Notes from Reading: Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Two weeks back I picked up Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. 

The book talks about enormous options Capitalism has bought us along how it has made decision process more confusing.

  1. People even incase offered rewards tends to escape from taking it when they have too many choices offered.
  2. Companies producing 20-100 types of Jeans expects you  to buy one of those or become loyal to the brand.
  3. People who buy product from big range of catalog seems less satisfied because they feel left out with not buying other available options (opportunity cost).
  4. We have too many choices, too less time to pick what is really important.

Look around yourself and choices we are thrown with:

  • Shopping Mall (Options to buy a pair of Jeans or Shoe)
  • Coffee Shop (with kind of coffee beans or ways to make coffee)
  • Medical, pension plans to select from.
  • Various mobile service providers data/voice plans.

I have been follower of Minimalism,  So when I see these wide range of options I particularly feel I am in process of suffering from decision paralysis.

The book especially talks about two different kind of humans personality a Maximizer and Satisficer.


  1.  Someone who wants best out of any situation.
  2. When it comes to buying choices, he/she will spend hours or even visit 20-30 shops to just buy a Leather Jacket.
  3.   Maximizers are more affected by external conditions in making decisions.
  4. Maximizers posses high IQ
  5. Surprisingly since Maximizers want everything so perfect, that they are the ones even making great choices are unhappy bunch.


  1. Someone who is happy with whatever situation is in hand.
  2. When it comes to buying choices Satisficers are happy with buying just what they want, after that there is no looking back.
  3. Satisficers are not much influenced with marking, offers or billboards.
  4. Satisficers posses average IQ.
  5. Satisficers are the happy bunch when it comes to looking back at life, decisions they made in general.

If you are one such person who is interested in knowing adventures of Capitalism fueled with SHIT loads of options , Behavioral economy and marketing, this is a must read book for you.

Last not the least, go through the TED talk where Barry Schwartz explains about same.

Notes from Reading: First & Last Freedom by J Krishnamurti

Picked First & Last freedom by J Krishnamurti 2 weeks back. The book is collection of his discourse on various topics.

These are some of my simplified Kindle notes from the book:

  1. Relationship invariably results in possession, in condemnation, in self-assertive demands for security, for comfort and for gratification, and in that there is naturally no love.
  2. Relationship means communion without fear, freedom to understand each other, to communicate directly.
  3. Society is the product of relationship, of yours and mine together. If we change in our relationship, society changes; merely to rely on legislation, on compulsion, for the transformation of outward society, while remaining inwardly corrupt, while continuing inwardly to seek power, position, domination, is to destroy the outward, however carefully and scientifically built.
  4. Self-knowledge cannot be gathered through anybody, through any book, through any confession, psychology, or psycho-analyst. It has to be found by yourself, because it is your life; without the widening and deepening of that knowledge of the self, do what you will.
  5. Peace will come only when you yourself are peaceful, when you yourself are at peace with your neighbour.
  6. A mind is not sensitive when it is crowded with ideas, prejudices, opinions, either for or against.
  7. Awareness is a state in which there is no condemnation, no justification or identification, and therefore there is understanding; in that state of passive, alert awareness there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced.
  8. A man who does not demand anything, who is not seeking an end, who is not searching out a result with all its implications, such a man is in a state of constant experiencing.
  9. Have you ever tried to be alone? When you do try, you will feel how extraordinarily difficult it is and how extraordinarily intelligent we must be to be alone, because the mind will not let us be alone. The mind becomes restless, it busies itself with escapes.
  10. To be creative in the truest sense of that word is to be free of the past from moment to moment, because it is the past that is continually shadowing the present.
  11. For the discovery of truth there is no path. You must enter the uncharted sea – which is not depressing, which is not being adventurous.
  12. There is no freedom if you are seeking an end, for you are tied to that end. You may be free from the past but the future holds you, and that is not freedom. It is only in freedom that one can discover anything.
  13. We gossip about others because we are not sufficiently interested in the process of our own thinking and of our own action. We want to see what others are doing and perhaps, to put it kindly, to imitate others.
  14. There are two facets to memory, the psychological and the factual. They are always interrelated, therefore not clear cut. We know that factual memory is essential as a means of livelihood but is psychological memory essential? What is the factor which retains the psychological memory? What makes one psychologically remember insult or praise? Why does one retain certain memories and reject others? Obviously one retains memories which are pleasant and avoids memories which are unpleasant.
  15. Meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge and without self-knowledge there is no meditation.

