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Some pages flipped ...

I am just starting (on 2018.07.25) a "pinned" post to capture my reading journey. Of course, it is not going to contain all that I have read in the past; as I do not have a meticulous record of the same. But intend to try and maintain this going forward, in-sha-Allah.

Even though such a thought may have criss-crossed my mind in the past, I owe the current inspiration to Ann Morgan's list here (her Ted talk).

The kind of easy layout I ought to follow will trouble me for sure (and I'm pretty sure will see several revisions). For now, I'll stick to => [ writer — bookTitle (readInTheYear) ]

2007 (8 books) | 2008 (8 books) | 2009 (7 books) | 2010 (4 books) | 2011 (1 book) | 2013 (1 book) | 2014 (2 books) | 2016 (6 books) | 2017 (7 books) | 2018 (8 books + 1 audio book) | 2019 (2 audio books) | 2020 (7 books)

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Josy Joseph — A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India

Read during: 2020.09.03 — 2020.09.09, Hyderabad.

An engaging page-turner. Calls out the stark realities and the dark nexus between the worlds of politics and business houses in modern day India.

Clearly brings out the lack of equality prevalent within the context of India in particular. Common man, left to fend for themselves are always at the receiving end with the corporations and politicians making a mockery of their lives.

Must read!

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Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba — The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed

Read during: 2020.08.18 — 2020.09.04, Hyderabad.

Earthly. Relatable for those who consider themselves mortals and fallible with weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Paints a very realistic outlook on the world of entrepreneurship.

Some quotes:

The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Expertise is simple. It is a self-taught process where, for the most part, you learn by doing. Begin by learning enough theory to get you started, but know that ultimately most of the real learning comes when you apply that theory and get feedback from the real world as to how it’s working. That is how you truly become an expert in something.

Success for the approval of others is inevitably hollow.

Make your criteria for success process-based rather than outcome-based. You can’t control the outcome, because luck always plays a role, but you can control your own actions and processes to do the right thing in alignment with your values and goals.

As Amory Lovins, physicist, scientist and writer, puts it: ‘The pioneers take the arrows, the settlers take the land.’

Please work on making your initial messages, emails and pitch ultra-concise and to the point. Avoid jargon. Speak in simple language. Don’t use marketing speak, as you would with advertising to consumers – that doesn’t work on investors and just irritates them. Brevity is key.

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Guhan Subramanian — Dealmaking: The New Strategy of Negotiauctions

Date: Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 6:08 AM "negotiauction is the commonplace situation in which negotiators are fighting on two fronts—across the table for sure, but also on the same side of the table, with known, unknown, or possible competitors."

Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 8:58 PM "Research shows that people are highly aware of differences within their own group, but these same people tend to treat other groups as monolithic.8 This is a mistake."

Date: Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 9:40 AM "Make smaller and smaller concessions as you go to indicate that you are reaching your limit. As with the midpoint rule, plan in advance to converge your concessions to a desirable outcome."

Date: Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 9:26 AM "So car buying is an illustration of when a negotiate-then-auction deal process makes more sense."

Date: Sun, Aug 9, 2020 at 12:20 AM "the person who tries to be his own lawyer has a fool for a client."

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Indranil Chakraborty — Stories at Work: Unlock the Secret to Business Storytelling

Read during : 2020.05.11 — 2020.05.21, Hyderabad.

Date: Mon, May 11, 2020 at 9:05 PM : "The PowerPoint presentation is the final nail in the coffin of storytelling!"

Date: Mon, May 11, 2020 at 9:12 PM : "Storytelling is a craft learnt through imitation and practice. Just like good writers are good readers, good storytellers are great story-listeners"

Date: Tue, May 12, 2020 at 7:08 AM : "Two CEOs had gone on a little fishing trip. After they caught a fish, they lit a small fire using dried driftwood to barbecue it. The smell of the grilled fish attracted a giant grizzly bear. One of the CEOs panicked and screamed, ‘What are we going to do?’ The other CEO calmly opened his backpack and took out his running shoes. His fishing partner looked at him and asked with a lot of sarcasm, ‘Do you seriously think you can outrun a grizzly?’ The other CEO replied, ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.’"

