Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Conversations with Leaders – 5

December 26, 2020 Leave a comment

(An interview with Johanna Rothman, Agile 2009 Conference Chair and Author)

My ebook ‘Leadership in times of Crisis’ is a synthesis of conversations with practitioners, authors and leaders in the field of Project Management and Leadership. Here is a conversation that I had with Johanna Rothman.

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” offers frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see and adapt how they solve problems, resolve risks, and manage their product development.

Johanna was the Agile 2009 conference chair and was the co-chair of the first edition of the Agile Practice Guide. Johanna is the author of 18 books that range from hiring, to project management, program management, project portfolio management, and management. Her most recent books are the Modern Management Made Easy series, From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams (with Mark Kilby) and Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver.

Read her blogs, email newsletter, and more information about her books at

Buy a copy of the ebook on Leanpub >>

You can buy the paperback version on Amazon >>

Smell You Later

Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.
Having been born in India, I had a sense-ational childhood. I mean I have been exposed to a whole variety of colours, sounds, tastes and smells that still linger in my memory.

Some of the fascinating scents are sandalwood, jasmine flowers, camphor, agarbatti (different scents like rose, lavender, sandalwood), lime, curry leaves, coriander, freshly cooked sambhar and rasam, sweets like peda, barfi, gulab jamuns, jalebis and the smell of earth after the first rains.

But one smell I love is the smell of the pages of a new book.

The smell of new books depends on chemicals used in their manufacture and this can vary from volume to volume. Old books have a sweet smell with notes of vanilla flowers and almonds, caused by the breakdownof chemical compounds in the paper

British chemistry teacher created the infographic to demystify the differing smells of old and new books and to reveal their chemical compounds

Infographic - Aroma of books
Other interesting posts in this category:

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The Great Divide

November 12, 2014 Leave a comment

When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?

I am an avid reader and I love reading fiction as well as non-fiction, classics, autobiographies, humour and poetry.  Currently, I am reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie.

Nowadays, I am getting sucked into the gadget craze and I am trying my best to keep reading.  Reading has opened up my mind to new worlds, cultures, language and ways of living.  It has taught me more than anything else.

Crime fiction thrillers like Stephen King, Dan Brown, James Patterson, Agatha Christie etc keep me engaged from the start to the end.  Humour from PG Wodehouse, Jerome K Jerome, David Sedaris etc give me a good laugh.   Classics from Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen allow me to get a glimpse of vivid description and language.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll and The Chocolate Chip Factory by Roald Dahl take you into a different world and teaches our children to develop creative imagination.

Neil Gaiman gave a talk  on “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming?” at the Reading Agency Annual lecture.  In this talk he stressed the importance of developing the reading trait in our children so that they have a great future.

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Doppelganger Alert

October 28, 2014 1 comment

You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything – from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall – is identical to your home.  What happens next?

It was my first day in London and I was excited as well as nervous.  I was looking for an apartment to rent.  I had got admission into the University of Manchester.  After having viewed 3 places, finally I settled for a nice apartment in Fairfield Street.  The owners were an Indian elderly family.

As I stepped into the apartment, I was completely shocked.  The place had a striking resemblance to my own home in Singapore.  The colour of the walls, the furniture and the layout.  After some time, I composed myself and entered the house.  I looked at the bookcase and saw that the books were exactly the ones I read at home.

“Hello, – let me show you your room?”

She led me to a room.  There again to my surprise the bedsheets, the cupboard, everything was a mirror image of my home.  “Oh”– I tried hard to contain my surprise”.  “Do you have any children?”

“We had a son – Sudhir – but he is no more….”

Beads of sweat started rolling down my back.

“Do you like the place,?”

“Oh oh – I will be seeing 1 or 2 more places soon.  Then, I will let you know”

I quickly thanked her and rushed out as soon as my legs could carry me.

When I was outside, I heaved a sigh of relief.

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Fright Night

October 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIGHTENING.


I am not a fan of scary movies or books. But I have seen a few of them like The Omen, Exorcist, etc which are really scary.

In real life, I feel that humans are more scary than ghosts and it is them you have to be scared off. Some humans resort to evil practices like witchcraft, black magic and others to  take revenge and disturb the lives of others.

When it comes to fears – I am scared of weird noises and ghosts. but I still believe that many of them are caused by humans living in the neighbourhood.

I am also afraid of creepy, crawly creatures like snakes and other reptiles.

Fear is mostly unwarranted and we have to keep our poise and presence of mind in scary, challenging situations. I would like to take up some daring adventurous tasks to conquer some of my fears.


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Reading Material

October 3, 2013 3 comments

How do you pick what blogs or books to read? What’s the one thing that will get you to pick up a book or click on a link every single time?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us CHOICES.

