Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates ! Book Review

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“That if you wanted to something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone “

This book is different , really different from what all I have ever read. The beauty about it is  that half of the book happens within the mind of the characters , giving you a true insight into how twisted and honest human brains can be.

“Money’s always a good reason, but it’s hardly ever the real reason”

The book revolves around a married couple FRANK and APRIL WHEELER who live in the suburbs just outside New York on the Revolutionary Road (and hence the name )  with their 2 small kids . The book is set-in the mid 1950’s with the looming air of the left behind war . The book is divided into 3  parts . The PART 1 revolves around the couple , and how they look down upon suburban life and the couples around them who live a boring life of wife doing the household job and tending for the kids , being the perfect wife , and the husband working in the city in a dull and a boring job which provides safety to take care of the kids and the family( a family which originates just to show his manliness ) . The Wheelers consider themselves to be more than that , and always felt that living in suburbs would be a phase which they would pass in a few years and eventually move to Europe( they shift from the city as April becomes pregnant )  . But ironically they are no different than their neighbors and April Wheeler understands that. So in PART 2 she hatches this plan of them travelling to Europe , she working there and Frank finding out who he is , living his life and pursuing the dream he always talked about. There are a few other characters too such as their friends MILLY and SHEP CAMPBELL , Mrs. GIVINGS their realtor and her family ( her sons character is someone you will never forget ). They are both highly excited about the move to Europe with Frank happy that he would no longer have to go to his boring half-ass job (but there is something that always keeps on nagging you about him , the feel that he’s all talk and no play for the plan) . And then comes PART 3 , during all this APRIL WHEELER gets pregnant and after this is where the real climax lies .

To hell with “love “anyway and with every other phony, time wasting, half assed emotion in the world .

Both the WHEELERS are complex characters . While reading it I didn’t judge any of them as they both were on a equal footing. APRIL WHEELER only loves her husband when he is nice . The husband persuades her to keep the kid and not to abort , though he didn’t even want the kid ,they both cheat upon each other (even during her 3 pregnancy).

In all and all when you read what’s going on in their head it just makes you question love, whos right – whos wrong , how people always settle for less in their life, how even after having everything people cannot be happy , how division of role of female-male have eaten up both their personalities, how we deceive people , run away from the things we have towards the ones we don’t , and how being happy is a state of mind .

I personally feel that its one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life !

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SO DO YOU THINK YOU WILL GIVE THIS BOOK A TRY ?

HAVE YOU ALREADY READ IT ?

DO SHARE YOUR VIEWS !

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How Airbed & Breakfast became Airbnb ?

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“Creativity is the solution to all problems”- Brian Chesky , co Founder and CEO at Airbnb

For those who don’t know, Airbnb is an online marketplace where people can lease or rent short term lodging. The $31 billion company does not own any lodging but is merely a broker.

So how did two unemployed friends(3 founder joining a little later) became the founders of a billion dollar company.

 

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Nathan Blecharczyk , Joe Gebbia , Brian Chesky (from left to right)

 

The story starts at Rhode Island School of Design where Brian Chesky met Joe Gebbia. On the day of graduation Joe says to him ‘Brian, one day we are going to be entrepreneurs’. A few years passed and one day in 2007 both of them quit their jobs and decide to start a company together. With absolutely no business idea and a $1000 in bank account and a sleeping bag Brian drove to San Francisco. Turned out the rent for Joe’s apartment was $1150. Strangled with debt they thought of an idea to provide accommodation in their apartment to people coming for a IDSA( Industrial Designers Society Of America )conference in town at the rates that were far less than an hotel. In 24 hours they built a website called Airbedandbreakfast.com and mailed the top design bloggers and in overnight Airbed and breakfast was at the top of the blogger’s page.

An idea that came 48 hours ago to save them from cash crunch was now live on the internet. To their surprise people from all over the world were writing to them. Finally 3 people who came to attend the conference , one of whom was an Indian slept on the airbeds in their living room and became their first guest.

