Yuval Noah Harari – Trilogy

Okay, it’s done. I’ve read all three books of Yuval Noah Harari, a self imposed challenge BTW I highly recommend that you read them, these books are gems of the books..ย 

Unfortunately, my views and ratings seem to be in line with many critics on the Internet, have nothing more to add, it will be redundant. Also, I am quite late in the game, and hence mine is probably the millionth post on this topic.

Anyways, I have listed them in the order of my liking :

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  2. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
  3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Summary : 

  1. Highly recommended, you are missing out if you have not read them yet.
  2. You do not need to be an avid reader to pick those yet has profound Thought-provoking concepts. If you want your kid or loved ones to pick up the reading habit, then these are the right ones.
  3. Slightly leftist, but generally liberal.
  4. Straightforward read, and definitely not not laborious reading such as works of Christopher Hitchensย 

If you want to turn a few pages before you decide to buy them, here you go :

[Book vs Movie]Calling Sehmat vs Raazi

Generally, I do not get involved in the business of comparing the movies against the Book based on. The primary reason for that is that I will have to read fiction for the comparison. And I hate reading fiction! Nevertheless, here is an attempt. This is more of a fictionalized biography rather than a novel, hence the exception ๐Ÿ™‚

The movie in the discussion is Raazi starring Alia Bhat. She is a nepo-kid with reasonably good acting skills amongst a truckload among quintessentially bad actors and movie makers. For a change, the movie is loaded with decent actors; songs are brilliant with excellent lyrics. Its quite old movie by now and you would have seen it already. The book is based on “Calling Sehmat”, authored by Harinder Sikka penned on fictionalized biographical narration based on what he gathered from actual Sehmat.

On an overall and surface level, the movie captures the essence and sequence of events described in the Book. However, there are a few fundamental differences, which could be deliberate or creative. I will leave you to decide:

  1. The movie does not capture the first chapter of the Book. The chapter is an essential part of the storyline, but the film chooses to leave behind. The book takes its own time, deservedly, to define Sehmat, her love interest, passion, etc. The movie does not care about any of that.
  2. The movie Sehmat is a weak girl who flinches with the pistol backfire, the book’ Sehmat is a cold-blooded determined soldier who is willing to kill, lie, kidnap, and blackmail for her nation which was at war. The Book’s Sehmat does things as her conscious directs her, while the movie’s Sehmat does it as obligations to her Indian handlers.
  3. The movie ultimately leaves put last few chapters, which most probably is to avoid hurting sentiments of a rowdy family lived terrorizing a village in rural Punjab. Also, they probably do not want to show Sehmat owes her newfound sanity to a hermit.

Also read: Letting Meghna Gulzar direct Raazi was the biggest blunder, rues Calling Sehmat author Harinder Sikka

Soorarai Pottru Review โ€“ Apologies

Apologies for having misled you in believing that Soorarai Pottru post has good plot and script. My readers have pointed out that I was wrong, and I was indeed wrong. In my defence, I was not aware of the socio-political and economic background of the story depicted in the movie, fiction or otherwise, which quite possibly, be propaganda. 

I had reviewed it as ‘a movie as an artform’ rather than a socio-political statement. I am aware that I stand against almost an entire internet, who probably did exactly the same. You will have to talk to someone from the region to understand the movie from different perspective.

Okay. Here are the things I had missed:

  1. Name of a character as ‘Che’ was not an unfortunate coincidence, rather quite possibly, it was deliberate. 
  2. Even without reading the biography, you can google and find out the creation of airlines did not encounter sabotaging attempts from bureaucrats and competitors. In fact, It was told that Chief Ministers like SM Krishna and Chandrababu Naidu stood behind the airlines when it got into trouble. 
  3. The protagonist is seen in a black shirt, or shades of it, for almost the entire movie, including his wedding ceremony. I do not know what it means as of yet, but apparently, it does have a statement. 

I have already ordered the book “Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey” by GR Gopinath, let me read through and let you know. From what I have told, the movie has a minimal relationship with Autobiography. 

Apart this, I already have “Calling Sehmat” in my queue which supposedly inspired the movie Raazi .

