Book Review – 4 Pillars of Abundant Life – Ashok Wahi



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Life is full of ups and downs and it does offer flips and flops. In this fast-moving life, it is easy to find and buy materialistic things but difficult to find happiness. Whenever a building is constructed, the base should be strong enough or else the building is expected to collapse. The pillars of the building should be efficient enough to construct and complete the building. So is the case with life which is also build on some pillars.

Today, I am reviewing a beautiful book for living a happy life. As presented in his debut book titled “4 Pillars of Abundant Life”, author Ashok Wahi had presented the 4 pillars of life or better to say “abundant” life. The author had tried to explain the building blocks of life by these 4 pillars.

About the Author

Ashok Wahi had a very successful corporate career spanning four decades. He has been a friend, philosopher, and guide to many – young and old from all spheres of life. He has a unique gift of presenting complexities of life in a very simple and personal experiences.

Need not to mention that the author belongs to the blogging fraternity and I am very happy to write review of his debut book. He is a very good blogger and I request you all to visit his blog for his literary pieces. Please check his blog, https://ashokwahi.wordpress.com/

It gives me a lot of pleasure to write review post of his debut book. Being known him for few years as a blogger, I would like to congratulate the “author” now. Many congratulations. 🙂

About the Book

As the name suggests, “4 Pillars of Abundant Life”, the book brings four pillars to live an abundant life which is presented in the four chapters. The book has a lot of examples from the author’s life and his personal experiences, making the book a blissful read. All the examples provided in the book gives a learning experience. Apart from the examples, the book is filled with many quotes which beautify the reading experience. And the best part is, the book is short, precise and to the point. The book provides an important message about the “House of Abundance” which is built on four pillars.

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The book is simple and easy to understand. The book starts with an introductory chapter which is more than enough for the readers not to leave the book before finishing it. The introductory chapter throws some insights and at the same time puts some of the important questions in search of happiness. While reading, the book compels to pause for a moment and think on the questions raised. Taking some of the examples from the corporate world as well, the author had presented a relatable read to the readers. There is an interesting point made by the author regarding happiness vs successful. An extract from the book needs a worth mention.

It is so true that all the so-called successful people are not always happy, but every happy person is always successful! Because whatever we want to do or possess or achieve is for this feeling of happiness.

The book beautifully describes the happiness stealers and happiness enhancers in our life. Unfulfilled desires and worrying about the future are two important stealers of happiness whereas curiosity and enthusiasm are the two important enhancers of happiness.  Unnecessarily thinking and worrying about the future and that too for hypothetical reasons which spoils the present should be avoided, the author had strongly given this message in his book. One must look for the moments and things which brings happiness.

As it is said, money is not a guarantee to live a happy life, but majority of the people have that thinking of money giving a guaranteed happy life, the author had beautifully discussed this myth in the book. Life is full of ups and downs. Be it good or bad, nothing lasts forever. There is no end to pain and suffering in life, they will come but will go as well if faced properly. One should be always be happy in helping others, not only in monetary terms but emotionally, motivationally etc. Doing charity is good but “charity without publicity” is real charity, the book provides such kind of thinking.

Finding happiness in life is a difficult task. But why? It is difficult because most of us try to find it outside. Of course, it depends on external factors but majorly, happiness depends on our internal mental attitudes. The book provides an eye-opening discussion. Life is journey and being successful in life is what everyone desires. A very meaningful quote in the book is worth to mention.

Success is a ladder up that we go step-by-step. If the ladder isn’t balanced, we are sure to fall.

There should be a balance in life, as discussed in the book. The book also provides an important formula for distributing 24 hour a day into three portions. Please read the book to know the formula. To be successful in life, concentration is required, and meditation is the best way to focus or concentrate. Meditation is helpful in becoming spiritual. A fruitful discussion on meditation is provided in the book.

To conclude, author Ashok Wahi had given a gem in his debut book which is a blissful read. The book is inspirational and motivational as well.  4 Pillars of Abundant Life, please read the book and live an abundant life, which is crucial.

