Notes from reading: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I got to know about this book from one of the podcast where Naval was guest.

As book title says, it talks about us Homo Sapiens.  It gives great deal of insights about :

  1. our origin and why Homo Sapiens survived and others disappeared.
  2. About how agriculture changed our way of living.
  3. Building of great empires.
  4. How religion played significant role in building a society
  5. Slavery  & cause of same
  6. innovation in science & technology
  7. Colonial expansion
  8. Beginning of Capitalism
  9. Consumerism
  10. And much more….

Don’t be surprised if you end up finishing the book in one go. 🙂

The book also gives brief introduction of what is coming next in human advancement like Cyborg, Bionics, Super humans, bio-engineering.

Last not the least, my friend Steve just shared via twitter this interesting piece of information

Notes from reading: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

 This book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” is collection of his daily entry of Haruki Murakami . He tries to connect his regular running habit and its learning to his way of life.  

He traveled all the way to Athens and on a humid day made run to Marathon village all by himself in heat and traffic. [super crazy :)]

These are some notes from the book:

  • Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself.
  • To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow.
  • I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void.
  • Human beings’ emotions are not strong or consistent enough to sustain a vacuum.
  • Growing older and slowing down are just part of the natural scenery.
  • You can’t please everybody.
  • When you’re young, you really need to prioritize in life, figuring out in what order you should divide up your time and energy. If you don’t get that sort of system set by a certain age, you’ll lack focus and your life will be out of balance.
  • I’m no great runner, but I’m definitely a strong runner. The more I ran, the more my physical potential was revealed.
  • Life just isn’t fair, is how it used to strike me. Some people can work their butts off and never get what they’re aiming for, while others can get it without any effort at all. But even in a situation that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness.
  • Human beings naturally continue doing things they like, and they don’t continue what they don’t like.
  • No matter how strong a will a person has, no matter how much he may hate to lose, if it’s an activity he doesn’t really care for, he won’t keep it up for long. Even if he did, it wouldn’t be good for him.
  • I don’t think we should judge the value of our lives by how efficient they are.
  • The body is an extremely practical system. You have to let it experience intermittent pain over time, and then the body will get the point. As a result, it will willingly accept (or maybe not) the increased amount of exercise it’s made to do.
  • Nobody’s going to win all the time. On the highway of life you can’t always be in the fast lane.
  • Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.
  • The most important quality a novelist has to have is: talent, focus, endurance, patience .
  • Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest.
  • People have certain inborn tendencies, and whether a person likes them or not, they’re inescapable. Tendencies can be adjusted, to a degree, but their essence can never be changed.
  • As you age you learn even to be happy with what you have. That’s one of the few good points of growing older.
  • If something’s worth doing, it’s worth giving it your best—or in some cases beyond your best.
  • To deal with something unhealthy, a person needs to be as healthy as possible.
  • In most cases learning something essential in life requires physical pain.
  • If pain weren’t involved, who in the world would ever go to the trouble of taking part in sports like the triathlon or the marathon, which demand such an investment of time and energy? It’s precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive—or at least a partial sense of it.

Notes from reading: Why do you live With Stress by J Krishnamurti

Spent reading J Krishnamurti lecture which is converted as book title why do you live with stress. It is a very short under an hour reading.

This are some Kindle notes from the book :

  • The common factor of every human being is that they suffer: agony, despair, loneliness, unhappiness, a great deal of sorrow, fear and so on.
  • Each human being, represents the whole of mankind.
  • Until the mind is free of pressure there is no new way of living: you may join communes, start a new way of cooking and all the rest of it, but that is not freedom from pressure.
  • Knowledge is the accumulation of various experiences, various incidents, accidents, dangers, and so on, registered as memory.
  • The brain is extraordinarily old, conditioned according to its memories.
  • Our actual daily life is based on the memories of the past, our relationship with each other, man and woman, friends and so on, is based on the past.
  • All our activities, all our social, moral, religious, the gods, everything is based on thought.
  • Thought has not created nature – the mountains, the rivers, the trees, but man thinking about them makes use of them, like the chair. So thought has created the world in which we actually live.
  • Thought is the response of memory.  Without memory there is no thought. You cannot function radically, or sanely, or logically, or illogically, without thought.
  • Thought has created illusions, which are also reality.
  • Being limited, being broken up, being part of time, thought is never complete. complete order is only possible when thought has realised its limitation and therefore accepts that limitation which has its proper place.
  • We said thought is limited, broken up, part of time, which is the movement of knowledge, therefore utterly, completely limited.
  • Whatever that thought does, being limited, must be continuous disorder. That’s an absolute fact, irrevocable.
  • Thought is really the most mischievous thing in life, the greatest criminal.

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.

Maximizers:

  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.

Satisficers:

  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.

References:
Mahabharata
Karn

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 https://data.gov.in/ 

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 http://pandas.pydata.org/   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: http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/stable/install.html 

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:  https://github.com/koolhead17/scripts/tree/001/playin_with_pandas

Reference:
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.

Why?

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.