Date: Wed, May 13, 2020 at 7:57 PM : "when gives us the time marker and where gives us a location marker, two elements that we discussed in Chapter 2 are the critical ingredients of stories."

Date: Wed, May 13, 2020 at 8:12 PM : "and find out in advance whether there are people in the group who dominate and talk non-stop. Make them sit beside you. When they sit opposite you they will keep having eye contact and feel encouraged to keep talking. When they face away, it seems to reduce their desire to speak.’"

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Hardeep Singh Puri - Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos.

Read during : 2020.03.25 — 2020.04.22, Hyderabad.

Deliberations and hasty decisions, under the garb of acting to save humanity, to meddle with the internal affairs of a nation or nations is far from what we'd expect — go in with blazing guns, capture/topple/kill the ruling elite, get the cheers of  local people and exit the scene. One quick backward glance would show hints of the mess that is waiting to erupt, like an infected lesion.

An insider's eye-account of UNSC's big brother meetings, actions and inaction is what Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri brings to the fore.

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John Man - Saladin

Read during : 2018.10.11 (ibis OMR, Chennai) - 2018.10.29 (305, Hyderabad)


Quote(s) of Interest (the dates in the brackets, if any, indicate the first time I read that section) :

... Arab coins found their way north as far as Finland, and Muslim merchants wrote cheques honoured by banks in major cities. One trader had a warehouse on the Volga, another near Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan and a third in Gujarat, India. (Pg. 25, 2015 Edition)
... Al-Athir said that, of all Islam's rulers, excluding of course the first caliphs, 'I have found no man as virtuous and just as Nur al-Din.' (Pg. 56, 2015 Edition)
... Nur al-Din... was a worthy predecessor, even a role model, for the young man who would become his protege, Saladin. (Pg. 57, 2015 Edition)
... Damascus was always famous for its water-supply.(Pg. 59, 2015 Edition)
... The tenth of September 1171 was the first Friday in the new year of 567, according to Muslim calendar. (Pg. 110, 2015 Edition)
... Saladin's best weapon, as often, was masterly inactivity (Pg. 120, 2015 Edition)
... As with all effective leaders, he knew the benefit of symbolic gestures. (Pg. 122, 2015 Edition)
... They key element in Saladin's campaign was his forbearance. (Pg. 125, 2015 Edition)
... 400,000 litres, enough to sustain 1,000 people for six months. (Pg. 129, 2015 Edition)
... philanthropic Ismaili leader, the Aga Khan, ... (Pg. 129, 2015 Edition)
... which is about as fast as an army can move - some kilometres a day. (Pg. 239, 2015 Edition)
... 4 September (1187 <- my addition),  about midday, as people remembered, because by coincidence the sun dimmed and vanished... total eclipse. (Pg. 240, 2015 Edition)
... Can you imagine any general in any recent war making a similar request to his main opponent? Since the seventeenth century, war has become ever more 'total'; in Saladin's day it was partial, with soldiers doubling as farmers, generals as leaders of towns and castles. enemies who became allies overnight. Why, of course Balian could retrieve his wife, if he agreed to spend only one night in Jerusalem and to travel unarmed. He agreed; but when he arrived he found the city leaderless and so keen to keep him that he had to stay, with profuse apologies to Saladin for breaking his promise. Saladin, ever polite, accepted the apology, and Balian duly set about finishing Jerusalem's defences. (Pg. 241, 242, 2015 Edition)
... Some of his emirs who were there asked why he was weeping. He said that no one should wonder at it because the things of this world are merely on loan and are then recalled. 'And I shall tell you the reason. For just as I am now disinheriting other men's children, my own will find that after my death they will be disinherited.' (Pg. 248, 2015 Edition)