It was then that it struck Brian what if you could book someone’s home the way you book a hotel anywhere in the world.

In 2008 they incorporated the company as Airbed and breakfast. They even called upon their “former roommate ” and “brilliant engineer” Nathan Blecharczyk, to join as the third co-founder of the new venture.  To fund the site they created special edition breakfast cereals with presidential candidates Obama and John McCain as the box designs. At $40 a box they generated $30,000 for company’s incubation. All of this created a buzz and in 2009 Y Combinator invested a whooping $20000 in the company as an initial investment ( they had joined Y Combinator’s 2009 Winter Class) . They were further funded by SEQUOIA CAPITAL . The name was now changed to Airbnb and it offered not only rooms and apartments but also castles, manors, boats, tree houses, private island and even an IGLOO, yes you heard it right.

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Today Airbnb is the No.1 lodging website in UK. Many people who were on the brink of losing their homes through foreclosure due to financial hardship, have come to depend on Airbnb for additional income. It can be said that it has been a blessing in disguise to various people out there , just as it was one for the founders who got to live their “one day” dream by solving an intricate  problem .

but you need to know that the story was not as rosy as it seems and many a days they had to live on cereals only


This is a GUEST BLOG written by my best friend Umang Mittal who like me is a huge startup enthusiast . And edited by me! I hope you enjoyed reading it and came to know the story that you might have wondered about  !

Waiting for your views and comments!

1 Mega Year of Blogging !

Hello there everyone ,

As companies write a review letter every year for their shareholders  , I am going to try my hand at one too for my viewers . Have to say that this one year has felt extremely productive due to this piece of 21 st centaury Diary Writing Model. I have got to learn so much about myself , the writing skills I possess and have also learned so much from the fellow bloggers whose blogs I have read. So here are some of the things I have learned , and would love to share with the new bloggers out there and the ones who are secretly trying to push oneself to start one –

  1. Write about what you love ( as I love both the business ups and downs , and books which make me a more complete person . I keep on juggling between both of them. just don’t make it Chandni Chowk )
  2. Don’t write for the views , but because those topics and words bring a life in you .
  3. Go and read other blogs , follow them , like their posts . ( they will definitely come and view yours too)
  4. Don’t ever forget to edit the categories and tags ( I didn’t know about it for the first 6 months )
  5. Share as much as you can ( never write “please read” , just let the link come in front of their eyes)

and here are few of my stats –

  1. followers –  114( as of this post)
  2. Number of blogs posted- this will be the 34 th post

And here is this proposal for everyone out there , if you want to write a guest blog (on my blog) or maybe write one with me , feel free to contact , focusing mainly on the business world ( finance , investment , startups , companies . their models), and books which will always be a part of who we are .

Thank You VIEWERS for your TIME & PATIENCE ,

From intactawesomeness

 

The McDonald’s Delhi story !

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So just a few days back I was with my cousins , as we were celebrating Rakhi and the youngest of the lot my two brothers of 6 and 7 repeatedly kept on saying that they wanted to go to McDonalds , and we had to repeatedly answer them that they were closed and they would have to try a different place.

This stance got everyone to ask that why exactly is McDonalds closed in India . So here is the answer .

In India McDonald’s is a 50:50 joint venture between McDonald’s India Pvt Ltd (MIPL) and Westlife Development in south and west India (261 McDonalds and 121 McCafes ) and Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd in north and east India.  But there are issues revolving around CPRL which have eventually led to this closure which date back to 2013 .

In 2013, McDonald’s had voted against the re-election of Mr.Bakshi as managing director of Connaught Plaza ( due to their own internal tussle as per which the US brand believes that Bakshi was cheating them), following which Bakshi challenged his removal in the Company Law Board (now the National Company Law Tribunal ), accusing McDonald’s of mismanagement and oppression.

