Book Summary of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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                             The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

   Stephen R Covey

Simon & Schuster

432 pages; Average reading time 6 hours 07 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 9 minutes

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This bookbhook book summary is handcrafted by Gayathri Manikandan. Gayathri describes herself as an ex-software engineer, book lover, craft enthusiast and a proud citizen of ‘Imagi’nation.

This handcrafted book summary will help you learn

  • What is Character Ethic?
  • What is a paradigm shift?
  • What are the seven habits to bring about a personal change?
  • Why do you need to keep ‘sharpening the saw’?

Character Ethic vs Personality Ethic

When Stephen Covey started researching on writing about success, it took him 200 years back. Stephen realised two things:

  1. Almost all the writing about success in the first 150 years was about integrity,humility,courage and other such elements of the Character Ethic
  2. However, in the last 50 years, a certain level of superficiality has crept into success literature where public relations technique and positive mental attitude started defining success as a Personality Ethic.

It is not that Personality Ethic elements like communication skills and positive thinking are not important for being successful, but just that these are not primary traits. The real foundation needs to be built with Character Ethic.

Building principle-centred habits

It is possible for us to be very busy in life. It is easy to get caught in the busy-ness of life, work efficiently and achieve success. It is also possible to achieve success that are empty- empty victories that are achieved at the expense of other things. To be truly effective, we need to cultivate habits that are principle centred. Habits have a powerful impact on our lives.

Albert Einstein observed, ‘The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them’. We need a new level, a deeper level of thinking. We need a paradigm-shift. Character Ethic & Personality Ethic are paradigms-how we see, perceive, understand and interpret the world. Moving from character to personality ethic or the reverse is an example of paradigm shift. Whether positive or negative, paradigm shifts helps see the world differently and create change.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny’- we are what our habits make us.

Paradigm shifts help us see situations in a very different perspective. This new level of thinking is what The Seven Habits of Effective People is all about. The first three habits – Be Proactive, Begin with the end in the mind and Put first things first are habits of private victory. They help you know yourself in a deeper and more meaningful way. They help increase your self-confidence. The next three habits – Think win-win, Seek first to understand then to be understood and Synergize are habits of public victory. They help you improve and deepen solid relationships. The seventh habit – Sharpen your saw renews the other six habits and helps you charge your batteries.

 1.  Be Proactive

Can you identify the mood you are in now? Can you describe your current mental state and what you are feeling? This ability to think about one’s own thoughts distinguishes human from animals. Between a stimulus (that triggers you to act) and response (your act), human have the ability to think and freedom to choose.

Few people are reactive and few proactive. Reactive people feel good if the weather is good, they feel well if people treat them well. Proactive people are affected by weather and how others treat them as well, but they choose to respond differently.

‘That’s just the way I am’, ‘He makes me mad’, ‘I can’t do it, I don’t have the time’, ‘I have to do it’ are typically the language used by reactive people. Proactive people, on the other hand, use ‘I choose’, ‘I prefer’, I will’. Once a student asked if I can excuse him from my class as he had to go on a tennis trip. However after introspection, it turned out that he chose to go to the tennis trip. If he didn’t go, the tennis team might drop him which he didn’t wish to happen. However if he missed my classes, he will miss the learning. He chose to go for the trip and it was his choice not someone else’s responsibility for deciding to have the tennis trip on the same day.

To become aware of how proactive you are, make a list of all your concerns – health, children, and problems at work, and so on. Now, within this circle of concern, push those that you have control over towards the centre. This is the circle of influence. Determine in which circle you are spending most of your time and energy. In the outer circle of concern or the inner circle of influence? Proactive people focus on the circle of Influence, they work on things that they can control.

The problems we face can be categorized broadly as those under direct control, those under indirect control i.e. those that involve other people’s behaviour and those that we have no control over. Being proactive helps us to tackle direct control problems by changing our behaviour and the indirect control problems by changing our methods of influence. Proactive approach also teaches us to accept the problems that we have no control over as they are.

2.  Begin with the end in mind

All things are created twice. A blueprint and a house, a plan and a trip, a script and a speech, a design and a dress. The first creation is in your mind, the second is physical. One has to take responsibility for the first creations. You need to rescript your life, not live the script handed to you by your family, associates, conditioning or circumstances. Re-scripting requires personal leadership. Leadership is deciding if your ladder is on the right wall. Climbing comes next.

You first begin with the end in the mind. If you begin with the end in the mind, you know clearly where you are going. You do not end up being so busy climbing up the ladder, only to find the ladder is on the wrong wall when you are up there. You can ‘Begin with the end in mind’ at different stages and levels of your life. But the fundamental application is to visualise this habit as ‘Begin with the end of your life’- Suppose you are at your own funeral, what would you want to hear from your family, friends, colleagues and others? This is what is supremely important in your life and visualizing this helps you contribute to it each day.

The most effective way to begin with the end in your mind is to have a personal mission statement. A solid mission statement is created by pivoting your lives on the right principles. Suppose tonight you have booked tickets for a concert with your wife and your boss says he needs your help with an important meeting. You could call off the concert or politely refuse your boss’ request depending on whether you are family-centred, work-centred, money-centred or self-centred. But being ‘XYZ-centred’ is a perception problem. What sounds right to you might not be perceived so by your boss or wife.

On the other hand, being a principle-centred person will help you to stand away from the emotion and help you evaluate the options. You feel comfortable about your decision as you know it is the most effective because you have based it on principles with predictable long-term results.

3.  Put first things first

While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, management, essentially, is the discipline of actually executing the first things first actions. The first generation of time management philosophy was all about making lists and to-dos. The second generation is about scheduling tasks. The third generation of time management adds the idea of prioritizing. The emerging fourth generation recognizes that the challenge is not time management but managing ourselves.

The popular time management matrix divides tasks into four quadrants – Important & Urgent (I), Important & Not Urgent (II), Not Important & Urgent (III), Not Important & Not Urgent (IV). Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. The key is to say ‘Yes’ to Quadrant II tasks. This means you would have to say ‘No’ to other activities, which may include ‘apparently urgent’ things.

 As you spend more time doing Quadrant II activities, you will notice that Quadrant I shrinks. The fourth generation time management tools let you recognize that the first person to consider to be effective rather than efficient is you yourself. It encourages you to spend time in Quadrant II activities rising above the limitations of daily planning and organizing.

The key to effective management is delegation.You can pick up the room better than a child but the key is to empower the child to do it. You have to get involved in the training and development and it takes time but it is worth it in the long run.

4.  Think Win-Win

I once worked with a company whose president was very concerned about the lack of cooperation among his people. He had implemented a ‘Race to Bermuda’ strategy for encouraging people to achieve results. There was a picture of the racetrack, with his managers’ face superimposed on the racehorses. At the end of the race was the reward, a beautiful poster of Bermuda, enticing the participants for a trip to Bermuda. The president wanted his people to work together but was setting them up for a competition, where most will lose and some will win.

The most effective interpersonal leadership is to think win-win. Win-win is not a technique but a philosophy of human interaction. It’s not your way, it’s not my way; it’s a better way, a higher way. In reality, there may be situations where one has to choose win/lose or lose/win. But in most interdependent situations, win-win is the only viable long term solution. There is an even higher expression of win-win. It is called ‘No Deal’. If family members can’t agree on a video that everyone will enjoy, they can simply decide to do something else – No Deal. When you have No Deal as an option in your mind, you feel liberated, you don’t have to manipulate people to accept your agenda. Win-win can only thrive when the systems support it. Competition has its place in marketplace or even against another individual when there is no interdependence. But cooperation in the workplace is equally important and it can only be achieved by thinking win-win.

5.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood

How would you like if you were to go to a physician for some trouble in your eyes and she offered you her glasses that she has been using for more than 10 years? The glasses might have helped her, but for you it would help to diagnose before she prescribes. Imagine your kid is troubled by something. You encourage and coax them into sharing the problem with you. And let’s say your kid just starts off by saying, ‘Well, I don’t like school anymore’. Chances are you will rush in to fix her with your advice, quoting all the sacrifices you have made to educate her. You have just made sure that you will be the last person your kid will discuss it with you in future.  A better approach for effective interpersonal communication is definitely about seeking first to understand, then to be understood.

