Book Reviews

The Grand Design

The Grand Design

Is it possible to achieve excellence in the corporate world and still be happy? How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? Over twenty years ago Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time, to try to explain where the universe came from, and where it is going. But that book left some important questions unanswered. Why is there a universe–why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer and creator? It was Einstein’s dream to...

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Am I a Monkey? by Francisco J. Ayala

Am I a Monkey? by Francisco J. Ayala

To start with, the title of this book really bothers me. Does anyone who is interested in learning more about the theory of evolution seriously ask, “Am I a monkey?” As an even semi-serious question, it was put to bed about 150 years ago by Thomas Huxley. During a debate with Huxley over the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Archbishop Samuel Wilberforce delivered what he must have imagined would be a devastating blow: he asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he was descended from an ape....

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THE DAY THE WORLD DISCOVERED THE SUN: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus

THE DAY THE WORLD DISCOVERED THE SUN: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus

Author: Mark Anderson 304 pp. Publisher: Da Capo Press In the 1770s two spectacularly important astronomical events occurred within six years of each other. These events were Venus transits of the Sun that the famous astronomer Edmund Halley had promoted vigorously. They were important because they permitted accurate calculation of the distance from our Earth to the Sun. Unfortunately, the grand old man of astronomy bemoaned that he would miss both of these events as he lay on his deathbed in 1742. He did, however, have the influence to...

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NUCLEUS – A Trip into the Heart of Matter

NUCLEUS – A Trip into the Heart of Matter

NUCLEUS: A Trip into the Heart of Matter, 2nd Edition By Ray Mackintosh, Jim Al-Khalili, Björn Jonson and Teresa Peña The Johns Hopkins University Press This is a big book chock full of excellent illustrations about a tiny subject: the nucleus inside the atom. Chapter One, entitled “The Size of Things,” places everything in perspective. For example, the authors point out that there are more atoms in a single glass of water than there are glasses of water in all of the earth’s oceans. The first chapter does a good job of going all the...

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Final Victory – Stanley Weintraub

Final Victory – Stanley Weintraub

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the only president of the United States to serve more than two terms. In fact, he was elected four times. The confluence of political and global circumstances which led to an unexpected fourth term for FDR are brought to light in Stanley Weintraub’s insightful book, Final Victory. FDR’s last half term saw a leader who was ill and in decline, even by his own assessment. His personal life had long been a shambles, though he and Eleanor kept up appearances for their own purposes. His social policies were...

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Allah, Liberty, And Love – Irshad Manji

Allah, Liberty, And Love – Irshad Manji

  When Irshad Manji wrote The Trouble With Islam (later on renamed The Trouble With Islam Today) she was hailed by the media as a powerful voice seeking to reform Islam from within. But the Muslims were not convinced. Her pro-Zionist stance completely switched them off to some of the important issues she was trying to raise. Manji had written that Jews had a historical bond with Palestine and hence, they were entitled to establish a Jewish State in that country. And the Arabs were committing a big mistake by opposing Israel. The Muslims...

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The Fifth P

The Fifth P

The American Dream’ vis-a-vis ‘Incredible India’, The Fifth P takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride, jerking him out of his complacency to delve deep into the subtexts of the grand narratives of history, politics and most importantly, economics. The author being a corporate executive who works for multinational organisations uses the metaphor of business coordinates such as ‘product, price, place and promotion’ to unfold the growth story of ‘Brand West’ or ‘US Inc’. The first few chapters are devoted to quote him, “similarities...

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Khaleid Houseini’s Kite Runner

Khaleid Houseini’s Kite Runner

…Indeed! It is a tribute to bring home the last fallen kite, as they are repulsed by something as simple as losing to a kite tournament. They cherish customs but abhor rules. They are sovereign and thus too proud to let anyone else govern their laws and lives. In Kabul, ” the Hindi kid would soon learn what the British learned earlier in the century, and what the Russians would eventually learn by the 1980′s: that the Afghans are an independent people. The novel literally revolves around kite running and their sequences of...

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Many Lives Many Masters

Many Lives Many Masters

Psychiatrist Dr Brian Weiss had been working with Catherine, a young patient, for eighteen months. Catherine was suffering from recurring nightmares and chronic anxiety attacks. When his traditional methods of therapy failed, Dr Weiss turned to hypnosis and was astonished and sceptical when Catherine began recalling past-life traumas which seemed to hold the key to her problems. Dr Weiss’s scepticism was eroded when Catherine began to channel messages from ‘the space between lives’, which contained remarkable revelations...

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Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Srimad Bhagavad Gita has been referred to as the Jewel of Indian Philosophy. Over time many great seers, rishis, philosophers and authors have written commentaries, explanations, notes, annotations and a variety of other treatises on its message. The Gita’s emphasis on selfless service was a prime source of inspiration for Mahatma Gandhi, who said “When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately...

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