In My Hands Today…

A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India – Josy Joseph

‘Every day, millions of people — the rich, the poor and the many foreign visitors — are hunting for ways to get their business done in modern India. If they search in the right places and offer the appropriate price, there is always a facilitator who can get the job done. This book is a sneak preview of those searches, the middlemen who do those jobs, and the many opportunities that the fast-growing economy offers.’

Josy Joseph draws upon two decades as an investigative journalist to expose a problem so pervasive that we do not have the words to speak of it. The story is big: that of treacherous business rivalries, of how some industrial houses practically own the country, of the shadowy men who run the nation’s politics. The story is small: a village needs a road and a hospital, a graveyard needs a wall, people need toilets.

A Feast of Vultures is an unprecedented, multiple-level inquiry into modern India, and the picture it reveals is both explosive and frightening. Within these covers is unimpeachable evidence against some of the country’s biggest business houses and political figures, and the reopening of major scandals that have shaped its political narratives. Through hard-nosed investigations and the meticulous gathering of documentary evidence, Joseph clinically examines and irrefutably documents the non-reportable.

It is a troubling narrative, but also a call to action and a cry for change. A tour de force through the wildly beating heart of post-socialist India, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the large, unwieldy truth about this nation.

In My Hands Today…

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need – Bill Gates

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical – and accessible – plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet’s slide toward certain environmental disasters. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions-suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.

In My Hands Today…

If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging – Jann Arden

Jann Arden – bestselling author, recording artist and late-blooming TV star is back with this funny, heartfelt and fierce memoir on becoming a woman of a certain age. The power, gravity and freedom she’s found at fifty-seven are superpowers she believes all of us can unleash.

Digging deep into her strengths, her failures and her losses, Jann Arden brings us an inspiring account of how she has surprised herself, in her fifties, by at last becoming completely her own person. Like many women, it took Jann a long time to realize that trying to be pleasing and likeable and beautiful in the eyes of others was a loser’s game. Letting it rip, and damning the consequences, is not only liberating, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun: “Being the age I am–that so many women are–is just the best time of my life.”

In My Hands Today…

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists–struggle to make them “stick.”

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds–from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony–draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice.

In My Hands Today…

Aimless in Banaras: Wanderings in India’s Holiest City – Bishwanath Ghosh

While cremating his mother at the famed Manikarnika Ghat, Bishwanath Ghosh pretended he was a writer collecting material for a future book rather than a grieving son—his way of dealing with the last rites. A few years later, he returns to Banaras to write that book.

Plunging into its timeless aura, he roams its ghats and galis, sails through the cool breeze of the Ganga, walks through the heat of funeral pyres. One moment he is observing a sadhu show off his penile strength, in the next he is on a boat with a young woman who has been prophesied to marry seven times; one moment he is in conversation with the celebrated writer Kashinath Singh, who is an atheist, and in the next he is having tea with a globe- trotting priest and a god-fearing doctor … Ghosh finds a story in every bend as he engages with quintessential Banarasis—their paan-stuffed mouths spouting expletives and wisdom with equal flair—and discovers why they are among the happiest people on earth.

Then one evening at Manikarnika, as he emerges from a temple, wearing ash from the cremation ground on his forehead, he finds a bit of Banaras in himself.

Aimless in Banaras is not only a sensuous portrait of India’s holiest city but also a meditation on life—and death.