Most people do not listen with an intent to understand. They listen with an intent to reply. We are usually listening at one of the four levels: ignoring, pretending, selective listening, and attentive listening. There is a fifth level, the highest form of listening – empathetic listening. In empathetic listening you listen not only with your ears but also with your eyes and heart. Empathetic listening is powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. As you start listening deeply, you appreciate the differences in perception. Our perceptions can be vastly different and yet we are trying to work together. Once we understand the differences, we open the door to creative solutions and to third alternatives. We don’t see the differences as stumbling blocks anymore but as stepping stones to synergy.

6.  Synergize

Synergy, by definition, means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Imagine this to be a vacation time and the husband has been planning all the year to go on a fishing vacation. His wife, however, wants to visit her ailing mother. In this situation, the husband may give in to the wife, grudgingly. Or the wife may give in to the husband, but wouldn’t forgive herself or her husband if her mother’s health deteriorates and she becomes seriously ill. Or they can split up and spend their respective vacations feeling guilty and unhappy. But there is a middle way, middle doesn’t mean compromise. It means somewhere higher like the apex of a triangle. When the husband and wife deeply understand their desires and communicate, they pool these desires. They are not on the opposite sides of the problem. They are together on one side of the problem looking at the problem.

May be the couple could arrange some time within this month for the wife to visit her mother. Or they could find a fishing site closer to her mother’s place. They could even plan some activities with aunts, cousins and uncles. They synergize. They communicate back and forth until they arrive at a solution they both feel good about. It’s better than a compromise. Instead of a transaction, they have a transformation. They get what they both really want and in the process build their relationship.

7.  Sharpen the saw

Suppose you come across someone working hard for hours together to saw down a tree. You notice that the saw needs sharpening and will bring the tree down much faster if taken care of. Will it be wise for the person sawing the tree to say he is too busy to sharpen his saw? Sharpening the saw is preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. You need to renew four dimensions of your nature- Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional and Spiritual. Taking the time to sharpen the saw is a Quadrant II activity. It must be acted upon.

The Physical dimension involves taking care of your body – eating right, resting sufficiently and exercising regularly. This Quadrant II activity will apparently bring phenomenal long term effects. Neglecting health will later push you into Quadrant I with health issues and crisis. The Spiritual dimension involves renewing yourself and your purpose through meditation or prayers or connecting to nature, whichever is best suited to you.

The Mental dimension involves continually honing and expanding your mind. It could be in a disciplined classroom environment or any other unconventional method that a proactive person can easily figure out. Reading is one of the most effective way to inform and expand your mind. Writing is another powerful tool to sharpen the saw. It affects our ability to think clearly and deeply. Sharpening your Physical, Spiritual and Mental dimensions is ‘Daily Private Victory’. Spending one hour a day will greatly affect the quality and effectiveness of your life.

The Social/Emotional dimension involves interpersonal leadership, empathetic communication and creative cooperation. It does not take time in the same sense as other dimensions but can be practised in everyday life when interacting with people.

Editor’s note

While The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a simple to read book, it is extremely difficult to summarise. The book has visual frameworks and interesting exercises, almost becoming a workbook. While we have made our best effort to summarise this book, and include relevant videos, we would really urge you to pick up your own copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and read the entire book.

 

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Handcrafted book summary of Mind in the Making

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                 Mind in the Making- The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

   Ellen Galinsky

William Morrow

400 pages; Average reading time 5 hours 40 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 9 minutes

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We are connected 24/7 with the world around us. This makes life complex, distracting and stressful. This holds for adults as well as children. For children especially, we try to help them imbibe different skills in sports, studies and performing arts. One area that gets neglected in this race to build a multi-dimensional individual is helping children learn life skills. Life skills, unlike your child’s tennis class, does not require expensive equipment to learn. While there is no age to learn life skills, adults need these skills as much as children do, it helps to begin early.

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Handcrafted Book Summary of The Lean Startup

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                                         The Lean Startup

   Eric Ries

Crown Publishing

336 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 45 min

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The reality is that most start-ups fail. Most of these failures are externalised to ‘not being in the right place at the right time’, ‘product not being perfect for launch’ and many more reasons. With my own start-up experience and of those around me, I believe that startup success can be engineered into a process, and therefore startup success can be learnt as well as taught.  I began writing on the blog Startup Lessons Learned-which has now refined into the theory of Lean Startup. The Lean Startup is not a ‘how-to’ book of tactics-it is an approach that helps entrepreneurs move away from ‘Can this product be built?’ to ‘Should this product be built?’ After all, the biggest risk that a startup carries is consuming precious resources to build a product that nobody wants! The Lean Startup is now a global movement. This book is divided into three parts:

  1. Build the vision for the startup with validated learning
  2. Steer the startup towards success using the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop
  3. Accelerate the Build-Measure-Learn loop while scaling up simultaneously

 

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Handcrafted Book Summary of My Gita

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                                                 My Gita

   Devdutt Pattanaik

Rupa Publications

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 37 min

This bookbhook book summary will take not more than 12 minutes

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This bookbhook summary is handcrafted by Pooja Terwad, exclusively for India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook. Pooja is a partner in a full service law firm, based out of Mumbai. She loves exploring books and interpreting their theory in her practice.

Why ‘My’ Gita?

The real quintessence of ‘GITA’ lies in ‘TAGI’ (One who lets go), yet I have named this book using a possessive pronoun.  The book is linear and the sequence of themes broadly follow the original sequence found in The Gita. The original Gita is narrated by Sanjaya, who has merely transmitted the conversation between Krishna and Arjun to Dhritirashtra, but did not really know what he was talking about. Through this book I am looking to put forth my narrative of The Gita in the light of several other mythologies around the world. However, this still remains my subjective understanding and my subjective truth. What you understand or take away will continue to remain your subjective truth and no one else’s. My Gita does not merely suit the hermit who isolates himself from the society, but it is meant for the householder, who has much to do with relationships.

 A Brief History of The Gita

Before the Bhagavad Gita (God’s song), there was the Vyadha Gita or the butcher’s song.  Just like the Bhagawad Gita, the Vyadha Gita’s description of dharma, karma and atma focused more on the householders’ way of engagement, and not on the hermits’ way of withdrawal. Hinduism goes back to over 5,000 years, and it is around the Vedic phase, roughly 4,000 years ago that Gita started emerging in hymns and rituals. The Mahabharata has multiple Gitas, but the Bhagawad Gita has been the most read and interpreted. The Bhagawad Gita has 700 verses, split into 18 chapters, of which 574 are spoken by Krishna, 84 by Arjuna, 41 by Sanjaya and 1 by Dhritarashtra.  There are several commentaries, translations and retellings of The Gita which have appeared from time to time and have reflections of the contemporary religious, social and political situations.

  1. Theme of My Gita: darshan (observation) ; Theme of The Gita: Arjuna’s despair

Where Dhritarashtra and Kauravas both consider their own family as enemies, Arjuna is worried about killing people who he considers his own. The Kauravas have already created distinctions on whom they consider their own and who as enemies, while Arjuna is not scared of violence -but violence against his own family. The Kauravas have already separated themselves from the other, the Arjun is unable to separate his own self from the other. The actions of Kauravas, Dhritarashtra and Arjun all involve judgment, thus preventing themselves from darshan. There are either divisions of good/bad, powerful/powerless and so on, or there is cause and consequence.  There is either the judgment or darshan. Where we look beyond the boundaries which are separating one from the other, we do darshan.

  1. Theme of My Gita: atma (rebirth) ; Theme of The Gita: sankhya (analysis)

True wisdom is where death is irrelevant. Life is a battlefield of infinite experiences of the dehi (immortal occupier) and the deha (mortal body). One experiences the world time and again in different deha, till those who fix their minds on the immortal reality break free from this wheel of re-births, which often fluctuates between the form and the formless. Once a soul does darshan, it motivates him to accept the present and take responsibility of the future. Another life is another chance: either to stay entrapped in the cycle of fear or break free by discovering the reality and observing it without judging it.

