Saturday, September 16, 2017

Games Indians Play - V. Raghunathan

Why we are the way we are 
In a rare attempt to understand the Indianness of Indians—among the most intelligent people in the world; but also; to a dispassionate eye; perhaps the most baffling—V. Raghunathan uses the props of game theory and behavioural economics to provide an insight into the difficult conundrum of why we are the way we are. 
He puts under the scanner our attitudes towards rationality and irrationality; selflessness and selfishness; competition and cooperation; and collaboration and deception. 
Drawing examples from the way we behave in day-to-day situations; Games Indians Play tries to show how in the long run each one of us—whether businessmen; politicians; bureaucrats; or just plain us—stand to profit more if we were to assume a little self-regulation; give fairness a chance and strive to cooperate and collaborate a little more even if self-interest were to be our main driving force.
[Book Description Source: ]

India is blessed with many intelligent minds.
Most Indians are more adept at maths and logic than people around the globe.
However, as a nation, we are still falling behind.
Our collective naiveté might be to blame, but how is it that we boast equal parts intelligence and naiveté?
In this book, the writer explains that Indians mistake talk for action. He tries to help readers understand why this happens and how we can change this.
He uses game theory to explain the behaviour of Indians and tries to combine these explanations with concepts of behavioural economics.
The author also presents his twelve points on the fallacies of Indians, explaining that our low trustworthiness, private smartness and public dumbness, fatalist outlook, over-intelligence, lack of public hygiene, self-regulation or a sense of fairness, reluctance to penalize wrong conduct, mistaking talk for action, deep-rooted corruption, inability to follow systems, a sense of self-worth and a propensity to look for loopholes in laws.
He helps readers understand how to break this vicious cycle and how to bring a change in the image Indians have around the world.
This is a definite read for all Indians who are trying to understand what is keeping them one step behind in the rise to success 

[Book Summary Source:]

Goodreads Rating - 3.45 out of 5 ( 507 Ratings , 78 Reviews  - As on September 16 2017)
My Rating  3 out of 5
My Comments:
Interesting analysis through Game Theory of the typical behaviors observed in the Indian society with a nice touch of humor and food for thought.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

Published first in the year 1999, Interpreter Of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories that revolve around the lives of Indian Americans, and their struggle to blend in with American culture.
The first story, A Temporary Matter, revolves around the crumbling relationship between an Indian couple, Shukumar and Shobha. 
Their relationship begins to disintegrate due to the passing away of their baby, which causes a change in Shobha’s personality and makes her aloof. 
With time, the distance between them increases, and they soon receive a notice about a power cut that would occur for one hour at night daily. 
Each day, they would spend that time talking about a number of dark secrets, which they never shared before, which got more, and more controversial, indicating the end of their marriage. 

The main story of this book, Interpreter of Maladies, is based on Mr. and Mrs. Das, who were NRIs visiting India. 
They meet Mr. Kapasi, who serves as their tour guide, and has a day job as well, which was that of an interpreter in a doctor’s clinic. 
Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi begin to feel a strong attraction towards each other, and she shares a highly personal secret with him about herself, which could place her marriage in jeopardy.

Another story in this book, Mrs. Sen’s, revolves around an 11 year old Eliot who begins to stay with Mrs. Sen, whose husband is a university professor. 
She spends her time with Eliot, telling him about her life in Calcutta, and how she terribly missed living there. 
One day, she drives to the market without her spouse and meets with an accident, after which Eliot stops living with Mrs. Sen.

Interpreters of Maladies has been greatly appreciated by readers worldwide, and fetched Lahiri the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book has sold more than 15 million copies across the globe.
[Source: ]

Goodreads Rating - 4.12 out of 5 ( 125,603 Ratings , 8174 Reviews  - As on September 03  2017)
My Rating  3 out of 5
My Comments:
I liked it. Nothing exceptional though. Her novel 'The Namesake" was better.

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