Saturday, September 27, 2008


The good thing about blogs is that there are no editors around.  Editors are the natural enemies of writers.  Magazine editors are the worst of the lot because they have a space constraint in addition to their natural instinct to "improve" the piece.

Anyway, Business World magazine asked me to write about books I was reading and, in general, about my reading habits.  My responses are given below.  They then published an "edited" version that is shown in the picture alongside.  You judge whether the editor did a good job.

Q: Which book are you reading at the moment and why did you pick it up? 

A: I am reading “The last lecture” by Randy Pausch.  I watched the video of the lecture just after Randy Pausch died.  I found the lecture absolutely fascinating.  I have therefore bought the book to read in greater detail.

Q: What you have learned so far from the book? 

A: Fascinating book about the values that helped him achieve his childhood dreams.  These are the lessons that he wants to tell his children about, but had no other way of communicating since the author was dying of cancer.  I find such books inspiring and uplifting.

Q: Is it the kind of book you normally read? If not, what is your preferred reading (fiction, management, self-help, spiritual etc)? 

A: I normally read non fiction books that cover a wide range of topics from physics to philosophy, from Indian culture to management, from biographies to humour.  I firmly believe in the dictum that facts are stranger than fiction.  If you want to know more about the books I read or recommend, go to my blog ( and look at the “Favourite books” box on the left hand side.   I have a list of books that I have read with my ratings for them.  Among my all time favourites: 

May you be the mother of a hundred sons by Elisabeth Bumiller

What should I do with my life? By Po Bronson

The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham

Q: How do you buy your books (based on reviews, browsing on the Net, favourite bookstore etc)? 

A: I buy books almost indiscriminately much to the despair of my wife.  I enter book stores whenever I can - there is a Crossword very close to my house in Bandra, and I also go into book shops in airports.  I buy whatever catches my fancy.  I also read a lot about books in magazines and hear podcasts about them.  One of my favourite book reviewers is NPR (National Public Radio).  I listen to their book reviews via podcasts.

Q: What are some of the other books on your reading list at the moment. 

A: I get nervous if my “to read” shelf at home is empty.  So I always keep it stocked.  Currently among the books bought and waiting to be read are:

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Billions of Entrepreneurs by Tarun Khanna

Myth = Mithya by Devdutt Pattanaik

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