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Niranjan Waghmare (UK)
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Shantaram
Shantaram
by Gregory David Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shantaram - absolutely fascinating book!, 20 Nov 2009
This review is from: Shantaram (Paperback)
I am not the fastest reader on the planet but I have to say I did not even realise when I finished this huge book (my edition has 933 pages). Shantaram offers pretty much everything - humour, crime, passion, love, drama, action, war and interestingly, philosophy.

This is a story of Mr. Lindsay (later called Linbaba and given a vernacular name Shantaram meaning man of peace) who escapes from an Australian jail and arrives in Bombay with a fake New Zealand passport. He meets a taxi driver Prabhaker who gives him tours of the city and a place to live in the local slum. Lin starts a free clinic for the people in the slum, and to earn his own income, he sells drugs to tourists. This gets him the attention of the local mafia, and he's increasingly pulled into their world of crime, from counterfeiting to gun running to passport schemes. He falls in love, nearly dies in an Indian prison, and survives a continuing series of adventures.

I was completely mesmerized by Shantaram. At one time I was laughing hysterically and at another I was turning pages frantically to see what's going to happen next.

The characters in the book are fascinating - Lin, Prabhakar, Didier, Karla, Khaled Ansari, Nazeer, Vikram Patel, Lisa Carter, Sebastian Modena, Maurizio, Madame Zhou and Abdel Khader Khan et al make a brilliant story.

Look at the following passage, the philosophy of life explained by Abdel Khader Khan, the don, the mafia of Bombay and the character I was most fascinated by!:
"...this universe that we know, began in almost absolute simplicity, and it has been getting more complex for about fifteen billion years. In another billion years it will be still more complex than it is now. In five billion, in ten billion -- it is always getting more complex. It is moving toward...something. It is moving toward some kind of ultimate complexity. We might not get there. An atom of hydrogen might not get there, or a leaf, or a man, or a planet might not get there, to that ultimate complexity. But we are all moving towards it -- everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity, that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don't like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity. Whatever you call it, the whole universe is moving toward it."

But my favourite character of the book has to be Prabhakar. You can see humour in everything he says:
"You must make motions, isn't it?" (you must go to toilet, right?)
"Linbaba, please stroke it my Father's bellies..."
The bear-hug incident and the one where Lin tries to strip naked for taking bath in Prabhakar's village is halarious. There are plenty of such hysterical situations and you will go mad laughing.

I also learned for the first time about the Borsalino hat, Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK-47 fame) and the origin of the phrase "Bob's your uncle"! :-)

I must also mention that the war in Afghanistan did not seem to have much of a relevence to the story and it stretches is a bit too far at times.

But this is a masterpiece for sure!


Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table - 57 Real Life Laws on Entrepreneurship
Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table - 57 Real Life Laws on Entrepreneurship
by Sahar Hashemi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story and thoroughly enjoyable book, 19 Aug 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend to those interested in starting their own business.

The various stages of building a business, i.e., idea->market research->business plan->raising money->implementing->growing are written in a simple 'how we did it' way. The original business plan is a great plus of this book (much better to look at a real plan rather than templates). I enjoyed the sketches that presumably Sahar Hashemi drew along the way (esp. of the guy with pins stuck in him - it's great :-)). It tells you how important it is to keep a scrap book while you are making the journey towards building a business.

One other good point about this book is that it does not preach. I learned a great deal about the coffee business from this book (not that it was the objective of reading this book), which is a great addition to the knowledge.

Bobby being an investment banker and Sahar being a city lawyer one may feel they would have enough money in the bank to go for couple of years without their jobs (which is what they did before starting Coffee Republic) but that is not the point. The point is that they had a 'light bulb' moment (idea) and the passion was built around it and they went on to build a great business.

Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommended!


Only The Paranoid Survive
Only The Paranoid Survive
by Andrew Grove
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for corporate leaders, 5 Aug 2009
The central theme of the book is what Andy Grove calls a 'Strategic Inflection Point (SIP)'. It is a turning point in a company's life from where the company can go north or south depending on whether it recognises the arrival of such a point and how it prepares itself to deal with it. The theme is based on Intel's own experience of dealing with a Strategic Inflection Point when they decided to get out of the memory business. The last chapter on the Internet is outdated for today's reader but the rest of the book is a good eye opener for all corporate leaders. Not a revelation but a good read!


I'd Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta
I'd Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta
by David Greising
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.13

4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 26 July 2009
Writing a book about a person, who does not want to cooperate is a tough job. David Greising has done a tremendous job of putting this book together about the life and leadership of Roberto Goizueta, the man behind the massive growth of the world's biggest marketing machine, Coca Cola. To me Goizueta does not come across as a typical people leader or a motivator but a result oriented manager, a task master, a political manoeuvrer and a shrewd CEO. This book will be of special interest to an expatriate, aspiring to run a global conglomerate in a foreign land. While reading about Goizueta I learnt so much about Coca Cola as a company! Good book to read.


Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business
Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business
by Sir Richard Branson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - not only for business but for life too!, 5 Jun 2007
I had thoroughly enjoyed Richard Branson's autobiography 'Losing My Virginity' some years ago and picked up this book as soon as I spotted it. Although to some extent this book as an extraction of the autobiography, it makes it a brilliant read on its own.

This book makes Richard Branson appear mature, responsible, fun, unorthodox, immensly successful, still hungry to diversification and hell of an inspiration! I never seriously read anything about CO2 reduction so far but thanks to 'Scre it, Let's do it', for the first time I know what it means to mankind.

The book is a true inspiration for anyone who wants to lead a fun and successful business as well as personal life.


Bottled for Business: The Less Gassy Guide to Entrepreneurship
Bottled for Business: The Less Gassy Guide to Entrepreneurship
by Karan Bilimoria
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely less gassy guide to entrepreneurship, 5 Jun 2007
I must be one of the first buyers of this book - ordered it as soon as it appeared on amazon! I have come to admire this genuine, modest and down to earth Lord - Karan Bilimoria for what appears to be a genuine success story of an Indian, who came to Englad 26 years ago for studies and by now has won the hearts and minds of the curry loving Brits with the brand that is COBRA!

While it is written in a business biography language, the book is less preachy than some of the other similar books.

It is a matter of time before COBRA stpes out of the Indian restaurants and becomes a regular beer in your local pub.

I highly recommend this book!


The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business
The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business
by Mike Southon
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Read for entrepreneural minds, 5 Jun 2007
It is often found that those with entrepreneural desires are more 'hands-on' types, who cannot resist being 'all-over' while starting an enterprise. This book is a good read for such individuals. It tells you the best ways to survive during the seedling and sapling stages before you get to the mighty oak stage. It emphasises how important it is to have a good mentor in the initial stages of the enterprise and how you must have the four cornerstones to ensure you do not end up being a jack of all trades!

Currently I work for a company but the day I decide to start something of my own, I will surely re-read this book before I take the first step.


The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read - thoroughly enjoyed, 2 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Da Vinci Code (Paperback)
I am not a fiction reader but I decided to read this one on my wife's recommendation and I did not regret it. I didn't feel like keeping the book down at all. At one point I was unsure whether I was reading a fiction or a non-fiction. The plots are gripping, the characters are perfect and the story flows seamlessly!


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