Monday, 31 July 2017

The Samaritan spreading light of education and knowledge - "Uncle Moosa" aka Sathyanarayan Mundayoor

Spreading the "joy of reading" is what Uncle Moosa aka Sathyanarayan Mundayoor has been doing for the past 32 years in the remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh, a state in the North-East region of India. What best could describe the samaritan act of this "young man" (in his 60s) than the fact that he left a plush government job in 1979 to pursue his passion of spreading the joy of reading. Hailing from Kerala, a state in the Southern part of India, he chose to work in an area which is very different in culture to his native state. To build imagination and creativity among children, Sathyanarayan relentlessly worked towards promoting the habit of reading and himself used to carry a trunk load of books in public transport to organize book exhibitions in tribal areas. 

It is only because of his efforts that the ares now boasts of around 15 libraries run by young "library activists". These libraries are a hub of activities comprising of storytelling sessions, skits, exhibitions, contests and workshops. 

Because of his dedication, Sathyanarayan Mundayoor has also been felicitated with various awards, roll of honor and inducted in hall of fame.

Sharing few links about the good work that he is doing

Hats off to him for his never dying spirit of spreading the love of books and reading in India !  

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Book Review - Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha by Lori Deschene

What started as an individual's struggle to survive, let alone find meaning in  life resulted in this wonderful book called "Tiny Buddha". Right from the front cover to the last page/ back cover, everything is worth reading again and again.The struggle of the person (Lori Deschene, the author) who almost lost everything in life and then bounced back to create meaning in her life and so many million more is what makes this book extraordinary. 

Starting with daily tweets through @tinybuddha, then moving on to creating website and finally resulting in this wonderful book by the same name. As the author says that the book is a collaborative effort of all the readers (of her tweets, blogs and questions) who contributed with their insights on queries pertaining to wisdom in daily life. The responses to the questions she posted resulted in this wonderful book.

The book is very neatly segregated into 9 sections/ categories some of which are Pain, Meaning and Change. Each section is very well carved out with lots of researched content(on the theme of the section), personal insights by the author, key messages(highlighted), tips, practical exercises and relevant tweets. All these elements put together gets the reader moving to apply and take action. Each section starts with posing a relevant question and this really sets the tone for more to follow.

It's a simple and honest book with no frills and that's what sets it apart from the rest of the pack. This is a book which you would want to finish in one go, no matter how much time it takes.The layout of the book is nice too!

Preview the Book here

A real book written with a realistic approach to deliver real, practical message

Book Review - Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times

Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times by David Viscott

A wonderful companion book that one can pick up anytime, open any page and start deriving strength from the content. Everything about the book is perfect - right from it's size, the layout, the content and if i may add price too :) .

The title of the book itself is self-revealing about what is contained inside it. The chapter names are
very well thought (that's how there are plenty of them but that's well justified!) and relate to common crossroad situations that each of us find our self in many times. The chapter are succint with practical yet powerful advice rendered to the reader. Each chapter is indeed a meditation; an opportunity for self-reflection and brooding to understand and accept life and its vagaries. Each chapter has a message and a learning.

Another wonderful feature of the book is the affirmation(s) at the end of each chapter. These powerful affirmations are also well thought about, relate to the context of the chapter and are indeed easy to apply by the reader.

The book is available for purchase at

Al in all, the book is extraordinary and a great companion during tough times when we need some support!   

Book Review - Notes To Myself

Notes To Myself- My Struggle To Become  A Person by Hugh Prather

This book is probably one of the best self-reflection book i have read. The book is like a companion which can accompany forever and provide guidance whenever and wherever required. The beauty of the book is that one can open any page randomly sand start reading it and still every word will make sense. The story about how this book came by makes it all the more interesting and a must read. The thoughts penned down by the author in his diary/ journal about life's struggles, hardships and dilemmas proved to be great insights on life. Since the book is an outcome of author's personal experiences, it comes out as very honest, authentic and genuine in its approach. The content of the book beautifully captures the confusion, chaos and identity crisis that each one of us face while we are maturing and evolving as a being. The only thing that appeals to us during these time is some "food for thought" to aid us self-reflect and accept the realities of life; the reality that is indicative of our true personality and our approach to life.   

No Index, No Chapters, No Begging and No End - The book is simple, easy and uncomplicated. It's all about "self-discovery" by connecting to our inner-self. 

Even after multiple re-reads i still discover new gems of learning and knowledge in the book.

Preview the book here -

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Book Review - RAIN: What a Paperboy Learned About Business

RAIN: What a Paperboy Learned About Business by Jeffrey J. Fox

An important parameter of a good parable based book is that it instantly strikes a chord with the readers and establishes a deep connect with them. This book definitely scores very well on this parameter and is written exceptionally well. The readers will easily be able to relate to the parable and its underlying message(s) that this book aims to deliver.

The book is about a teenage paperboy and his struggle to become a "man" in terms of learning lessons of business. It's like a journey of a boy and his travails to learn the fundamental lessons of life. What starts as a vocation to earn some pocket money leads to Rain (the protagonist) learning a good deal about business, entrepreneurship, customer service and personal growth. The book captures the story of this paperboy in the form of various adventures that he gets into and the learning that he derives from each of those adventures.    