  1. Theme of My Gita: deha (mortal body); Theme of The Gita: karma (informed action)

The world is primarily divided into four: humans, animals, elements and plants. While elements are a-jiva, (lifeless), the rest three are sa-jiva (living). Plants have sensory organs but are immobile, unlike animals. Animals display emotions and some degree of intelligence. However, humans have manas, the power to imagine in addition to the above qualities. Every human imagines differently and hence has different experiences, even when put under same circumstances. Everything that we value is actually a result of our imagination. The most certain imagination of a human mind is fear and it is this fear which restrains us from gaining insight, accepting immortality as fear and help us function without fear. Immortality is a concept just like 0 and infinite and cannot be measured or proved by pure sciences.

  1. Theme of My Gita: dehi ; Theme of The Gita: gyana

Dehi is the atma which is located in the body. It is the body’s immortal resident, and which is beyond the senses and the mind. Dehi is just like the purusha, located inside nature. Deha-the outer body, on the other hand, is like the prakriti (nature) and these two (deha and prakriti) are within the reach of the senses, unlike the dehi and purusha which are immeasurable and permanent. Dehi is the jiv-atma and has limited experience as it is constrained by the deha it resides in. The purusha, however, is called the param-atma and its experience is unlimited as it resides in limitless prakriti. Every individual is a jiv-atma and every other individual is a param-atma. The dehi does not mean the soul, as soul can get corrupted, but dehi is pure and pious under any circumstances, even if it is in the body of a sinner.

  1. Theme of My Gita: karma ; Theme of The Gita: sanyasa (detached action)

Every living creature feels hungry and indulges in violence. Wherever there is hunger, there is food and the act of fetching food is a violent act as we indulge in destruction of life, that we consume as food. This is the ultimate truth. In anticipation of fear of violence, human refrains from acting but little do they realize that even inaction is going to have a reaction. Action or no action, both equally constitute karma and shall have consequences (karma-phal). As long as a human is not expecting any fruit out of his action, and is content with whatever is the result, he wouldn’t get entrapped. Remember, a good karma can have a bad reaction. We cannot have control over the fruits of our action. Not judging, and accepting things as they are, is the essence of karma- also called the nishkama karma.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: dharma ; Theme of The Gita: dhyana

The first word uttered in The Gita is dharma, often referred to as righteousness and debated as paap and punya. At times, it is also referred to as religion. However, as humans, we have the potential to imagine and respond to other person’s pain. When an individual values his needs along with the needs of others, he is following the path of dharma. Dominating the weak or consuming the weak is the animal nature, as humans we are supposed to empathize with the needs of others. Traditions and laws, which develop their own definition of dharma, is not dharma at all. The intent and care we give others related or not related to us is dharma. A person who follows dharma will never care to justify or complain, he will just engage himself in doing the karma, without expecting the karma-phala of their karma-bin (seeds of Karma).

  1. Theme of My Gita: yagna (exchange); Theme of The Gita: vi-gyana (inner potential)

Yagna is one of the only rituals of the outer journey which Krishna talks about. Yagna is an exchange, where the yagna doer (yajaman) gets in return of what he offers the devata. Exchange teaches us to reciprocate and thus value relationships. The concept of offering flowers/ghee or even bali (sacrifice) came later on, and do not propound the intent of The Gita. The true meaning of yagna always was to feed the hungry, it was an action inspired by a justified intent and thought.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: yoga (introspection); Theme of The Gita: askhara (liberation)

The process of connecting with the disconnected deha and ultimately finding the dehi is yoga. Krishna refers to disconnecting and breaking things into their parts, and then connecting them through yoga. Yoga helps us establish what the mind should do and what it shouldn’t. While the yagna is referred to as the outer journey, yoga is referred to as the journey of the mind, which one has to take. Yoga teaches us to take a decision with utmost clarity and without being insensitive to the feelings of others. A balance of yagna and yoga teaches a yogi to see the world with utmost equanimity, without judgment. The inner journey should be taken to better the outer journey.

  1. Theme of My Gita: deva-asura (trust); Theme of The Gita: raja-guhya (special secret)

Although devas and the asuras have often been termed as Gods and Demons, in reality they stand for believers and non-believers of atma. The God in The Gita has always been referred to as Bhagavan. Neither deva nor asura are given the status of BhagavanAtma is the one which is forever true and it can’t be proven and needs to be experienced. A yogi needs to value yoga, tapa and agni. Devas preferred the yagna and asuras preferred tapa. The devas were always insecure of the asuras and often tried to violate their tapasya, while the asuras envied the abundance that the devas were blessed with. The deva has been successful and the asura strives to be successful. Devas believes God will help them and asuras don’t believe so. Devas believe in param-atma but have not realized the value of jiv-atma and the asuras do not believe in atma at all. Hence, neither of them have completed the true inner journey. Both of them are unable to break free and are trapped in the karma-phala of their own actions.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: Bhagavan (potential); Theme of The Gita: vibhuti (divinity)

The word Bhagavan is used in The Gita to refer to God. While every living creature experiences one slice of reality (bhag), God is master of every slice. It means the one who has experienced it all. Finding the hidden meaning of God is an evolution. Understanding that God is not outside but within us and in others. God has been referred in various names since the Vedas to the Puranas. He is one who does not have a form, gender or any other identity. He is the Enlightened Householder. However, The Gita says the Bhagavan is the ultimate source and destination- where everyone and everybody should finally return. The Hindu God, as The Gita says, is located in Humanity.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: brahmana (mind); Theme of The Gita: vishwa-rupa ( sight of divinity)

Vanara (monkey), nara (human) and Narayana (God-refuge of nara) are the three aspects of human existence. They respectively denote the presence of animal, human and divine instinct. The animal instinct often wants to identify the prey or rival. The human instinct wants to judge, however, the divine instinct only observes. This journey involves unwinding of aham and eventually discovering the atma, which is the secure mind. This is brahmana. The observer, or the divine instinct, helps others to transform for the good, without making them feel small. A brahmana mind totally overrides the animal brain and outgrows fear. It is a stage where no one can be an enemy. Even someone who is harming you cannot be your enemy, as a brahmana considers the person causing harm merely another human who is indulging in animal like behaviour out of his fear.

  1. Theme of My Gita: avatar ; Theme of The Gita: bhakti

Krishna is addressed in over 40 ways in the Gita. Over the centuries and during every phase of Hinduism, various characters have expressed their love for God in a particular way. The bhava (emotions) of bhakta vary in every yug. Sometimes in form of a mother (Yashoda), at times in form of gopikas, at times like a preyasi (Radha). The devotee can either cling to the deity like a baby or could be passive in devotion.  The God has accepted every form of love and accepted the bhakta with every inadequacy without making him feel inferior. This sustains the relationship between the deity and its bhakta. Eventually, humans began to accept some forms of devotion and rejected a few. But Krishna categorically says that the relationship with god need not be governed by riti/niti (rituals) as long as it emerges from within.

  1. Theme of My Gita: guna; Theme of The Gita: kshetra

Humans are often faced with a dilemma where we wish to act in a certain manner, but end up with a completely different behaviour. This is because our nature compels us do what we do. Every instinct is manifested by a guna, which constitutes an individual. The a-jiv as well as the sa-jiv behave based on their respective gunas. The tri-gunas are classified as ‘rajasik, tamasik and the sattvik’. Every individual will have all the three gunas in proportion, but the guna that dominates at a particular hour, determines the reaction of the individual. Every human should realise that the reason for a particular response is not the dehi but the deha which is over powered by a guna, it is then we do not blame or judge.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: kshetra; Theme of The Gita: guna

Humans value everything that can be measured. I constitute of my atma and atma cannot be measured, but everything that is mine, can be. Hence, society attaches value to ‘mine’ rather than ‘me’.  This ‘mine’ is termed as Narayani, and people have forgotten what the Narayan (me) is. Property (kshetra) becomes the substitute for feelings and the purpose of life revolves around acquiring Narayani. While the nature does not classify anything as Narayani, humans create it- to nourish themselves. Kshetra is an artificial construction by human as he relates his identity through this kshetra. Our mind needs to outgrow from the dependence on kshetra to look for an identity from within. This identity needs to be acquired by effort. Society values the social body, but what needs to be values is an individual’s strength and skill. One should acquire kshetra as it is vital for survival, but should not attach or derive his identity from it.

