me with this book meme that’s actually hopped from LiveJournal to the
"other" blog world. Sorry, my response has been late. But getting the
flu has at least one upside, and that is that you find some time to write stuff
like this. You can’t work even if you want to because your taste buds are shot,
and without being able to taste food properly, a chef is pretty useless.
Here we go then…
Total Number of Books I Own: Like Yazad, I never counted. I estimate
several hundred (at least 700 or so). I got them insured for Rs. 50000 which is
much lower than what they’re worth. The collection also grows faster than I can read
them, so I have about 20 books still to be read.
Last Book I Bought: I spent many hours at bookshops in Singapore
during my last trip a couple of months back (when I
wasn’t eating, that is), and the last book I bought was a double
volume of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen
Confidential and A
Last Book I Read: Why
Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What to Do
About It. I borrowed this from a friend because the title got me
curious. (I’m always curious about books on human behaviour.) It turned out to
be mostly crap and I read only 3/4 of it. Does that count? If not, the last book
I read completely was Frederick Forsyth’s Avenger.
It was entertaining but set off my "bullshit meter" far too often.
Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me: I can’t possibly restrict it to
five, but those are the rules, so let’s give it a shot.
Writing Well by William Zinsser: This book is invaluable to people who
want to be better writers. When you read it, you will realise how much more you
could be. I owe much of my penchant for simplicity and clarity to this man. It’s
affordable, so you should buy a copy too.
Design of Everyday Things: If you think I bitch too much, you can partly
blame this book. It opened my eyes to the world of design, and showed how poor
design is responsible for product screw-ups. If you’ve wondered why people push
a door when it’s clearly marked "Pull", this book will tell you. (And
it’s a design problem, not a user problem.)
Productive Projects and Teams: Every person who manages a team of
professionals in the IT business should have a copy of this book, and even if
you’re not in IT, a large part of the management advice in this book
will still be useful to you. Stuff like how overtime doesn’t help in the long
run, or how motivational posters actually have the opposite effect… here, read
the sample chapter online.
The Psychology of Persuasion: Robert Cialdini has written a wonderful
book on how we are manipulated by other people all the time. He describes these
"weapons of influence", why they work, and how to protect yourself
Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions and the Joys of Thai Cooking: Believe
it or not, this book has only 30 recipes, but its value lies in the detailed way
the author explains the principles of cooking and combining flavours. I’m a
strong believer in teaching people how to cook rather than teaching them
just recipes, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read her pieces on balancing
flavours, making curry
pastes, and cooking to
taste rather than blindly following recipes. This book closely competed with
the far more formidable tome on Chinese cooking, The
Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp. So why did It Rains
Fishes win? Because Tropp’s book is not in the least for the casual cook. It
can be intimidating reading it if you’re a novice, but a great learning
experience if you’re not (and I wasn’t.)
Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs
Is there anyone out there who hasn’t been tagged yet? People like Yazad have
tossed their nets out to catch everyone. After much cross-checking, here are my