Book Review – Eclectic Verses – Radhika Puttige


Life is a mix of many things, particularly thoughts and emotions which we feel in our day to day life. Good, bad, happy, sad, peace, nervous, jealous etc. we all have encountered with these feelings in life. In fact, life is broad and diverge in terms of our journey and our feelings. These broadness and divergence are beautifully captured poetically in a book titled “Eclectic Verses”, written by Radhika Puttige. The book gives a beautiful poetic presentation of various thoughts of life which is a mix of various emotions.

About the Author

Radhika Puttige had spent a decade as a teacher and now utilizing her time in creative work including writing. Eclectic Verses is her debut book as an author. She has presented the aspects of life in the form of haiku and poems in her debut book.

It is of paramount importance to mention that the author is a well-known blogger. Yes, she is the blogger at https://radhikasreflection.wordpress.com/  She is a brilliant writer and the master of writing haikus and poems. Many congratulations for publishing her collections of haikus and poems. 😊  Do visit her blog for amazing writings.

About the Book

Eclectic Verses is a collection of haikus and poems, 125 in total. The author had segregated various aspects of life in this book like emotions, present world, silence etc. Various emotional ripples which one experiences in life are presented in well crafted haikus and poems. So is the case with others. She had touched all the genre in this book. Anger, betrayal, motivational, nature loving, resilience, success, failure, karma, solitude etc. are presented beautifully in the form of haikus and poems.

My body breathes
But my soul is buried deep.

The book is full of such powerful excerpts which makes it an interesting and pleasant read. The author had brilliantly raised the present-day problem of addiction to social media in one of the poems titled “Disconnect”. An extract from that poem need a worth mention.

Thousands of friends on social media
Yet, not a single real one
***
Toxic social media eroded deep into lives
Today, humanity is tangled by wires of technology
Connected virtually, but disconnected in person.

The above excerpt is self-explanatory and such kind of verses in the book makes it a wonderful read. The best part of the book is the haikus and poems can be easily related to the readers. This is one of the most important reason to give it a read.

In one of the haikus, the author had described brilliantly the irony of life.

Irony of life
Battle of past and future
Present forgotten

Read the book for such beautiful verses and enjoy. Being a poetess, the author had dedicated a poem on poetry. She writes various phases of writing a poem, from thought generation to crafting words, editing and finalizing it. One should read the book to get a glimpse of such kind of literary pieces.

Eclectic Verses

The author had smartly raised few of the social issues including women empowerment and terrorism in poetic manner. She had also touched the issue of true and fake people or better to say, people masking their face to appear true. There are many haikus and poems describing natures beauty and the pleasant feeling of experiencing the same.

The author had also provided the sense of spirituality in her debut book. Prayer, meditation, nirvana, karma etc. she presents all such aspects in lucid manner. A haiku on solitude is a worth mention.

Solitary self
Under the blue parasol
Feels blissful moments

In a nutshell, Radhika Puttige had given a very ‘”good read” book on poems and haikus which should be considered to have a read, for all poems and haikus lover. Easily related poem, touching various emotions, natural beauty, spirituality, present world, and the problems etc. all are provided poetically. A very good book to read with various genre in one go.

-Ashish Kumar

Book Review – When Bad Things Happen to Good People – Harold S. Kushner


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Life is full of good and bad moments. We desire to be happy but sometimes few tragedies hurt us a lot. Life offers both pain and pleasure. When bad incidents happen and that too at a sudden, we are ruined from inside. Often there are many of us who might have done good to many but have faced bad moments. When we are good, we expect life to be good to us but when life hurt us despite of being good in life, few questions come in our mind: Why this happened to me and Why bad things happen to good people? In the classis book titled “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, the author, Harold S. Kushner provides some good insights about the general feeling of humans and also tries to figure out the answer to the above questions.

