The Telegraph
Friday , August 29 , 2014
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Paperback Pickings

Take that leap of faith

Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much (Piatkus, Rs 399) by Tony Crabbe makes an important point about the need to slow down and just take it easy for a few minutes, an hour or even a day. Crabbe “draws on his background in psychology and work with companies including Disney, Microsoft and News International to debunk the myth that satisfaction from the workplace comes from getting everything done.” Crabbe chooses instead to focus on how real happiness is rooted in regaining control over your own life and spending time with loved ones and doing the things you love. It is true that he is not saying anything that has not been said many times over, but his triumph lies in the fact that he does not undermine the importance of hard work or suggest that one is not justified in being on the go in a world where one just has to keep up to stay ahead. Crabbe stays firmly in self-help book territory, but ensures that his language steers clear of sounding condescending.

Sutak (Alchemy, Rs 225) by Nadi Palshikar abounds in cliches about sisters and the relationships they share. The word, ‘sutak’, signifies a twelve-day mourning ritual, but the author states that for Lalita — one of the sisters in this tale of two sisters — the period of grieving has “lasted 24 years”. Vinodini, the other sister, is apparently “of a ‘loose’ character” (cue for readers to cringe at the appalling grammar), while Lalita is “frigid” in her husband’s opinion. Somehow, these traits that the two women possess rub off on their relationship with each other, and what follows is a dreary, stilted tale of ‘sisterhood’ in all its “complex — almost sinister — layers of love, hostility and resentment”. The phrases in quotes are Shobhaa De’s words, but she meant to pay the book a compliment, one it does not deserve.

Guts and Glory (Rupa, Rs 250) is a collection of 20 stories of graduates from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management who “made their own future”. If one can overlook the overly dramatic title of the book, the profiles of the 20 entrepreneurs who gave up “the limitations of working in cushy corporate jobs” and took life head-on by “plunging into entrepreneurship” are actually quite inspiring. It is always far more difficult to do something on your own than work for somebody, given all the uncertainties it brings with it, and this book highlights that.