  1. Theme of My Gita: maya; Theme of The Gita: Purushottam

The human potential to determine what belongs to me and what does not, is called Maya. It literally means delusion. We measure, we judge, we compare and we compete- this results in conflict and creation of hierarchies. This is all done to merely give ourselves an identity and make ourselves significant.  The dehi however cannot be measured.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: moha; Theme of The Gita: dev-asura

Humans feel secure when they cling or relate themselves to a physical identity. Even with a religion like Buddhism that preaches impermanence, the remains of Buddha were converted into stupas. Similarly, humans cling to their property or goals that satisfy their aham (ego) and ultimately lead to the six obstacles of kaam (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), maad (pride) and matsarya (jealousy). A householder runs behind his goals and a hermit shuns everything that naturally belongs to him. Both do not accept the reality of accepting what comes his way and letting go of what does not. Both these reactions keep us away from the atma and eventually nurture the aham.

  1. Theme of My Gita: moksha; Theme of The Gita: shraddha

Humans derive value from within as well as outside. The within, that is the atma, is immortal and infinite, and the exterior comprises of aham. The within is our primary root and the exterior, a secondary one. One should use knowledge to cut the secondary roots and liberate oneself. This is moksha, when one does not need validation from outside but is validated from within. While moksha begins by realizing that nothing is permanent, The Gita says that one can have two identities. One derived from aham and the other from atma. Atma results in moksha. Our insecurities disconnect us from others, and when we let these insecurities go, we automatically connect with the atma, which then, makes us generous and liberated. This is moksha.

 

  1. Theme of My Gita: atma (immortal within); Theme of The Gita: brahma-nirvana (discovery of the other)

The continuous tension between building relationships (dharma) and abandoning relationships (moksha) underlines The Gita. There have been various school of thoughts on the superiority of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The latter three indulge in the self, while dharma ordains that everything is meant for the other. Hence, Arjuna says, instead of finding moksha through abandonment, one needs to surrender and offer all his actions to Krishna and it will lead to automatic liberation. Siddhartha became Buddha by killing Mara (the demon of desire). Buddha, Rama, Pandavas – all of them returned back wiser, and yet disconnected, from the forest. Moksha can be attained by the expansion of mind to accommodate the truths of life and it is the outcome of dharma. Krishna advises Arjuna to take darshan of the other person by looking at him beyond his aham, hunger and fears – which are nothing, but the other person’s imagined identity. This can be done by discovering one’s aham, hunger and fears, and eventually discover the infinite atma. And this is atma-gyana, the ultimate promise of The Gita.

After My Gita

Arjuna’s confusion is now replaced by clarity and the battle of dharma at Kurukshetra begins. But even after the war, doubts in Arjuna’s mind continue. When Arjuna overhears a conversation between Yudhishthira and Krishna where Krishna says craving cannot be destroyed. The only way to destroy desire is by pursuing dharma. Pursuing dharma will lead to craving for more dharma, which then becomes a positive loop, and is good for the entire world. This is when Arjuna requests Krishna to repeat what he said in the starting verse of Bhagawad Gita. Krishna then narrates a follow-up Gita, which is known as the Anu Gita, in which the focus is on karma and gyana, not bhakti. Even after being the recipient of The Bhagawad Gita, Arjuna goes to hell. Why? With all his virtues, Arjuna was not perfect, and the desire to be perfect makes one control the situation, eventually judge the world, and not be secure and satisfied until the world has a happy ending. The Gita does not talk of perfection. It suggests the three interdependent paths of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyana Yoga to be followed. One also does not need have control over expected results. The final outcome depends on will (sankalpa), tendencies (guna) and what one is supposed to experience (karma).

This is a world without boundaries and that there will always be another chance.

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Handcrafted Book Summary of The Sleep Revolution

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                                   The Sleep Revolution

   Arianna Huffington

W H Allen

288 pages; Average reading time 5 hours 40 min

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Handcrafted Book Summary of Ten Judgements That Changed India

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                  Ten Judgements That Changed India

   Zia Mody

Penguin India

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 37 min

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This bookbhook summary has been handcrafted by Surbhi Kasid and the editors at bookbhook.com.

This handcrafted book summary will help you learn

  • The judicial history behind the recent Supreme Court judgement on triple talaq
  • How the Court interprets the fundamental rights of the citizens of India?
  • How Vishaka guidelines led to safer working conditions for women?

We the people of India

The people of India gave themselves The Constitution of India on 26th January 1950 with these words ‘We, the people of India’. The Constitution is the bedrock of the world’s largest democracy and this holy grail of democracy is interpreted from time to time. The interpretation of the Constitution goes through various levels till it reaches the ultimate interpreter- the Supreme Court of India.

As the name suggests, the book 10 Judgements That Changed India is a concise account of the way the Indian judiciary evolved over the course of time. It is important for us to understand how the various liberties and the safe recourse that we enjoy came to exist. The Constitution forms the back bone of Indian democracy and the apex judiciary is the cornerstone of the unflinching faith that the Indian citizen has in getting his or her voice heard. Since independence, the Constitution has been interpreted on numerous occasions by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The 10 judgements discussed in this book are regarded as the turning points in the Indian legal system, and are somewhere or the other, linked with the Constitution.

In this book summary of 10 Judgements That Changed India, we will cover three out the ten landmark cases. For a detailed perspective of these four judgements and to read the other six judgements, please buy the book.

 Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum

‘The law’ & then personal laws

India is a democracy and hence the right of equality is extended to every citizen. However, where matters such as marriages, divorces, and property settlements are concerned, there are different laws for different religions. These laws are also referred to as personal laws. Even before this case, the Supreme Court had passed several judgements regarding providing maintenance to a divorced Muslim woman by her husband but this case flared up the communal atmosphere in the country.

A divorce

In 1978, Mohammed Ahmed Khan divorced his wife of over forty years, Shah Bano, by pronouncing ‘triple talaq’- a Muslim religious custom that gave Mohammed Khan the right to do so, as long as the husband paid the pre-agreed amount mahr. The mahr amount was Rs 3000, something that would not help Shah Bano live the rest of her life without any financial support.

Shah Bano filed a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), claiming maintenance from her husband as the mahr amount was grossly inadequate to help her lead the rest of her life.. The Judicial Magistrate at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, ordered her husband to pay a meagre sum of Rs 25 every month. Shah Bano then moved to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which revised the maintenance amount to Rs 179.20 every month. In response to this, Mohammed Ahmad Khan challenged the Madhya Pradesh High Court decision at the apex court- the Supreme Court of India.

The problem

Mohammed Khan’s claim was that as per Section 127 of CrPC, since he had already paid the amount of mahr, he was not entitled to pay any further maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC. While Section 125 required a divorced woman (as long as she did not remarry) to be paid a monthly allowance of up to Rs 500, Section 127 of CrPC states that if the woman was paid any money under personal religious laws, then she could not claim any allowance under Section 125.

Section 127 aims to ensure that dual monetary allowance probability under both Section 125 (all citizens) and Section 127 (religious or personal laws) is reduced to zero. Mohammed Arif Khan claimed that since he had paid Shah Bano the mahr of Rs 3000, Shah Bano could not claim further support allowance under Section 125 of CrPC.

Is iddat enough for the dependent’s future?

The two judge bench hearing the Mohammed Khan’s petition decided to form a five judge Constitution Bench as the judges believed that the previous judgements in similar cases were not robust. Out of these five judges on the Constitution bench, four were Hindu and the fifth judge refused to be categorised under any religious label.

The question faced by the Supreme Court was a difficult and emotional one. Does providing financial support during iddat (the period set by Muslim personal law till which time a husband has to provide for his divorced wife), however meagre it may be, absolve him of his duty to provide for his divorced financially dependent wife’s future? In April 1985, the Supreme Court delivered its judgement on the Mohammed Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case.

