Book Review: Mind Master

Book Review: Mind Master

By Vishwanathan Anand and Susan Ninan

Growing up in 90’s in India, there were two national sports heroes; Sachin Tendulkar and Vishwanathan Anand. A lot of credit to make Chess popular in India goes to V Anand, even till today. He chartered a path that nobody travelled in India and in Asia, being many firsts… also came with many challenges.

In Mind Master, Anand bares it all. He has not projected himself as an immortal, larger than life figure. Nor he projected himself being lucky or that things kept falling in place. In fact, it was his sheer determination, preparations and hard work that turned things in his favour at times. I have read many biographies but nothing as open and emotional as this one. Blunt. Candid. Vishy opens his inner thoughts and feelings to the world.

Vishy decodes what goes inside in becoming a Champion. I was surprised to read about the kind of politics that goes on at an International level in Chess.. negotiations for tournaments is a revelation. I thought there should be standard rules, how one person can dictate the terms. Anand brings a lot of murky picture at International’s Chess in light. My ignorance may also be attributed to Cricket followership in India!

Vishy explains his becoming of World Champion, the validations he has to go through and the struggle to make believe that ‘I belonged here because I have earned it’! Once you become a champion yet if you are questioned, doubted or not respected as much – it is tough. A lot of credit is given to his seconds (something I was not aware existed in Chess), timely support from friends, constant support from his wife and influence of his mother on him and his game.

Book: I loved that each chapter ends with a short summary and learnings that every one of us can apply in life. Vishy applies his style of remembering the games ‘key positions’ in his book too! This book is of a legend and I felt at places that it fell short in drafting, arranging events as per timelines or logical flow to hook a reader and editing. Though it is presented in a way as if Vishy himself is talking but if a reader is not a Chess enthusiast or have not followed events closely, you may not be able to connect all dots. I struggled at times when stories kept jumping example from 1994 to 2008 back to 2000; all in three paragraphs.

A great read! A must to get inspired and move ahead in life!

When you give credits, your credibility goes up, really?

When you give credits, your credibility goes up, really?

“No cheating”, I was told the first time I started playing hide & seek and when I sat for my first exam. The warning message changed as I grew up, yet the essence remained.

If you deal with originality, be it preparing a keynote, a graph, analysis, writing a song or a book – knows the heartache behind plagiarism. Lifting work, modifying and presenting is common. The attention span is so less today that ‘inspirations’ have become ‘new originals’. Hardly people have time to go to the source or question the authenticity!

In my book, I have narrated immigration history, its influence and how it shapes the resident’s worldview. The US is a confluence of immigrants, and it is hard to differentiate who is an outsider looking at the face. At one place, I had to depict geographical spread of immigrants in the US.

“I seek permission to use your map in my book”.

“You don’t need to express permission. Feel free to include it with proper attribution”, came the reply.

Avoids plagiarism issue. Establishes authenticity. Integrity.

When you give credits, your credibility goes up!

Teach your kids about Credibility, this Children’s day!

Get a copy here.

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Should you wait for motivation to happen?

Should you wait for motivation to happen?

Before successfully hitting the stands with ‘7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad’, I had written two fiction novels, both half-written lying in my pc. Compelling plot, amazing stories, intriguing characters- the only issue was, the plot kept on changing with time.

I would wait to feel motivated to write. And when I felt so, I would start by reading what I had written till then. I kept enhancing to make it more impactful! The storyline kept on changing & I couldn’t complete it till date. Don’t wait for motivation to happen- the right time, a right day or a right signal.

For my third book and the first published one, the only reason I could cross the finishing line was that I did not wait for motivation to happen. I made a schedule to follow 5AM to 8 AM each day. There were times when I was staring white paper and the writing time was up. But the schedule conditioned my mind, became aware of what was expected. Eventually, it worked out.

1. A schedule (get it right)

2. Consistently showing up (easier said than done, work on it)

3. Reading easy books when not writing (but don’t just keep reading)

helped me.

Are you waiting for motivation to happen?

Click here to read my Bestseller 7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad!

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When Sir Ratan Tata replies to your email!

When Sir Ratan Tata replies to your email!

As a kid, I would idolise Shahrukh Khan… Sonu Nigam… Shaan… stars of my generation. Sachin Tendulkar took it to the next level. Mr Bachchan remained there forever.

Then I read the book ‘Beyond the Last Blue Mountain‘ on JRD. That changed the definition of a hero for me. JRD, Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Sam Walton, Indira Nooyi became heroes for me. Satya Nadella and Ajay Banga in the current lot among others.

Tatas have a special place in my heart. I chose Tata companies to study in Security Analysis during my MBA studies. Started corporate career with the Tatas. I have been eating Tata salt since birth so there is too much of a Tata to take it out of me! 🙂

I sent my first book and a letter to Mr Ratan Tata. The final reply came from the man himself and not from his office! My letter was stamped, scanned, saved in my name and attached as an acknowledgement in his email! He replied a commoner like me taking time out of his busy schedule. Such gestures make a leader, a great leader!

#Tatas #RatanTata #1Bestseller #7UntoldSecretsofLivingAbroad

Why an Indian nod creates confusion?

Why an Indian nod creates confusion?

An American, James and an Indian associate, Rohit are in a discussion over a video conference. James is referring to a keynote and explaining a critical Business change, and Rohit is listening to it with rapt attention. Rohit is nodding his head slightly forward periodically signalling ‘he is with the speaker, he is attentive, he is following the discussion, he is on the same page’. He was told to do so while attending college lectures.

James read the nodding of Rohit as – not being excited about the matter. Rohit hasn’t understood the explanation, is not with him or worst, he disagrees. The half nodding sent confusing signals to James.

Both are right as per the interpretation in their culture, yet there is a considerable miscommunication! 

Indian culture: A lot of communication with Indians (and the Asians) is implied or implicit: body language, blinking eyes, hand signals. Tone, variation in voice need to be interpreted. The meaning of same action may also change as per the context. In short, one has to read between the lines. One has to be an observant.

American culture: Americans are explicit. They will say everything that they want to communicate explicitly. It may be felt ‘repetitive’ or ‘you being considered naive’ at times, though that is not the intention. Nothing is left for interpretation, no reading between the lines, clear communication. So much so that after cracking jokes, they may say ‘just kidding’ in case anybody didn’t get it! In the Indian context, it is not even a worthy joke, if you have to tell that explicitly!

The misinterpretation of Indian nodding is one of the few cultural differences that came out while writing my book ‘7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad’; not just by the Americans but by most of the European nationals too. Implied communication is common among the Asians or the Eastern part of world!

When was the last you had a miscommunication due to cultural differences? 

Get through the cultural maze of 12 top nationalities around the world: read the Amazon Bestseller: 7 Untold Secrets of Living abroad

The article is part of the ‘Culture maze series’.

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