Book Reviews – September 2019

  1. The 5 AM Club – Robin Sharma
    The 5 AM Club is the latest installment in the series of self-help books authored by Robin Sharma. And again he has packed all the wisdom in the veneer of a fictional story. The story this time is romantic and cheesy, nonetheless, what matters are the lessons and they have been delivered with utmost care. The essential teaching, as the title suggests, is to install a habit of waking up at 5 am, and in the next one hour following a set of self-care rituals like exercising, journaling, reading, or learning something new. The maxim ‘Own your morning. Elevate your life’ is repeated throughout the tale, emphasizing the importance of taking some time to calibrate your mind and body each morning before the start of a demanding day.
  2. Ancient India in Historical Outline – D.N. Jha
    This book is a wholesome, neutral account of ancient Indian history dating from Harappan and Indus Valley civilization up to the end of the ancient period. The socio-economical and cultural changes, throughout the early centuries, are explained systematically. The text is well-written and also helps enrich your vocabulary. What awakened my mental faculties, is the third chapter which is about Aryan Invasion and its subsequent effects. It made me think a lot about why we do what we do? How our belief systems are formed and how the stuff that some guy said and made into a rule for the sake of his profit back in the Before Christ era still affects our Indian society and mentality even in the present 21st century. It made me question what is really true. False beliefs spread like wildfire back in the B.C.s and are still burning in the minds of our citizens. As an agnostic, who doesn’t believe in anthropomorphism, this book made it clear for me that perhaps there were such kings on whose lives the Ramayana and Mahabharata are based, but the tales of their deification that have come down to us are just some grandiose versions of the real account of history, mingled with the imaginations of the people who orally passed down these stories to their subsequent generations for centuries. Furthermore, it’s scary how some people, in the current age, bend the truth or history in their favor to account for political and religious agendas and play on people’s emotions using sophistry.
    This book, for me, served as an eye-opener as well as an excellent account of history that it is.
  3. Boy: Tales of Childhood – Roald Dahl
    This is the first book in the series of autobiographies written by the beloved children’s author Roald Dahl. Dahl pens down his earliest memories that he can remember. He recounts the pranks he pulled off in school, and also on his sister’s husband. He vividly recalls the beatings with cane sticks on the buttocks both in school as well as in boarding school that were ever so common in his time and age. His family’s adventures of traveling and of seeking new islands every day in the Norwegian Sea during the summer holidays are enchanting. The book also includes some of his letters that he sent to his mother (perhaps they laid the foundation of his writing career) when he went to an English boarding school. It’s a book for adults and children alike, as even though it’s an autobiography, it’s written in the same style as his other children’s books and is equally enjoyable.


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