The verdict

The verdict of the Constitution Bench said that Section 125 of CrPC aimed to prevent dependents from financial penury and the struggle of living without financial support, irrespective of religious identity of the dependents. The judgement then distinguished between personal laws and Section 125 of the CrPC.

The Court said that while personal law declared that mahr should be paid, but the personal law did not take into account how the divorced dependent wife would lead her life beyond the iddat period, and hence the need for the divorced to get financial support under Section 125, irrespective of religious identity. The Court also said that in case of any conflict between Section 125 of CrPC and Muslim personal law, CrPC would take precedence over personal law.

The court asserted that mahr was not a payment similar to divorce settlement. Just because mahr was paid at the time of death or divorce, it did not classify as a divorce payment. Thus, the Constitution Bench granted the maintenance amount as decided by the Madhya Pradesh High Court and additional legal costs to Shah Bano Begum.

Soon after the judgement, the cauldron of communal affiliation and dissatisfaction started getting stirred. The judgement, delivered to improve the lives of dependent women after their divorce, became an issue of interfering with religious customs and practices. While there were vociferous protests from Muslim community, there were many liberal Muslims and Hindus who supported the judgement.That the Constitution Bench interpreting Muslim personal law did not have a single Muslim member also became a bone of contention. There was a scathing attack on Shah Bano and she dissociated herself from the case.

Facing the political heat

More than the judgment, it was the way that the judgement was delivered became the point of uproar. Did the Constitution Bench need to interpret the Muslim personal law? Could it not have taken the decision just on the principles of The Constitution and the CrPC? Around the same time that this judgement was passed, the ruling Congress party, led by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi suffered electoral defeat in state legislative assembly elections. Fearing that supporting the judgement in the Mohammed Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum would lead to loss of the Muslim vote bank, the Rajiv Gandhi government enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights in Divorce) Act, 1986- also called the MWA.

The MWA, in a sense, reversed the judgement. According to the MWA, mahr and maintenance for a Muslim divorced woman was to be paid only during the period of iddat, and not beyond. The MWA did not explain what financial support the dependent divorced woman would get after the iddat period was over. It also closed all doors for Muslim women to seek financial support under Section 125 of CrPC after divorce.

Polarisation of the social fabric

This enactment of the MWA, as a response to the Supreme Court Constitution Bench judgement in the Shah Bano case, changed the history of India. This was the beginning of the rise of religious fundamentalism in post-independence India.

The MWA was challenged in 1994 and a petition was filed to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that would overrule all religious and personal laws. This petition was rejected by the court saying implementing UCC was a matter of the legislature, not the judiciary. The debate over MWA’s provision of providing financial support to a Muslim divorced only during the period of iddat was interpreted by courts as the amount being given only during iddat, but the amount being sufficient enough for the dependent to be able to lead the rest of her life or in some cases, reach out to her relatives or the Muslim Wakf board for financial support.

In 2001, the  Danial Latifi v. Union of India case challenged the constitutional validity of the MWA as the MWA  did not stand up to Articles 14 & 15 of The Constitution ( which guarantee right to equality) and Article 21 (which guarantees right to life) . The Supreme Court did not accept this argument but highlighted that the under the MWA, the husband would not only provide financial support during iddat, but also ensure that this payment is sufficient for the dependent divorced woman to lead the rest of her life.

In yet another decision later, the Supreme Court ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can file a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC. These two rulings, after the MWA came into force, ensures that the divorced Muslim woman is free to either seek financial support under Section 125 of the CrPC or claim a reasonable lump sum alimony (an amount that is fair to help her lead the rest of her life) under MWA act.

Bookbhook.com editor’s note: On 22 August 2017, the Supreme Court of India declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional by a 3:2 majority. The bench comprised of five judges who belong to different religions, including Islam.

Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985)

Please move, we want to help you

In July 1981, just when the monsoon clouds started hovering over the skyline of Bombay (now Mumbai), the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra A.R. Antulay announced that all slum dwellers and squatters in the city would be evicted out of Mumbai if they cannot prove their identity (with photo identity cards).

 Bombay then, even more so Mumbai now, is a city creaking at the limits owing to massive population influx with most migrants being part of the informal economy as daily wage earners living in slums or the footpaths. The Chief Minister believed that his decision would help the squatters and slum dwellers avoid the troubles associated with Mumbai’s rainy season. The irony was that the slum dwellers were being evicted from their place of stay (and work, as most of them stay close to their working area) to help them avoid the inconvenience of rains. The Municipal Commissioner of Bombay went about executing the order of the Chief Minister under Sections 312-314 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (BMC Act) and started evicting the squatters and encroachers.

It’s about right to life

In response to this forceful eviction by the BMC, two groups of slum dwellers filed writ petitions in Supreme Court against these forceful evictions. These slum dwellers argued that it was against their right to life and liberty. As most of the slum or pavement dwellers moved from other villages of the country for finding work and basic sustenance, it was essential that they lived close to their work area. This was about right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of The Constitution, and not just about the need to live in the streets or slums.

More so, the slum dwellers, did not live in slums and on the streets out of choice but due to their limited economic means in a city like Mumbai. Hence, the BMC should provide them alternative accommodation. The BMC countered that these encroachments led to a rise in crime, were a hazard to public safety, and increased pollution and hence, should be demolished and the residents evicted. For the Supreme Court, this was not just about the eviction of encroachers but about guaranteeing the fundamental right to life. But can one have the right to life if he or she does not have the right to a livelihood?

A fundamental right

Human civilization in most parts of the world recognises first generation civil and political rights as core rights enforceable by a court of law. On the other hand, second generation rights like socio-economic rights (e.g. right to health) are more as guidance for the state, known as directive principles in India.

Olga Tellis V. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985) is a landmark case that brought socio-economic rights within the ambit of fundamental rights. In this case, the Court had to decide between the right to life of the slum dwellers and the overall right to health and safety of the community. In its judgement on this case, the Supreme Court not just gave a judgement but also made observations that influence the debate on fundamental rights.  The Supreme Court made some stark observations regarding the life the people on streets lived and pronounced that the right to life includes the right to livelihood. How will a person live if he cannot sustain himself via earning a living?

Right to shelter

The Court, however, did not say that the procedure of BMC for evicting the encroachments was unjust, but that this eviction exercise had to be carried out based on constitutional principles. The Court thus ruled in favour of BMC only after the assurance that basic accommodation and rehabilitation schemes shall be provided so that the weak and the ignored sections of the society have equal opportunities. The Court also ruled that at least one month’s notice should be given to slum dwellers before evictions. The ruling, in this case, became one of the first instances where the Supreme Court of India while looking at a civic body procedure of eviction of encroachers, invoked it as a discussion on fundamental rights and broader policy issues of governance. The Olga Tellis case became the cornerstone for interpreting right to shelter as a constitutional obligation of the government, under Articles 19 & 21 of The Constitution.

Dilution of the spirit

In subsequent cases through the 1990s decade, the Supreme Court also laid down the need to ensure the minimum quality standard of the alternative accommodation for the impacted people, linking it to a certain level of quality of life. Olga Tellis case linked right to shelter to the right to livelihood, given that the under privileged need to stay close to their place of work.  However, by the mid-1990s, the Supreme Court shifted its stance on the displacement of the disadvantaged people, especially in the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Sardar Sarovar Dam stand-off.

The NBA filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging that the dam would lead to forced displacement of weaker sections of the society like the tribals, as well as lead to environmental degradation of the area. After extending a stay on the construction of the dam, the Supreme Court allowed raising the height of the dam in 2000, thereby ignoring its earlier precedent set in the Olga Tellis case.