The Background: Harold Kushner wrote this book dedicated to his son, Aaron who was detected with the disease “Progeria”, rapid aging. Aaron was only three years old when he was diagnosed with Progeria and would maximum continue till his early teens. Aaron died two days after his 14th birthday. Kushner was a rabbi, and it was very difficult for him to digest this incident of knowing his son would die at early teens due to a rare disease, Progeria. All his life, Kushner did good, helped many people and was always ready to any social cause. The untimely demise of his son made him to think on the notion of God, whether this was the punishment given by God to good people and that too in the form of his son’s death. The author had brilliantly provided very argumentative analysis about God and his notions that most of us perceive. The choice of good and bad and whether it is the God who is responsible for all the happenings in this world including happening of bad things to good people. This makes the book a very interesting read.

About the Author

Harold Samuel Kushner is a prominent rabbi and author. Born on 3rd April 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Columbia University and have received six honorary doctorates. He is best known for his books, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981) and When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough (1986).

PC: Google

When Bad Things Happen to Good People is his best-selling book which he wrote following the premature death of his son, Aaron due to Progeria.  In 2007, Harold Kushner was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Jewish Book Council.

About the Book

When Bad Things Happen to Good People was published in 1981. As mentioned earlier, Kushner wrote this book in memory of his son, Aaron. The book is a very good read which deals about human sufferings, God, Omnipotence and theodicy.

Throughout the book, the author has raised many questions about God and why bad things happen to good people. When good people suffer any turmoil which makes their life difficult to live, people starts asking below questions:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Do I deserve to be treated like this?
  • Is this a kind of punishment that God offers to his followers?
  • What did I do that I deserve this?
  • How God can be so cruel to give punishment to innocent people, for wrongdoing of others?

The book provides a very good discussion on the above questions. The initial chapters will make readers to think that what we have been taught about God and his doings including running of this universe will seems to be only an attractive answer. The author had brilliantly provided argumentative analysis about God and his limitations. Reader may think about the general perceived notion of “what we get is what we deserve”, if it is really the case.

The idea that God gives people what they deserve, that our misdeeds cause or misfortune, is neat and attractive solution of problem of evil at several levels, but it has a number of serious limitations. It teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt even when there is no basis for guilt. It makes people to hate God, even as it makes them hate themselves. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts.

There is good discussion on the sufferings of righteous person and a wicked person. There are so many examples from author’s life journey where he has given a good insights about the sufferings of many like, parents losing their children, living with multiple sclerosis, accidents, retarded children etc. It might be true that sometimes we have to do painful things to people we love for their benefit, but not every painful thing that happens to us is beneficial.

The author has provided a good argument on why God will create sufferings to the people in order to learn compassion and gratitude? Why should God distort someone else’s life to such a degree in order to enhance our spiritual sensitivity? Such kind of questions and arguments provided in response to those questions makes this book a beautiful read.

There are few incidents which happens accidently and blaming God for those is not a good thing, as per the author. According to Kushner, the accidents, plane crash, train accidents, falling off a bridge etc. are not the punishments provided by God. If that is so, then this mean God is selective. He is selective because if the plane crashed and killed many passengers and few only got injured and few got minor injuries, the outcome is not uniform and what about those passengers who missed the flight? So the person who missed the flight should thank God for not boarding the flight because his life was safe? And what about those who boarded the flight on time? Such kind of examples and arguments will make you think for a while, after reading the book. God is not selective, sometimes there is no reason. These events do not reflect God’s choices. They happen at random, and randomness is another name of chaos.

God has made this universe and the law of nature is uniform and there is no discrepancy in it. One of the things that makes the world livable is the fact that the laws of nature are precise and reliable and always work the same way. Everything has some pros and cons, and this has been discussed so well in this book. We cannot live without gravity but at the same need to live with its dangers. Harold Kushner provides answer to the cause of bad things happening to good people. God is the creature of universe and law of nature which is uniform, and God does not reach down to interrupt the workings of laws of nature to protect the righteous from harm: this is an area which causes bad things to happen to good people and God does not cause it and cannot stop it. One should read the book for such interesting discussion.

