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"Think Like a Freak  "
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"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.'

Book Reviews

‘[Praise for Superfreakonomics] Levitt is a master at drawing counter-intuitive conclusions . . . great fun . . . Superfreakonomics travels further than its predecessor’ Sunday Times, Tom Standage ‘[Praise for Superfreakonomics] There's material here not just for one conversation, but for several’ Daily Mail ‘[Praise for Superfreakonomics] A humdinger of a book: page-turning, politically incorrect and ever-so-slightly intoxicating, like a large swig of tequila’ The Times ‘Levitt and Dubner's zeal for statistical anomalies is as undimmed as their eye for a good story . . . lie back and let Levitt and Dubner's bouncy prose style carry you along from one peculiarity to the next’ Sunday Telegraph
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Flash Boys
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Flash Boys

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.

Book Reviews

‘In the hands of Michael Lewis, anything is possible.’ Sunday Times ‘Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation’ Malcolm Gladwell
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The Marwaris
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The Marwaris

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.

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Gandhi Before India
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Gandhi Before India

In 1893, when Mohandas Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a 23-year-old briefless lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. The two decades that he spent in South Africa were to be the making of the Mahatma. In this remarkable biography, Ramachandra Guha argues that Gandhi’s ideas were fundamentally shaped before his return to India in 1915. It was during his years in England and South Africa that he came to understand the nature of imperialism and racism; and it was in South Africa that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would undermine and ultimately destroy the British Empire. 
 
Based on a wealth of new material, and archival research in four continents, Gandhi Before India presents a vivid portrait of Gandhi and the world he lived in, a world of sharp contrasts between the coastal culture of Gujarat, High Victorian London, and colonial South Africa. It explores in rich detail his experiments with dissident cults such as Tolstoyans and vegetarians; his friendships with radical Jews, heterodox Christians, and devout Muslims; his enmities and rivalries; and his failures as a husband and father. It tells the dramatic, profoundly moving story of how he inspired the devotion of thousands of followers as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime.
 
This deeply researched and beautifully written book will radically alter our understanding and appreciation of India’s greatest man. 
 

Book Reviews

‘One of the world’s greatest minds’—Independent
‘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
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The Mouse Merchant
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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.

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David and Goliath
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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.

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An Uncertain Glory
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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.

Book Reviews


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Antifragile
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Antifragile

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.

Book Reviews

• ‘This is the lesson of Taleb . . . and also the lesson of our volatile times. There is more courage and heroism in defying the human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable’ - Malcolm Gladwell
• ‘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
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Flora’s Empire
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Flora’s Empire

Sub title: British Gardens in India

A deeply researched yet wonderfully readable history of Britain’s ‘garden imperialism’ in India
In this deeply researched yet wonderfully readable history of Britain’s ‘garden imperialism’ in India, Eugenia W. Herbert draws on a wealth of personal accounts and period illustrations, many of them little known, to track the evolution of imperial ideas of governance through colonial gardens.
 
The British created gardens in India not just out of simple nostalgia or homesickness, but also to put a visible stamp of ‘civilization’ on an alien, untamed land. Colonial gardens changed over time, from the ‘garden houses’ of the East India Company’s nabobs modelled on English country estates and the hill station gardens where English flowers could be coaxed into bloom to the neat flowerbeds, gravel walks, well-trimmed lawns and hedges of the Victorian sahibs. Every Government House, Civil Lines bungalow and cantonment was carefully landscaped to reflect current ideals of an ordered society. The British also made India part of the global network of botanical exploration and plant-collecting, and developed tea gardens and opium-poppy plantations to fill the coffers of the Empire.
 
More than sixty years after the British left, their garden legacy still lives on, reflected in the design of municipal parks and IT campuses, and in the tastes and practices of countless Indian home gardeners who take pride in their green lawns and flowerbeds full of English flowers.

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The Origins of Sex:
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143 users have voted.

The Origins of Sex:

Sub title: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

Nowadays we believe that consenting adults have the freedom to do what they like with their own bodies. We publicise and celebrate sex; we discuss it endlessly; we are obsessed with the sex lives of celebrities. We think it wrong that in other cultures people suffer for their sexual orientation, that women are treated as second-class citizens, or that adulterers are put to death. Yet until quite recently our own society was like this too. For most of western history, all sex outside marriage was illegal, and the church, the state, and ordinary people all devoted huge efforts to suppressing and punishing it. This was a central feature of Christian civilization, one that had steadily grown in importance since the early middle ages. In this brilliant, ground-breaking book, Faramerz Dabhoiwala describes in dramatic detail how, between 1600 and 1800, this entire world view was shattered by revolutionary new ideas - that sex is a private matter; that morality cannot be imposed by force; that men are more lustful than women. Henceforth, the private lives of both sexes were to be endlessly broadcast and debated, in a rapidly expanding universe of public media: newspapers, pamphlets, journals, novels, poems, and prints. The Origins of Sex shows that the creation of this modern culture of sex was a central part of the Enlightenment, intertwined with the era's major social, political and intellectual trends. It helped create a new model of Western civilization, whose principles of privacy, equality, and freedom of the individual remain distinctive to this day.

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