Rashmi Rathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar

This week for a change i picked up collection of poem/conversation by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. The book is poets version of conversation happening between Karn, Krishna, Kunti, Duryodhan in the battle field of Kurukshatra, part of epic saga Mahabharatha. Credit must be given to  Ramdhari Singh Dinkar  for his imagination and writing this.

Rashmi Rathi

Instead of adding my notes, I am adding some YouTube videos for you all to watch and listen to the content of this book.

I would strongly recommend everyone to watch  this video which talks about life and learning of the famous Poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.

The most famous section on the poem is where Krishna comes to Duryodhana asking him to give back kingdom to Pandavas and not doing so will result in battle which is not good for human kind. I am adding the recitation of the part by Manoj Bajpayee, award winning bollywood actor.

Another important aspect of this poem collection is that it depicts how mighty was Karn and that all of a sudden everyone including Krishna tries to persuade him and join Padavas side.

Listen to recital below where Krishna is persuading Karn to join Pandavas side

If I had enough $$, I would have defiantly made a movie to show the world how mighty was Karn. 🙂

The mighty warrior  The great leaning for us all is how to keep Dharma, Karma and our relationship everything intact and keep doing what we have to do.


Playing with Python Pandas

Its been over 3 months for me since i quit my full time job. One of the area which fascinated me all this while was data analysis.  Over coffee Anurag Ramdasan, a friend and mentor few months back suggested me to check 

After reading through and spending time on YouTube, Python Pandas felt like the package worth learning, spending time on.

So, What exactly is Pandas?

Pandas is a Python library used extensively for data analysis, with millions of tables and rows. Python being one of the easiest language to pick and wide community support, makes an excellent choice.  You can find more details and use case of it on its official website   Also did I tell you, it is open source. 🙂

Installing Pandas

Installing Pandas is very easy, all you need to do is to use pip or anaconda, popular Python package managers.

conda install pandas
pip install pandas

Alternatively check the install guide if you want to install binary packages for your operating system or source code from: 

Our exercise

After downloading the CSV file which has percentage literacy rate mentioned from year 1951 to 2011 on every 10 years basis.  The idea or the task i felt how can i get a table with state wise literacy rate (%) for Bihar, Gujarat and Assam (These are one of the many states in India) in the year 1991, 2001, 2011.

I have embedded iPython notebook below, which has Snippet with step by step explanation of the process and commands I used for this exercise :

Complete code with the CSV file and iPython notebook is on Github code repo:

1. Intro to Python 
2. Introduction to Pandas [Video]

Notes from Reading: “Wheat Belly”- Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health

Last weeks reading was Wheat Belly by William Davis MD. In the book, author talks about how over century wheat has evolved from being a wild grass to staple food and is key part of all our meals. While wheat has cured world hunger, its genetic modifications have also resulted in carrying modern day disease. 

Reading this book will scare shit out of you and make you feel that all the disease you are or your parents/society is suffering from, wheat is one major villain.

Some of the disease which Wheat is responsible for causing includes

  1.  Coeliac disease – the devastating intestinal disease that develops from exposure to wheat gluten.
  2. Neurological disorders
  3. Diabetes
  4. Heart disease
  5. Arthritis
  6. Curious rashes
  7. The paralysing delusions of schizophrenia.
  8. Appetite stimulation
  9. Exposure to brain-active exorphins (the counterpart of internally derived endorphins)
  10. Exaggerated blood sugar surges that trigger cycles of satiety alternating with heightened appetite
  11. The process of glycation that underlies disease and ageing
  12. Inflammatory and pH effects that erode cartilage and damage bone, and activation of disordered immune responses.

Unlike me, you must be thinking if at all it is possible to have a life minus wheat. The author says we will have cravings for sometime but it is possible. In the book, author has planned out 7 days wheat free meal.

Author ends up the book on the note:

Fourteen-chromosome wild grass has been transformed into the forty-two-chromosome, nitrate-fertilised, top-heavy, ultra-high-yield variety that now enables us to buy doughnuts by the dozen, pancakes by the stack and pretzels by the ‘family size’ bag.