Often it is said that it is the environment, upbringing and people suffering which makes them cruel and futile. Some becomes criminal and some kills many innocent people. People become like that because they are the victims of circumstances. Kushner had provided a very crucial point on this notion in the below excerpt:

To say of Hitler, to say of any criminal, that he did not choose to be bad but was a victim of his upbringing, is to make all morality, all discussion of right and wrong, impossible. It leaves unanswered the question of why people in similar circumstances did not all become Hitlers. But worse, to say “It is not his fault, he was not free to choose” is to rob a person of his humanity, and reduce him to the level of an animal who is similarly not free to choose between right and wrong.

Why people in similar circumstances did not all become Hitlers? An unanswered question. Read the book for more such mind blogging discussions. The author has given a good insights on sufferings in the book and he recommends not to compound the damage which one got because of sufferings by hurting oneself one more time or several times.

Instead of asking the questions, “why this happened to me? What did I do to deserve this?” The better question would be, “Now this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”

As mentioned earlier, the initial chapters would make readers to question about God and what he does to us in the form of sufferings and punishments. But the concluding chapters takes the readers to know about God and what religion should be. This journey has been presented beautifully by Harold Kushner in this book. The book is a journey from asking the question, “Why this happened to me? “ to asking the question , “Now this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”

A good book which deserves to be read, if not read so far.

-Ashish Kumar

Book Review – FEELINGS – Sunita Nanda


Feelings are part of life. Every moment, we feel something. Sometimes good or sometimes bad. Sorrow, grief, pain, bliss, happiness etc. our life cannot be imagined without feelings and emotions. If someone praises, we feel happy and if we are scolded or criticized, we feel sad. Our heart is delicate when comes to feel the moment. Author Sunita Nanda brings about these moments in her book, FEELINGS. The book brings about feelings of a girl after shifting to a metro city, voice of an introvert soul to today’s world explained poetically.

About the Author

Sunita Nanda is an IT professional. Apart from working on software, she is a very good writer as well. Her writings are too good to read. In simple language, she makes to feel what she writes. Her writing can be easy relatable.

She is a well-known blogger as well. Popularly known as Soni Cool in blogging world. 😊  Do check her blog for good writing stuffs. She can be found at https://sonibindaas571181659.wordpress.com/

I would like to congratulate the blogger turned author, for getting her work published. Many congratulations. 😊

About the Book

FEELINGS is all about what we feel during various situations. Frustration, happiness, agony, sorrow, bliss, grief etc. are different kinds of feelings which we often experience. The book has 25 poems and two short stories.

The poems have mix of emotions and the state of mind of a girl at various situations. She has smartly raised few questions on society perception and orthodox thinking, about girls. Being a girl, what society has presumed and how it has an impact on the way of thinking can be easily felt while reading the poems.

The poems presented has motivational and optimistic touch as well. She has captured various feelings beautifully in well-crafted poems which are easily relatable. There are situations in life wherein we are in dilemma of what to chose and what to avoid, which she has penned beautifully in one of her poems.

There are two short stories in the book, apart from 25 poems. The short story is based on the feeling of a homesick girl when she has to leave her parents for pursuing higher studies. The feeling of night life of a girl who never went out of her house after 7 pm, is a good read. An interesting read.

In a nutshell, she has provided a good “reading” feeling through her book, FEELINGS. Do read the book for beautiful poems and cute short stories and share your feedback.

Ashish Kumar

Book Review – Man’s Search for Meaning – Dr Viktor E. Frankl


Life is a wonderful journey of ups and downs, happy and sad moments, good and bad experience etc. The meaning of life is found when one identifies his purpose which is of course, subjective. How to find that meaning? The classic book written by Dr Viktor E. Frankl gives the answer. This book provides a different way to life and has the power to change the perspective towards life. Before going to the review, it is important to understand the background of this book.

