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short thread on books I have read, starting with sometime late 2017...
1. The Asshole Survival Guide. @work_matters's sequel to his blockbuster bestseller, "The No Asshole Rule". A depressing read when you realize how toxic some workplaces can be.
2."Black Money and Tax Havens", by Prof @rvaidya2000 - a short, breezy window into the world of black money. Again, a somewhat depressing read when you realize how weak the intent and how inconsequential the efforts into rooting out black money have been.
#books #ReviewInATweet
3. "Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India's 12-digit Revolution", by @ShankkarAiyar
Perhaps the first comprehensive account of Aadhaar's birth & its midwives. Insightful a/c into how the world's largest & most intrusive, privacy-destroying scheme came to life.
4. ""Inside Chanakya's Mind", by Prof @rchanakyapillai
AnvIkshikI (आन्वीक्षिकी) - the science of thinking - when applied to management and as propounded by Chanakya. Short, breezy book. Lots of good takeaways.
5. "The Battle for Rama", by Prof Meenakshi Jain
Adds new material to her seminal book, "Rama and Ayodhya". In particular, read it to see how Prof Irfan Habib lied through his teeth, and yet when conclusively caught and exposed, never retracted or apologized.
6. "The Tunnel of Varanavat", by @gchikermane
A fast-paced reimagination of one of the pivotal episodes in the Mahabharata and also with a sublatern as the protagonist. Written and paced like a thriller.
7. "Killing Floor" by @LeeChildReacher
The book that started the blockbuster Jack Reacher franchise. It's a page-turner if there were page-turners. 20 years old and yet does not feel dated.
8. "Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS", by @JobyWarrick
Short but immensely informative and well-written account of the birth of the ISIS. Won't fill all the gaps in your knowledge if you're at level zero, but this is a good book to start with.
9. "When Breath Becomes Air", by Paul Kalanithi
A posthumous autobiography that is both touching and moving. A lady recommended this book to me at a Barnes & Noble in Salt Lake City, of all places. I am glad she did.
10. "Being Mortal", by @Atul_Gawande
Atul's mastery over writing, his immense knowledge on the subject, the immediate urgency of the topic, and the inevitability of its personal relevance to all make it a must-read.
11. "Shoe Dog", Phil Knight
Entrepreneurs don't always have all the answers, and success can take years and years to achieve. The costs sometimes are very high. Business autobios don't get much better or personal than this, by the founder of @Nike
12. "Mindset", by Carol Dweck
A ton of insights in this bestseller. Not all are new, but presented in a way that everyone can find nuggets of value.
13. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things", by Ben Horowitz
So much to learn, whether you're an entrepreneur, leader, or a manager. The thin line between success & failure can often look like an insurmountable wall. And of course, its plug of Andy Grove's book is a +
14. "Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era", by James Barrat
#AI's dangers are real and imminent. But this book reads more like a sensationalistic tabloid than a serious investigation.
15. ""Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild", by Lee Sandlin
If books could bring the past to life in all its myriad shapes, sizes, and colors, this book would be it. The prose is a work of sheer genius. The history rivetting.
16. "Salem's Lot", by Stephen King
Gothic horror that would probably place just below Pet Sematary in its full-blown horror. Nah, Pet Sematary takes spots 1-10, but this book would be ranked 11.
17. "Raven's Gate", by Anthony Horowitz
I read this, and frankly the ending was like a damp, smelly sock after the first-class suspense created in the first-half.
18. "Secret Empires", by @peterschweizer
Using the power of the position to further your or your family's business interests is a practice common across both sides of the political spectrum. Peter's book is a damning indictment of both Democrats & Republicans.
19. "Oligarch Valley", by @yashalevine
The politics and machinations over water are brought out sharply in this short book. Readers will, of course, ponder over the parallels with India.
20. "Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra", by Rakita Anand
Many nuggets to be learned from this book on one of Hindi cinema's enduring villains. Including Prem Chopra's discipline. But this book could have been so much more.
21. "AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order", by @kaifulee
A sombre read on the current state of AI, the superpowers who will dominate the AI-driven world of tomorrow, and possible remedies to the painful disruption AI will cause.
21a ... to continue, the author, @kaifulee. writes with an authority that is difficult to challenge or dismiss (Google him). In summary, the book has three or four dominant themes...
21b China has almost closed the gap with the US in AI. Its entrepreneurs are supported by a very proactive government, are driven by a zeal that makes Silicon Valley look sleepy in comparison, and are driven to win at any cost (fair play can come later).
21c Data is the oil that powers AI. And China has three of the seven AI superpower companies today - Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba. The US has four: Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. This data is what will make the difference, and China is now on par with the US.
22d China is second when it comes to the top AI researchers in the world. The rest of the world will be left far, far behind by these AI superpowers. They will become, in essence, data colonies of one of the two, a battleground where these AI superpowers will joust for dominance.
22e The threat of job losses by AI has been **understated** rather than exaggerated. The AI superrich, like Facebook etc..., favor quickfix remedies that take attention away from themselves. UBI is one such proposal.
"AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, & the New World Order"
22f You may agree, or not, with @kaifulee's analysis and proposals, but remember that they come from someone who has probably the most impeccable credentials to speak on the topic - a world-renowned AI researcher, started Microsoft Research Asia, headed Google China, & now a VC.