 In recent times, the Supreme Court has further tilted away from the Olga Tellis precedence by comparing alternative accommodation for pavement dwellers with ‘rewarding pickpockets’ (Almitra Patel V. Union of India)

Providing adequate shelter to its citizens is now seen as a right across the globe. While Olga Tellis precedence is being weakened by the judgments of the Supreme Court itself, the fact that the Court took this as a case of not just civil eviction procedure, but as the bigger cause of right to livelihood, and thereby right to shelter, being a part of a citizen’s right to life, it is a strong example of the Court stepping in to protect the human rights of the underprivileged.

bookbhook.com editor note: On August 25, 2017, the Supreme Court passed landmark judgement that has far reaching impact on the fundamental rights of Indian citizens. The Court declared in its judgement that privacy is a fundamental right unless it concerns matters of national security and distribution of scarce resources

Vishaka v. the State of Rajasthan (1997)

Prosperity & women at the workplace

As the Indian economy unlocked itself in the early 1990s, it also opened up avenues for women to go out and seek employment. However, sadly, as the number of women in the workforce started to grow, the cases of sexual harassment against them also started to rise. Cases have been reported from private and public enterprises alike, be it police, defence, BPOs, or MNCs.

Bhanwari Devi versus society

Bhanwari Devi was a grassroots worker, locally known as saathin, in the state of Rajasthan. As part of an effort to remove the deplorable practice of child marriage, the Rajasthan government ran a focused campaign against child marriage in which the saathins like Bhanwari Devi played a major role at the village level.

In 1992, Bhanwari Devi made an effort to prevent the child marriage of a one-year-old girl but failed. However, in this effort to resist a deep rooted social malaise, the entire village turned against Bhanwari Devi. The village socially boycotted her family, and then in September 1992, Bhanwari Devi was sexually assaulted and raped by a group of five villagers. The local police were not much help, and the trial court in Rajasthan acquitted the five men. 

A group of five NGOs under the name of Vishaka then filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the Supreme Court of India, asking it to define how sexual harassment of women at work could be prevented via judicial process. While there are international treaties on safeguarding women, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that India signed in in 1980, there was no judicial process in India regarding sexual harassment at work. So, the Supreme Court relied on CEDAW in interpreting Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of The Constitution as well as a decision by the High Court of Australia and its own earlier decisions to formulate a guidance on sexual harassment of women at work place.

Because under Article 141 of The Constitution all decisions of the Supreme Court are treated as law, the guidelines issued in the Vishaka case became a judicial mandate to be implemented at all workplaces till suitable laws were made.

The Vishaka guidelines consist of eight guidelines with the first one being ‘The employer and/or other responsible people in a workplace are duty bound to prevent or deter sexual harassment and set up processes to resolve, settle or prosecute in such cases.

Vishaka guidelines as the law

Today, these guidelines form the very basis of the human resource policy in every company as Article 141 says that decisions by the Supreme Court are the ‘law’. After Vishaka guidelines were formulated and implemented, many cases sprung up across different High Courts and sometimes even the Supreme Court.

In the Apparel Export Promotion Council v A.K. Chopra case in 1999, the Supreme Court used the Vishaka guidelines to deliver the judgement. In this case, the chairman of the Council was accused of sexually harassing his secretary. Basis her complaint, the chairman’s services were terminated. The Chairman then filed a petition in Delhi High Court, which then observed that since he had never made any physical contact with his secretary, he cannot be charged with sexual molestation. The Apparel Export Promotion Council then made an appeal to the Supreme Court, which reversed the High Court decision and duly recognised that under the Vishaka guidelines, any physical contact is not mandatory for sexual harassment. Anything that compromised the dignity of a woman at her workplace is an act of sexual harassment.

A double edged sword

The Vishaka guidelines are a comprehensive and inclusive set of laws that make workplace safe for women. It is not that this law does not have its negatives. In the case of Usha C.S v, Madras Refineries, the Madras High court heard the complaint of an employee of Madras Refineries alleging sexual misconduct by her manager. She said that she was not allowed a paid study leave, promotion, and salary because she rejected the sexual advances made towards her by the manager.

The Court, after careful examination of all the facts, came to the conclusion that the allegations made by the employee were not true. Further, as per the Vishaka guidelines, a complaint investigation committee was set up, and the female employee had constantly delayed appearance in front of the complaints committee. Did the Supreme Court take on the mantle of the legislature by issuing the Vishaka guidelines, thereby making them the law under Article 141 of The Constitution? The Court issued guidelines when both legislature and the executive did not take up the mantle of creating laws to make workplaces safe for women.

Justice Markandey Katju said that the Court could not keep addressing all social issues for which there are no laws framed by the legislature. Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, however, said that such judicial intervention is okay if there is a legislative void and if accomplished jurists share this belief of existing void.

bookbhook.com editor’s note: In 2013, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act, 2013) was enacted as law by the Parliament of India. This Act plugged the legislature & executive void which was being done by the Vishaka guidelines from 1997 till the time the new law came into force in 2013.

This book summary covered just three of the ten judgements that changed India. To read these three in more detail and to read the other judgements, please buy the book

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bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Grassroots Innovation

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 Grassroots Innovation: Minds on the Margin Are Not Marginal Minds

                                          Anil K Gupta

Random House

416 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 04 min

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This bookbhook book summary has been handcrafted by Swetha Karthik, exclusively for India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook. Swetha is a stay at home mother to an eleven year old girl. When she is not creating art on paper, Swetha seeks her ‘happy place’ between the pages of a book.

This handcrafted summary will help you learn

  • What is grassroots innovation?
  • How innovation happens without expensive R&D?
  • Why girls in India are more innovative than married women?
  • How innovation knowledge in India is being carefully curated via organisations like Honey Bee Network & National Innovation Foundation?

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bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Eat Move Sleep

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 Eat Move Sleep : Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference

                                                Tom Rath

Perseus Books Group

256 pages; Average reading time 3 hours 24 min

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This bookbhook summary has been handcrafted by Nandini Shanbhag. Nandini quit her corporate job of 17 years to pursue her passion for reading and writing. Nandini believes reading opens the doors to unknown realms and widens our horizons.

This handcrafted summary will help you learn

  • What are the myths around the food that we eat
  • What are the small ‘nudges’ that will help us towards a better lifestyle ?
  • How eating, moving and sleeping right helps us stay healthy?

Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath is a New York Times best seller that is a must read for all of those who have taken life choices for granted. We blame our busy lifestyles and jobs for the unhealthy choices that we make and our genes for getting diseases like diabetes or cancer.

 

 

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In this tl;dr world, you are running short on time. There”s hardly any time to read for a few hours at a stretch. And yet we are in the knowledge economy, where knowing more is equal to more success at work. How can you, then, know more without reading more? book summaries are one way to grasp knowledge in nuggets. After all, you need to read it all quickly.So how long is too long to stop reading? Is tl;dr about the (l) (adjective) or about the ‘(dr) (verb). As per a recent report, the average attention span for humans seems to have dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to 8 seconds in 2016. At 8 seconds, our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. In simple words, we cannot focus on a task beyond 8 seconds without getting distracted. And this drop in attention span was across all age groups and gender. The number one reason attributed to this societal trend is penetration of multiple devices-smartphones,laptops,tabs.smart watches and the endless list.

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bookbhook.com curates non fiction books for you and then converts them into handcrafted short book summaries. But why book summaries? Because in this age of distracted attention, a book summary helps you grasp the book abstract and essence of the book in just a few minutes. bookbhook handcrafted book summary is available via one of the best book summary (book summaries) app and website-bookbhook.com. Like blinkist in Europe and getabstract in the U.S., bookbhook converts non fiction books into handcrafted short summaries. The bookbhook service is designed for the tl;dr world- with bookbhook you do not need to read more to know more.  Why should a Hindi medium educated young entrepreneur in Aligarh miss out on Peter Thiel’s Zero to One? bookbhook brings the Hindi summary of the startup bible. Do not like reading at all, not even a 10 min summary? Hopefully a book summary video will get you to know more without reading more?

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A book summary is not a book review. Book summaries actually much more than a book review, they are about the abstract of the book. While there are global book summary websites and book summaries websites like blinkist and getabstract, bookbhook is India’s first book summary and books based micro-learning service.With bookbhook.com, you no longer need to look for pdf of books like Blink, Outliers, The Secret, Thinking Fast & Slow, Dream With Your Eyes Open.

