Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review: Brain Plasticity: The Ultimate Guide To Brain Plasticity

'Brain Plasticity: The Ultimate Guide To Brain Plasticity' by Ryan Cooper contains proven steps and strategies on how to understand brain plasticity and how one can quickly and efficiently change ones brain to be the most effective and useful to help one in reaching the desired outcomes.
In the first chapter the book explains two ways to benefit from this. The first option is to master the mechanism and dynamics of the brain by learning how to fully operate it. The second option is to learn new ways to grow the skills that are already in possession, further.
The next chapter tries to prove that Brain Plasticity Works At Any Age, followed by a brief introduction to the concepts of brain plasticity, namely:
-Plasticity can vary by age. It can happen throughout your lifetime. There are specific kinds of changes that are dominant for certain life stages.
-Brain plasticity involves many different processes. It is continuous and it occurs from the beginning until the end of life.
-Aside from neurons, it also involves vascular cells and glial cells.
-Brain plasticity can happen because of any of the following: as a result of brain damage or as a consequence of learning, memory formation, and experience.
-Environmental factors in the process of brain plasticity. In addition, genetics is also a determinant.
-Brain Plasticity are of two types, functional and structural
Author thereafter discusses other areas of interest like techniques, plasticity and memory improvement, how plasticity affects concentration, as well as, the effects of meditation on brain plasticity.
I found this book giving a good introduction to the topic of brain plasticity and its possibilities. Like any other reader would have been, I was greatly interested in taking advantage of the sugestions for personal improvement. Though a short discussion on memory improvement as well as another one on meditation are included in this book, I wish the author devoted a few more pages for a discussion on the practical use of these and other facets of plasticity, in real life. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review: How to Write an Imaginative Novel

The first few lines of ‘How to write an Imaginative Novel’ by Robert Trainor attracted my attention. “I retired at 58 and began my first novel..” Here I am, retired at 58 and wanting to write something, and hence, I read further with great interest.
At the outset,  Robert outlines the process of beginning writing in chapter 1. Then discusses the first problem, the author has to face, of naming characters. After a brief talk, the care one should take for the next important issue, naming a set of places for the characters to reside is described. Thereafter he goes into the next critical task, imagining events, with warning that imagination is different from recollection of the past.
The next chapter is about plot and the composition of the plot. Why plots should include matters capable of attracting attention from the readers, like murder, sex (the easy ones), political infighting, and forms of romance. And the care to be taken to avoid contentious issues.
Thereafter Robert goes into construction of the plot. Using the metaphor of a line without clothes, he tells how characters are added making the line heavy and eyeful. This is followed by a discussion on cover creation. An insight into beginning of a novel, the next chapter, is followed by another chapter on outline, first draft, drafts after drafts till it becomes uncountable by fingers.
Then comes the happiest and the final part of writing a novel, uploading it to kindle.
Though the title of this book may make one very happy, this book imagines that the reader is in possession of imagination. The author has done a wonderful job of covering all the other parts of writing a novel. He has rightly shown the importance of a rather disciplined approach in using computer for having the document accepted easily by the publishing sites. I cannot agree with the author’s views on the use of romantic or murderous twists. This technique for garnering attention from the reader, I think is a short cut, liable for overuse and also, too common.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: The Good Soldier Schweik

The Good Soldier Schweik’ by Jaroslav Hasek opens with the general disbelief and the total commotion created by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The good soldier, who was discharged earlier from the army for being feeble minded, in which he is a chronic case, happens to be identified as one of the suspects. No sooner than getting released from the clutches of police, the good soldier gets instructions to join army again. During the ensuing medical tests, he is found to be of unsound mind and sent for further examinations followed by detention.
This book is humor at every turn of page. In fact it is better than the much acclaimed anti-war satire, Catch – 22. Having been in a uniformed service for many years, I found it very easy to identify with each and every character of this novel and relish the dramatic twists and the ludicrous turns. The page who remembers verbatim, every order of his superior, the soldier who can wreck the nerves of his officers by simply parroting their orders, and the associate who successfully remains an epitome of innocence, are quite familiar characters in the lifestyle I followed all those years. So also is the way the protagonists stumble from one absurd situation into another ending up literally everywhere except for the proper slot for the mission. One can confidently say, “The present day military in fact is a true reflection of what is depicted in this book. The proliferation of the irrational, the absurdity at every turn of events and the unpredictability of outcomes are as common now as it is has been depicted in this novel". The author has done a remarkable job of mixing the nonsensical and the meaningful, adding hilarious twists to the routine and, presenting the ridiculous and silly, side by side the dignified to make a lasting effect.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Review: Women and Economics

Women and Economics’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a book (1898) aimed at ‘urging upon woman a new sense…of measureless importance as makers of men’. To begin with, the book assumes that matters affecting the humans are similar in nature to those affecting all other forms of life. Whether it is climate, environment, or more importantly what one does for a living, the effect is felt uniformly across all species. However humans show some peculiarity, like, it is the only species where the female depends on the male for food. Also, the relationship between members of the species is more of an economic one, which assumes significance in identifying the domains of each. Still another peculiarity could be easily seen in the prevalence of rather tumultuous activities of pair selection etc, leading to procreation, which many a time show even an economic dimension. Whereas when it comes to all other species, such activities progress in quite a peaceful manner. Thereafter the book examines the human approach to training their young. The presence of differing patterns for the male and the female, also unlike all other forms of life, as well as its motivations, is then discussed.
In short, as the author point out, we have one half of our race being trained to look for help from the other half for any and every activity that can’t be termed autonomous. And we have been happily continuing with this as our natural style of living. With the growth of civilization, female became more and more helpless and needing a male presence in all her efforts. Thus we have one half of our race producing what both halves consume. The consuming half is expected to show certain degree of dependence on the other half, and when this expectation extends to affairs other than the economic, especially the sexual ones, tumultuous become, the man woman relationship. Though the book identifies some of the incongruities of human society, it stops short of ascribing a valid reason. The author deserves rich accolades for identifying the existence of a great divide between man and woman that can’t be explained away as part of the natural proclivity of genders.
I feel very happy and vindicated, all the peculiarities in the living style of the male and female as discussed in my book, ‘The Unsure Male’ with its gender dependence, were seen as early as in nineteenth century! Ms Gilman’s book gives sexual differences between men and women an economic dimension, but my book places a sexual dimension to the differing economic interests (and every other difference!). Now I also wonder, are my wild predictions going to be true?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: What Matters Now