The business lessons are wonderfully captured in the form of "Rainmaking principles" and these principles apply very well to various situations and circumstances in our life. The book does draw parallel of these principles in real-life through various examples. The characters and the metaphors mentioned in the book are very well crafted and definitely leave an indelible impression on the readers. The way the author, Jeffrey J. Fox, renders an understanding and explanation of key business concepts like Money, Customers, Referrals, Entrepreneurship, Competition, Marketing, Negotiation, Innovation and Valuation is incredible. My favourite is Chapter 24 on Valuation.

Another impressive component of the book are the "rainmaking principles" and the exercises at the end of the parable. A parable or a story is only as good as its application. This book definitely boasts of well thought of activities that would help the reader become a rainmaker in life.   

It's the simplicity of the book in explaining the complex subjects/ topics so subtly that makes this book a must read. In a nutshell, this book is about the evolution of an ordinary teenager into a rainmaker. 

Rain comes out as a real superhero in this book !

N.B : Rainmaker is any person in an organisation who is a key differentiator by virtue of the business, money and clients the person generates. A rainmaker is like a superstar.     

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Book Review - ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth)

ZMOT by Jim Lecinski

Having worked in the service industry, this was a book that immediately caught my attention as "MOT (Moment of Truth)" was always a buzzword in service industry. The book is written in an easy, simple and digestible format with lovely insights into MOT. The TOC (Table of Contents) are nicely laid out imparting a clear understanding of the approach followed in the book.

This book fits well as being a primer on the subject of ZMOT. Right from explaining the concept to the history behind it and the reasoning for adoption in today's world, the book does a good job. Some of the important questions that this book answers are 
  • What is ZMOT ?
  • Why ZMOT is required ?
  • What constitutes the buying pattern of customer?
  • What impact it has on Customer?
  • How business could benefit from focusing on ZMOT ?
  • Which tools, techniques and strategies brands could use for ZMOT ?
Backed with empirical evidence in the form of surveys conducted, interview excerpts with industry leaders and examples of Google tools (for ZMOT) the book does justice to the topic. The 3 step mental model of buying is nicely demonstrated.

A couple of my favourite quotes from the book are

"If you're available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they're thinking about buying, and also when they're thinking about thinking about buying."

"Digital word of mouth is one-to-millions. If you have a good experience, it's shared and re-shared with millions. You post it and suddenly, it's flying."

Overall, it's an excellent book for anyone wanting to understand the concept of MOT or ZMOT.

The ebook is available for free at 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Book Review - Celebrate the Classics

Celebrate the Classics by Calee M. Lee

A short and easy read. I picked up the book because of the catchy title for a profound topic of "Classics". The approach of the book is quite interesting  but don't set your expectations too high. You start reading it with certain set expectations (as i did ) but few pages into the book you will realise that the book may not fulfill the expectations that you had set. This is when you need to adjust yourself to the approach and style of the book. There are still lot of take aways from the book like the list of books mentioned category wise. I did discovered few gems for my reading list. I must mention about the section on "Book Club" which was quite interesting and useful. The tips provided are indeed practical. The icing on the cake was the comprehensive list of questions towards the end. They indeed are some real "food for thought" and could be of use for leading interesting and thoughtful discussion on any type of book.

I agree that the content of the book didn't do full justice to the title but the book had its own benefits. That's why it figures here in my review.

The book is freely available on amazon at

Book Review - The Zen Teacher

The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico 
The book is meant for educators and to be more precise it is meant for teachers. I picked up the book due to my keen interest and passion in contributing to the domain of education. While conducting training for teachers, i do come across many queries where teachers admit losing their cool, feeling burnt out, unable to multi-task, dissatisfied with their teaching effort as they have loads on their plate, and many other similar issues. 

This book delves into almost all the above mentioned issues and introduces how Zen or Mindfulness could help us be more centered, focused and aware. I wrote a couple of pieces on the topic in my posts at  where the necessity of mindfulness for teachers was highlighted. This book boasts of an excellent content, nicely segregated into three well thought out sections such as "Zen", "Meditation and Mindfulness" and "Space, Stillness and Self-Care". Each of the sections then goes about explaining the relevant topics. For example, in the section on "Zen", the book introduces the concept of Zen and then goes on to explain about what comprises Zen Practice. Similarly, in the section on "Meditation and Mindfulness", 3 major types of meditations are explained and various simple techniques to practice Mindfulness are presented. 

The key focus of the book revolves around the re-iteration of the fact that teachers are also humans and prone to maladies of the present times; of the digital age that we live in. The book then connects the practice of Zen to address the various challenges that a teachers face - both teaching related and otherwise such as working with peers. The reflection activities are nice and apt and must be applied to derive the best from the book. The book goes beyond the realms of teaching and talks about how Zen could be applied at a personal plane by the teachers as Zen is all about helping our self get better by living in the present moment. The book delivers about many key components of Zen, some of which are Mindfulness, Meditation, Detachment, Non-Judgement, Intuition, Acceptance and Compassion. The concluding message of the book is asking the teachers to focus on "Self Care" as if they are well, so will our upcoming generation of learners will be. 

All in all, a very good book for teachers to start practicing and integrating Zen in their lives and their teaching practice. Few real-life scenarios would have further re-iterated the message to Zen. 

Few of my favourite quotes from the book are

" of most difficult parts of teaching is learning to accept one’s own limitations"

"...Learning to accept others as the complex, contradictory..."

"...When you learn to accept failed expectations and common disappointments, you can embrace what life gives you and live a happier life by enjoying what is..."

I highly recommend this book for teachers.