– Ashish Kumar

Book Review – Ikigai – Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles



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Life is a journey of moments. Be it happy or sad, one should accept it. Learning form life experiences make us better and help us in our day to day activities. Adding values to our life cannot be a one-time activity and so is the personal development. There are many books on personal development, but the book which I am covering here is little different. Life without a purpose has no meaning and the book, IKIGAI – The Japanese Secret to Long and Happy Life, emphasizes this a lot apart form living in present.  Before going into the depth of the book, it’s important to be aware some aspects in order to understand the book properly which is given below.

The Background: As per WHO, Japan has highest life expectancy in the world. Also, Japan has highest ratio of centenarians in the world: more than 520 for every million (as of September 2016). IKIGAI is a Japanese concept meaning “the happiness of always being busy”. The book brings the lifestyle of an island namely Okinawa, in Japan. Okinawa, where there are 24.55 people over the age of 100 for every 100,000 inhabitants, far more than global average. Going further, Ogimi, a rural town of the island having a population of 3000, has the highest life expectancy in the world. This is the reason behind Ogimi to be called as “Village of Longevity”. Not only they live longer but also suffer from fewer chronic diseases like Cancer and heart diseases, inflammatory disorders are also less common. Having highest life expectancy and highest number of centenarians in the world and it’s a blissful experience to know about the lifestyle of people living in Okinawa. The book covers the same.

About the Authors

IKIGAI- The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, is written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. The book published in 2017 is an International Bestseller.

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Hector Garcia: Born in 1981 in Spain, Héctor García is a citizen of Japan, where he has lived for over a decade. He is the author of several books about Japanese culture, including two worldwide bestsellers, A Geek in Japan and Ikigai. A former software engineer, he worked at CERN in Switzerland before moving to Japan.

 

 

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Francesc Miralles: Born in 1968, Fransecs Miralles is a Spanish writer, essayist, translator and musician. He is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author of books about how to live well, together with the novels Love in Small Letters and Wabi-Sabi.

 

 

About the Book

The book provides an energetic rhythm towards life and does motivates to be positive. The book tries to make readers to identify their IKIGAI. Fast moving life has made life a race and in turn we forget to be happy and hence welcoming toxic thoughts. The book is full of positive vibes. Based on the lifestyle of people living in Okinawa, the book covers Secrets of being happy and living long, antiaging, staying young while growing old, IKIGAI diet, being resilient etc.

The book stresses a lot on having clear purpose in life, living in the present, doing exercises/yoga etc. Diet plays an important role in staying heathy and “Okinawa Diet” is well discussed across the globe. In fact, the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease in Okinawa is the lowest in Japan and diet plays a major role apart from doing exercise/yoga. There are separate chapters dedicated for diet and exercised promoting health and longevity. They eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, rarely eat sugar, consumes natural antioxidants etc. The book briefly covers wide exercises including yoga, which originates from India.

The book talks to the point without stretching. The first chapter itself starts with “The art of staying young while growing old”, provides an everlasting impact which build a rhythm of reading rest of the book.  According to the Japanese, everyone has an Ikigai hidden deep inside each of us, and finding it requires a patient search”.  In Okinawa, people don’t retire as having a purpose in life is so important in Japanese culture that the idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist there. There is a brief discussion about the five Blue Zones identified and analyzed by Dan Buettner in his book “The Blue zones” and Okinawa holds first place.

Stress is one of the most common problems in today’s fast-moving life. The negative effects of stressful life is well known and the book discuss the same. As stress has degenerative effect over time, it is one of the major elements which kills longevity and happiness. However, looking at the other side, the authors clearly suggests taking little stress is good. Intense stress is dangerous while low level if stress is beneficial.