The Background: This book revolves around the three years’ experience of Viktor Frankl during World War II. During World War II, he had to spent three years in various concentration camps like Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. As the book says, it is the classic tribute to “hope” from the Holocaust. Holocaust was the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. Around six million Jews were murdered or killed by the Nazi Germany in the German occupied Europe during those years. Auschwitz camp was the dominant symbol of holocaust. As a holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl wrote memoirs of his experiences in this book. Surviving from the holocaust and developing the “logotherapy” technique, Viktor Frankl journey is commendable. The book contains a dedicated chapter on logotherapy.

In order to understand why the book is a tribute to “hope”, one can understand the experience of a man who spent three years in various concentration camps wherein death was common punishment for prisoners. There are several incidents mentioned in the book how people were carried to gas chambers and killed. Prisoners in concentration camps were having no hope whether they will see the outside world or not. This book is about survival and a man can survive when he had some reasons to survive. If there is no reason to survive, there is no reason for existence which creates what is known as “apathy”. Every prisoner suffered a lot, and these sufferings were the motives for many to commit suicides apart from normal killings. Suicides happened due to lack of hope.

It is important to note that this book was written in 9 successive days, as mentioned in the Preface.  

About the Author

Dr Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), born in Vienna (Austria) was the founder of logotherapy. He was the author, psychiatrist, neurologist and a holocaust survivor.  He was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. He was the founder of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy.

Viktor Frankl, PC: Google

He had written 32 books that have been translated into 26 languages. Man’s Search for Meaning is a classic book with millions of copies sold.

About the Book

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. This quote from Nietzsche is mentioned several times in this book. The meaning is clear, one should know the “why” to live. That why comes when one knows the meaning and purpose of his life.

The great task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life, as stressed by the author in this book. The author describes poignantly the prisoners who gave up on life, who had lost all hope for a future and were inevitably the first to die. They died less from lack of food or medicine than from lack of hope, lack of something to live for. Author kept his hope alive, and that hope kept him alive.  

This book is an inside story of a concentration camp said by one of its survivors. The prisoners in concentration camp went through several atrocities and “one five-ounce piece of bread was their only food in four days”. The thought of suicide was entertained by nearly everyone, if only for a brief time. The readers might be surprised to know how prisoners committed suicides. They committed suicides through “run into the wire”. This was a phrase used in camp to describe the most popular method of suicide – touching the electrically barbed-wire fence. Ever wondered there can be most popular method of suicide? There was a time when prisoners did not fear death. Even gas chambers lost their horrors. The author had described these experiences of concentration camp.

The author had described the experiences in concentration camp in three phases, based on the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life. These three phases are: the period following admission, the period when he is well entrenched in camp routine, and the period following his release and liberation.  The last phase was only a dream till it happened. Hope was the force behind survival including the author. In one of the incidents, a prisoner was firm and hopeful that he will be free on 31st March and he did become free but through death. The author had described this incident how and what kept him alive till 31st March.

PC: Google

The book had a very important incidents when prisoners started to have “apathy” feeling, the blunting of the emotions and the feelings that one could not care any more.  This made them insensitive to daily and hourly beatings. The author calls this “apathy” feeling a very necessary protective shell for survival as it became the necessary mechanism of self-defense.

The author had brilliantly explained the meaning and the role of sufferings in life. Life is incomplete without sufferings. According to author, suffering is similar to behaviour of gas, which can be understood by the below extract from the book

It is possible to practice art of living in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent.To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behaviour of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.

Suffering is omnipresent and absolutely relative. It fills the human soul completely. If analysed and thought peacefully, it is true. The author had beautifully explained what is known as “provisional existence” which prisoners in concentration camp was having. Their existence was provisional as the sufferings had no end. A man who could not see the end of his “provisional existence” was not able to aim at an ultimate goal in life. This is the reason why a day in camp lasted longer than a week. The author sees such suffering in other way as such sufferings sometimes opens the gateway of opportunity to grow spiritually. This is the test of inner strength.