... Friday... 9 October 1187,... first khutba (sermon) in eighty-eight years. ... chief qadi (judge) of Aleppo, Muhyi al-Din ibn al-Zaki. (Pg. 251, 2015 Edition)
... bearing appeals for aid, including propaganda drawings of the horses of Saladin's army stabled and urinating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Pg. 260, 2015 Edition)
... Emperor Frederick I, known as Barbarossa (Red Beard), (Pg. 261, 2015 Edition)
... Seljuks, being Turkish Muslims, (Pg. 263, 2015 Edition)
... anonymous author of the Continuation, (Pg. 269, 2015 Edition)
... Saladin frequently chose tolerance; Richard chose atrocity. (Pg. 283, 2015 Edition)
... The battle of Arsuf almost did for Richard what Hattin had done for Saladin. (Pg. 290, 2015 Edition)
... 'in all expeditions, he (my addition: Richard) was the first to advance, the last to retreat.' (Pg. 291, 2015 Edition)
... 'He was a bad son, a bad husband and a bad king, but a gallant and splendid soldier.' (Pg. 306, 2015 Edition)
... their drives spring from childhood patterns and experiences that have carried over into adulthood.' The successful leader carries enough insecurity to inspire a desire to change the world, and enough of a sense of security to confront this challenge without lapsing into paranoia, criminality or any number of behavior patterns that undermine his aims. (Pg. 322, 2015 Edition)
... Lord Shang and Machiavelli were all for duplicity, if it served the leader's purpose. That was not Saladin's way. Keeping promises is a fundamental attribute of good leadership,... As he recounts in his book Defeat Into Victory, 'morale is a state of mind', which must be created on three levels: spiritual, intellectual and material. (Pg. 328, 2015 Edition)
... Sunni Syrians and Shi'ite Egyptians...  (Pg. 329, 2015 Edition)
... Though hero-worshipped by Muslims at his death, Saladin was shortly afterwards forgotten,... Only in the late nineteenth century, with the rise of nationalism and Islamic internationalism, did Saladin once again become a Muslim hero.... The Turks had long feared that Russia wanted to dominate the Bosporous, because that was her gateway for her navy to get from the Black Sea through the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.  (Pg. 334, 2015 Edition)
... Lawrence, who liked to dramatize things, (Pg. 337, 2015 Edition)
... Mamluk rulers of Egypt... threw out the Mongols... Saladin's dynasty, the Ayyubids,... all this was done in the name of his own brand of Islam, Sunnism,... from Egyptian Shi'ism had sprung the Assassins and their murderous agenda,  (Pg. 338, 2015 Edition)
... Shi'ite sanctuary in Cairo that sheltered the head of al-Husain, the son of Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali (Pg. 339, 2015 Edition)


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Meena Iyer - Khullam Khulla Rishi Kapoor

Read during :
2018.09.25 - 2018.10.05, Hyderabad.

So far, the style of writing and narration is quite different and stark from Dev Anand's Romancing with Life. Probably, one factor could be the generation difference and also the different age at which both chose to capture their life in writing. Though Dev Sahab wrote his at a much later stage (and age), the emotions and energy portrayed is that of a much younger person.

Yet to see the tone of this. So far, it definitely is Khullam Khulla, but not at a level as Dev Sahab's.

Quote(s) of Interest (the dates in the brackets indicate the first time I read that section):

... We do not all lead false and empty lives. Under all the tinsel and sparkle, there is heart and soul.
... There are two life lessons I've given Ranbir as far as this profession goes. One is to put in the effort required to translate into ease on screen and the second is to never let success go to the head or failure to the heart. (Pg. 213, 2017 Edition; 2018.10.04)
... It's said that memory exists only for three generations. (Pg. 238, 2017 Edition; 2018.10.05)