As mentioned previously, the book focuses on having a purpose in life. A separate chapter is dedicated for having a purpose in life. There is a fruitful discussion of life with/without a purpose. Having a purpose gives meaning to life which provides energy to achieve it which in turn keeps us busy. The book covers logotherapy and psychoanalysis and their differences which are ways to identify purpose in life. Having purpose in life eliminates existential frustration and existential crisis. Existential frustration arises when our life is without purpose. Existential crisis is typical of modern societies in which people do what they are told to do, or what others do, rather than what they want to do. They often try to fill the gap between what is expected of them and what they want for themselves with economic power or physical pleasure, or by numbing their senses. It can even lead to suicide. One should discover meaning of their life rather than creating it.

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In the book, there is an interesting discussion about multitasking and concentrating on single task, flow and distraction. One should have a flow in life which comes with a clear objective or else vague objective gives confusion. Many people are multitasker today and those who aren’t, try to be a multitasker. According to the authors, multitasking reduces productivity, IQ and creativity whereas concentrating on single task increases the same. One interesting suggestion provided by authors is to go for ‘Technological fasting’ at least once in a week. Technological fasting refers to staying away from whats app, facebook, internet etc.  When you have a clear objective and flow, hours pass smoothly with mind focussed on your work which you enjoy. These are substantiated with several examples.

One of the most interesting part of the book is it bring brief story about those who are supercentenarians- people who lived 110 years or above. There is a dedicated chapter which covers their lifestyle. Jeanne Calment (1875 – 1997) is the oldest person of verified age history, who lived for 122 years. Isn’t it interesting to know their stories who are supercentenarians?

The book not only covers the diet, exercises, antiaging, stress and its consequences etc but also brings about the various culture of Okinawa and how they had maintained a proper balance between culture and technology.

One of the motivating factors the book suggests is to be resilient. Resilience is our ability to deal with the setbacks. Resilient people know to stay focusses. The reason behind one should be resilient enough is to concentrate on the things one can control and not worrying about those one can’t. Meditation helps a lot in becoming resilient and focused. Worrying about things that are beyond our control achieves nothing. We should have a clear sense of what we can change and what we can’t. Most of the problems in life occurs not because of things that happens but how we react. As life is impermanence, live in the present as present is the only thing we can control and feel. The book is a blissful read with eye opening materials bringing optimism and eliminating pessimism.

The book concludes with an epilogue which provided 10 rules of IKIGAI and the first being stay active; don’t retire, apart from live in the moment, reconnect with nature; to name a few.

Some of the main reasons why one should read this book is of course the longevity factor, happiness etc but there is one more reason I found is mentioned below which is an extract from the book itself.

Okinawa is one of the areas in Japan that were most affected by World War II. As a result, not only of conflicts on the battlefield but also of hunger and a lack of resources once the war ended, the average life expectancy was not very high during the 1940s and 1950s. As Okinawans recovered from the destruction, however, they came to be some of the country’s longest living citizens.

Isn’t it interesting to know about the lifestyle of such a place which was once affected badly by World War II?  Lack of resources and hunger, the life expectancy was not high that time but looking today, it has achieved the highest life expectancy in the world with the greatest number of centenarians and supercentenarians.

Please share your opinions on this review post. 🙂

– Ashish Kumar

Book Review – Connect the Dots – Rashmi Bansal


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The world is full of several examples of successful personalities who made their name and are tycoons today. The world is changing fast and entrepreneurs are shaping the new regime.  Their stories have inspired many.  Reading stories of those entrepreneurs who may not be a big name, but their brands have reached many households in India. In this article, I have picked a book which depicts life of various entrepreneurs who started from scratch and reached several heights in life. The book titled “Connect the dots” written by Rashmi Bansal is a blissful read.

About the Author

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An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Rashmi Bansal is a well-known writer and entrepreneur. She is best known for her book Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (2008) which covers experiences of 25 entrepreneurs of IIM Ahmedabad. Contradictory, Connect the Dots (2010) was her next book which covers entrepreneurs without MBA qualification.  Her other notable books include Take me Away, God’s Own Kitchen, I have a dream etc.  She is also the founder of JAM (Just Another Magazine).

