Letters for a Nation
Sub title: From Jawaharlal Nehru to His Chief Ministers, 1947-1963
In October 1947, two months after he became independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the first of his fortnightly letters to the heads of the country’s provincial governments – a tradition that he kept until his last letter in December 1963, only a few months before his death. Carefully selected from among nearly 400 such letters, this collection covers a range of themes and subjects, including citizenship, war and peace, law and order, national planning and development, governance and corruption, and India’s place in the world. The letters also cover momentous world events and the many crises and conflicts the country faced during the first sixteen years after Independence. Visionary, wise and reflective, these letters are not just a testimony to Nehru’s statesmanship and his deep engagement with every aspect of India’s democratic journey, but are also of great contemporary relevance for the guidance they provide for our current problems and predicaments.
The Spirit of Indian Painting
Sub title: Close Encounter with 101 Great Works, 1100-1900
Through close encounters with a hundred carefully handpicked works, spanning nearly a thousand years, and ranging from Jain manuscripts and Pahari and Mughal miniatures to Company School paintings, B.N. Goswamy unlocks the many treasures that lie within them. As he narrates the stories behind each work, and deciphers the visual vocabulary and language of the painters, he also brings to life the cultural, social and political milieu in which they were created. An illuminating introductory essay precedes the section on the 101 paintings Lavishly illustrated, and combining deep erudition with great story-telling, this is a book of enduring value that will delight the reader and teach him new ways of seeing and appreciating art.
"Think Like a Freak "
Sub title: How to Think Smarter about Almost Everything
The Freakonomics books have come to stand for challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions. Now Levitt and Dubner have turned what they've learned into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking smarter, harder, and different - thinking, that is, like a Freak. Think Like a Freak offers rules like 'Put Your Moral Compass in Your Pocket,' 'The Upside of Quitting,' 'Just Because You're Great at Something Doesn't Mean You're Good at Everything,' and 'If You Have No Talent, Follow Levitt's Path to Success.'
The story of Michael Lewis' new book is so hot that we can't talk about it yet . . .
All we can say is that it involves Wall Street and features a cast of misfits and oddballs doing things with stupefying amounts of money and data that will have you by turns shocked, outraged, laughing, tearing your hair out, cheering - but throughout sitting on the very edge of your seat.
The story is so big, so vitally important to us all, that only one person could tell it - Michael Lewis, the master of the Big Story.
Sub title: From Jagat Seth to the Birlas
In the nineteenth century, a tiny community from the deserts of Rajasthan spread out to every corner of India. The Marwaris controlled much of the country’s inland trade by the time of the First World War. They then turned their hand to industry and, by the 1970s, owned most of India’s private industrial assets. Today, Marwari businessmen account for a quarter of the Indian names on the Forbes billionaires list.
What makes Marwaris so successful? Is it their indomitable enterprise, or their incredible appetite for risk? In this new book, Thomas Timberg shows how the Marwaris rely on a centuries-old system for conserving and growing capital which has stood them in good stead, alongside a strong sense of business ethics which has earned them respect.
Family businesses in general and the Marwaris in particular might have a vital role to play in shaping India’s economic future. This book tells us why.
Gandhi Before India
‘Perhaps the best among India’s non-fiction writers’—New York Times
‘That rarest of species, a genuinely independent-minded Indian intellectual’—Times of India
‘Indian democracy’s pre-eminent chronicler’—Time
The Mouse Merchant
Sub title: Money in Ancient India
Even in ancient India, money is always a good thing and everyone wants it. The stories in The Mouse Merchant—selected from the Sanskrit universe, from the period of the late Rig Veda to the twelfth century—tell us how money was dealt with in everyday life in ancient and medieval Indian society. At the heart of these tales is the merchant. Sometimes gullible, sometimes greedy; ingenious at some moments, dim-witted at others; and hopelessly in love with courtesans but also loyal to their wives,
our merchant heroes show how innovation in business is sometimes more important than capital. The Mouse Merchant puts these stories into the context of Indian business history, giving not only rare insights into the romance of the ancient seafaring life but also great wisdom about money.
David and Goliath
Sub title: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants
David and Goliath is the dazzling and provocative new book from Malcolm Gladwell, no.1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw
Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty.
From the conflicts in Northern Ireland through the tactics of civil rights leaders and the problem of privilege, Gladwell demonstrates how we misunderstand the true meaning of advantage and disadvantage. When does a traumatic childhood work in someone's favour? How can a disability leave someone better off? And do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into?
David and Goliath draws on the stories of remarkable underdogs, history, science, psychology and on Malcolm Gladwell's unparalleled ability to make the connections others miss. It's a brilliant, illuminating book that overturns conventional thinking about power and advantage.
An Uncertain Glory
Sub title: India and its Contradictions
Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth is an important and achievable goal for India. In An Uncertain Glory, two of India's leading economists argue that the country's main problems lie elsewhere, particularly in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people, especially the poor.
The deep inequalities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion in India's vibrant media to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. One of the biggest failures has been the very inadequate use of the public resources generated by economic growth to expand India's lagging physical and social infrastructure (in sharp contrast, for example, to what China has done): there is a continued inadequacy both of social services such as schooling, medical care and immunization, and of physical services such as the provision of safe water, electricity, drainage and sanitation. Even as India has overtaken a large number of other countries in the rate of economic growth, it has, because of these inadequacies, fallen behind many of the same countries - often very poor ones – in the progress of quality of life.
Because of the importance of democracy in India, addressing these failures will require not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a better public understanding of the abysmal extent of these social and economic deprivations. This book makes a powerful contribution to that understanding.
Sub title: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand
From the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a book on how to benefit from disorder.
In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and his revelatory new book Antifragile offers a definitive solution: how to live in a world that is unpredictable, chaotic, and full of shocks, and how to thrive during periods of disaster. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. For what Taleb calls the 'antifragile' is beyond the merely robust; it benefits from shocks, uncertainty and stressors. Antifragile is about what to do when we don't understand. It is a new word because it is a new concept.
Many of the greatest breakthroughs in human endeavour come from the innovation by trial and error that is part of antifragility. And some of the best systems we know of, including natural selection and evolution, have antifragility at their heart. How did the disaster of the sinking of the Titanic bring us closer to safety? Why does the stress on bones make us stronger? Why should you write a resignation letter on your first day in the office?
Why should we detest the lack of accountability at the heart of capitalism? The most successful of us, the most daring and creative will take advantage of disorder and invent new, more powerful opportunities and advantages beyond our expectations. Irreverent and ambitious, Antifragile provides a blueprint for how to live-and thrive-in a world we don't understand, and which is too uncertain for us to even try to predict. Taleb's message is revolutionary: what is not antifragile will surely perish.
• ‘The hottest thinker in the world’ - Bryan Appleyard
• ‘A guru for every would-be Damien Hirst, George Soros and aspirant despot’ - John Cornwell, Sunday Times