The same year, McDonald’s revoked its joint venture with Connaught Plaza and invoked arbitration against Bakshi. It has been pursuing arbitration against Bakshi in the London Court of International Arbitration. This was challenged before the Delhi high court.
On 23 December 2016, Justice V.K. Shali prohibited any change in the shareholding of the Indian arm of the company. This order was lifted by the two-judge bench in July.

Separately, under an order passed by the Company Law Board on 16 September 2013, McDonald’s was directed to maintain status quo over the shareholding pattern and right of call option, which is still in operation.

In June this year , McDonald’s shut 41 of its 55 restaurants in Delhi following its failure to renew their health and eating licenses. which resultantly happened due to a unstable management .The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in second week of July reinstated Vikram Bakshi as managing director of CPRL. Leaving a unclear picture for the spectators on whos right and whos wrong.

So now the BIG question remains how McDonalds will revive itself in India , with competition everywhere , with Indian brands also joining the fight( Haldiram and Nirulas ) . Because at the end of the day its your presence that matters because if your shutters are down , customers would eventually go and try the next best thing , which might topple your brand eventually  .

So do these tussles actually help anyone ? Does a management fiasco really satisfy the end goal for which a company is made ?

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My Heart And Other Black Holes By Jasmine Warga Book Review

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We all have heard about depression , but does anyone of us really know what it truly is , except the ones who are going through it or have gone through it . Can we ever really understand it from outside. I guess at the end of the day more than understanding we have to be there for that person and stop belittling it. Because though we cant see it , it still exists for them as black holes , eating them up slowly from inside .

Frankly speaking this book has taught me a lot in just a span of 5 hours. So the synopsis is that Aysel( a very beautiful name I believe ) and FrozenRobot ( real name of the guy being Roman) meet on a internet site which helps in finding suicide partners , as doing the deed alone can make them back out , hence the support till no support. So this how the story begins , them unraveling each others problems , the reason behind the decision and why the blackness keeps eating them. Actually though they are sad through this they find someone with whom they can talk and share their sadness . Falling for each other and getting further away from their pact. Slowly slowly in the time of 26 days Aysel starts recovering , smiling , laughing and coming to the terms with her problem (you need to read the book to know them ). But Roman isn’t ready and Aysel cant let him die because he’s the reason behind her being better.

Aysel is a big fan of physics and always keeps on wondering that when people die what happens to their energy , because energy just changes forms .

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute . That’s relativity .” Albert Einstein

If you want to be intrigued , remember why human life is so beautiful and limitless , why dying is not the option , that depression is a problem to be faced and not to be hid under the mattress please read this book , because believe me you will love it .


So are you now planning to read it ?

And if you have , what did you feel ?

Do share your thoughts !

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THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONARES BY BEN MEZRICH BOOK REVIEW 

“Information is meant to be shared. Pictures are meant to be looked at “

We all have heard the name of the movie THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and as far as I remember I loved it and till date have watched it a gazillion times (partial blame on Andrew Garfield).So this is the book on which the movie was based and it’s better with a garrulous description of the Silicon Valley and none other than the Harvard University.

What amazed me was Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliance and idea which surpassed all the ideas for social networking in the early 2000’s. How he eliminated all the faults present in Orkut, Friendster and gave us all something amazing to connect with our friends (because after all they are the most important).

Mr. Ben Mezrich has written the book brilliantly. He has kept the characters out there and left it on us who to judge and who to not. Capturing Mark Zuckerberg’s and Eduardo Saverins friendship , its ups and down, how friendship and business muddled together is though easy on the look but tough to maintain , entrance of Sean Parker( the guy who started the hacking battle for free music streaming) , the amazing Peter Thiel ( and Facebooks early investor) and last but not the least the Winklevoss twins.

So it’s a must read for those who want a glimpse of this billion dollar company, its founding, its bumpy ride, battle between cofounders, every investor wanting a part of this new found baby and last but not the least Mark Zuckerberg who did everything to keep Facebook for what it stands .

