Book Review, Just another day

Book recommendations: 2020

Every year, I take a target to read 20 books a year; and as you might have guessed, I fail miserably. This time around, I decided to try out something new.

I whatsapped my friends, well wishers, guides, seniors and my Gurus to recommend me a book that they feel that I should read in 2020. A book that is close to their heart and that will help open a few doors and some windows in my head. A book, that will help me think, a book that will open new avenues and will help me make some inroads in areas that were forsaken for reasons unknown. Irrespective of the genre and the barriers of language (only English & Marathi, though I had not mentioned), everyone wholeheartedly gave me a list that is close to them.

So, I think that it is my moral responsibility to share with you the list of books that have been recommended to me.

I will try to write a few words about each book, but at the same time, please feel free to drop in your comments & replies below about any books you have read or found interesting.

Wish you a Happy New Year 2020

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Book Review

The Choice – A Book Review

the-choice

I read this book for the first time at least 4 – 5 years ago. I had loved the book at that time, but still felt that the book was a bit heavy for my liking and understanding.

Over the next four years my understanding of the subject increased, and I had made my mind to revisit this book some day.

A couple of months back, the book “The Goal” was released in Marathi language in the cities of Pune and Mumbai. During the book launch at Pune, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt’s children, Rami Goldratt and Efrat Goldratt-Ashlag. Apart from the book launch ceremony, there were beautiful presentations from Rami (What we can learn from History – related to Inertia) and Efrat (Layers of Resistance to Change).

That day I had made my mind, that the next book I read would be “The Choice” written by Eliyahu Goldratt and co-authored by Efrat.

A beautiful book that explains about different solutions of TOC and more importantly, about the Thinking Processes and how to bring clarity in thinking. The book is written in Question – Answer format in which Efrat asks her father some questions, to which her father, Eliyahu, shows her the direction in which she can find an answer, again in form of other thought provoking questions, in a Socratic approach; and the way Efrat understands the answers to the question she was asking by following a well led path, which forms the gist or soul of Theory of Constraints.

A must read book for TOC enthusiasts…

Book Details

Title: The Choice
Author: Eliyahu M. Goldratt
My Rating: 5 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Just another day

It’s OUR TOWN now… [Part 1]

Long ago, but not so very long ago
The world was different, oh yes, it was
You settled down and you built a town and made it live

And you watched it grow, it was your town
Time goes by, time brings changes, you changed too
Nothing comes that you can’t handle, so on you go
You never see it coming when the world caves in on you
On your town, nothing you can do

Main street isn’t main street anymore
Lights don’t shine as brightly as they shone before
To tell the truth, lights don’t shine at all
In our town

Sun comes up each morning, just like it’s always done
Get up, go to work, start a new day
You open up for business that’s never gonna come
As the world rolls by a million miles away

Main street isn’t main street anymore
No one seems to need us like they did before
It’s hard to find a reason left to stay
But it’s our town, love it anyway
Come what may, it’s our town

– “Our Town” by James Taylor

Only a few days back when I was going through my old hard disk which I found while shifting my house, I found a video which was named 12345. Confused by it’s name, I opened the video which in turn opened a stream of memories. For the next five odd minutes while the video was playing and around ten minutes afterwards, I felt numb, and in no way could I describe the emotions that were flowing through my mind. A combination of sadness and happiness, of loneliness and togetherness, of pridefulness and humility, of suffering and enjoyment mixed in bittersweet memories which made me smile and cry at the same time.

Then a couple of weeks back Facebook reminded me that eleven years ago on 17th of July 2005, I had embarked upon a journey along with 112 others, a journey that would change the course of our lives.

These two events forced me to write something about this experience of mine, which shaped me into a good professional that I am and enhanced the way I look at things.

