Monday, October 27, 2014

Your chance to get PUBLISHED in an UPCOMING NOVEL!!!

Your chance to get PUBLISH! This season of love… Poets, here is a golden opportunity for you to feature your poems in Piyush Naik's next novel "Bizarre Emotions". Published by Red Ink Publishers schedule to release in January,2015

The poems should be written on the following emotions. 1) Attraction (dilkashi) 2) Attachment ( uns) 3) Love (mohobbat) 4) Trust (akidat) 5) Worship (ibadat) 6) Madness (junoo) 7) Death (maut)
Mail us your poems to our mail id with subject ‘BEpoem’ Deadline- 15 November, 2014



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Interview with the Author, DEVANG KANAVIA!!!

    Last week, I read a book named "Best Sellers" and I was so impressed with it that I suggested it to all my friends the next day. I got a wonderful opportunity to talk with one of its authors, Devang Kanavia, and I would like to share it with all of you. One of the best interviews I have ever been a part of. :-) 

1. Do tell us something about yourself, Devang, before we discuss about the book.

I am a Senior Consultant with Acumen, a business consulting firm. So by profession I am a consultant and a coach on leadership and sales. I am known for making complex topics easy to digest, bringing out of the box ideas and for creating lasting impact with people that I work with.

In my free time I love writing fiction concepts, being inquisitive about businesses and interacting with people.

I am passive on the social network and very active on the real network. My real network comprises of my clients, my training participants and all the people I meet through my work. Apart from them, my network also consists of my other set of gurus and teachers with whom you would find me chatting in my free time…. panwalas, shop owners, vegetable vendors, people selling in the malls, possibly everyone that I meet. 

2. What was the idea behind writing Best SELLERS? What made you think that the story has to be told to people?

It was just out of a crazy thought. You know how sometimes you get up in the morning and have this thought of going to the beach or go on a long drive someplace. It was something similar. It was one of the days while we were working on a client engagement, that Tanveer pulled me out and said, “Devang, let’s write a book on sales.” I was like, “OK.” Tanveer being a creative guy often has these creative pangs to do something new. So, my first response was it’s just a thought, he will forget it over the weekend. But then on Saturday, he called back and asked, “What do you think?” I was like, “Are you serious?” He said, “No two thoughts about it!” Now, that was something Tanveer would never say if he wasn’t sure. So I said, “let me think over it.” You know how it is, I am a Consultant first then an author. I have been conditioned into rechecking first, only then giving commitments. So I went out and made all the authors on sales happy that day. How? I bought their books. And then, there was no looking back. We just wanted to be a part of that league.

In our work domain, we constantly interact with clients and share different thoughts towards making their businesses more robust and sustainable. For this, we get trained on being observant about things happening around and of course being well read. Lately we had worked on some really great stuff in the sales and customer experience domain which had given our clients some fantastic results. If people and businesses have got success out of this, why not share this simple but powerful thoughts with everyone. Hence the idea of sharing our experiences with people across the nation emerged.

3. What made you give the title to the book - Best Sellers? Didn't you know that it takes lot of time for an author to achieve this tag? :)

Title!! That is one amazing incident. It was almost similar to what is mentioned in the book. I was in office sitting late evening while Tanveer was at Bangalore airport waiting for his flight. And we two were discussing about the name on phone. He was already working on something else on his laptop, when we were discussing this. And I was rattling off different names that I had enlisted. I asked him, “Tanveer, what do you think?” “Best Sellers”, he responded. I asked him, “What?” and he says, “You asked me what I am doing, isn’t it?” He was actually checking the list of Best Sellers to understand how others have put their names. That’s how the book got the title, Best Sellers.

Yes, we are aware of the fact that it takes a lot of focused effort in the right direction to achieve the tag of best sellers, but our aim for the book was a bigger game. It wasn’t about making the book a Best Seller, it was about making the readers across India as Best Sellers.

4. What made you and Mr. Tanveer come together for this book? Whose idea was it to write this story?

Tanveer and me both work at the same consulting firm, Acumen. We have been on the same team for a lot of client engagements related to strategy, change leadership, customer experience and sales. As mentioned in the previous response to one of questions, it was Tanveer's thought to write a book on sales. 