​THE LINCHPIN CALLED JIO FOR THE TELECOM SECTOR

India has an ever growing 2 billion telecom (telephone, mobile) subscribers. Before Jios majestic arrival prices and connectivity both soared. But Jio tried changing that on both the spheres. Its entrance into the telecom sector has led to a massive ripple effect. India’s 2nd and 3rd largest operators Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have agreed to a 1.5lakh crore deal which will make them world No. 2 after China Mobile. Airtel is no longer number 1. Telenor has decide to exit India by it being acquired by Airtel. There is a prediction of 1 million jobs being lost in one of the most sought after sector in our country. The industry’s never ending debt is going to surpass 4,60,000 crore
Every story has two sides and so does this one. Jios entry has made access to internet that to 4G every man’s ability. Competing companies have started lowering their ever increasing prices. Jio has made its place in a matter of 7 months in a highly competitive and price sensitive market, with a few problems such as denial of POI (Point Of Interface) due to which its competitors face a fine of 3050 crore levied by TRAI.

But on the other hand the competitors claim that they did abide by the telecom guidelines to be followed when a new entrant enters the market. Impact of lower tariff and hence decline in revenue of telecom operators would lead to a delay in their spectrum payment. Airtel claims Jios plan to be “a strategic business tactic adopted to enhance market power with the objective of eliminating competition which it has succeeded to a large extent during the quarter Oct to Dec 2016 itself,”

I personally believe that Jios extravagant entrance to telecom sector has had its positives and negatives. But too many freebies never end up on good terms in the cycle of economics, capitalism and a consumer friendly market.

THE GREATEST TRADE EVER BY GREGORY ZUCKERMAN BOOK REVIEW

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“There is no intoxicant more dangerous than cheap money and excessive credit “- Benjamin.M.Anderson

So as you might have guessed from the cover above this book is about someone who ended up making huge bucks. Well to clear the mystery, Greg Paulson made $4billion in 2007 by betting against the housing marketing (his bet was that housing market would collapse like chunks of dominoes). It was the largest one-year payout in the history of financial markets.

This book overviews those who ended up making money when everyone around the world was losing it. Famously called as the 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS”.  It revolves around GREG PAULSON, MICHEAL BURRY, PAOLO PELLIGRINI, GREG LIPPMAN, ANDREW LAHDE and JEFFREY GREENE. The ones who understood that something was wrong when everyone else was throwing bonus parties. That the financial industry was growing at a faster pace than the economy itself (a kind of financial alchemy being at work).

To me it cleared the landscape of the 2008 downturn and the years preceding it. How these few people could see and ascertain what others were oblivious about. It relays a time in the western financial world where even a kid in 4th grade qualified as a borrower. After the dotcom bubble in early 2000’s interest rates were reduced which led to excessive borrowing giving way to the housing bubble. There was a casino active at the world stage.
The book goes deep into numbers. Explaining thoroughly. The inside story of Bear Sterns, Deutsche bank, Morgan Stanley and many more are veiled out. It reveals how one side believed that the economy would grow to great lengths and another small group feared a dangerous downturn.
This books a must read for the ones who breathe and taste finance, who would love to understand the history of finance a bit better and for the ones who believe you can always be amateur and scale great mountains. And the book doesn’t bore at all.

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SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE REVIEW ?

DO YOU PLAN TO READ IT ?

DO SHARE YOUR VIEWS.!

PAYTM KARO! PAY THROUGH MOBILE!

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Right now my favorite pass time is going and asking and seeing whether shop vendors have paytm or not. Last week when we went for shopping, all our payment were through the one and only “paytm wallet”.

So a brief intro. of this game changer is that it was formed by Vijay shekhar sharma (Vjs), alumnus of DTU .He joined college at the age of 15 .Hailing from Aligarh the biggest drawback he faced was adapting to the alien language English. Always being a kitabi keeda (in his own words) he ended up making a company in 1997 (last years of college which he later sold).Being a true patriot he wanted to do something for India and didn’t choose a job in the land of immigrants (U.S.A)

So basically Paytm’s parent company is One97 Communications in which Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba) has 40% share, the largest shareholding and Vjs has 21%. Their business is divided into e-commerce, online recharge and payment wallet (the leader of the three).