Born and brought up in Pune, I had completed my twelfth from S P College and engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, and was still oblivious to hostel life. After working for two years I was looking forward to continue my studies. For company work I had been away from my home for a couple of weeks a month, but apart from that I had not lived alone and words like hostel, seniors and ragging had no meaning in my dictionary. I really didn’t know the meaning of being home sick when I left for college with my mother and father, to a place called Nagpur which though was 700 kilometers from Pune, still in the same state of Maharashtra, and more or less equidistant from Delhi, Chennai, Kolkatta, Bangaluru, Mumbai  and Pune. After reaching the college I was allotted a room. My parents talked with some of the professors and even some students in the second year (seniors) of the same course that I was admitted to. The Devils painted a rosy picture about the college and about the support they would provide me. After a few hours my parents left and my new journey started.

The Devils who had promised to take care of me and help me out in any way possible started to show their true colours.

They used to keep us (our whole batch) awake at night and order us to do some nonsense things. Though I have written the word “ragging”, I assure you that no limits were crossed and the professors too had an idea about what was happening there.

All we used to know was that someone from our batch went to city, or disobeyed an order and for that our whole batch was being punished. Then there was this guy called “bal ki dukaan” (Sandeep Singh) – with long hair who did something which resulted in the whole batch getting a hair cut, for Rs 10 each at a village shop in Mausa Dorli.

When we came to college for the first time, we were asked to bring a presentation with us which we had to present in front of the seniors. Someone from my batch (Amit Khanna) who I knew not by name but by face at that time, had presented on the topic of ragging. He had used some photographs from the net in his presentation. Well, coincidentally two of the photos that he had shown were of our seniors dressed in girl’s clothes and those two were on the receiving end during their engineering days. Some of the seniors recognised their batch mates, and that night, hell broke loose.

I remember this specific instance during the ragging period very clearly. We were supposed to salute the seniors in a special way during the ragging days, and by mistake, I raised my arm and gave a salute to our College Director. He called me, and told, “There is no need to salute us, only your seniors.”

Another instance involves a senior of mine, Vasu Gopal. I had a moustache back then, and as a part of ragging, he asked me to remove it. I replied him that this is one thing that I will not do, whatever the consequences. I didn’t know how, but he agreed this and left at that. After some days, I removed the moustache and he thought that someone had forced me to do it. He became very protective and asked me to name his batch mate who had asked me to remove it. I told him that it was my decision, but he was not willing to listen. In the end he did agree to what I said, and as a punishment, he gave 2 of his shirts and one bed sheet for washing.

Now, no way was I going to wash those clothes. So, the clothes were lying on the table in my room. Vasu came after two days and enquired whether I had washed the clothes. I told him that the clothes are washed, and its the best I can do, though I had not even touched them. He said that he will come again after two days during which I had to wash them. Same day, my friend Alok came to my room and asked about the clothes lying there. I told him that they belonged to Vasu. He took one shirt with him and went. Vasu came after a couple of days and after seeing that I had not even touched the clothes, took them with him, forgetting that one shirt was missing. Meanwhile, Alok washed the shirt, ironed it and started wearing it himself, even in front of Vasu. Alok from my batch and one of the senior (his name was also Alok) were school buddies. Rumour has it that Alok from my batch had gone to senior Alok’s marriage wearing the same shirt, and there Vasu had come with his wife. Now, Vasu’s shirt which Alok was wearing, was a gift from Vasu’s wife who was his girlfriend at the time the present was presented. And obviously, Vasu’s wife recognised the shirt, and the rest as they say is history.

Sometimes, ragging was fun, even for us (those being ragged), and at times, it was difficult to keep a straight face with so much comedy of errors happening. The “Dedh Inch” episode of Ashish Nagpal for instance was one where I could not control my laughter and only the remembrance of the episode brings smile to my face.

All in all, that time, when we were new to our college, that ragging helped us unite as a batch, and also created a special bond with our seniors. What was to follow after a month of ragging, was going to be an exciting time, a journey of a lifetime, with many twists & turns. But lets wait, for some time for that episode to unfold.

Meanwhile, enjoy the video…without the song, as it is copyrighted material

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Book Review

The Shadow Lines – A Book Review

the-shadow-lines-by-Amitav-Ghosh

 

This is the second book written by Amitav Ghosh that I have read.

I didn’t like The Circle of Reason, which was the first book that Amitav had written and the first book of Amitav that I had read. But still I had high hopes about this book. The novel had earned Amitav the 1989 Sahitya Akademi Award.