'What Matters Now' by Seth Godin is a collection of new ideas that matter (now) to society, culture and progress. It begins with the author's view on generosity, where he observes the rather unnatural proclivity of getting rewarded for being generous, even when the chips are down. Hence, the more you give, the more you get.
Then follows a stream of abstractions like, fear, dignity, meaning, being connected, enrichment, excellence, autonomy, and ripple. In each of these, a distinct way of thinking, a useful method to focus and the energy to turn the game is presented.

The collection of micro-essays is inspirational, motivating, but most of all a realization for ourselves. I could see a new and different side to all that I was comfortable with. For example, the book's take on management mentions that "after a decade of truly spectacular under-achievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom – fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals". Or about the dramatic shift to 'thank you economy' being ushered in by social media.

This perhaps can tell us how to make the most of the information we're served daily by TVs, social networks, blogs and how not to get caught in the trap and lose ones focus.

I felt each and every essay as an eye opener, and I saw things I knew, in an entirely different light. I found greatly challenged by Tim O'Reilly's idea for Government 2.0, Daniel Pink's views on Autonomy, Gay Kawasaki and Evangelism, and Derek Sivers' thoughts on passion.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: Gypsies of Goa, it's a Hippy Trail

Gypsies of Goa, it's a Hippy Trail by Sunil Joglekar is an epic. Davis and Dave sets out from England for an adventure trip to Goa. Davis, with the taste of a successful divorce, and Dave with that of an unsuccessful marriage. In Goa, Davis get attracted to a gypsy maiden Shanti and makes her join him in England. Circumstances change and with Dave's death, they proceed again to Goa, this time with Mary Ann, Dave's wife, tagging along. There they get entrapped with drug peddlers, local politicians, police authorities and many people from the Goan countryside to take the adventure to its crescendo. In the meantime, Davis buys properties where he plans to continue the happy times with Shanti. And his life follows with unexpected twists and turns...
Gypsies of Goa... left with me, a trail of happy thoughts. This book is full of memorable characters. Laxmi and Shanti with their innocence, Mary Ann with her exuding sensuality, Dave, the unforgettable one for his sincerity, and Almeida, the epitome of virility are only some of the more notable ones. Jogi has selected the characters too deftly, and I am at a loss to say who is more memorable. However, their footprints shall remain with me for many stories to come.
One final word. Jogi is my good friend, but he must have been hiding something from me. For, I find it difficult to believe that this is his debut novel.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Another Prediction

Another area where significant changes can be expected to happen in the near future, I think, is language. A new language, I think is in the offing. This shall be to compensate for a regular inconvenience we all face in our life.

It is generally seen that we find it difficult to take a position, which is neither in agreement nor in disagreement with an entity. In fact it is the absence of a concise word or expression for such an attitude, that compels the mankind to take a position of conflict, even in cases where there is no natural cause for a divide. That is, we are forced either to agree or to disagree with a given position, mainly because there is no popular word, meaning neither.

How did it happen so? I think language reflect one's idea of self and all that encompass it. And our idea of the world around us taught us to think in terms of up or down, left or right, dark or light, and many other combinations of entities that are easily discernible, regular in occurrence, and clearly definable. Now that our foray into the micro world, especially the developments in quantum science, is yielding new concepts almost every day, most of which bordering on the ideas of the imaginary, shouldn't our language be enriched appropriately to reflect this? What can be called a softened outlook giving rise to streams of such new words, say a mellowed vocabulary? The words of which could say unequivocally, for example, something that is not bad, as something neither good nor bad. Same way, something not good, as something neither bad nor good.
As we continue in this manner our life and living, certain fundamental changes can be expected in our philosophy of life. And a new way we invent, for feeling, imbibing and expressing all that we confront. Our reactions are going to be restrained, appropriate for those mellowed words. And that shall bring lasting peace?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Book, by my friend JOGI


A divorcee from London, who is a journalist by profession, falls in love with a gypsy girl while on a holiday in Goa. He marries her and settles down at Palolem for good. They have children and begin a humble life, exploring Goa, seeking a place in the tourism industry, but our Londoner gets entangled in Goa’s narcotic world. Thereafter, the story gets intriguing and absorbing with the turn of events.

Does he escape back to England, or continue to stay in Goa?

What happens to his gypsy queen and their dream of living in a house by the sea?
About the Author

Sunil Joglekar, born on 7 March 1961, is an engineer by profession. Being in the navy and having spent most of his life in Goa, bumping into tourists on the beaches of Goa and chatting with them has been his favourite weekend pastime. During one such interaction, he decided to write a book on one of them.

Besides writing, he loves to play music, preferably Jazz or Blues. He fancies playing his puck and guitar together, as an accompaniment, when he sings his soulful songs, and prefers calling himself a one-man band.
- See more at: https://notionpress.com/read/gypsies-of-goa-it-s-a-hippy-trail#sthash.UZcgEAGl.twiXK9zZ.dpuf

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