I am an avid reader and the touch, feel and smell of real books fascinates me. I love books that engage the reader and those that enrich my knowledge. I love reading fiction, humour, leadership, autobiographies etc. Some of the
wonderful books that I have read or are on my list of must-reads are:
1) 1984 – George Orwell
2) Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
3) Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll
4) Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
5) Roots – Alex Haley
6) War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy
7) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
8) The Monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma
9) The Inimitable Jeeves – PG Wodehouse
10)Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K Jerome
11) The HitchHikers guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
12) Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
13) The English Teacher – R K Narayan
14) A Confederacy of Dunces – J K Toole
15) Naked – David Sedaris


I frequent websites to do with technology, social media, blogging,search engines, Humour, photography and knowledge
Some of these are:
1) Twitter
2) Mashable
3) Google
4) WordPress
5) Dilbert
7) Quora
8) Pinterest
9) National Geographic
10) TED
11) Linkedin
12) Boston Globe – The Big Picture

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What are some of your favourite humorous books?

May 2, 2011 4 comments

Here are some good humorous reads.  I have read some long ago and am trying to read them again. Do you have any more recommendations?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon

A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by John Kennedy Toole, published by LSU Press in 1980, 11 years after the author’s suicide. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.

Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1944 onwards, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century

Three Men in a Boat published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave and Carl Hentschel , with whom he often took boating trips

Lucky Jim is an academic satire written by Kingsley Amis, first published in 1954.  It was Amis’s first published novel, and won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction. Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English University

The English Teacher is a 1945 novel written by R K Narayan. This novel, dedicated to Narayan’s wife Rajam is not only autobiographical but also poignant in its intensity of feeling. The story is a series of experiences in the life of Krishna, an English teacher, and his quest towards achieving inner peace and self-development.

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a 1996 novel by Helen Fielding. Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman living in London. She writes (often humorously) about her career, self-image, vices, family, friends, and romantic relationships.

The Inimitable Jeeves is a semi-novel collecting Jeeves stories by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the UK by Herbert Jenkins, London on May 17, 1923

Naked, published in 1997, is a collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book details Sedaris’ life, from his unusual upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, to his booze-and-drug-ridden college years, to his Kerouacian wandering as a young adult.

The BFG (short for “Big Friendly Giant”) is a children’s book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, first published in 1982. The book was an expansion of a story told in Danny, the Champion of the World, an earlier Dahl book. An animated film based on the book was released in 1989

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What are 10 fascinating books worth reading according to you?

March 29, 2011 16 comments

I have a lot of favourite books, but here I would like to list 10 books that stand out by being fascinating.  What are your favourite reads??

1984 – George Orwell
In 1984, George Orwell warns of the terrifying dangers that man may create for
himself in his quest for a utopian society.  It warns that people might believe that everyone must become slaves to the government in order to have an orderly society, but at the expense of the freedom of the people.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society. In their efforts, these “men of the mind” hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where men are slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society. The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is “the role of man’s mind in existence”.

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll
The book tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (the Woderland of the title) populated by peculiar and anthromorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasygenre.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England

Roots – Alex Haley
Alex Haley’s Roots is the monumental two-century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him. By tracing back his own roots, Haley tells the story of 39 million Americans of African descent.

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to the French invasion of Russis, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families

Great expectations – Charles Dickens
Great Expectations is written in the first person from the point of view of the orphan Pip. The novel, like much of Dickens’ work, draws on his experiences of life and people.

The 7 habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey
Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.

The Monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma
“The monk who sold his Ferrari” is a tale, which provides an approach to living a simple life with greater balance, strength, courage and abundance of joy.  A wonderfully crafted fable, this story tells the extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life.

The God of small things – Arundhati Roy
It is a story about the childhood experiences of a pair of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the “Love Laws” that lay down “who must be loved, and how, and how much”. The book is a description of how the small things in life affect people’s behavior and their lives.

For further discussion here is an interesting link:

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Atlas shrugged

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment



I am currently reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  This novel explores a world in which the individual who is not free to create is doomed, and that civilization cannot exist where men are slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society.

Ayn Rand  shows how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them  and to portray what happens to a world without them.

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25 simple things that interest me

1. Watching a sunset
2. Taking a stroll in the park
3. Flying a kite on a windy day
4. Taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon
5. Building a sand castle on the beach
6. Inline skating in a park or beach side
7. Playing board games with my daughter
8. Swimming
9. Waking up early in the morning
10. Doing yoga in the morning
11. Going for a jog
12. Reading a good book
13. Listening to good music
14. Watching a movie with family
15. Spending time with family
16. Watching the fish swim in the aquarium
17. Going on a holiday
18. Enjoying the sights and sounds of a new country
19. Tweeting/blogging
20. Being with family, friends and relatives
21. Volunteering for the needy and disadvantaged
22. Starting something on my own – entrepreneurship
23. Speaking with confidence – toastmasters
24. Learning something new
25. Group activities, outings, experiential learning, trekking, biking, marathon etc.

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