As I was drudging along the well trodden path of a soon-to-be graduate, Zen Garden by Subroto Bagchi was a pleasantly inspiring read for me. Aptly subtitled ‘Conversations with Pathmakers’, it is exactly that – a collection of conversations with the entrepreneurs who helped shape India’s dynamic future. I took a special interest as I began reading this book as the dedication goes out to one Shrutee, my near-namesake.
The book is divided into sections with titles matching the focus of the interviews grouped under each of them. ‘Determination’, ‘Vision’ and ‘Courage’ start off the sections which also include a few unique ones like ‘Pain’ and ‘Altruism’. Originally published under Bagchi’s column in Forbes India, these conversations are succinct and easy to follow, which make them a very approachable read even for those disinterested in business and entrepreneurship.
The first chord that strikes in the mind when one talks about any new venture, small though it may be, is that of money. The very first conversation in Zen Garden proves the importance of things beyond simple money. As the founder and CEO of Sula Vineyards states, almost in passing, “…I also started online trading and made myself a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That was to become my seed investment in Sula.” This casual, almost throwaway reference to the foundation of his company had me reading it over multiple times in astonishment. Philosophical literature has pages abound dedicated to the importance of aspects beyond the material, but this statement made it all real. The seemingly simple power of dedication is highlighted as a core value beautifully.
Why does this book, some may ask, deserve more attention than others written on similar topics? I would say that the charm of this collection lies in its honesty and directness. The author himself has very less to say. Bagchi has left the conversations as they are, or has simply narrated them and has summarized each section – leaving the voices of the book to stand strong without any scope of distortion. The reader is free to take away innumerable gems from these open conversations. This “power to receive”, as Bagchi calls it, can be exercised by the reader throughout the journey of the book.
Who would not love an action-packed fantasy voyage to a mystifying world?
This is for all those who like to read novels like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series. For all the adventure loving readers, author John Stephens presents the second instalment to the series of “BOOK OF BEGINNINGS”- The Fire Chronicle.
It narrates the story of three siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma in an action filled, mysterious journey. Their unexplained surname starting from ‘P’ is like a constant stimulation for them to move ahead to find out about their parents. The characterization of Kate as an elder responsible sister, Michael as a dork brother (he places Dwarves in a great regard) and Emma as a carefree little girl is very properly done. The three of them are the protagonist of the series but their eccentric wizard guardian Mr.Pym is also a noteworthy character. From time to time he jumps into the story and guides them towards a proper direction.
Michael and Emma find a man who saw their parents ten years ago. He has a Map to a distant place that may hold key to their questions. In the first book ending, they were sent back to the orphanage but Kate, whose connection to the Book of Atlas is growing stronger day by day knows the ride to search for their parents is yet to start. She experiences her first crush on a boy, who happens to have a dark destiny ahead of him. The other two are reunited to their guardian for a short time. He tells them about the Fire chronicle, that they must retrieve.
This is a roller-coaster ride, which includes both old and new friends to help the main characters in the run. It has visits to the 19th century New York, Antarctica and a rescue operation of an Elf princess. It is an amalgam of humour, a forbidden love and suspense. If asked which character played the most important part in this, hands-down its Michael’s story. This book develops him for the trials ahead making him more mature and courageous. The author has done justice to each character and the story plot by giving detailed structure to every scene and adding punch to it with a cliff hanger ending.
Overall a very entertaining read for all the readers especially young adults.
About the Author
John Stephens was executive producer of a much known Television series named Gossip Girl and a writer for Gilmore Girls and The O.C. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. His debut book 'The Emerald Atlas' is the first in a series of books, published in 2011 followed by The Fire Chronicle in 2012.