The author sees life in different perspective. What we expect from life does not matter, it matters what life expects from us. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for us. This is really inspirational way to look towards life as life is not “vague”. Human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have a meaning, and that this infinite meaning of life includes sufferings and dying, privation and death.

The book has such kind of eye-opening extracts which has the power to change the mind the perspective towards life. There is a dedicated chapter on logotherapy as well wherein the author who itself had developed this technique, had explained this concept in simple and understandable manner. Logotherapy focusses on meaning of human existence. This meaning is unique and specific and must be fulfilled by him alone. Man needs “something” for the sake to live or else it will be a “provisional existence”.

This book is an inspirational read. The journey of survivor from holocaust and finding the meaning of life is well described in the book. There are many who have always complains towards life because of the sufferings and obstacles they face. This book is a must read for them.

Lastly, I would like to conclude the review post by sharing a sentence from the book itself which is self explanatory.

Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.

After reading the review post, share your views and what you think is the “meaning” of life, in general.

Ashish Kumar

Book Review – Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki


Finance is an important part in life. Everyone wants to be financially independent. What should be done to be financially independent? What are the skills needed to be financially independent? Why there are so many poor people in world? Why middle-class remain middle-class? Such kind of questions must have arrived to many at various point in life. Finding answers to such questions is can be difficult. But there is a book on personal finance which discusses such questions and provide answers. The Book titled, Rich Dad Poor Dad, written by Robert T. Kyosaki is a worth read which provides answers to such questions and at the same time gives the other way of thinking. This post provides review of that book.

About the Author

Robert T. Kiyosaki is best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997). He was born on 8th April 1947 and is an American businessman and author. He is an entrepreneur, educator and investor who believes the world needs more entrepreneurs who will create jobs. With perspectives on money and investing that often contradict conventional wisdom, Robert Kiyosaki has earned an international reputation for straight talk, irreverence, and courage and has become a passionate and outspoken advocate for financial education.

Robert T. Kiyosaki

His point of view is that “old” advice- go to college, get a good job, save money, get out of debt, invest for the long term, and diversify – has become obsolete advice in today’s fast-paced information age. His Rich Dad philosophies and messages challenge the status quo. His teachings encourage people to become financially educated and to take an active role in investing for their future.

He has authored several books. Some of his notable books includes:

  • Cashflow Quadrant (2000)
  • Rich Dad’s Before You Quit Your Job (2005)
  • An unfair advantage (2011)
  • FAKE: Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets: How Lies Are Making the Poor and Middle Class Poorer (2019) etc.

About the Book

This book is considered one of the best books on personal finance. The book boldly advocates the need to have financial literacy. According to the author, people should be financially literate which in turn make them financially intelligent. Lack of financial intelligence is the main cause of poor or middle class to remain poor or middle class.

The book is written in the form of stories which Robert Kiyosaki learnt from his rich dad and poor dad. He considers his friend, Mike’s father, rich dad and his own dad, poor dad. The book is a summary of teachings which he learnt from his rich dad and why his own dad having good academic background was a teacher and never become rich. The book revolves around these two ways of thinking, rich dad and poor dad.

The book starts with an introduction with mention of the classic poem of Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken” and the below excerpt need a worth mention.

I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the differences.

The author had brilliantly explained the path which has made all the difference and the reason how and why people are rich and poor. The introduction itself creates the eager to read the entire book. The book is against the “old school” thinking of going to school/college, earn degrees, do job, pay the debt/bills and make entire life a burden. Instead, he firmly believes that school and college education is important to have basic knowledge to understand the concepts etc. but it is not sufficient to become rich. For that, what is more important is to have financial education over and above school/college education. The book tries to make readers think above having a job and become financially independent. One can become financially independent if he possesses financial intelligence which in turn can be achieved through financial literacy. Kiyosaki is a strong advocate of financial intelligence which can be felt while reading the book.

