South: The Story Of Shackleton’s 1914 – 1917 Expedition : Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

The first book I read in Kindle.  There are a whole library of free downloadable books available on Kindle, this being one of them.  Even without  the device, the  Kindle Crome App is a pretty decent application to read EBooks from Amazon.

The book is an amazing story of Shackleton’s expedition to south pole. Many books  have been written and movies made on Shackleton’s failed expedition, but this is  the first person account.

Sir Shackleton’s met with shipwreck in the icy waters of  the antarctic. This ship the Endurance was trapped in the antarctic ice and was eventually crushed by  the ice-packs of freezing winter. The crew survived the winter on the ice flow and on under favourable conditions set sail to Elephant island on an open boat James Caird. Elephant Island was an uninhabited island where the crew stayed on for the summer. Shackleton and five of his trusted sailors departed on a mission to South Georgia to seek help. Those were the days when there were no radio or wireless communications.

Shackleton and his men survived on only seal and penguin meat with several of his crew members developing scurvy 

A fine narration of human endurance against the forces of nature!!!

We are like that only : Rama Bijapurkar

Simply Fly : Captain Gopinath

  Everyone might remember “Air Deccan”, the airline that made Indians fly.  It was a rather short life for the airline, but it did catch the imagination of the middle class.

This book is not really about this airline.  Its about our very own Richard Branson.  Its interesting to note how similar the two are.

Capt. Gopinath grew up in the small village in the banks of Hemavati river.  The inspiration of his life was his dad, a school teacher.

I’m writing this after couple of months of having read the book. Part of the reason I do this is becuse then, I only remember the salient points from the book.

Capt. Gopinath’s story do not start or end with Air Deccan, its only a small episode in the life of this free spirited personality.

I found the early chapters of the book more inspiring and interesting than the latter.  Capt Gopinath was the first in his village to learn join the army and serve the country in the 1970 Bangladesh war.  His accounts of  of the war and  the later posting in the inaccessible terrains of  indo-chinese border is awesome.

His journey as an enterpreneur does not start until he decides to quit the army and decide to start as a farmer. With the piece of land his family got as an compensation against the land his family gave up to the government, he began as a farmer. His land was somewhere close to Hosur.

The Maruti Story : R.C. Bhargava

Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata : Devdutt Pattanaik

Myth = Mithya By Devdutt Pattanaik

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance: Louis Gerstner, Jr

 The book about IBM’s turnaround written by the person who made it happen, Louis Gerstner. Unlike other business memoirs, this book is written not from a perspective of ‘what should be‘ but ‘what has been‘ to ‘what is now‘.   IBM is one of the iconic technology companies of our times. There’s been others too that reached the height of its success but declined and few now out of business. Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics,  Borland, Rational software and many more.

Early 90s were the time of great change in the technology industry. That’s the time when PC became the dominant force, the internet started showing its presence and the rise in Open systems, aka Unix.

When I started my career, it was all Unix. Client Server systems ruled the enterprise, windows was making is early presence felt. Object Oriented programming was also a new boy of the town. This was the time when IBM mainframe was on the decline. Frankly I never knew IBM was in this deep trouble during those days.

The book is remarkable in the sense, Louis gives first person account of  what he saw when he joined the company early 90’s and describes the remarkable turnaround he was able to accomplish within a decade. The computer industry was at cross roads at the time Louis was brought in to turnaround IBM.  Industry pundits were all ‘gaga’ around the PC revolution and had written off IBM as a company making expensive mainframes that didn’t have a future.

Many had advised Louis to break up IBM into smaller companies. In spite of the fact that Louis had little background of high tech industry, Louis stuck to his plan to revive IBM and invested in new areas of growth. Now after more than 2 decades, IBM has retained its commanding positions.