Authors Who Made History: Ayn Rand

***I wrote this post for a weekly feature on Blogger’s world. This post  gives details about  my favorite author, Ayn Rand****

Did you come across the following quotes before?

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

“A creative man is motivated by the …

Source: Authors Who Made History: Ayn Rand

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Memorable quotes from ‘Norwegian Wood’

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Recently I read the book ‘Norwegian Wood’ written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. It is a nostalgic story about love, loss and sexuality.  It is a first person narration of the Protagonist Toru Watanabe, a college student, who reflects on his love for  beautiful yet emotionally troubled girl Naoko. While Toru yearns for Naoko who stays miles away from him in a rehabilitation center , he meets a lively, outgoing, Midori who falls in love with him. This novel written in 1987 was quite popular in Japan and it was later adapted into a movie. Continue reading

Fahrenheit 451 : A must read for bibliophiles

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Did you read ‘Fahrenheit 451’  written by Ray Bradbury?

Generally, I read nonfiction books and  stay away from dystopian books. But, this was an exception. When I saw the words

Fahrenheit 451 – The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns

printed on the first page this book, I was intrigued. Continue reading

‘Follow every rainbow’ : A must read book for Indian women

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There are certain books which we read again and again because, every time we read them, we get a new insight. One of my favorite books, which I read often is”Follow every rainbow”. This is a nonfiction book written by Rashmi Bansal (The author of the best sellers ‘Stay Hungry stay Foolish’ and ‘Connect the Dots’).As the subtitle suggests, this book consists of inspiring stories of 25 women entrepreneurs. However, this book is not only relevant to the women entrepreneurs but also for every woman who want to achieve something in life.

You may be wondering what’s so special about ‘Woman’ entrepreneurs. It is because, in India, the society is not so favorable for an ambitious woman. For example, if a middle-aged professional man wants to do an MBA, he can leave the job, ignore the family, go to  seclusion, prepare for the exam, secure a seat in top MBA college, do his MBA and then he can return back to his family life once he reaches a position he dreamed of. Suppose if a woman has the same dream, she has to get acceptance from her family,if she has kids, she has to ensure that they will be taken good care of and she should take care of herself without succumbing to stress. No matter what the dream is, for a woman to achieve her dream, she has to overcome a lot of hurdles in her way.

Author Rashmi Bansal aptly describes this in the ‘Author’s Note’ at the beginning of the book:

“For a woman is like a delicate flower and needs just the right weather to bloom and come into her own.She wilts under the heat of disapproval.She freezes in the ice of resentment.A woman will simply sacrifice herself and her ambition if the ‘cost’ is too high.And the family will approve of that – for at the heart of our modern heads lies the age-old belief: a woman’s place is at this side.The revolution is coming, but there will be no bloodshed. Because women will do it their way”.

This book is about 25 powerful women who have achieved their dreams in spite of their humble backgrounds. These tough women have fought against all the odds in their life to fulfill their dreams. Being an ambitious person, a mom, and a dreamer, I can relate to most of the stories in the book.

The book is organized into 25 chapters, each one containing the author’s interview with the entrepreneur. The interviews are crafted into seamless stories which make them easy to read.  At the end of each story, there is a section named “Advice to women entrepreneurs” which has the message given by the entrepreneur to the readers.

My favorite inspirational stories are the following:

1. Premalata Agarwal (Mountaineer):

In May 2011, this 48-year-old housewife became the oldest Indian Woman to climb Mount Everest. An astonishing   fact is that she is a housewife who got married at the age of 18 and came to know about mountaineering at the age of  36, when she accompanied her daughter to tennis lessons!

2. Patricia Narayan(Caterer):

Married at 19 to a man who turned into an alcoholic and wife beater, Patricia started a food stall in Marina Beach, Chennai, to support her two young children. With her grit and determination, she expanded her business and started a food court chain. In 2010, she was awarded ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’.

3.Sudeshna Banerjee(PS.Digitech HR):

When Sudeshna’s love marriage failed and resulted in a terrible divorce, she left her low-paying job as a school teacher and entered the world of engineering services. She became the Managing director and Chairperson of PS Digitech.

In addition to these amazing stories, Rashmi Bansal also provided the email id’s of the entrepreneurs and that made the book all the more special.

Hats off to the women entrepreneurs!  Kudos to Rashmi Bansal for compiling such a wonderful book!

Here is the link from good reads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17618528-follow-every-rainbow

Those extraordinary women have proved that if we commit to our dreams with our passion, nothing is impossible. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s follow our dreams!

‘Bound By Life’ : An emotional read

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On a rainy day, when I was craving for an emotional read, I came across Arpita Pramanick’s ‘Bound by life’. It’s subtitle ‘Short stories from India’ attracted me because I am an Indian and I wanted to see how the author portrayed our country. When I started reading that book, I just couldn’t put it down.

The book is a collection of 10 simple, heart-warming stories which linger with you even after you close the book. In this book, the flavors of India are handpicked and woven into tales that engage you thoroughly. The stories aptly reflect various aspects of India: the bond between the family members, the taboos in the society, the generation gap, and women empowerment. The narration is simple, straightforward and brilliant. What I loved most is that the protagonist in each story comes out as a strong, independent person leaving the reader a subtle message. Though the stories are based on everyday situations in India, a powerful ending to each story makes it a compelling read. Ordinary stories with extraordinary endings ; that’s what makes this book special.

