[Excerpt] Most books that we read idolise an exciting life, a life of adventure and purpose. Stories surrounding a destiny that has to be embraced; a quest that has to be fulfilled; a monster that has to be slain. But that is as false as the monster in those books. Life is, more often than not, drab and ordinary, with many ups and downs, many tears (born both of sadness and joy), and many meaningless happenstance and coincidences. Life doesn’t have meaning; we add meaning to life, in our own unique way. And William Stoner brought meaning to his own life, and lived a satisfactory one, even if it seemed dull, boring and eventless to outsiders. [more]
[Excerpt] ... But after witnessing the life changing, paradigm shifting, globe-spanning, epic disaster that was the 2008 financial meltdown, more and more people questioned the big banks and the regulations governing them. The much-touted corporate concept of “Too big to fail,” which was popularised during the industrial age, couldn’t find a foothold in the information age. People didn’t appreciate losing their retirement fund just because some sleazy guy in a suit thought it would be okay to sell homes to people who couldn’t even pay their apartment's rent! The whole world turned upside down.
And amidst this uproar, like in any great revolution, the landscape was slowly but surely changing. Power was being wrested bank and forth. New business models—revolving around the set-in-stone concept of lending and borrowing—were evolving, and the banks were either demonising them or trying to emulate them.
[Excerpt] I'll be honest; I expected the book to be good, but not this deeply engrossing. I suppose it's because, on a fundamental level, this book delves into a question that all of us, at some point or the other, have asked ourselves:
"What if I had done things differently?"
Because the essence of this book lies in one man wondering how things could've ended up differently for him, and going to great lengths to understand those different lives. [more]
[Excerpt] I suppose when one spends a few years in Industry and receives an MBA from a good school, they would find it relatively easy to look at business cases and pinpoint the problem after some deliberation. Revenue is up but profit is down? Most likely a cost problem. No change in Operational Expense but Working Capital is still skyrocketing? Could be an inventory issue. Not enough sales? Must be a marketing problem; maybe we are targeting the wrong segment or demographics, maybe we overestimated the demand.
But is it that simple, across the board, for all organizations? ... [more]
[Excerpt] ... "In work as in life, we must contemplate the loss of everything in order to know what we have to give; it is the essence of writing, the essence of working, the essence of living; an essence that we look for by hazarding our best gifts in the world, and in that perspective, all of us are young and have the possibilities of the young until our last breath goes out." ... [more]
[Excerpt] It was a pleasant change while they lasted, these Olympic games. It was nice to have my Facebook news feed clogged with the heroics of the athletes, their determination, and their drive to be unsurpassable, instead of watching the latest embarrassing antiques of politicians or the tragedy of another suicide bombing
Moreover, these were the first Olympic games to contain a refugee team. Perhaps due to the media coverage of the European migrant crisi ... [more]
[Excerpt] Imagine having to converse every single moment of every single day. To speak constantly, without a moment's rest. To be constantly assailed with words, never having a moment of silence. Sounds unbearable, but that is exactly how we operate - the words just come from within rather than falling on our ears from our vicinity. These words can feel louder than those blaring from a mic — our very own PA system, a relentless cacophony pestering us, admonishing us, not letting us rest. ... [more]
[excerpt] ... You see, quite a few people out there live for the moment, enjoy their milieu, no matter how fleeting, and move on without much care or thought. We all know such people. They are usually the ones at gatherings who laugh the loudest, drink the most, and indulge the most in merriment with a perpetual, goofy grin on their face. The life of the party! Everyone gravitates towards them because of their "devil may care" attitude. Good for them! We all need such people in our lives, no matter how much they may annoy us, or fill us with envy.
But for some, there is this nagging feeling of being out of place, of not feeling a sense of connection or contentment or belonging, and the source of ... [more]