There are many people who are intelligent and have attained good academic qualification, but do they possess financial intelligence? Everyone should ask this question. The difference between intelligence and financial intelligence should be identified by the person through his financial decisions which one takes during his lifetime. The book has such kind of discussion which makes it an interesting read.  A small excerpt from the book is worth mention here:

Money is one form of power. But what is more powerful is financial education. Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and can began building wealth. The reason positive thinking alone does not work is because most went to school and never learned how money works, so they spend their lives working for money.

One of the most important aspect the book figures it out is that one should learn how money should work for him rather than yourself working for money. This is quite interesting. Learning how to have money work for you is a lifetime subject. This is the main difference between the poor and middle-class. “The poor and middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them.” One has to learn how money work for them to become rich. This is the bottom line.

PC: Google

The book provides a fruitful discussion on assets and liabilities, income and expenses of rich and poor. Need to mention that there are least financial jargons used in the book. The discussion revolves around how rich maintains their assets/liabilities and how poor does so. In general, rich people acquire assets whereas poor and middle class don’t turn their income into assets rather than they convert their income into liabilities which they think are assets. There is a cycle in which poor and middle class are trapped and in turn they remain poor/middle class lifelong. If a young couple would put more money into their assets early on, their later years would be easier.

Most people struggle financially because they do not know the difference between an asset and a liability. Rich people acquire assets. The poor and middle-class acquire liabilities that they think are assets.

The book provides a good insight on the mentality or way of managing expenses of rich and poor people. Rich poor buy luxuries at last, while the poor and middle-class tend to buy luxuries first.

As mentioned earlier, the book advocates a lot on financial intelligence (Financial IQ). Financial IQ is made of four broad areas of expertise:

  • Accounting
  • Investing
  • Understanding markets
  • The Law

Financial IQ is the synergy of many skills and talents. In the words of Robert Kiyosaki, financial IQ is the combination of four skills mentioned above that make up the basic financial intelligence.

Robert Kiyosaki has strongly suggested to focus on building assets through financial intelligence. One should be flexible enough to adjust in the changing environment rather than sticking to the past. One should keep the options open and avoiding limiting the options. Financial intelligence is simply having more options.

The author stresses on overcoming some obstacles after being financially literate. These obstacles are arrogance, cynicism, bad habits, laziness and fear. Fear and ignorance are essential cause of poverty or financial struggle.

The main cause of poverty or financial struggle is fear and ignorance, not the economy or the government. It’s self-inflicted fear and ignorance that keeps people trapped.

The author had beautifully advocated on being financially independent through financial intelligence in this book. The book provides the lessons the author learnt from his rich dad. One should read the book to know the lessons. He does not recommend falling in the trap or rat race which in his words, is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

A job is only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

The book is an interesting read as it as it offers the other way of thinking. It is written in simple and easily understandable language and provides some fruitful insights which is worth indeed. While reading the book, one will find many interesting sentences. Some of the interesting lines I have picked and shared below:

  • Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone. 
  • Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep.
  • Today, wealth is in information. And the person who has the most-timely information owns the wealth.
  • People struggle simply because they cling to old ideas. Old ideas are their biggest liability. It is a liability simply because they fail to realize that while that idea or way of doing something was an asset yesterday, yesterday is gone.
  • Great opportunities are not seen with your eyes. They are seen with your mind.
  • Workers work hard enough to not to be fired, and owners pay just enough so that workers won’t quit.
  • Most workers focus on working for pay and benefits that reward them in short-term, but are disastrous in the long run. Instead, I recommend to young people to seek for what they will learn, more than what they will earn.
  • The world is full of talented poor people. All too often, they are poor or struggle financially or earn less than they are capable of, not because of what they know, but because of what they do not know.  

Do read the book for such interesting discussions and share your thoughts. 🙂

-Ashish Kumar