Book Notes: Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure

Book Notes: Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure

An absolutely fabulous book, that takes a leaf from Cédric Villani’s life when he was at his prime working on his magnum opus which ultimately led him to win the prestigious Fields Medal.

The book is about,

  1. How a mathematician’s daily life looks like?
  2. A look into the life of a mathematician at the prime of his life’s major work
  3. Who’s who of some great minds in mathematics.
  4. What kind of music he listens to? 
  5. How mathematicians cooperate to find answers to unsolved problems?
  6. A glimpse of great strides and how it was made in the arena of contemporary mathematics.

This is definitely one of the best books i've read this year.

Download complete notes below. 👇👇

Book Notes - Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone

Business biographies are usually written only long after an event has occurred or a person has retired. On the contrary, this book’s narrative distinctively stands out because it deals with the present and future too. It is a prose of prognostication and a statement on record for the future to judge.

The book is divided into the past, the present and the future. I loved the past and the present!

Key take aways are:

  1. Unlike Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs or as a matter of fact any contemporary business greats, the motivation for Satya Nadella to go out everyday is more personal and empathetic in nature. This is where the first part of the book grips the reader.
  2. An outsider’s fresh view point in the way things happen in the company
  3. Not allowing the past to haunt you in the present, which takes guts. (Apple Vs Microsoft)
  4. The philosophy of “hit-refresh” in itself will keep you busy pondering.
  5.  Removing “yet another corporate propaganda” parts from the book will let you glimpse the personality of a Man who is leading a $85 billion company.

Book Notes: The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

There are books that would help you stop and change the way you are thinking/doing things. One such book that I read this year is The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction - Alan Jacobs.

My Jan 1st 2017 resolution is reading a 100 books this year (current count of books finished stands around 40 I guess..) The one thing that has slyly crept on to me this year is the “feeling of rush” to finish books fast. It became more of a mechanical task rather than a part intellectual and part emotional endeavour which one feels while  reading a book. 

Of all the books I’ve read this year, can I confidently say what a particular book is about? In some cases no, and in most cases I was doubtful and unsure. This has to stop! There is absolutely no point in turning pages.

So is it not possible to read a 100 books year and at the same time read deep and thorough?

This is exactly is what The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction - Alan Jacobs and How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler (notes will be published later) is all about.

I read these books 3 months ago and it has completely changed the way I read and my quality of reading has improved. The very act of organising & publishing notes from my reading in a downloadable form is a result of this book’s influence. 

Book Notes: The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity - Louise DeSalvo

Book Notes: The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity - Louise DeSalvo

This book, even though, written for aspiring authors who are beginning to learn the art of writing, I felt it would be immensely helpful for any one who writes - be it, news reporting, blog, research paper, business pitch or even professional emails.

Writing, like poetry and music, must adhere to an underlying rhythm.  As writers one must always be consciously aware of the playing the right notes(words) always.

The book,

  1. Demystifies, with examples, some well established myths about writing.
  2. Provides actionable takeaways and pro-tips from the experience of great writers. 
  3. Asserts the importance of slowing down, patience & persistence.
  4. Guides us on how to read a book.

Book Notes: Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa

Book Notes: Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa

Two reasons why I instantly loved this book:

  1. A fan of Murakami’s writings.
  2. A student of music.

The book is a collection of transcribed conversations between writer Haruki Murakami and conductor Seiji Ozawa.

The book is replete with nuggets of wisdom on topics like,

  1. What is it like to be a musician?
  2. How to be a life long student of music or any art form?
  3. Practice, discipline and focus.
  4. How to listen to music? The lost art of active listening to music.(as opposed to passive listening in the “instant”, “same-day-delivery” and busy world we are a part of.)
  5. A great introduction to classical music for beginners.
  6. Anecdotes of eccentricities.
  7. Brilliance of Murakami and Seiji Ozawa.

Unbrand yourself

There was this Maxim interview on Matthew McConaughey on being a "McConnaissance" phenomenon.  Half way down the interview there is a question about his bouncing back to super stardom after a 2 year hiatus/becoming nobody/shelved off.

Was there a turning point?
The turning point after two years of anonymity, I think, was Killer Joe. I didn’t rebrand, I unbranded. I stepped off into the shadows, went back and started a family down in Texas. Mind you, I got nervous during that time. I got anxious. I had some sleepless nights, wondering when the levee was going to break, or if it was even going to break at all. And then I started getting calls from directors. It was like a two-year boomerang that finally came back. All of a sudden William Friedkin calls, Steven Soderbergh calls, Lee Daniels calls, Rick [Richard Linklater] calls.

The thought of Unbranding oneself is so powerful. This conscious attitude,

  1. Helps you to take a break, amass ample time and think about what you are so passionate about.
  2. The very act of coming out of the comfort zone and thereby violating the established social norm creates a sense of fear and embarrassment  that induces you to both intro and retrospect.  I think therefore I am.
  3. Unbranding must not be compared with setting up of short and long term goals in life or even your daily meditation schedule, Unbranding is much deeper than that, it's like chiseling yourself (both mind and action) off the unwanted for betterment. It is deeply ingrained and there is no relapse.

Read the whole interview here.