22g India has a choice - to wake up, start running & hope to catch up, or at least try; or to continue its slumber, punctuated by wishful thinking, and see itself become a data colony of one of the two AI superpowers: the US or China.
"AI Superpowers"
"For as far back as many of us can remember, it was American technology companies that were pushing their products and their values on users around the globe."
"AI Superpowers" amzn.to/2Rve4VN
" As a result, American companies, citizens, and politicians have forgotten what it feels like to be on the receiving end of these exchanges, a process that often feels akin to “technological colonization.”"
"Significant as this jockeying between the world’s two superpowers will be, it pales in comparison to the problems of job losses and growing inequality—both domestically and between countries—that AI will conjure."
"AI Superpowers" amzn.to/2Rve4VN
"AI naturally trends toward winner-take-all economics within an industry. Deep learning’s relationship with data fosters a virtuous circle for strengthening the best products and companies: ..."
"...more data leads to better products, which in turn attract more users, who generate more data that further improves the product. That combination of data and cash also attracts the top AI talent to the top companies, widening the gap between industry leaders and laggards."
"Inequality will not be contained within national borders. China and the United States have already jumped out to an enormous lead over all other countries in artificial intelligence, setting the stage for a new kind of bipolar world order."
"AI Superpowers" #book #AI
"Several other countries—the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, to name a few—have strong AI research labs staffed with great talent, but they lack the venture-capital ecosystem and large user bases to generate the data that will be key to the age of implementation."
22. "Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam", by @vivekagnihotri
The standout book of 2018.
It & the phrase - #UrbanNaxals - mainstreamed the existential threat India faces from the murderous gang & their internal supporters.
23. "The Valmiki Ramayana", by @bibekdebroy in three volumes.
Unabridged English translation of the epic. There are so many beautiful things that come in an unabridged translation that otherwise get lost or diffused in abridged retellings.
24. "Krishna Gopeshvara: The Truth of Vrishnis", by @Sanjay_Dixit
an ambitious and grand reimagination of the life of Krishna, seeking contemporary parallels.
25. "Life Over Two Beers", by @sanjeevsanyal
Difficult to say who had more fun - the author in writing it or the reader in reading the short, delightful, and often wicked stories. Reminded me of a mix of Dahl, PGW, and Jeffrey Archer.
26. "Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story", by Ursula K. Le Guin
A masterclass in a book on writing.
27. "The Book of Demons", by Nanditha Krishnan
Short, informative, authoritative, but not comprehensive, and I felt it could have been a lot more.
28. "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup", by John @JohnCarreyrou
The article that brought down that house of cards, now expanded into a riveting book of lies, deceit, greed, incompetence, textbook asshole behavior.
29. "Pet Sematary", by @StephenKing
If fear were a book.
"That click was in his head. It was the sound of some relay fusing & burning out forever... the sound of a door opening. He looked up numbly, the scream still shivering in his throat"
30. "Om Mala: Meanings of the Mystic Sound", by @MisraNityanand
A page on each of the meanings of the word. Ideal to begin the day with or end with.
31. "Vedic Mathematics Inside Out", by Chandrahas Halai @chalai71
A book that will get children to think beyond the textbook and adults to refresh their math skills, and for both to enjoy working through the book together!
#ReviewInATweet #books
32. "The Idol Thief - The True Story of the Looting of India's Temples", by S. Vijay Kumar @poetryinstone
A fantastic book, simply put. Unputdownable. How many times have you read a book that reads like a thriller?
33. "The Organized Mind", by Daniel J Levitin @danlevitin
The vast landscape this book covers is impressive. Several chapters were like a marvelous revelation.
34. "The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed the World", by Michael Lewis
Enthralling account of the lives and friendship. If only biographies were more like this book.
35. "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI", by @DavidGrann
The scope of this book is much larger than just the FBI. Slows in places, but otherwise a first-rate and frankly stunning book.
36. "Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility", by Patty McCord
It's the book of *that* famous Netflix culture-deck. Or not. Fine read, but something felt missing. The passion simply didn't come through.
37. "The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing", by Thomas S. Kane
Know well to write well.
Another first-class book on the mechanics of writing. I did a 68 tweet thread(!) last year on the book.

38. "Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001–2016", by @SteveCollNY
Encyclopedic reference. The meltdown of the US strategy during the Obama years, Pakistan's mono-maniacal obsession with India, and lots more.
39. "Chalta Hai India: When ‘It’s Ok!’ is Not Ok", by Alpesh Patel
Perhaps the first book on India's national obsession with mediocrity and sloppiness. Deserves a read.
40. "26/11 Unforgiven", by @poorafauji
Sadly a work of fiction. Ten years, and the nation has forgotten yet another terrorist attack. The nation topped asking, the political class never bothered to respond, the terrorists live on.
41. "Operation Johar - A Love Story", by @AbhishBanerj
Fantastic debut novel! Plot, narration, style, and topicality - it's all there. You owe it to yourselves to read this book. A fictional counterpart to @vivekagnihotri's "Urban Naxals" amzn.to/2RS874w
42. "A Year With The Maha Puranas: One year. Two Sisters. 19 Mahapuranas. 38 reviews. 100+ stories. One book.", by @SistersWhoRead
Eminent authors liked this book. Have you read it? If not, why not? Perfect reading gift for your children, by my children!🙂
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