To portray it in a story format, was my idea. 
In my experience, I have found management books being read through their table of contents. Readers pick and chose the topics they wish to read and only read those topics. The other dilemma is that very few management books are read through till the last page. That is something that an author would never want. 

Stories are easy to remember and comprehend as well. And stories are a powerful medium to impart learnings. Our thought was to make learnings simple to understand for the reader and ensure that they go through each learning, till the last page.

That is how we thought of penning our thoughts through a story rather than plain fundamentals.

5. How easy or hard was it to get published?

To tell you frankly, this entire life cycle of book writing, publishing and marketing is a first time for us. Having a publisher by your side, who knows the entire life cycle at the back of his hand and also someone whom you can trust on, is critical for every author who wishes to take this leap. We found that partner in Sohin Lakhani, from Embassy. His passion has always been books which makes him an avid reader and an even bigger critic of the art. 

Coming out with the first draft took us only 45 days. The dry spell started after we got the first feedback from Sohin. The first thing he told us was, “Boss, this is good. But won’t work!” And he shared his experiences and gave feedback. He further told us that, “Why are you guys writing on sales? Sales people don’t buy or read books.” And I still remember we were sitting in a cafĂ© in Andheri, Lokhandwala, and couldn’t gulp the coffee further. 
Then it went on a pause for a month. And then the zidd came back. One weekend, we just sat and made the changes based on the feedback. 

Now this time, Sohin was the person who couldn’t gulp his coffee. “You guys made all the changes? That is not something authors do.” And we replied, “Our book talks about Listening. If we are too caught up with our own views, what are we expecting the readers to do?” And after that, Sohin has been our fuel in this entire journey. To tell you, the book went through 7 version changes before it got finalized. He has been a partner in true sense and gave a lot of insights to us through this journey. 

6. Is there an Entity in your real life too? What gave you an inspiration to build this character?

In fact we play the role of Entity for our clients providing direction to them in growing their businesses. 
While etching the character we had our CEO, Jayesh Talpade, in our mind. The personality of the Entity in the book has a strong resemblance to him.  And he has been like the Entity for us in our lives, guiding us and helping us search for answers within ourselves.

7. What expectations do you have with the book?

If you read the book you would realize that the Best Sellers depicted here are people from everyday life. These are people who do things differently and leave a mark for a lifetime. With this book out, I would want to see more and more Best Sellers around me. 

8. Are you applying the same strategies to sell and market your book as even it is considered to be product these days?
We did apply the differentiation element in the book launch by having all elements in it which were different from regular book launches.  Well, it was in a lounge to start with. The book was creatively launched witnessing a mix bag of interesting flavors like a chat between Dr. Kalim Khan and the Authors, followed by a brief talk on Leadership and Cricket by Ayaz Memon, a live soul funk music performance by Thomson Andrews and a short play performance by Rishi Khurana and team. 
Throughout the book we are talking a unique experience. So if we don’t give it our clients and audiences ourselves then who will? We made a laundry list of things that people do during book launches and ensured that we don’t do the same. Acumen team through its creative brainstorming brought to life the unique book launch. 

9. Suppose if you win a major award for this book, what speech would you give? 
If we win a prestigious award, we would first and foremost appreciate and thank all the Best Sellers in our lives. And too all those who read the book, had faith in what we wrote and reinvented themselves to become Best Sellers in whichever field they are in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tamanna by Tejeshwar Singh (Book Review: 2.5*/5)!!!

      I am done reading another book by Fingerprint Publication. "Tamanna" is the 2nd book written by Tejeshwar Singh, an author whom you would mistake for South Superstar, Nagarjuna. The cover page of the book specifies that it's a tale where the boy keeps loving a girl but could not achieve her. After reading the synopsis, you become more clear that the book you are about to start reading is a sad story with a very less probability of having a Happy Ending. 

            Tamanna is based on the extra-marital affair or love happening after the marriage. It's sort of one-sided love story but in a very pure manner. If I would tell you that a book is based on extra-marital affair, you will end up imagining love-making and wild scenes but this book has none. It is based on author's real story and only 10% fiction is added to it. Considering that the book is based on a true story and very less manipulation is made to it, I can only say that it's an honest attempt by Tejeshwar Singh which you would like only if you have gone through something similar. I liked that author didn't overdo anything as it would have seemed to be unacceptable. Imagining,  you will feel that the story must have happened somewhere with someone.