Well, it is a beautiful novel that takes is through the streets of India, Bangladesh and England. The story is told through eyes of a boy, who has tremendous respect for Tridip, his uncle, who tells him various stories. And through Tridip’s stories, the boy sees various counties, various cities, even different streets and localities. He takes all these experiences that Tridip had shared with him when he interacts with different people and visits the localities that Tridip had talked about.

While reading the book it feels like I (the reader) am the boy (narrator) of the story and Amitav (the author ) is Tridib telling stories of different places from Fulham to Dhaka and from Delhi to Calcutta, places that I would like to visit and see through your my eyes.
Amitav is a beautiful story teller and he doesn’t disappoint is with this beautiful novel.

Book Details

Title: The Shadow Lines
Author: Amitav Ghosh
My Rating: 4 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Book Review

The Lucifer Principle – A Book Review

The Lucifer Principle

I got my hands on this book through recommendation from a friend, because it’s his one of  the favourite books, and he thought I would like it as I like books of similar type. A book written after a thorough research covering various areas from genetic engineering to mythology to ancient civilizations to religious texts to scientific discoveries to industrial revolutions.

All the topics centre over the three main concepts – Superorganism, ideas, and the pecking order

A beautiful, informative and exciting book explaining the way man (woman, for that matter) behaves in a way he (she) does with proper reasons along with other examples of animals behaving in the same manner. Man, though an advance creature than the other primates like monkeys and langurs and chimpanzees and orangutans, still has animal instincts that will not go away.

A nice read indeed which gives you a different perspective at looking at things.

Book Details

Title: The Lucifer Principle
Author: Howard Bloom
My Rating: 4 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Book Review

Shala – A Book Review

Shala

There is a story behind how I got this book.

I am in love with Kindle Paperwhite. I am in love with the idea of getting to read a book in a font I like. No need to use (waste) paper and print out copies after copies, thinking that all these will be sold one day. They may be using recycled paper for printing books, but still, isn’t there a better solution to this problem. Well Kindle was the answer to this.

But still, a string of thoughts were continuously pestering me. Why does Kindle not have Marathi as a language, Why don’t I see Marathi ebooks on Amazon, and why there is no Marathi thesaurus and dictionary in Kindle.

Just then, I received an email from Amazon that they were pleased to  offer me a Rs.250 promotion code to buy Kindle eBooks on Amazon. I wanted to put this Rs.250 to proper use. So I searched the site and came up with this Marathi book “Shala” written by Milind Bokil.

I wanted to see how a Marathi book looks & feels on my Kindle. So I downloaded the book after buying it. To my surprise, when this book arrived, I came to know that I had ordered an english translation of the book, by Vikrant Pande.

So, my dream of viewing a Marathi book on Kindle remained a dream.

I had seen a movie of the same name made on this book written by Milind Bokil. I had loved the movie, and so had great expectations from the book also. While reading, it was clear that Vikrant Pande had made word to word translation of the Marathi version.

Shala is a beautiful story of a group of children that study in class 9th. It’s a story of a young boy Mukund Joshi, his friends, and of Shirodkar – his love interest. It’s a beautifully written novel which takes you back to your school days, you just roll on the years gone by and you become a part of the story itself.

I was born after the emergency days, so I do not know how the  situation was, back then. I didn’t know about the atrocities (well atrocities is a wrong word) that were going on around that period to ensure that everyone behaves according to the set principles, and no one utters a word against those who governed the country.

We all had our own share of Paranjape Madams, Bendre Madams, Prem Chopras and Manjerakar Sirs, with whom we can relate.

And, Vikrant Pande ensures that even though he has translated the story in English, it doesn’t get odd. The words specific to Marathi language are kept as they are, and he has not translated them, just for the sake of translations.

The best part of the book is, it doesn’t matter whether you were like Mukund or Shirodkar, or Surya or Chitre or Phawdya, or Bibikar, or Mande or Ghasu Gokhale or Mirikar or any other character of the book during your school days; “Shala” remains your story.