I consciously decided this time not to share my kindle notes rather write a small snippet from the book, hope you all like it.

Random Thoughts: A perfect world

  1. Where existed no religion
  2. Where no one was judged
  3. Where everyone lived with absolute freedom
  4. Where goods were plenty but no money
  5. Where everyone was human not robots
  6. Where relationship existed for real with no pre-requisites or conditions
  7. Where existed no society or divisions on basis of color of your skin or looks, height, weight or your mother tongue
  8. Where pursuing arts, philosophy, day dreaming Etc were absolutely acceptable
  9. Where relationships had no requisites or legality 
  10. Where existed no rich or poor
  11. Where anyone could travel, live at any part of the planet

Random Thoughts: living in present

I quit my  full time job in April. Over these few months I have spent good time in reading & mostly philosophy.

The common learning from it for me has been is living in this present moment.  

  1. During school days, we work hard and plan/aim for getting admission to some college, university if we fail, we become unhappy and sometimes take extreme steps.
  2. Liked someone for years but never had courage to say so and all off a sudden get to see her/his wedding pics floating on  timeline [social media]
  3. We fall in love, plan for living together entire life, things fall apart and we get depressed, stop believing in Love overall.
  4. We are so busy at work for hope of getting promotions or incentives that we keep delaying our visit to parents & all of a sudden we get to know he/she is no more.
  5. We aspire to start or venture into something but so scared of failure that even though things are rough at current workplace we have our ass hooked.
  6. We avoid talking to someone or venturing into challenge again because we failed being successful in past.

What is going on here?

  1. We are postponing our actions.
  2. We are scared of failure.
  3. We are too focussed on our future.
  4. Our prejudice got more powerful in decision making.


We are living in this society which has certain protocol & we are conditioned to follow.

  1. A society where failure is considered stigma.
  2. A society where life partners or match making is done on your height, color and physical appearance. Not what you are as an individual.
  3. A society where taking bold steps for doing things now is considered full of risk and has no support system from family or friends.
  4. A society where religion divides country & relationships among we humans.
  5. A society where you take birth, study, take job, get married, raise kids and die. Anything else makes you a misfit.
  6. A society which has taken away our power of questioning the authority or stakeholders.

THINK, if you want to remain on an autopilot of future or past biases or Live a life NOW.

Notes from Reading: Think Simple, How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity

This was one of the very first book I have read about Apple, Ken Segall {author} was part of external team which came up with some beautiful advertisement for Apple.  In this book he shares all his experince about working with Steve Jobs, culture at Apple and what makes it unique company.

These are some of my Kindle notes from the book:

    1. Minimizing the choices provides customers with a simpler path, a better value, and a happier frame of mind.
    2. Charging excessive prices and offering confusing choices make customers feel like they’re being squeezed for every extra dollar.
    3. The easiest way to screw up a project is to give it too much time—enough time for people to rethink, revise, have second thoughts, invite others into the project, get more opinions, conduct tests, etc.
    4. To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.
    5. Apple continues to market its products as it always has in an emotional, human manner, pointing out benefits rather than specs.
    6. When people trust a brand and see real value in it, they’re willing to pay more for it. If you have a strong brand, as Apple does today, you can charge a premium price and people will line up to pay it. Profit margins are high.
    7. You can tell a lot about someone by the people he or she admires.
    8. Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.
    9. The common problem dealing with any client. Once they’ve fallen in love with something you don’t like, the only way to really move them off of it is to show them something better.
    10. Interesting thing about the way Steve Jobs worked. He had an opinion. A very strong opinion. The kind of opinion that might knock you over and kick you a few times. But that’s not to say he wasn’t reasonable or wouldn’t ultimately change his mind if confronted with heartfelt opinions presented with passion.
    11. Apple doesn’t just keep naming simple for the sake of brand-building. It keeps naming simple so it doesn’t confuse the hell out of people. At the end of the day, that’s what Simplicity does best. With perfect clarity, it tells customers who you are and what you sell.
    12. Complexity has a nasty habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    13. At the end of the day, most businesses come down to relationships. A less formal presentation with honest debate is the way to strengthen your relationships—and get better results.
    14. From the beginning, Apple has succeeded because it makes products that reflect human values.
    15. Apple believed that what the music player category needed most was Simplicity, and whichever company delivered it would soon be “running this planet.”
    16. One can’t have a deep feeling for Simplicity without being able to appreciate human values and understand what drives human behavior.
    17. What’s made Apple’s messaging successful is that it doesn’t really try to be anything. It simply acts like itself—which is one of Simplicity’s guiding lights. It’s more believable, it’s more authentic, it’s more simple.
    18. Strong customer loyalty translates to repeat sales and creates evangelists who recruit friends, family, and colleagues. Loyalty like this feeds on itself, receiving a new jolt with each successive product introduction.
    19. Lawyers play a big role in the marketing business. They come in handy when a company gets sued for a few billion dollars.
    20.  Sometimes it just requires a special strength to fight your way toward a goal when the naysayers are convinced you’re heading down a path of doom.
    21. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.
    22. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
    23. When there’s a healthy balance in the brand bank, customers are more willing to ride out the tough times. With a low balance, they might be more tempted to cut and run.

