

The book’s principles are so simple and straight that if I summarise them here, you will feel that you know it all. That is after all the beauty of good writing. The challenge is to put these simple principles to practice. I hope many more will read the book, put its principles to practice, deliberately, and enjoy the fruits of a disruptive life.

Happy Reading!

Books and Me: Trailblazing in Entrepreneurship

Title: Trailblazing in Entrepreneurship – Creating new paths for understanding the field

Authors: Dean A Shepherd and Holger Patzelttrailblazing-book-cover

This is not a review of the book. I am sharing this book for a number of reasons:

  • I got it from one of the co-authors (Prof. Dean Shepherd) who and whose work I admire a lot
  • It is a great resource on where entrepreneurship scholars can look at for the future of entrepreneurship research
  • It is a great resource on literature in entrepreneurship research from two highly respected scholars
  • The authors have been generous to make it freely available so that a lot many scholars who cannot access expensive resources can gain access to good material
  • It is an ‘open access’ book and freely available. Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8gg18ojh-w_SzZWcHc2Y0JZQWM
  • More than everything else I feel it is only fair that young scholars must read the right literature in entrepreneurship and identify promising areas of research for themselves

I have already started reading it and I have shared it with a few colleagues who have good words for the book. Hence I am sharing it with the blog’s readers so that all of you will have the opportunity to trailblaze through the wilds of entrepreneurship research.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Books and Me: In Other Words

Book Title: In Other Wordsin-other-words-book-cover

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

I love reading biographies and autobiographies. It is one of those genres of non-fiction that I enjoy. When I came across this non-fiction book by the author of several award winning works of fiction, I was tempted to try. I even thought it might be bordering on her life – but I was in for some surprise!

The book is brilliant. It exposes our limitations as human beings and how we don’t even recognise them. The book was actually written by Jhumpa Lahiri in Italian and translated into English by Ann Goldstein. Hence it is actually not a book that showcases her English which is her strength.

The book is a brilliant example of how people should live their lives. Instead of continuing to write more books in English for which she is celebrated, Jhumpa Lahiri takes the entrepreneurial route to experimenting with something that struck a cord with her – Learning and Writing in Italian, a language that touched her on the inside.

Using the experience of learning and writing a new language Jhumpa Lahiri exposes how we are all limited to our little worlds. There are so many places in the book where I paused and was sent into a reflective mood – something that happens usually when you read philosophy. Some of those sentences in the book caught on to me so much that I have marked them for re-reflection. If you are one who loves philosophy, even tangentially, you will not miss these reflections in the book. The book clearly highlights the limitations of the human mind, how we stay stuck to comfort zones, the fear of getting out of comfort zones, and what one goes through to get over the fear of moving out of the comfort zone.

I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to re-reading it again.

Books and Me: The Blue Umbrella

Book Title: The Blue Umbrellablue-umbrella-book-cover

Author: Ruskin Bond

I am carrying a ‘blue umbrella’ with me this monsoon. Someone passed a comment on it. It made me remember this book. So, I picked it up again. This little gem got delivered by Amazon earlier this week and I ended up reading it that very night. I felt I was reading it for the first time. This little girl, her brother, the cows, the hillside, and everything almost visually coming to life in front of my eyes. I was literally seeing the story unfold in front of my eyes. It shows the power of simple writing. It shows the emotions of village folk. It displays village life and values.

As I was telling a professor of mine during lunch the next day, ‘The most difficult word I saw in that book was – petulant’. Isn’t that amazing?

I love Ruskin Bond’s writing. His books are for children. But I have come to believe that his books are for the child within every one of us. Hence I will continue to regularly pick up his titles, especially these little stories for children and read them over and over again. I am extremely hopeful that this will impact my writing too.

At times during the reading, I was consciously slowing myself down, keeping the book on my chest and looking into my white ceiling visualising what some character would be doing or feeling then. I enjoyed every bit of it, as I have always in the past with Bond’s books.

So, if you are looking for some really high quality writing, pick this book up. If you have young children, expose them to Ruskin’s writing as early as you can. While I go finding the next title to read, pick up ‘The Blue Umbrella’ and,

Happy Reading!

Books and Me: The Launch Pad – Inside Y Combinator

Book Title: The Launch Pad – Inside Y Combinator

Author: Randall StrossThe launch pad Book cover

Its an unusual book. Its a page turner. Its an experience.

It is not a dramatised version of a science fiction novel, but a matter-of-fact story of a real happening. ‘Y Combinator’ was the world’s first accelerator. Though Paul Graham does not refer to it as an accelerator, the phenomenon has really caught on.

This book is more like an ethnographic account of what makes ‘Y Combinator’ a celebrated place in the valley. The author gained access to spend time through one cohort and write a detailed account. The story gives us an idea of how a startup is selected, what they go through and how they prepare themselves for growth. While acceleration seems to only speed up the process of testing and going to market, there is no assurance of success or a sure-success pill.

I enjoyed reading the book. It seemed more fiction than non-fiction. There are interesting anecdotes and experiences that startups, ecosystem stakeholders and policy makers can learn from. Though Silicon Valley itself has enormous lessons for building entrepreneurship ecosystems, places like ‘Y Combinator’ provide equally compelling models of creating ecosystems for catalysing entrepreneurship.

I read the book because of my interest in the phenomenon of accelerators. But startup founders, policy makers, entrepreneurship ecosystem support stakeholders – all equally have interesting take aways from the book. If not anything else, it is a well written story of what happens in the world of startups.

Enjoy – happy reading!