            First half is very slow but easy language makes you read fast and reach 2nd half of it. As soon as the 2nd half begins, you start searching for some twist to occur. Arjun is happily married with Sangini and also have a very beautiful daughter. He sees Tamanna at a common friend's party and falls in love with her. Tamanna is already married to Sanjay and has a child. Both the family becomes friend and they hang out at each other houses every now and then. With every meeting, Arjun's obsession for Tamanna keeps growing. The book, therefore, expresses different emotions that protagonist goes through in this journey of love where he can neither express nor keep it with himself. 

            I wished if this book was written better. It had a story line which is very different from other books that are publishing these days. If author could have fictionalized it a lot more and created a drama out of it, this book could have been something else. 2nd half puts some life in the book when Sanjay starts dealing with Arjun on a business deal otherwise the book was stagnant at one point itself. I give this book 2.5 out of 5 and I expect author to read more books before writing his next so that he gets an idea how to fictionalize a real story to make it interesting for the avid readers. 



God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian (Book Review: 4.25*/5)!!!

Reading Ravi Subramanian’s book are a wonderful experience as he takes you into the world of banking and thriller and does not let you breathe normal once you start. I have been his fan since The Bankster and didn’t miss both the books that released after that. I am just done reading God is a Gamer which comes with a tagline- “Is revenge a crime?” And I tell you, readers, out there:- This is not a typical revenge drama but much more than that. I am astonished with the fact that Ravi comes up with a new plot line every time he writes a book in the genre of thriller. Not even a single sentence can be skipped. That’s the power of his writing. This 310-pages thriller does not let you keep the book aside even for a while. A perfect page-turner it is!

Though like every book of Subramanian, you will find it little hard initially as the events unfold one after another, characters keep getting introduced back to back and terms that you have never read before are the main elements around which the book progresses. But gradually, you will find yourself intrigued in the book so deeply that you will never blink in fear of losing a nanosecond of experience. This is the first book that’s based on bitcoin thriller, as per the synopsis, and therefore, I should applaud author for choosing this topic for writing his new thriller. It has taken 3 years for Ravi to work on this story and write it. And it’s totally worth. 

The real fun of the book starts when Varun takes an entry and changes the whole scenario in which the Indiscape had been working since it got founded. The confidence that Aditya shows in him and the hatred of Sundeep towards Varun equalizes the pace of the story and gives a reader’s heart a chance to beat in its normal speed again. Haha! Malvika’s death and the involvement of Tanya in finding out the reason of her death, later on, the increasing closeness between Varun and Tanya makes the story more interesting and you want to know all of this is going to get spoiled ahead. Because the author does not let his book be a normal read till end. The shuffling of story between Washington, Mumbai, Goa and New York is exceptionally handled. 

The anti-climax is fun to read and I thought that the book is finished just there. But the next chapter made me realize that climax is yet to come and after finishing that particular chapter, I had nothing but lots of appreciation for the author. I just felt Adrian’s part little dis-engaging and uninteresting. Also I wished to see Sundeep in little more active scenario after Varun’s entry in the book. Too many characters with no brief introduction makes it hard to enjoy the story in its initial few pages. But in all, I would say that Ravi Subramanian is just creating competition for himself with each book. He is making his readers expect more from him with every announcement. I give this book 4.25*/5. It deserves to be in your bookshelf. 

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Best SELLERS by Devang/Tanveer (Book Review-4*/5)!!!

     Enter into any bookstore and you will find many books asking you to pick them up because they are a great reference on how to sell your product. Selling and marketing has become a new phenomenon globally because of which competition is very intense among rival these days. Every company needs few new principles which can show them a direction they are missing out from their meetings and modus operandi. "Best Sellers" is a book that makes people into selling and marketing realize what mistake they do because of which they find it hard to make their mark in the current race where a pinch of mistake can take you far behind than others.