Ichibhana, that’s the main reason, to read this book…

Book Details

Title: Shala
Author: Milind Bokil | Vikrant Pande
My Rating: 4 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Football, Manchester United, Sports

EPL2015-16 – Week 27 – 12 games to go

It’s the final third in the Premier League, and as only 12 matches remain to be played, each game is going to be a deciding factor so as to who will qualify for the UEFA Champions League & Europa League and who will fall out of the relegation battle.

First place Leicester City will face Norwich City. It looks that on Saturday Leicester City will forget it’s defeat to Arsenal in the last match and try to widen the gap between them and Arsenal & Tottenham who play on Sunday. Norwich who have gathered only a single point in their last 6 games must try to make a match out of it. Verdict: 3 points to Leicester City and a position on Top cemented

Tottenham play Swansea City on Sunday. Looking at the form table Tottenham will most certainly roll over Swansea, to put pressure on Arsenal & Leicester City (if they lose some points). Tottenham players have played Europa League on Thursday which might have an effect on the outcome of match. Verdict: 3 points to Tottenham

Arsenal play away at Manchester United on Super Sunday. This is a must win match for both the teams. I being a Man Utd fan, would love to see Arsenal beaten. Van Gaal prepares his teams very well when he plays big teams. So I would not be surprised to see Man Utd win the match even though there are quite a few points between these teams. A victory here for Man Utd will ease the pressure a bit on Van Gaal, whereas a loss for Arsenal will mount the pressure on Arsenal. A draw would be a fair result for a neutral, who would then see both the teams losing points. Verdict: 3 points to Man Utd

Manchester City’s match against Newcastle has been postponed as they play against Liverpool tomorrow night. So a victory of other UEFA challengers might mount up the pressure on them. For Newcastle, they will most probably remain in the bottom three irrespective of the result of Norwich.

Southampton play at home against Chelsea on Saturday. Currently, Southampton are enjoying the best form amassing 16 or available 18 points in the last 6 matches. They do have a formidable Chelsea side against them, which has shown signs of improvement in the post-Jose era. I would love to see them share a point which will ensure that there will not be much pressure on my team (Man Utd) and also see to it that Chelsea remains a Bottom half team. Verdict: A point shared

West Ham play Sunderland, which will be the first match on Saturday. If Sunderland come even close to show the heroics like in their last match against Man Utd, it will be positive and help them in their relegation battle. Sunderland have improved in their last 6 games and will likely try to trouble West Ham who are looking to book a place for Europa League next season. Still draw seems to be a fair result for a neutral. Verdict: A point shared

Liverpool’s derby against Everton will also be postponed due to the final between Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley. So the people of Merseyside will have to wait for their derby a bit longer.

Watford play at home against Bournemouth on Saturday. Very less to choose from both the sides looking at their recent results, but looking at their position in table, Watford seem to be the favourites. Verdict: 3 points to Watford

Stoke play Aston Villa at home on Saturday in a match that Stoke are favourites to win. A win here for Stoke & Watford in the above match will mount the pressure (for the time being) on Liverpool. Verdict: 3 points to Stoke

West Brom take on Crystal Palace at home which promises to be the anything other than the best match of the weekend. Looking at the recent form, West Brom have a chance to come victorious in this fixture. Verdict: 3 points to West Brom

So the League Table should look something like this on Monday:  Leicester City;  Tottenham; Arsenal; Manchester City; Manchester United; Southampton; West Ham; Stoke City; Liverpool; Everton; West Brom; Chelsea; Crystal Palace; Bournemouth; Swansea City; Sunderland; Norwich; Newcastle; Aston Villa.

So let the game begin…

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Book Review

Necessary but not sufficient – A Book Review 

Necessary But Not Sufficient

Necessary But Not Sufficient

A beautiful book that tells a story of an ERP software company and the way it changes the business scenario with help of Theory Of Constraints.

I had heard the three rules of Dr Eliyahu Goldratt, about being paranoid and bring hysterical. This book tells us what is the real meaning of the phrase “being paranoid”.

With a good software, as a customer you can become equipped enough to get that cutting edge, but it is just a necessary condition. You can get the true benefit out of the software only when you change the underlying rules that were present before the software was installed. Just like the software removes the earlier limitation, the earlier rules that were required for the limitation need to be modified to get the real benefit out of the software. A thought provoking book, though not as beautiful as “The Goal” & “The Critical Chain”.

