Thursday, July 28

The Economist | Big economic ideas: Breakthroughs and brickbats

One of the interesting things with my new job, son, is that I'm immediately pitched straight and deep into macro and micro economics. Quite an interesting situation. I've got to help figure out how to help direct taxpayers money to firms and sectors which can export more and better and perhaps even for the first time.

Exporting more has a direct implication on our country's economic prosperity and therefore our happiness. In other words, my job is to make our companies successful by exporting. So I will be delving deep into these (and other theories) all over again.

In most of the cases, it's basic hygiene factors which are missing and we forget them. Information. Risk management. Removal of barriers. Improvement in pricing. Right incentives. Education.

I thought of sending this to you as you still have one year to go but then if you had to recommend a target for a merger, these economic theories come into the picture so you might want to keep an eye out.

Did I mention how proud I am of you? I saw you rushing out today to go to work and I was telling mamma. Just a few years back, his worry was pickachu or what game to play. And now he's all grown up. I'm actually surprised and very impressed how well you've picked up good working habits. This level of work is very very rare and you, my son, are doing it very well.

But the role of internship is not just to get a job. It's also to let you know if you do want to do this job. We just want you to be happy and achieve your goals. If you want to be an investment banker fine. If you want to become an academic fine. We just want you to be happy and will support you as much as we can and more.

Love you son.


Wednesday, July 27

Trying out the English Longbow

We went to Portsmouth and besides having a great time, we tested out some long bows.

There were two longbows there, one with a 40pound pull and another with a 90 pound pull, both of us were unable to pull it to the full extent. The actual pull required back in those days was 170 pounds.

and then i came across this little documentary showing how a longbow is made. it was just so mesmerising, i tell you.
The Birth Of A Weapon. Part I. English longbow making. from John Neeman Tools on Vimeo.

Is fiction good for you? How researchers are trying to find out

the answer is yes :)

see here for more details.

It's assumed that reading fiction is good for your mental health, but evidence linking Jane Eyre or Anna Karenina to a broadened mind has been mostly anecdotal. In a Review published on July 19 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, a psychologist-novelist delves into that issue, arguing that reading or watching narratives may encourage empathy. By exploring the inner lives of characters on the page, readers can form ideas about others' emotions, motives, and ideas, off the page.

Tuesday, July 26

Marie von Clausewitz: The Woman behind the Making of On War.

I've told you many times that one of the key things a good leader knows about are logistics. And of course strategy. Both are refined to a giant extent in the war studies arena. And my Phd at the department of war studies at King's college helped me tremendously. The book by Clausewitz, On War, is a seminal book on this subject. In a few years, do try to read it son. It would be useful for you to learn from the master of war on how to wage war, the strategy and logistics. Amazing book. 
And then this book review talks about a different aspect, his wife. As you read the review, you can see how she manages to work with him, set fire to his ideas, encourage and challenge him, kick him when required, cuddle him when needed. 
You don't have to have a wife like that although if you are lucky, you will get somebody like that, somebody who is ferociously intelligent, somebody who is challenging you, kicks you when you need it, cuddles you when you need it. You know the tests to know if you've found her? Does she challenge you? Does she make you think? Does she make you laugh? And have you cried in her arms? It could be your wife, your sister, your mother, your girlfriend, your friend, doesn't matter and can be a combination even but be on the lookout for girls like that. They are rarer than gold. Of course you have to do the same thing to her. Challenge her. Encourage her. Make her feel like a queen. Make her laugh. Cuddle and kiss her. If you can do that, brilliant. You have a problem son, you are very intelligent and you are also sensitive and emotional. And ambitious.  Rare combination. You need a rare girl to be with you.  
If that meshes, great. I'm sure you will find her. Keep on the lookout son. 
But I'm so proud of you. I see you heading off to work. Working so hard. Asking questions. Very impressed son. 
Love you

H-Net Reviews
(via Instapaper)

Vanya Eftimova Bellinger. Marie von Clausewitz: The Woman behind the Making of On War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 312 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-022543-8.
Reviewed by Jill S. Russell (King's College London)
Published on H-War (March, 2016)
Commissioned by Margaret Sankey

