Geetanjali Mukherjee

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What I'm Reading - August

The Power of Moments - Chip and Dan Heath

(I read an advanced reader copy - this book will be out in October 2017.)

This is the first book I have read of Dan and Chip Heath, and I loved this book so much, I immediately got a copy of one of their earlier books, Switch, which I am also thoroughly enjoying.

The Power of Moments is about why certain moments and experiences in our life are so powerful that they can change us, and how to create more such moments for ourselves, our children, our employees and our customers.

At first glance, it doesn't seem like this is such an important goal - creating more important moments. But think about it, how many days and specific moments do you remember from high school, or college, or your vacation last summer? What would you like your kids to remember from their Christmas holiday or their vacation with their grandparents, or your customers to remember from their interaction with your product or service?

At a time when word of mouth is essential for marketing, when the practice of recording each meal and experience of our life is mandatory, how will we look back and what will stand out in our memories as something that mattered, even was life-changing? The stories the authors share are varied - from experiences in high school that remained with the students even years later, to a hotel that provided an amazing level of service, to the perfect way to welcome a new employee. There are so many points in our life when with a bit of thinking and planning, we can transform the moment to something we will always remember. This book teaches us how to do that.

This is not the kind of book you speed through. It is something you dip into from time to time, and work through the writing exercises. The author helps you become authentic, on the page and to yourself. You see parts of yourself you didn't see before, and you realize that you are on your own unique journey, not to compete with or be like anyone else. Sometimes the language and style felt heavy and overly academic, but the message and intent was clear - peel back the layers and discover who you are underneath, and live more fully, more true to yourself.

(I read an ARC of this one as well - from NetGalley.)

This book was difficult to read, primarily for two reasons. The writing is dense, full of facts, sometimes overly so. Also, reading about characters who it was impossible to like or feel much sympathy for, I had to put the book down and do something else or read something else to cleanse my palate of a story of greed, jealousy, corruption and immorality. Sure, the lives of the uber rich may not be the same as ours, but the scale of disparity, with no redeeming features, was not always fun to read.

Having said that, the book is meticulously researched and very well-written. I also found that the pace picked up, and I flew through the last third of the book. I also learnt a great deal about French laws and cultural norms and perhaps some of the seedy reality behind the fa├žade of luxury and style.

( I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley to review.)

(I received a free copy of this book from the author to review.)

This is a short novella set in the same world as the Feeder series. I enjoyed the first book in the series and am looking forward eagerly to the next one. "Dissent" is the story of Dom, and to some extent, Shiela. This story fills in some of the gaps in the story from the first book, and helps to explain some of Dom's actions and where he is coming from.

Although "Dissent" makes reference to the story from the first book, this is a mostly new story. You get to see behind the scenes of the first story in some way. And you get to know Dom better. It is also easier to follow, with only POV, unlike the previous story (which made it at times harder to follow and stick with). All in all, a good, quick, fun read.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What I'm Reading - July

I'm really grateful to get an advanced reader copy of this book from Net Galley. I didn’t know how badly I needed to read this book! I recognized a lot of myself and my journey in the story of how Kaia Roman lost her joy, confidence and sense of self, and how she went about regaining it one step at a time.

There were moments while reading the first couple of chapters where I wondered whether this was just another self-indulgent, privileged person trying to be happy and writing about it. But the book surprised me - and I found myself racing to complete it and then wanting to talk to everyone I met about it. I learned a lot about myself from reading this book, and realized how much I could benefit from the advice in the book.  I decided to start to apply some of the principles and could immediately see changes. I am excited to see what else I can implement, and have already shared some of the insights with my family and friends.

What I enjoyed about the book is that the author not only shares her own story, she presents lessons from psychology and research into happiness, and provides a step-by-step plan, that while doesn’t guarantee a total transformation, can set you on the path to finding your own joy. I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself (and all your friends) and starting your own Joy Plan today!

Nilofer Merchant - The Power of Onlyness

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley, and overall, really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend it, especially for recent graduates. 

In Nilofer Merchant's new book, "The Power of Onlyness", she shows you how to bring forth that which only you can do, bring out your unique gifts and talents, your 'onlyness', and share it to make a dent in the universe. I really enjoyed reading the book and the stories of individuals from around the world who have found a way to tap into their own uniqueness, embraced their 'onlyness' and have made a difference in their corner of the world, which then rippled outward.

Reading the book makes it clear that it isn't easy or inevitable that each of us can do this, but it is possible. Each of us have something that only we see, only we care about and only we can contribute. And the most important takeaway for me from this book was that it is not only possible, it's absolutely imperative for both our sake and that of humanity that we seek that out.

Michael Fossel - The Telomerase Revolution

This was another book that I got an advanced copy of, and was looking forward to reading. I am trying to increase my scientific and medical knowledge, and I definitely succeeded on that score. 

This book was incredibly eye-opening and both depressing and hope-giving at the same time. "The Telomerase Revolution" describes the current theories of what causes aging, debunks several myths and describes the role of telomeres in most aging-related diseases. Although at times the book uses more medical and scientific jargon than is palatable in a book aimed at a lay audience, the basic arguments and facts are easy to grasp. The detailed explanation of the havoc that aging can wreak on a person wasn't exactly pleasant to read. However, the optimism of the author in regard to slowing and even reversing many of these aging effects through the use of new medical breakthroughs felt contagious enough that by the end of the book I was feeling incredibly hopeful about the future of humanity's health. 

Some of the claims of the author felt like science fiction, but then we are living in a world where technology is upgrading so quickly that yesterday's science fiction is today's reality. And that is the point that the author makes as well - that some of the worst aging-related diseases that people suffer from could be curable in the next few decades.

This is the second book by Jenny Colgan I read, and I loved both, but especially this one. The characters were interesting, really well-developed and the setting itself felt like an additional character. I had to stop myself from reading it all through in one sitting! If you're going on vacation soon, I would highly recommend it!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July Ebook Sale

Smashwords is still having its annual Summer / Winter sale. Which means you can get lots of ebooks  free or heavily discounted. My books are between 75 - 100% off as well -

Two of my books are free on Smashwords until the end of the month, and the rest are heavily discounted, between $1 and $2. It's a great deal. With Smashwords, you can download your book in any format, for any device.

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