Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Lost Decade by Puja Mehra

The Lost Decade 2008 - 2018 Puja Mehra

I enjoy reading books that describe the arc of events and developments over a time frame. It may span centuries, like Peter Frankopan’s “The Silk Roads” (see my review here). Or shorter periods that are more intense and eventful… like Puja Mehra’s “The Lost Decade 2008-2018How India’s Growth Story Devolved Into Growth Without A Story“.

In a politically charged climate, and especially around election time, books like ‘The Lost Decade‘ run the risk of being called biased or partisan – and then dismissed for that reason alone.

But doing that would be a shame. This is a brilliant, balanced account of the pros and cons of fiscal policy decisions made by successive Indian governments over the last ten years which have brought us to where we are today.

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Book Review – The 1,000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford

1000 year old boy

The fountain of youth. The Holy Grail. Xanadu. Eternal youth.

Immortality.

It’s a day-dream that has fuelled many an idle holiday hour or long ride over the years. I’m sure you, too, have wistfully thought of a future that stretches out forever, with time passing you by.

But if you did extend that fantasy out, not to eternity, perhaps, but just, say, a thousand years

What would you see?

That’s the intriguing premise behind the book I’ve just finished reading. It’s called “The 1,000 Year Old Boy” by Ross Welford.

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Book Review: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

All Girls Filling Station

I have a rule of thumb about reading strategies.

If a book makes me laugh out loud thrice in the first ten pages, I read it. And that’s how I came to read one of Fannie Flagg‘s with the rather unusual title: “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

It’s a story founded on an intriguing premise:

What if, late in life, you suddenly discover that you’re not who you thought you were all these years?

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Teaching Surgery

Teaching Surgery

(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

I was assisting my Junior Resident with her first hernia repair. And it was moving along at a snail’s pace.

From time to time, I was tempted to urge her to hurry up. “If you stick with this, we’ll be here until dinner time!”

But I left the words unspoken.

Better surgeons than I had been patient with me while I learned to operate. Now it was my turn to return the favor. So in a quiet tone, with no trace of the irritation within, I asked her: “What are you worried about?”

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Crisis

Heart, Guts & Steel - Crisis

(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

My patient was going to die.

And if he did, it would be my mistake.

The thought was like a drumbeat, pounding inside my skull. Although still a trainee, I was the surgeon in charge of this operation. And I was in deep trouble!

“Give me a vascular clamp, quick!”

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Losing Control

Losing Control - Heart, Guts & Steel

(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

A few minutes later, I was in the operating room, making an incision into his belly. It was full of clots. Clearly, the innocent looking stab had gone deep, slicing into vital organs.

When I cleared away the clots, we saw the problem. The knife had pierced his gall bladder, a tiny bag-like organ beneath the liver that stored bile. The wound had gone through it, barely missing the liver to stop milli-meters short of the largest vein in the body. Just a little deeper, and the patient wouldn’t have made it to the hospital alive!

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Book Review : How To Create A Mind

How To Create A Mind - Ray Kurzweil

I’m reading Ray Kurzweil’s “How To Create a Mind“.

Back in medical college, I spent an incredible amount of time reading Snell’s ‘Neuroanatomy’ to understand the structure and function of the human brain.

It’s a myriad of nerve connections, with different bits being hooked up to others, some nearby, others almost halfway across the brain. What’s more, there are redundancies galore. And keeping track of what links to what, through diagrams that showed sweeps of colored arrows pointing both ways, was mind boggling.

I read all of this, not because it’s so fascinating, but because we had an exam to pass at the end of a semester. About the lateral geniculate nucleus, or the caudate nucleus, or the red nucleus. And the insula, colliculi or corpus callosum. Without quite understanding how relevant, useful or practical it would all be.

It wasn’t. At all.

For the next twenty five years, I have never once had to use ANY of that information in my medical practice!

So, was it all a waste?

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Book Review: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden

My sense of humor, to put it charitably, is perverse.

For instance, I’ve watched the Ashton Kutcher film “Dude, Where’s My Car” four times – and laugh like a madman at ever so many situations I think are hilarious… where my spouse of more “normal” humor will, at best, smile – or, more often, wince!

So when I read a book where, midway through the story, I find myself at this condemned building in Sweden where lived…

  • an American potter (who’s convinced the CIA are out to find and destroy him)
  • two Swedish brothers (one of whom doesn’t officially exist!)
  • an angry young woman (who protests her father’s refusal of a bank loan to fund General Noriega’s revolution)
  • an escaped South African refugee (who is being sought by two angry Mossad agents), and
  • three Chinese girls with poor judgement

…alongside a 3 mega-ton nuclear bombwell, my funny bone just tingles madly!

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