24 Mar 2012

Book Review - Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul At Work

“There is no traffic on the last mile.” – Prashant Jaiswal.

This is one line that sums up what ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work’ is all about. Stories of people (Indians) who have made it through tough times at work; who have been in circumstances when all seem lost but came out on top; who have not known what giving up is however hopeless the situation. These people made work their lives rather than harping on the work life balance.

The book has been jointly authored by Juhi Rai Farmania (who has also narrated some stories of her own), Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Juhi Rai Farmania is a networker building an e – commerce platform in India and UK. She is fond of e – commerce sites, something she confesses in one of her stories. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are #1 New York Times bestselling co – authors, professional speakers who have dedicated their lives to enhancing others personally and professionally. The stories and narrations in this book are aimed at doing just that.
Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul At Work

The book is divided into 13 sections which are:
·        From the CEO’s desk
·        Turning obstacles into opportunities
·        Changing Roles and Industries
·        Leading & Mentoring
·        Balancing personal and professional lives
·        Self – made and successful
·        On lessons learned
·        Humour and fun at work
·        Extraordinary entrepreneurs
·        Persistence and courage
·        Listening to the head and the heart
·        Business – The Hindustani way
·        A message for those starting out.

The end of the book also includes more about Chicken Soup and the contributors. Some of the authors are renowned corporate entities like Dr. Kiran Majumdar Shaw (Chairperson and MD of Biocon), Chitrangada Singh, Beerud Sheth (co – founder of SMS GupShup), the HR Head of Phillips India and others. The stories are heart rending and show us how much trouble some people have gone through to reach their existent position in society and life. The HR Head of Phillips narrates how he went to office one night to sort a union issue whilst his wife was on her deathbed. Mita Banerjee writes how Manjriben’s life fell apart when her husband’s shop was destroyed but she turned her fortunes around. The Leadership & Mentoring section has lovely stories on understanding bosses, whether their juniors were stuck in a traffic jam when it was time for an important presentation, or when the latter got emotionally carried away during a project. Extraordinary Entrepreneurs relates short stories of people who found an opportunity to plug some gap. As Richard Branson rightly says “Entrepreneurship is like a bus ride. There’s always another one coming.” The most touching story is about a Dad whose sun truly believes his dad knows everything, but is really busy. So when the son is asked what his Dad’s profession is, he writes ‘busyness’. When his dad reads the article, he understands he’s been neglecting his son.

On the flipside, the book could have done with better writing. There are many words which could be avoided, sentences which could be shortened and stories which could be reduced in length. That’s one of the 2 problems with us Indian writers; we use too many unnecessary words in our articles, write ups, etc. The other one is the excessive use of ‘I’. Too many stories are ‘I’ centric, something that successful people would desist from. Plus, some stories could be avoided as they don’t pack a big punch; not sure if they’re good enough to feature in a book on work life.

Overall, however, the book is a good read. A pleasant pastime and one that makes us understand how difficult life actually is for some people. But those people have come up trumps against all odds. This book makes a good read for those who have a job, run a business or a looking to start either. Thanks, Blogadda, for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!

18 Mar 2012

My Quotes on Life - I

I won’t create a prelude too much. Here are 7 quotes I’ve come up with related to our lives. The ideas may be somewhat similar to what many great philosophers have written, but the quotes are 100% original.

Quotes on Life!

1.      A man’s character can be recognized by his sense of humour.

2.      Do not hang around in places where you won’t be missed.

3.      Which questions are we comfortable with? The ones we have answers to.

4.      You’re a real man if you can make a woman feel like a real woman.

5.      If you try hard to cut corners, that trying hard does not count. It won’t make you rich.

6.      Performing beyond expectations once will not allow you to perform below par later and get away with it.

7.      What would you rather use to be successful? Your first name or your surname?

These quotes haven’t been copyrighted. So feel free to use them wherever you want. Please credit me for it, though.

I’ll keep coming up with more quotes like these with time. Watch out for them.

Do share your thoughts on my thoughts. ;)

13 Mar 2012

4 Lessons From The UP Results For Us...

UP has SPoken! Neither the then incumbent BSP nor the potential competitor Congress managed to succeed; the SP prevailed! I can’t delve into details of intricate political moves as I’m not qualified enough. So let’s focus on something else.

The Samajwadi Party winning by such a large margin was a huge surprise; it caught a lot of politicians and analysts off – guard. But, obviously, there had to be reasons. This is a case more of the BSP losing the election than the SP winning it.
Mayawati’s and Congress’ losses offer a lot of lessons for Corporate Inc. Some of them are elaborated below:

1.      Be genuine: - Hollow actions and words are easily seen through. The media may have hyped Rahul Ghandi’s visits to various areas in UP. But it was not enough for people to believe that RG was genuinely keen on working towards the upliftment of troubled areas in UP.

If your efforts don’t display genuineness, you can kiss a secure future goodbye. Genuine interest for growth of your organization is a must for success.

Rahul Gandhi? NO! Mayawati? NO!

2.        Look at the larger picture: - Mayawati, her sycophants and the Congress were busy slinging mud at each other, while the Samajwadi Party maintained its business friendly image. Congress pointed fingers at Mayawati’s corruption while the latter kept playing the Dalit card, refuting the Congress, etc. In the end, they both lost out mainly because they failed to see the bigger picture. The picture which promised hope and growth to business and common man in UP, something the SP did very well.

If you focus on only what your competition is doing, you’ll lose sight of the bigger picture (i.e. what value you can add for your customers). The cat takes the fish while monkeys are busy fighting over it.

4 Mar 2012

The History of The Yamaha RD350

It may have had a mere 35 bhp, an air – cooled 350 cc parallel twin engine, and a top speed of 160 kmph; but it still is a bike that leaves enthusiasts swearing by its name!
Yamaha launched the RD350 (RD stands for Race Developed) in 1974 with the 350A model. They mated a parallel twin, 350 cc 2 – stroke engine to a 6 – speed transmission, all packaged into an awesome chassis. This chassis was developed from their experience in motorcycle racing, something Yamaha was a part of since 1951.
The Legendary Yamaha RD350 ad.

The RD350 had a top whack of ONLY 100 mph (160 kmph), but it was the way it got there that left riders speechless. Shift into 1st gear, open the throttle and be off! The RD would throw back the rider and wrench his gut right until she reached her top end. The world would turn into a blur! That unmistakable exhaust note warned everyone around that the RD was on its way and would splatter mud into the face of even the fastest 750. 100 mph was reached in a matter of mere seconds when the rest of the bikes would still be entering their power band. The bike wanted to wheelie in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd gears and it took a professional hand to be able to tame that wild beast (not that anyone wanted to tame her; ‘handle’ is a more apt word). The sheer manner in which she reached top speed and left others in her smoke was a journey in itself. That journey left riders grinning from ear to ear (or in my case, screaming inside the helmet with blood pounding between my ears).

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