Nevertheless, a beautiful read for “Theory of Constraint” fans…

Book Details

Title: Necessary But Not Sufficient
AuthorEliyahu M. Goldratt
My Rating: 3 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Book Review

The Fountainhead – A Book Review

The Fountainhead

This is one of the most brilliant books that I have read. After reading this and giving it 5 stars, I do feel that I might have rated earlier books a bit higher.

All the characters in the book, from Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, Gail Wynand, Dominique Francon, to Howard Roark are beautifully developed by the author, Ayn Rand.

While reading the book, never had I thought that Ellsworth Toohey would be so vicious and would become so powerful that he will, by his sheer network and power bring the Banner to a standstill. Similarly, I couldn’t see myself feeling sad about Peter Keating’s or for that matter Gail Wynand’s condition at the close of novel.

Ellsworth Toohey was a master puppeteer selecting ordinary people in his circle, making them feel extraordinary, and in the process, draining them completely of whatever self confidence they had, and still instilling complete faith in him. The build up to the climax was totally brilliant.

A nice read, an edge of the seat thriller.

Book Details

Title: The Fountainhead
AuthorAyn Rand
My Rating: 5 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Consulting

Industry 4.0 – The Future of Mfg. (I)

IMG_6559 - Copy

Bosch Smart Manufacturing Conclave 2015

Thanks to my company, I had an opportunity to view the future of manufacturing unfold before my eyes at the Bosch Smart Manufacturing Conclave 2015 where they introduced me to a new jargon “Industry 4.0”.

The first & foremost question that comes to mind is, “What exactly is Industry 4.0?”

The word is coined to announce the Fourth Industrial Revolution which tries to connect the Hard Core Manufacturing with the Digital Revolution that has happened over the last two to three decades.

Industry 1.0 – Started in Great Britain – The foundation for 1.0 was laid in the year 1698 with the invention of machines that reduced human efforts. Thomas Savery with his invention of Steam Engine became the driving force behind the rise of mills and factories. Steam power helped in drastically reducing the human effort and at the same time tremendously increasing the production. Major improvements that were made in the areas of:

  • Transition from hand production methods / tools to machines
  • New chemical manufacturing & iron production processes
  • Transition from wood to coal for fuel

Industry 2.0 – A century later, the second industrial revolution took place with advantage of electrical power and moving assembly lines. Henry Ford’s Model T assembly line that used division of labour to the fullest was a major boost to the second industrial revolution. Mass production was the way ahead.

Industry 3.0 – The Third Industrial Revolution, that started around 1970, took advantage of developments in information technology & operations research to transform how we plan, control & automate production. NC & CNC machines; MRP, MRP II & ERP softwares; CAD/CAM/CAE softwares; automated material handling conveyors & robots were the innovations that gave a push to the new industrial age.

Very aptly said, if Industry 1.0 was about mechanizationIndustry 2.0 was about electrification then Industry 3.0 was about digitization.

Industry 4.0 – The Fourth Industrial Revolution takes you further in this journey of Manufacturing excellence. It involves 3 key parts:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) & cyber-physical systems such as sensors & actuators collect live data and combines it with historical data from ERP software, all devices & machines
  • This data is sorted & meaningful insights are drawn from it with help of Big Data & Advanced Analytics
  • Output of this Live Data Analysis is to be used across devices & machines to ensure better decision making & better productivity

In Industry 3.0, ERP systems and machines (like Robots, CNCs, PLCs, etc.) were distributed and separate entities. Industry 4.0 plans to integrate these two different worlds into one.

Just think of a world where machines continuously share information about problems and faults, changes in stock levels and changes in customer orders. Just think of a world wherein machines will identify the areas where maintenance is required, machines will change the cutting parameters and will be self-configured  with aim of improving throughput times, boosting efficiencies, improving quality and utilizing capacity.

The possibilities are unlimited and only those who dream will have an edge…

In the end, I would like to quote Malcolm X – “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today

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