Here is a glimpse of my personal favorites in this book:

  1.  ‘The silent victim’ depicts a troubled college girl who has a history of childhood abuse.
  2.  ‘I am Mala’ is the story of a rural woman who takes her revenge on the guy who betrayed her.
  3. In ‘A Mother’s plight’, I felt as if I was reading the story about me and Mom. It is the agony faced by a Mom when her kids leave home to study in a city far away.

Overall, I loved all the stories and it is a book which I will recommend to my friends.

Although this is the author’s debut book, the storyline, narration and the transitions look so mature and elegant.  I wish Arpita a grand success with her book and a bright future in her writing journey.

You can purchase the book at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X6VG3B0/

You can know more about Arpita at

https://arpitaapramanick.wordpress.com/

Kick the habit using ‘The Power of Habit’

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Are you struggling to get rid of a bad habit?

Well, I am.

I have a sweet tooth. Last year, during holiday season, when my kitchen started filling with chocolates, cookies and cupcakes, my liking for sweets turned into an obsession. Soon, I started craving for dessert after every meal, including breakfast. Obviously, I started gaining a lot of weigth. I wanted to stay away from treats, but I just couldn’t.

However, recently I came across a book which helped me manage my habit.

 ‘The Power of Habit. Why we do what we do in Life and Business.’ , written by Charles Duhigg, explains why habits exist and how they can be changed.

In this blog, I‘m going to share few interesting insights from this book,:

  1. Habit Loop
  2. A Framework to manage our habits

Habit Loop:

Every day we have lot of choices available to us. The moment we wake up in the morning, we can either hop into the shower or check email; we can drive to work or carpool with a friend; we eat a healthy salad for lunch or tasty burger and fries.  Surprisingly, according to a research,   more than 40%  of our everyday actions aren’t actual decisions but habits.

Researchers at MIT discovered that, at the core of every habit, is a loop that consists of three parts: A cue, a routine, and a reward. Over time, this loop becomes more and more automatic until a habit is born. When a habit starts, the brain stops decision making and continues with the same routine.

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Unless you deliberately fight to change a habit, the cue-routine-reward pattern unfolds automatically. If it’s a bad habit, how do we get rid of that?.

Framework to manage our habits

In this book, the author, provided a framework to manage our habits and explained it using an example. Let’s say that you are craving for a chocolate chip cookie every day and you want to get out of that habit.

  1. Identify the routine

Let’s say that every afternoon, you get up from your desk, walk to the cafeteria to buy a chocolate chip cookie and eat it while chatting with friends.  That’s your routine. We still have to figure our cue and reward.

The cue can be hunger , Boredom or  Low blood sugar.

The reward can be The cookie? Or temporary distraction? Or socializing with colleagues?

Until we test various situations, we can’t determine what is driving our routine.

  1. Experiment with rewards:

On the first day of your experiment, when you feel the urge to go to the cafeteria, adjust your routine so it delivers a different reward.

For instance, you can go outside, walk around the block, and then go back to your desk without eating anything.

The next day, buy a donut, and eat it at your desk.

The next day, drink coffee while chatting with your friends.

By experimenting with different rewards, you can identify your exact craving. Let’s say that you discover that you just wanted to socialize and not much interested in the cookies, then you can move to the next step.

3.Isolate the cue

The trigger for our habits is hard to identify because there is too much information that affects our behavior. To figure out the cue , write down five things the moment you get the urge :

  • Location
  • Time
  • Emotional state
  • Other people
  • Immediately preceding action

After you identify the cue, you have to go for the final step.

  1. Have a plan

If you learned from the above experiment that around 3:30 in the afternoon, you actually craved for a distraction from work, then you can plan ahead about what to do. From next time onwards, you can walk to a friend’s desk and talk for few minutes instead of eating a cookie. Initially, it may be difficult, but over the time, you can build this new habit.

After I analyzed my habit of eating treats, I came to know that I craved for something sweet,  not necessarily chocolates. .Therefore, I started filling my dining table with delicious fruits, so I can munch on them whenever my craving kicks in.

Therefore, dear friends, habits aren’t destiny. Using this framework of identifying the routing, cue, reward and the planning our response in advance, we all can manage our habits effectively.

For more information on this wonderful book, please check the author’s website:

http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/

Blurb of my debut book : “Ctrl+Alt+Del (Transform your problems into accomplishments)”

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What do you do when your computer is not responding? You press Ctrl+Alt+Del. Can you apply Ctrl+Alt+Del to your life?

Jahnavi’s book “Ctrl+Alt+Del(Transform your problems into Accomplishments)” is about a path breaking, innovative, 3 step process which explains about Controlling your emotions, Altering your perception and  Deleting the problem. She derived this unique philosophy while she was struggling to overcome her own problems in career and life. She claims that this new outlook for life has transformed her life magically – from a dissatisfied corporate employee to a successful leader, veteran toastmaster and a writer.

This book, with its simple practical tips and dozens of anecdotes, is an easy read yet it presents an effective approach to life. It alters your perception of life and motivates you to get the best out of your life. It gives you the confidence to thrive in your life irrespective of your current situation. However tough your situations may be, as you begin looking with this new perspective, you will not only begin to appreciate your life, but you will also find a way to emerge as a winner.

Your life will be never the same after you read this book. Go for it.

P.S: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/byobookworm/