The best app for non fiction book summaries

You just need to fire up the best book summary app from India- bookbhook and read handcrafted book summaries of non fiction books like The Lean Startup, Zero to One. If you do not have the time to read or tired looking for pdf of books, your search ends with the best book summary app at bookbhook. bookbhook offers you book summaries of thoughtfully curated books as well as audio book summary. bookbhook.com is a website that has book summaries in English. bookbhook app for book summary has audio book summaries, summary in Hindi and English. For the best business book summary, history book summary, your search ends with bookbhook. bookbhook is available as android book summary app as well as iPhone book summary app. You can read some book summaries on desktop as well.  The audio book summary are available on the best app for book summary, for select books.

bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of Brick by Brick

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                                          Brick by Brick

                          David Robertson with Bill Breen

       Random House Business

320 pages; Average reading time 4 hours 32 min

This bookbhook summary will take not more than 10 minutes

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How LEGO came about?

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, Ole Kirk Christiansen founded LEGO by combining two initial letters of the Danish words ‘leg godt’ (play well), in the small town of Billund in Denmark. The company’s motto ‘Only the best is good enough’ emerged when Godtfred, Ole Kirk’s son, told his father that he had used two coats of varnish instead of the regular three, while making wooden toy ducks. This angered Ole Kirk so much that he ordered his son to go back to the train station and repaint the wooden ducks. The lesson inspired Godtfred to immortalize his father’s values by carving the motto onto a wooden plaque and since then it has been the signpost of the company.

In 1950, the father-son duo mutated the ‘Self-locking Building Bricks’ into an ‘Automatic Binding Brick’. LEGO had now moved from wood to plastic but this change failed to provide solidity to the LEGO bricks. They persevered and it was not until 1958, when Godtfred came up with the stud-and-tube coupling model, which had tight tolerances, enabling the studs to retain connectivity through friction. LEGO bricks as we know it, were born. Over the years, LEGO has maintained a relentless focus on its values and its ability to innovate via experimentation. In doing so, LEGO has seen success and failure, learning some important lessons in innovation management, on the way.

Is there something like ‘too much innovation’?

In 1997, in an attempt to keep up with the license-driven US merchandise market, Peter Eio, Chief of LEGO (USA), decided to collaborate with Lucas Film Ltd and came up with the concept of LEGO Star Wars toys. The sceptical Billund executives however, felt that the venture would violate the core values set by Ole Kirk: ‘to never let war seem like child’s play.’ Eio persevered, and armed with a customer survey that asked parents if they would welcome the LEGO-Star Wars tie-up, succeeded in rolling out the now extremely popular Star Wars LEGO merchandise. LEGO realised that the world was moving fast from free-play building blocks to franchise driven innovation.

 

You can read this book summary by subscribing to bookbhook subscription plans. For more details, visit https://bookbhook.com/subscription

Buy this book from:
  Read this book summary on India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook? Now buy the bookRead this book summary on India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook? Now buy the book
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Why book summaries?

In this tl;dr world, you are running short on time. There’s hardly any time to read for a few hours at a stretch. And yet we are in the knowledge economy, where knowing more is equal to more success at work. How can you, then, know more without reading more? book summaries are one way to grasp knowledge in nuggets. After all, you need to read it all quickly. So how long is too long to stop reading? Is tl;dr about the (l) (adjective) or about the ‘(dr) (verb). As per a recent report, the average attention span for humans seems to have dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to 8 seconds in 2016. At 8 seconds, our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. In simple words, we cannot focus on a task beyond 8 seconds without getting distracted. And this drop in attention span was across all age groups and gender. The number one reason attributed to this societal trend is penetration of multiple devices-smartphones, laptops, tabs, smartwatches and the endless list.

In such a scenario, you need a nonfiction book summary that captures the essence of the book, without taking away the pleasure of reading.

Where can I find the best book summary app or book summaries website?

bookbhook.com curates nonfiction books for you and then converts them into handcrafted short book summaries. But why book summaries? Because in this age of distracted attention, a book summary helps you grasp the book abstract and essence of the book in just a few minutes. bookbhook handcrafted book summary is available via one of the best book summary (book summaries) app and book summaries website-bookbhook.com.

Like blinkist in Europe and getabstract in the U.S, bookbhook converts non-fiction books into handcrafted short summaries. The bookbhook service is designed for the tl;dr world- with bookbhook you do not need to read more to know more. Why should a Hindi medium educated young entrepreneur in Aligarh miss out on Peter Thiel’s Zero to One? bookbhook brings the Hindi book summary of Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Do not like reading at all, not even a 10 min summary? Hopefully a book summary video will get you to know more without reading more?

How is a book summary different from a book review?

A book summary is not a book review. Book summaries actually much more than a book review, they are about the abstract of the book. While there are global book summary websites and book summaries websites like blinkist and getabstract, bookbhook is India’s first book summary and books based micro-learning service. With bookbhook.com, you no longer need to look for pdf of books like Blink, Outliers, The Secret, Thinking Fast & Slow, Dream With Your Eyes Open. An example of book summary can be seen here http://bookbhook.com/bookbhook-handcrafted-book-summary-of-super-30/

Which is the best app for non-fiction book summaries in India?

You just need to fire up the best book summary app from India- bookbhook and read handcrafted book summaries of nonfiction books like The Lean Startup, Zero to One. If you do not have the time to read or tired looking for pdf of books, your search ends with the best book summary app at bookbhook. bookbhook offers you book summaries of thoughtfully curated books as well as audio book summary. Soe of these audio book summary are free for you to listen to.

bookbhook.com is a book summary website that has book summaries in English. bookbhook app for book summary has audio book summaries, summary in Hindi and English. For the best business book summery, history book summary, your search ends with bookbhook. bookbhook is available as android book summary app as well as iPhone book summary app. You can read some book summeries on desktop as well. The audio book summary are available on the best app for book summary, for select books.

Where can I read more nonfiction book summeries from India and the world?

You can read high quality nonfiction book summery on www.bookbhook.com or you can click here to download India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook to read more than 100 non fiction book summaries

bookbhook Handcrafted Book Summary of On Balance

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book summary of On Balance by Leila Seth on-India’s-best-book-summary-app
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                    On Balance: An Autobiography

                                          Leila Seth

Penguin India

496 pages; Average reading time 7 hours 01 min

This bookbhook summary will take not more than 11 minutes

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This bookbhook summary is handcrafted by Gayathri Manikandan. Gayathri describes herself as an ex-software engineer, book lover, craft enthusiast and a proud citizen of ‘Imagi’nation.’

This handcrafted summary will help you know

  • More about India’s first female chief justice
  • How Leila Seth managed work and home
  • Challenges that working women face, even at higher levels

Some sentences have been quoted from the book. These are marked in green

My parents

Much to the delight of my parents, their longing for a daughter came true on the day of Diwali on 20 October 1930.  They already had two sons Raj Kumar (or Michi), Sushil Kumar (Sashi) and I was named Leila. It was the pre-independence times, and my father was in the Imperial Railway Service run by the government. My mother was from a westernised background, her father was a doctor and was remarried (after my grandmother’s death) to a young and educated woman.

My father, on the other hand, was from a more Indianized background brought up in a village in present day Uttar Pradesh (UP). His mother was a young widow with seven children and wasn’t educated. She pawned her only piece of jewellery to educate my father. He excelled in his studies and remained with Imperial Railway Service until he died in 1942.

East meets West

In the 1930s, the years of my childhood, the British Raj was ruling over India and western education by Christian missionaries was most sought after. Gandhi, Nehru and Bhagat Singh were well-known figures. However, my immediate family favoured English & English became the language I think and dream in. It was not until my college days, when Hindi was made compulsory in post-independent India that I took up Hindi in college (though I failed the exams).

As my father was employed in the Railways, we also had the opportunity to live in Punjab and Bengal apart from UP. The small railway towns and the railway colonies in bigger towns ranged from sprawling bungalows to tent houses.

Friends

My parents had an active social life and played tennis and threw dinner parties. After a car accident, when I was about four, my mother became apprehensive about cars and suffered acute headaches. Because of this, my father rented a house in Darjeeling where we all lived, visited by my father for six months in a year. I went to the Loreto Convent, which had children from different countries.

