Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors, I started with his ‘Blink’ and then to outlier and now with his first book ‘Tipping Point’ and his latest ‘What the dog saw” in the past few months it leaves me with the wait for his next book. Over the past few years we have seen a lot of authors who follow this genre where they try to unmask what we see in our daily life bringing together facts, research and historical data. They all opened to the world of common man a new way of looking things around us.
Malcolm Gladwell is not the only person who hit the genre. Authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner with their Freakonomics had made quite a wave and then again with their Super Freakonomics that was another great treat. Last three months I got the opportunity to nibble on that as well. Interestingly there are many overlapping details within these books which again the authors have recognized as well. The most significant importance of this genre in my opinion is that they exposed to the common man the life and world that secretly hid behind these data. The discussion on Global warming in Super Freakonomics especially was so interesting and a whole different perspective of a solution to the issue was quite fun to read.
About five month back I had started a book and since it was too tough to finish in a sitting I had to piece meal it between other reads. But that also came to an end last month. The very detailed 500 page biography of Jiddu Krishnamurthy by Pupul Jayakar. The book was significant because it talked about Jiddu the person and also his view point through the pre and post independent India, its politics, culture, beliefs and non beliefs. Though during the same time I tried to read a few of K’s (as he is referred many times) own books and found it too hard to get through. Probably the whole concept of negation as K puts it can only be done by questioning oneself and for that book (even K’s own book) is a hindrance. An interesting journey through the life of a man who talked for over seven decades on the enigma called “the being”. Though the book went on dragging at times and I had to take long breaks, I felt an unexplainable feeling of lose when the book was over and that credit would be for Pupul.
Franz Kafka, the name itself gives people a mixed image of surrealism, myth, incomplete, intense and more. Though I had read a few of his shorts and liked what I read, I was finding it difficult to connect with the relevance, may be because I did not understand it. This time I got a chance to read his famous ‘Metamorphosis’ and that changed everything. As I mentioned before it leaves me with the feeling of a dark incomplete picture of what he wished to convey, and honestly I liked that. If you have to try Kafka, try ‘metamorphosis’
Dr. Jacob Needleman whose book “Why can’t we be good?” I had read before and always wanted to read his latest one. If “Why can’t we be good?” was a fascinating look at the nature of human beings and our connection with the concept of goodness, his latest book “What is God?” takes us through his personal journey as a philosopher, atheist and believer trying to decipher the question first to himself and then to the people. Good read, but his book “Why Can’t we be good?” was better in my opinion and here better means the clarity of the theme and not the writing. This book also introduced me on a very superficial level to G.I Gurdjieff the Russian philosopher and thinker who and his follower Peter Ouspensky who introduced the concept of the fourth way. Though I tried to chew a book on Gurdjieff written by Dr. Jacob Needleman, it did not go that far.
The Secret was another book, I took up mainly because of its popularity and sadly I let it go after a few pages. I felt it more of a marketing and self help book. May be that is what it is and the fault was mine thinking differently. No recommendation from my end for that anyways. But I found another book with a friend of mine which I need to get hand on “the secret behind the secret” which kind of draws lines between philosophy, materialism, spirituality and Quantum Physics. Might be interesting and will let you know once I read it.
This was my first introduction to the writing of George Friedman, the American political scientist and the author of an earlier popular book “The next hundred years”. Though I had not read that one, his latest book “The next decade which was published in late 2010 is an interesting read as he maps the global positioning of America and it’s inter relations across the world. He draws from the presidencies of Lincoln, Reagan and Nixon and looks at how the decade ahead. He states that one cannot deny the empire nature that America has developed and the challenge is to keep the republic intact while trying maneuvering itself in its position of being such a impact of the world. Highly recommended reading.