Just a few days back they got RBI’s final approval to start with the operations of India first payment bank (which would start in a month). In which Vjs would have 51% share (making it purely Indian).

Paytm is the story of struggle to make accessibility of money easier and a pathway towards a cashless society. What was beautiful was that the day after the announcement of demonitisation Paytm had a two page advertisement in the newspaper (for which they had to make the printing press wait till 12:30 at night) .It tells there will always be people out there to challenge the status quo (SBI being so scared by it that its persuading its customers to download SBI-buddy)

Paytm got what we call in the business world “THE FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE”

 

A payments bank in simple words,  can carry out most banking operations but can’t advance loans or issue credit cards. It can accept demand deposits (up to Rs 1 lakh), offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers.

A Collection Of Quotes Mentioned In MR.Basu’s Book

AN ECONOMIST IN THE REAL WORLD: THE ART OF POLICYMAKING IN INDIA

BY KAUSHIK BASU

QUOTES AND ADAGES MENTIONED IN THE BOOK

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  1. For a system resistant to change, nothing is as good as a crisis.
  2. Totalitarian control is seldom as total and controlled as appears to outsiders.
  3. History makes suggestion but rarely gives a roadmap.
  4. “Don’t live beyond your means” – arthashastra.
  5. For Manmohan Singh “he was a politician without a taste for politics”.
  6. Politics many well be the only profession in which not being good is a virtue.
  7. Contrary to what many laypersons believe, there is no one who understands “the economy” of a nation. The big challenge of economic policy is that it entails coordination among experts, each of whom understand just a sliver of this enormously complex machine.
  8. Money was not discovered one day in a moment of scientific triumph.it emerged gradually, in small measures and through little innovation. But in terms of human achievement it must stand right there at the pinnacle of inventions. Without it we would have very little of what we know today as civilized life.
  9. Knowledge generated anywhere is knowledge.
  10. The free market has many strengths , but fairness and equity do not figure prominently among them
  11. One well known feature of finance is that crisis often come in a flash. This is caused by imitative or herd behavior.
  12. If others in your society are punctual, it is worth your effort to be punctual; if others are not it may not be worthwhile for you to expand the effort to be punctual.
  13. “The ideas of economists and political philosophers both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical man who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribblers of a few years back.” – John Maynard Keynes{one of the most famous passage in his book The General Theory Of Employment}
  14. For laypersons there is something threatening about inflation because they cannot see where it comes from, and a closely guarded secret among experts is that the understanding of experts is also incomplete.
  15. One troubling feature of the exchange rate is that it is partly determined by expectations.
  16. Good policy consists of exploiting the laws of the market, not denying that they exist.
  17. When it comes to hoarding, it is the government of India that leads the pack.
  18. In an economy, finance is the classic analogue of plumbing in a house –something we remain unaware of until something goes wrong with it.
  19. Saving the company should not be equated with saving the people who head the company.
  20. [arthashastra}- “ Just as it is impossible to know when a fish moving in water is drinking it, so it is impossible to find out when the government servants in charge of undertakings misappropriate money ‘
  21. The common complaint in India ,repeated to the point of boredom in umpteen parlors and coffee houses is that “India problem is not the laws but in their implementation”
  22. There is nothing quite as concrete about the law as the traditional view supposes.
  23. In books on economic policy and economic development, we generally tend to ignore the role of norms and political institutions. But they are crucial determinants of growth and efficiency, getting these right is as important as getting our trade and monetary policies right.
  24. India has one of the most talented and most obstructive bureaucracies in the world.
  25. Much of India’s rules of administration are inherited from Britain .India’s problem is that it has held on to those rules more steadfastly than Britain and other commonwealth nations.
  26. The hustle and bustle of India today hopefully is the sound of its engine revving up.♦