       Devang Kanavia and Tanveer Shaikh chose to share their message through a fiction story where Aditya and Ryan are the heads of selling and marketing department of Maxima. They find that their company is incurring only losses and every principle that they applied have failed severely. Finally, they hire a consultant named ENTITY who helps them for 6 weeks. He suggests new key principles which helps Aditya and Ryan notice their mistakes and adopt the new findings. The book also has a tagline "Because everything is about selling". Easiest language is used to make the message reach everyone who picks up the book. Story is not made confusing and wanna-be in quest of making it more interesting. Focus on the plot has been kept right from the first word to the last. 

           If someone would ask me what I would say about "Bestsellers" in a sentence, I would say "It's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari for sales and marketing professionals". Yes, it is that good. The way both the protagonists find the answers themselves creates an excitement within you as a reader. The important sentences are underlined and even mentioned at the end of each chapter. The intention of authors are clear. They just want to make you aware and serious regarding your product. They are asking you to create a brand of your product, make  yourself unique so that anyone meeting you once remember you for life etc. With each sentence, the book goes in a mode where you want to start beginning on yourself and the organization desperately using the principles shared in the book. I would suggest every Sales and Marketing guy to have this book with them. I give the book 4* out of 5. 



Operation Mom by Reenita Malhotra Hora (Book Review-2.75*/5)!!!

   "Operation Mom" is Reenita Malhotra Hora's 4th book. Published by HarperCollins, this 234-pages novel is a perfect and typical chick-lit that the Indian audience enjoys, specially girls. Operation Mom is an attempt to encourage youths to think about their mother's life which becomes nothing more than a prisoner's after we are born. Though the protagonist of this book, Ila Isham does it to keep her mom busy as she wants to stalk the pop star, Ali Zafar, but still the book says a lot about the relationship between a mother and daughter and especially about the kind of transformation our mothers have to see to bring up their children in the right way. 

         Reenita Hora has used good language which makes you even more interested in the story. I wasn't sure by the plot that the story would be able to impress me enough but the way first half has been written creates enough excitement in you to know what happened in the climax. Few scenes are wonderfully described by the authoress. My personal favorite is the one where she gets to know about her mother's history and get surprised as to why is she being restricted to get obsessed by Ali Zafar. The attitude of discussing the three generations is also well done by the authoress. I personally liked the character of Deepali which gives the book a momentum whenever it starts falling down. Aunty Maleeka is another interesting character that keeps the book alive. 

          The cover page of the book is uniquely crafted which secretly speaks a lot about the story. I loved the way chapters were kept limited as it allows a new reader to grasp the tale easily. I just wished second half to be more delighting and catchy. I hated the parts where SMS conversations were discussed briefly. It could have been cut short. The book got stuck in between and remained at the same spot until author realized that the climax has to be begun. It is then that the story is suddenly given pace. My summary of the review would be an amazing story skewed by its second half after a wonderful excitement generated by its first half. I give it 2.75* out of 5. But still, it's a light read and chick-lit lovers would appreciate it for its genuineness. 



Friday, October 3, 2014

And We Remained by Asad Ali Junaid (Book Review-3*/5)!!!

         I started reading "And We Remained" by Asad Ali Junaid on 1st October. After completing half of it, I began reading "Half Girlfriend" which got delivered on 1st itself. After completing/reviewing it, I completed 2nd half of it today. So many Halves in the above sentences, right? Haha! Before starting to talk about the book, I would like to inform you that this book is not just written by the author, but he has himself designed the cover page of the book being a designer himself and also went on publishing it on his own. For this tremendous efforts, author should be applauded irrespective what the book is all about. 

          Coming to the book, it is one among many that discusses college life of a group of friends and how they face that all of us do in our college lives- identity crisis, friends, girls, crushes, bunks, bad scores, semesters, parents, joblessness etc. Author has tried to write it in a most specific way without getting deep into something that is not part of the main theme of the story. It basically talks about the inclination of 3 friends towards a girl named Wardha who studies with them. Well, it sounds little illogical and unbelievable but that's what author has decided to write on. With that, this book also doesn't indulge into drama where 3 friends fight for this particular girl whom they wish to get committed with. They are fine with the competition. Distinct, isn't it? Haha!

