Thursday, February 08, 2007


Here goes my review of "Freakonomics - A Rogue Economist explores the hidden side of everything" by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Freaknomics, as the name suggests is about Economics taking a freak out journey. The exciting sojourn would take you in for surprise for it shows the reasons behind very not-so-thought-kind of questions. The content is like a consortium of various uncommonly thought common occurrences and things that we probably get to see around us.

One thing that I like about the book is it is not written in the conventional way by confining it to a particular topic. The Author has done an almost detective kind of job in unraveling the conundrums in questions ranging from Sumo Wrestlers to Ku Klux Klan. Essentially Levit's every chapter starts with a question that doesn’t make much sense like, What do Sumo Wrestlers and teachers have in common? Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? Is there anything called the art of good parenting? What does the crime reduction has to do with abolition? Connection between the Ku Klux Klan and Real Estate Agents. Drug peddlers living with their mothers etc. The book has some interesting statistics and fascinating numbers, which provide really intriguing answers to the questions.

The book enlightens on some of the soft realities of life. One goes like this. Whatever be the philosophy, be it, liberalism, socialism, capitalism or objectivism, people strongly react to incentives. There is a motive behind anything or everything, though not necessarily in monetary or materialistic or objective terms. This deep answer is a key driver to one of the questions presented in the book. Freakonomics could leave you with the reminiscences of a beautiful mind with unconventional and logical thinking to anything and everything that you see around. Observation would become more intriguing and rewarding now. Whoever said, its true that a person is known for the questions that he doesn’t have the answer for. People who have read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, another genius, could identify in this book the similar simple and lucid writing style offered on complex issues.

The solutions to the questions have been treated with an innovative fashion. The matter has been presented in an interesting way. On the flip side, though there are chances that you might get bored at times, with some of its pedantic stuff; nevertheless, it isn’t tiring at any time. The research is mind-blowing and makes the reading an intellectual and fascinating experience. Go for it you want to do some quality reading ahead.

Note: This post has also been crossposted at

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The World is Flat: Book Review

Thomas Friedman's The world is Flat is a compelling read and inarguably the best pick of the season. It is indeed a brief history of the 21st century with Information Technology (IT) in focus.

People in the IT have come across broadly two types of books - one with all technical information relating with a domain/ platform or the management books which least deals with techie stuff. Not many attempts have across the third segment striking a fine balance between these two. Friedman's work is more of the third category which essentially traces the evolution of IT. With the advent of modern communication (like Fiber Optics, Internet and associated technologies), the world has started becoming a Level Playing Field for all the countries that are in the IT race. And it is in this context, Friedman describes the World is Flat. In fact, the title is also inspired by the Infosys’ CEO Nandan Nilikeni, who makes the author understand that the world is indeed flat during his conversation with him.

Friedman takes you on an exciting journey covering the phases of Globalisation 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. It has also links to historical references such as Collapse of Berlin Wall, Disintegration of Soviet Union, India's Abolition of License Raj etc. He poignantly describes the ten flattening forces which made a Flat World i.e. level playing field. The ten flatteners which he listed are: 1. Fall of Berlin Wall 8/9/95, 2. Netscape goes public, 3. Work Flow Software, 4. Uploading, 5. Outsourcing, 6. Offshoring, 7.Supply-Chaining, 8. Insourcing, 9. In-forming and 10. The Steroids: digital, mobile, personal, virtual. He writes in depth about the emergence and impact on these ten flatteners to the world and in lots of ways to our lives as well. The author delves into the emergence of India and China into the IT market and praises the indomitable spirit of Indians and Chinese' entrepreneurial spirit. Towards the end, he discusses in depth about the future of IT in America, the threatening forces and the sustainability issues.

The book is sure gonna make you more enlightened on your perspectives in IT and globalisation. The book is not for only those IT geeks, which you might mistake otherwise, but is addressed to a large and diverse audience. Rich with anecdotes, The World is Flat has an encyclopedic assortment of Who's who in the IT world and the companies. The language is vivid and more of a conversational type. The explanation is so clear and lucid that even a lay man could easily comprehend.

Finally, I would say, go and grab your copy if you haven’t read.
Note: This post has also been crossposted in

Friday, February 02, 2007

Orkut introduces Video feature

Hey another goody from orkut is rolled out. Now along with your fotos, you can upload your videos as well!
I just happened to see it sometime back. I guess the new feature was on the board just then as it wasnt there when I refreshed orkut 10 min back. .

So now, if you have an account with YouTube or Googlevideo, you can start uploading your videos!
Stay connected.

Update [Feb 3, 8 pm IST]: Another find few mins back. Now you can get to see the exact time when a scrap was posted (ie with exact time (mins/date) before) in your scrapbook and in the community as well.. Really cool na

Coming Next: Review of World is Flat and Freakonomics for Abhay. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile I ve done some 'renovation' work to my blog.. I ve added few new links to the link list on the left side. Few good finds are Language Log and Damn Interesting and blogs of Jai Arjun singh and Chandrahaas.
(Courtesy: Vivek's post. )

Take some time to read them, surethey would be enlightening :)