On Marie
Opening new vistas to military and strategic history's most famous man, in The Woman behind the Making of On War, Vanya Eftimova Bellinger uses Marie von Clausewitz's letters and her marital relationship to demonstrate Marie's material role in Carl von Clausewitz's thinking and writing of his foundational work in strategy. As a biography based around the writings of the subject, Bellinger's work compares favorably to Clair Tomalin's Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (2002), as the latter imbued the story of the man with substance by way of his own words. In this book, the narrative sustains Bellinger's essential argument of Marie's critical place in this most famous piece of writing on strategy specifically. Along the way, deeper points regarding military and historical scholarship, strategy, and polities emerge. Although many will make On War the focus of this biography, that work of strategy figures only as the denouement of the Clausewitzes' lives. Given the biography's importance on two important levels, this review will address Marie's story both on its own written terms and in its comment on and place within military history as well as the practice and scholarship on strategy that have been built on it.
Consider first the text itself. Without intending to minimize it, the aim of this work is simple: to judge the influence of the "mundane" on a historic volume. In this case, for a woman like Marie, who commanded the respect of generals, the mundane became transformative, as her biography in total demonstrates her clear place in On War. And it is such attention to the quotidian that both I and Earl Wavell appreciate as a focus of study. Who was Marie? Bellinger sums her up as "a restless spirit and a politically active woman who often challenged societal conventions, spoke her mind, and lived an industrious life often independent of her husband's," even as she was until very recently still thought of as nothing particularly more than his wife (p. 5). The rich narrative that Bellinger crafts from the new correspondence and other contemporary sources sustains this characterization and our recognition of her achievements.

Monday, July 25

Islam’s Forgotten Booklovers - The Los Angeles Review of Books

You know what I regret? Well. I regret so many things but one of the things I regret is that I didn't spend enough time or have an inclination to learn languages. It just doesn't compute that well in my head. So I have to rely on brute force to learn other languages. But my desire to learn Farsi and Italian is still there. One day I will do so. And that will allow me to read books in that language. And that will allow me to browse books in shops in those countries. It's very frustrating to be in those bookshops and see all those wonderful books but cannot identify with them. They are so close but yet so far. Very frustrating. 
But the holiday im going with Diya is going to be a dream come true. Living in a library can you imagine? It will be so much fun. I'm looking forward to it. And when I read this article, I knew I was talking to a kindred spirit. That's exactly what I do. Buy books and then some more and more. But I'm trying to make sure I read some of the books I've bought :) 

Islam's Forgotten Booklovers - The Los Angeles Review of Books
(via Instapaper)

THOUGH I'VE NEVER BEEN to Baghdad, where Muslim booklovers gathered on al-Mutanabbi Street till a huge car bomb exploded there in March 2007, I've visited most other countries of the Middle East. And everywhere I've been, I've sought out shops, stalls, and roadside stacks of books. My earliest encounter with the booksellers of the Middle East came on a visit to Istanbul as a 17-year-old. Used to spending weekends browsing the dank Victorian bookshops of the Midlands, I stumbled upon a book market in a caravanserai, the Sahaflar Çarşisi. Centuries earlier it had been a Byzantine paper mart. Though I couldn't even read their titles back then, their covers looked so bright and beautiful. I bought a crimson Qur'an with a traditional ornamented case-binding and for the next month carried it all over Europe by train. A couple of years later, I visited Delhi for the first time. Seven hundred years before Lutyens rebuilt it for the Raj, Delhi was the shelter of literary refugees fleeing the Mongol invasion of Persia. There, in the crowded gullies around the Sufi shrine of Nizam al-Din, I found a copy of a book I had kept out on loan for much of my first year in college: R.A. Nicholson's edition of Rumi's Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī. Though Rumi hadn't fled to Delhi — his family instead escaped the Mongols westwards to Asia Minor — his poems have been read, and sung, in Nizam al-Din's shrine there for centuries. I carried that copy of the Dīvān around for another summer by train.