            Each character of the book talks in first person and therefore, you get an insight from everyone's view. Also, every alternate chapter includes "mail conversation" where these friends keep informing each other about their developments in life after college. It's a good idea but I felt it an interruption many of the times. Book could have been shorter by 50 pages if little more editing could have been performed in this email section. Otherwise, the main story is indulging, charming and beautiful. It's one of those light reads that you love during train journeys. If you have passed out from college, this book will provide enough nostalgia that you will end up calling your friends on conference.

             Sahir Hussain's character is my favorite from the book. I felt his state of mind quite stable and clear in comparison to others. Therefore, I feel that it's a character based on author himself. Am I right, Mr. Asad? :-) Also, the joblessness even after 2 Master Degrees and settling to work in a restaurant as waiter is something that touched my heart. I just wished that Wardha's thing could have gotten a proper ending. It's fine to add little drama even if the story is based on your real experiences in college. I also wished character to be little more insightful so that it could have given a flavor to each of them. Like, I personally felt that David's character was given the least focus. That's all. I would ask author to edit bit of the portions from the email section and then go for the next print of the book. I give this book 3*/5. 



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat (Book Review-3.25*/5)!!!

The most awaited book of India’s popular author Chetan Bhagat released yesterday. As per their promise, Flipkart delivered the book on the day of release itself. It took me flat 6 hours to finish “Half Girlfriend”- the tale of Madhav, a Bihari boy and Riya, a rich Delhi girl. The cover of the book itself tells how the boy must have been ignored by a girl just because he isn't considered cool for not speaking fluent English. When it’s Chetan Bhagat’s novel, you know it’s reflection of society in some way in the form of a humorous story that doesn't let seriousness of the issue overcome your fun of reading a pulp fiction novel. HALF GIRLFRIEND, in that sense, is an average attempt. 

        There are two issues that CB has tried to reflect through this book. 1. A Class system where people are divided into two sections: Superior being the ones who can speak fluent English while inferior being the ones who cannot speak English properly. 2. A modern relationship in today’s time where a boy and girl are more than just friends but they do not find it appropriate to call themselves a committed couple. The 2nd message has been beautifully portrayed in comparison to the 1st which also keeps the interest level high.

              As always, Chetan Bhagat uses simple English to narrate his story. He keeps the plot easy so that the readers do not find it heavy to remember the names, scenes and happenings. The 260-pages novel is divided into three parts: Delhi, Bihar and New York. The college days is described funnily by the author as he masters in telling college and campus stories. But as soon as the book reaches Bihar, you find a sudden transformation in the writing style and even the story. For the research and minute analysis that Chetan has done on Bihar and the whole culture, attitude and priorities of locals living there should be applauded. The mindset of people living in small towns or non-metro cities is very well portrayed in the 2nd part of the book. Coming to the last part of New York, I found it to be the weakest link in the book because of which I find the book falling down to the mediocre level even when it was moving excellently in its first 2/3rd part. Therefore, the novel neither let the message overcome your previous assumptions (related to class system based on English speaking skills) nor the story impresses you at the end of the tale.

              There are few scenes that definitely stay with you: When Madhav’s friend asks him to make Bihar proud by sexually involving with his high-notch metro-city girlfriend. How it keeps echoing in his mind that he has to make his state proud makes you laugh. Another moment when Madhav reciprocates to interviewers makes you jump off your seat. CB purposefully inserts scenarios that we wish to do in real life but couldn't and therefore, his story clicks with younger audience. Another thrilling experience is the moment when you realize Riya has disappeared suddenly leaving Madhav behind. Moments like this keeps Half Girlfriend in your hands until you don’t finish it off in one go. There are several drawbacks too; biggest being the anti-climax and climax. It is so stretched that you will find yourself skipping pages to find that one page which would give story a final turn. Also, the characters except Madhav and Riya aren’t being involved much otherwise it could have been more fun finding Madhav fighting against everyone’s demon of demeaning people with bad English. 

          Overall, Chetan Bhagat has somehow succeeded in what he wanted to deliver through this book. If you aren't speaking fluent English, you won’t be ashamed in future and will give reference of the book to the people/group of people judging you. If you hang around with a girl, kiss her and still, cannot call her your girlfriend, you have got a new term to refer what your relationship with her is. I give this book 3.25/5. I wish climax would have been a bit shorter and better. Half Girlfriend can also be called “Book version of Raanjhanaa(Sonam Kapoor statter)”. 



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