 

About the Book

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The book, Connect the Dots, bring story of 20 entrepreneur without MBA qualification who started their own ventures. The book brings one of the important pragmatic truths of life wherein “You don’t need a fancy degree or a rich daddy to dream big and make it happen. It’s all in your head, your heart, your hands.” There are enormous examples across the globe where people dreamt big and proved themselves with their talent and efforts without much educational qualification. Connect the Dots covers story of such Indians.

The author had divided the entrepreneurs into three parts and so is the story covered in the book is divided into three parts: Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan. According to the author:

  • Jugaad entrepreneurs have no formal training in business. They learn by observation, experimentation and application of mind as business is not ‘rocket science’.
  • Junoon entrepreneurs are driven by a particular idea, or passion. Something which is different and ahead of time.
  • Zubaan: Creative people need a platform to express themselves. When that talent is unique, the platform must be created and in doing so, the artist becomes an ‘entrepreneur’.

Rashmi Bansal took the interview of these entrepreneurs and have put the same in the book describing their stories which is inspirational indeed. One of the major attractions of the book which I came across is that she had picked most of the entrepreneurs who are less known. You can easily get many stories and books on big names like Tatas, Birla, Ambanis etc. but this book focusses on picking those who have made their way without any successful financial background or well-established family business. Well, this is what makes this book “an interesting and motivational read”.

The book is an inspiration for many who wants to have their own ventures. Learning from the story of these entrepreneurs who made their way from nowhere to what they are present is indeed a motivation.

Success doesn’t come without struggle and this can be felt while reading their stories. There are some ventures which have become brand now like Dosa Plaza, Crossword, Bharat Vikas Group (BVG), Su-Kam etc. Isn’t it interesting to know how they started from scratch and what bottlenecks they faced to make their start ups into a full-fledged venture with brand value??? There is a story of IT company where the entrepreneur says, “anyone can become a programmer and need not to have engineering degree”. Read the book for such interesting stories.

If read carefully and analysed, one can get to know the common problems which they have faced in their journey and hence can be utilized by others in order to avoid such issues. None of them journey was a cake walk and it was full of ups and downs. Learning comes from experience and all of these entrepreneurs have learnt from their practical experience while in the business.    

Some of the important learning and inspiration which I realized from the book:

  • One need not to have MBA qualification or higher qualification for being successful.
  • Common issues can be identified if read thoroughly and properly analysed and can be utilized accordingly.
  • The book cover story from various sectors and hence one can get the glimpse of these sectors and problems faced within.

Do read if you want to know some interesting and inspiring story of Indian entrepreneurs without MBA qualifications and share your views.

 – Ashish Kumar

Book Review – How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie


Relationship is an important factor in life and human beings are very prone to “make up and break up” situation which happens several times. Human relations are established with various factors and it depends on us how we keep those relations intact. There are also situations where we are influenced by others and we consider them as our ideal. Looking at the other way, one can also be an ideal for others, can influence and have a good convincing power. There are many work, research and books written on human behaviour and human relations, this article picks one of them. The book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, written by Dale Carnegie is a must read for everyone as it makes us understand several practical life facing situation with ample examples.

About the Author

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Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer. Born on 24th November 1888 in Missouri in United States, his work is considered to be the finest in terms of human relations, inter personal skills, public speaking and self-improvement. He was a famous writer of his time and his work is still remembered today.

Carnegie’s first collection of his writings was Public Speaking: a Practical Course for Business Men (1926), later entitled Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business (1932). In 1936, he wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People which became a bestseller from its debut. By the time of his death on 1st November 1955, the book had sold five million copies in 31 languages. He wrote several other books including:

  • The Art of Public Speaking
  • The Leader in You
  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
  • How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job etc.

The book title of Dale Carnegie says all about the content and is indeed impressive and draws attention and so does the material inside the book.

About 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering- to personality and the ability to lead people.

– Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie books had many things to offer for book lovers. All his books contain many examples which provides a broad view of the perspective. It will not be injustice to say that his books provide a practical way to look at the situations in life. The best part of his writing was, he used to provide examples followed by establishing the principles.

About the Book

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How to Win Friends and Influence People is his best-selling book. Published in 1936, till today this book is read by many across the globe as it provides basic etiquette that one should posses in his life. The book deals with the fundamental techniques in handling people, six ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking and how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment. Each of the afore-mentioned topics are dealt in separate part of the book.

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business”.  The same is applicable in day to day life as People’s Management plays a vital role in life.

In life, we often come to situation we are criticized by others and we do criticize others. The book starts with the fundamental techniques in handling people and guess what is the first fundamental principle? It is indeed criticism. It says not to criticize, condemn or complain. In fact, Dale Carnegie states that ‘Criticism is a self-defence tool.” The chapter on criticism is worth to read and understand.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain- and most fools do.

– Dale Carnegie

This book is best known for providing Six ways to Make People Like You which are as follows:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

The entire book is full of powerful and motivational statements. It gives you a sense of self-love as well apart from motivation. While reading the book, one can feel the power of words and get the essence of some worth literary pieces. The entire book is motivational and contains worth reading material. I have picked some of the quotes which is worth reading and hence thought sharing the same which includes:

  • In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.
  • First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.
  • The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and animals.
  • If there is any one secret of success, said Henry Ford, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.
  • The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare “individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.
  • We are interested in others when they are interested in us.
  • People who talk only of themselves think only for themselves. And those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.
  • If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s goodwill.
  • Buddha said: “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love, and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.

There are many other quotes which are impressive and worth to read but it is not possible to mention all. Read the book as it is a good material for developing interpersonal skills and self improvement which in turn helps in personality development.  Many people might have already gone through this book and those who haven’t please read it as it is readily available in almost every book stall and can be purchased online as well. I will be coming up with more stuffs on books soon.

Stay tuned… Stay happy and keep visiting… 🙂 🙂

– Ashish Kumar

Book Review – An Ode to Life – Tajammul Kothari



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Poetry is an art and when you pen down your emotions, feelings and experience with words which can be related to the readers, you become an artist. Writers write in different genre and each has its own style and taste. This blog post is about one of my blogger friend who gave me a chance to go through his debut book titled, “An Ode to Life” containing his collection of poems. My friend Tajammul Kothari is the author of this book and it takes me immense pleasure to write the review for his debut book. I would also like to express my apologies to him as I am writing this book review post after one half years of publication as I was quite involved with my studies and other aspects. Apologies for the same Tajammul. The writer is available at his blog titled Worldly Realization. Kindly visit his blog for his beautiful work.

For all poem lovers including me, this book, An Ode to Life is a gem and is a collection of poems that highlights the different stages in the journey of life. Life has many layers and this book contains several poems depicting different stages of life. The writer has even written a thank you poem titled “A Big Thank you” to all the readers which is a lovely read and I really liked this. The book contains beautiful literary pieces with simple words and in a lucid manner. I firmly believe the one who read will definitely find it worth. The book contains poems of various genres like inspirational, romantic, sad etc. The writer in depth can be seen from an extract of his poem ,“The Road” which says:

 A long winding road called life

In each and every turn there is a surprise

Bright paths to guide you aright or

Dark alleys that hinder your sight

The book also contains romantic poems. I became really impressed the way he has expressed love in one of his poem titled “Love is to Stay” which says:

You can pierce a dagger deep inside

And break this feeble heart of mine

You can kill me with your words unkind

But you can’t murder the love

The sentence “You can’t murder love” is more than enough to say what love is. This is amazing and you will find many such kind of poems with beautiful stanzas in his book and I am sure you will love it. Poetry has its own taste and this book is really worth to read.

The book is available at following:

I would like to congratulate him for getting his work published and also like to thank him for giving me an opportunity to go through his literary pieces and I hope he will continue to offer the readers with his beautiful work in future as well in the form of his writing.

Ashish Kumar