Notes from Reading: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

First thing first, Modern Romance is not a guide for finding hook-up or soulmate. 🙂

ok let’s continue further. Aziz Ansari is a seasoned standup comedian. He wrote this book mentioning his encounter with women via online dating. The book mostly talks about all sides of online dating & how horizon of meeting THAT PERFECT MATCH has changed.  His finding are backed with data.  I can admit that I had no clue that dating is a science. One has to learn it and like excel in it.

Some of the most weird learning :

  1. If a someone says she is busy, it means she is not interested [considering you asked her out more then once]
  2. Dating is a big pool with options & everyone is in hurry, kind of photo you put as profile picture can make break it [tinder era]
  3. Your response time to a msg also decides on your chances by other side [like really WTF]
  4. Don’t start conversation with just hello [umm, talk about Donald Trump maybe]
  5. Repressive society/countires like gulf youths are making full use of dating, they organize hotel parties meetups. [socializing under burqa via online dating platform]
  6. Online dating has given rise to cheating. [umm.. ok]
  7. People these days breakup via whatsapp, Imsg [I am not surprised]
  8. Sexting is a big thing & most youth are fine with it. [apparently it is a breather for long distance relationship]
  9. Open Relationship is a trend and both partners are cool with it. [umm… once in while we will find some one else via dating site & go hookup]
  10. While some people blame online dating for many problems, many folks are getting married. [yum, people getting married after swiping RIGHT via Tinder]

Umm.. All I can say, I had great weekend and good learning/understanding after reading this. Thanks Aziz , peace Brother. 🙂

Tip: Hear him say a lot on same on Netflix , he sums up these issues beautifully there. 😀

On being a connector

I have always liked meeting people, talking to them. This seems to be one of the main reason why I enjoy being a connector. At number of occasions i have been asked few questions, I have added them with my thoughts.

1. Is connector a job title?

I would say no, It is not. You don’t need a work title to be a connector. The most important characteristics of a connector is to connect. The connection can be in many forte from connecting a talented candidate to great organization to helping someone looking for expert advice while he is in process of his PHD thesis. 

2. Do I get paid for connecting people?

Yes, I do get paid. I get paid as karma, coffee and opportunity to walk to the life of many interesting folks. My currency is getting to know and get connected to many more people. I consider it as a chain reaction.

3. Can anyone be a connector?

Yes, we are social being. Society separates us from other animals on this planet. So all you have to do is to help those who needs it.

4. How do I connect people?

Mostly via e-mails. On an average I fire one-two email everyday introducing one friend to another. I exit the conversation after that.

5. Can I use social media for being connector?

Yes, absolutely. I understand for many social media is a place 4 venting anger & for others selling brands. At same time, social media has great set of people who are always open to help. So you need to be humble, empathetic and honest for all the love & connections.

6. Did I ever ended up getting screwed for making connections?

It has happened sometimes yes :

  • I connected someone desperately looking for job, in month time he left the job and switched for higher payment.
  • Recommended someone as consultant in an organization & he ended up bitching about me to make himself & his work look good.

7. What has been the learning from this journey?

Do not push/force or be opinionated, just connect and walk away. If you will give advice or stress, you might end up being the bad guy in the process.

If you are a connector, please share your tips. It will help me in getting better.