Reading challenge – 2020

Okay. Its done. 2020 resolution complete and I have competed 52 books in 2020. As promised, below are my recommendations.

As usual, below are the boxes I would categorize them. Take it as you like.

  1. Level A) This book will turn you into Yoda!!
  2. Level B) Beware of Goosebumps
  3. Level C) You are gonna think about them for a while
  4. Level D) Good time-pass, read them if your only alternative is to watch paint dry.
  5. Level E) I hated these, I still went ahead and completed it. There is a hype around each of these books and hence thought of mentioning

Lets start. (all images are from Goodreads.com

Level A) This book will turn you into Yoda!!

Level B) Beware of Goosebumps

Level C) You are gonna think about them for a while

Level D) Good time-pass, read them if your only alternative is to watch paint dry.

Level E) I hated these, I still went ahead and completed it. There is a hype around each of these books and hence thought of mentioning

Book Review: Hit Refresh

The primary author of “Hit refresh” is Microsoft’s current CEO – Satya Nadella, and he co-authored it with Mr Thesaurus himself! ๐Ÿ˜Š

As you are familiar with my posts, I try to keep it casual here. This is my blog. If you are looking for a more serious review, you are free to go to Goodreads. ๐Ÿ™‚

With the title “Hit refresh”, The first thing that came to my mind, was that mouse-action that you tend to do when you are staring at your desktop and conversing with someone. You right-click, and then you HIT REFRESH!! However, the book is not about that and not even the Windows OS. Hitting refresh, apparently, has deep philosophical meaning to Satya’s life and this book is about that.

In its entirety, the book is Satya’s elongated resume. That, plus the Microsoft manifesto, if it were to contest an election sometime in future. Additionally, the book covers profound vision and mission statements related to technology they are working on. In fact, if you are not familiar with phrases such as “quantum computing”, “distributed cloud environment” and “Intelligent automation”; you can skip a few chapters right till the end.

Fortunately enough, I was familiar with what those and I enjoyed reading it and loved the book.

Let me cover a few topics which resonated well with me.

  1. Satya repeatedly refers to Cricket for various analogies and even dedicates a chapter for this great game. Evidently, he loves Cricket more than any CEO, including the CEOs of India Inc. In my opinion, this could be one of the best tribute for any off-spinner, ever. Pont to be noted that all our mainstream biopics are reserved for pacers and batsmen, never an off-spinner.  There will be one each for Muthiah Muralidharan or Kapil Dev, but there never will be one for Venkatapati Raju.
  2. Satya takes two pills as soon as he gets up. “Empathy” for blue and “Trust” for red. He is a big fan of them, and He makes this abundantly clear, often repeatedly. He is 100% right on that, and I could not agree more. We will discuss Empathy (not Sympathy) on some other day.

One of the critical socio-political topic Satya covered in the book was on “privacy vs security”. Among the many examples, the one such discussed in details was about the FBI’s ask on apple to crack open operating system of a phone confiscated from a terrorist. As per Satya, the entire silicon valley stood behind Apple Computers, which unsurprisingly, had refused the FBI’s ask to create a backdoor entry to iOS. Very unprecedented situation and was keen to learn how a competitor’s stand on this decision. Unfortunately, Satya leaves a politically correct chapter

Full disclosure: I am and always have been a big fan of Microsoft when compared with Linux etc. This was, obviously a minority opinion during my graduation days. Dispising MSWindows was the core-principles of the engineering college version of socialism. Somehow, it was a fashion to evangelize Linux, and campaign against Windows XP even if it was pirated licence. Yes, it’s the same Linux which warranted a complete reinstallation with every abrupt power-cut! And of course, it used to take all your data with it. In comparison, Windows XP never failed me for more than a decade.

I am not a gamer anymore, but when I was, they were MS games I was a fan of. Minesweeper and age of empires. Absolute gems. I wish he had covered them.

Anyways, this was my best minesweeper score. Let me know if you’d beaten me anytime in the past.

P.S. This is book 49 of 52 of 2020 reading challenge ๐Ÿ™‚