In Darjeeling, we became close with the Dutts family. Later when my father was seriously ill and died in Calcutta, and my mother had to be there to take care of him, I lived with the Dutts as I always did when father and mother went on trips. The Dutts were very kind in accommodating us in their home while my brothers were in boarding school in Darjeeling. They were careful about not letting us feel the weight of their generosity and had secretly paid for my brother’s education, which we were made to believe was a scholarship from the school.

Quest for a suitable boy

I was nineteen when I met Premo. He had come to visit a family friend on his return to India from England after doing a course in boot and shoe manufacture. A year later, I visited Delhi for an extended New Year holiday, and a meeting was arranged at Kanpur for Premo to see me. Though he liked me and found me unassuming and intelligent, I was hesitant. I was not bowled over at our first meeting.

With permission from my mom, Premo started writing to me, and the correspondence helped me know him better. He was orphaned at a young age and was raised by his uncle and aunt, who he thought were his parents until he was the age of eight. He left home in protest against getting him married to his widowed sister-in-law. He joined a Bata shop in Ambala as a shop-boy and was later recommended as an assistant in a Bata shop in Mussourie.

Like my father, Premo appeared to be honest, steady and sincere. However, we were nurtured differently. While Premo’s grandmother was of the opinion that anything to deal with leather and shoes were best left to low-caste people, my mother’s view was that it was no disgrace to be a shoemaker but only for a shoemaker to make bad shoes. We eventually got married on 13 March 1951, 13 months after we first met.

In the family way

After we had been married, we lived in Batanagar near Calcutta. Moreover, for a short while, I continued my job as a stenographer at the Assam Rail Link Project. I had chosen a second-hand car over a romantic honeymoon at Switzerland, but little did we realise that we had spent all our money in buying the car and we had no money to buy petrol! We had to borrow money from the car seller to fill petrol for our drive back to Bata Nagar. It was amidst this financial situation that I discovered, much to my shock, that I was pregnant. Ma told me that each child comes with his food and fate and that I should not worry unnecessarily. Thus came Vikram, into this world.

The accidental career

When Vikram was not yet two, Premo was given an opportunity to work in Bata Development Office in London. We were naturally very pleased but decided to leave Vikram behind until we settled down in the new place. I was mostly seasick throughout my journey and remained in bed. After a little less than two weeks of travelling, we arrived at England greeted by the grey overcast English sky that looked depressing. The cosy image in my head with pictures from Beautiful Garden and Homes were all shattered by our poky little hotel room that was gloomy, grey and bleak.

My house-hunting trips, after Premo left for work, ended in disappointments owing to rejections on racial grounds and homes with no baths or shower. We eventually settled down to a flat with the property owner living downstairs. After upsetting our property owner with ringing doorbell, loud laughter, Indian music and creaking steps, we decided to move out as were planning to bring Vikram.

When I arrived in London, I had decided to do a six-month Montessori diploma course hoping to start a nursery school when I returned to India. Later, I decided to apply for admission to the Bar because the attendance requirements were not too strict.

Clearing the Bar exams

Vikram arrived in London when he was three years old, was not too sure of us and took some time to bond. Soon, he felt at home, and we enrolled him in a school. A year and a half later, Vikram and Ma (who came unannounced on a cheap chartered flight ticket) returned to India due to tension over the Suez Canal. Therefore, when his little brother Shantum arrived, Vikram was not there. At that time, I had already passed Part I and the final Bar examinations were due in a few months.

 We soon hired a baby-minder and we left Shantum every morning at her place and brought him back in the evening. With all these preparations, I took my exams relaxed though not as well prepared, as I would have liked. The day the results were out, I could not believe myself that I had come first in the Bar examination. Moreover, with that Bar Final results, my dream of starting a nursery school ended.

Young woman, go and get married

Shortly after completing my law studies, we moved back to Batanagar near Kolkata, and I was busy setting up the home and Vikram had started school. Once that was sorted out, the next task in hand was to find me a senior who would take me in his chambers. Pupillage is an apprenticeship to a senior, enabling one to acquire a proper knowledge of the technique of the profession. Moreover, that meant following the senior around like a shadow.

After consulting a list of barristers who were willing to take pupil, I chose Mr. Sachin Chaudhari and thought I would call him for an appointment. However, his calls were filtered, and there was no way for me to reach him. After a month, I finally booked an appointment with him. When I met him and asked me to join his chambers, he said ‘Instead of joining the legal profession, young woman, go and get married’. I replied that I was already married, to which he asked me to have a baby. I said I had a baby, and he said I should have another one. I replied ‘Mr. Chaudhari, I already have two children’. Taken aback, he said, ‘Then come and join my chambers, you are a persistent young woman and will do well at the Bar’.

So, this woman who not only wore a sleeveless blouse but also drove a car joined the chambers and completed one year of pupillage, picking up Vikram on the way back home from my brother’s home where he went after School. Late evenings, my attention was with Shantum who had been looked after by his Ayah, with a lunchtime visit from Premo.

My law practice

Premo moved from Batanagar to Pune for work and so did I and started practising at the Pune High court. I was one of only two women in that court at that time, the other being Dharamshila Lal. She was unafraid, bold and forceful. In short, she was the sole female star. We lived in a beautiful old house that once belonged to the Maharaja of Chainpur (owing to my husband’s position in Bata Shoe factory). Moreover, I arrived at the court in a chauffeur-driven black Plymouth. People could not understand why I was roaming around in the dusty corridors and courtrooms spending time with uncouth clients. However, Dharamshila Lal put me in my place when I complained to her about the musty toilet with bats flying about.

In due course, I found my feet and appeared for many cases including a rape case and a case involving death sentence, that gave me moments of deep dejection. Another case was that of a train engine driver convicted of criminal negligence and sentenced to 2 years rigorous imprisonment. He was unaware of a tragedy that happened when the train passed through a low bridge smashing and severing passengers sitting on the rooftop of the train unknown to the driver. I won the appeal, and my ultimate recognition came when the driver, not having the means to show his appreciation in a material way, brought his entire family to meet me and insisted on touching my feet.

After having two wonderful boys, we longed for a girl and had Aradhana. Vikram and Shantum, by this time, were in boarding school. We had difficult times when there was a clash between my duties as a lawyer and a wife and even told Premo one day about quitting my work. He replied, ‘I know that your work is one of your hands and that the family is the other. How can I ask you to cut off one hand? No, no, you must work, and we will adjust.’

My turn: Delhi

Premo was transferred back to Calcutta from Pune. Though I was less enthusiastic about the move, it was a very important one for Premo. I, on the other hand, worked very hard but did not make too much headway. There were gender specific challenges. It was difficult for a solicitor to brief young female lawyers. My brother who was a senior executive at Andrew Yule & Co sought my opinion only informally as his company preferred briefing a male lawyer.

On the personal front, our stay in Calcutta strengthened our family bonds. My brothers were living in Calcutta, my mom came over for Sunday lunches, and we had a large circle of friends. We also found our gardener Sona, who stayed with us for thirty-five years. He lovingly tended garden after garden, as we moved homes. Our children learnt to love flowers, trees and enjoyed peaceful gardens.

In Calcutta, Premo too was reaching a sort of dead end with Bata. We decided to move out of Calcutta but the question was where we should go. It was essential for me to stabilise my practice in a single place and we zeroed in on Delhi, as both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court were there. Therefore, I moved first to test waters. Premo had to settle for a transfer as Factory Manager to Faridabad, which was a bit of a comedown for him.

First woman judge in the capital

In early 1978, I was recommended as a judge for the Delhi High Court. Until then, there had only been one-woman judge, Anna Chandy who served as a Judge in the Kerala High Court during the late 1950s. Since then there were no women judges, and this issue had been under discussion and became more prominent during 1975, which was declared the Women’s International year.

The only two women who qualified for being a judge at that time were Urmila Kapur and me. Nevertheless, fate and destiny made me the first woman judge of Delhi High court on 25 July 1978.

There were interesting incidents when I was sitting as a Judge with Justice T.P.S Chawla who insisted a lawyer to address the court correctly. Justice Denning in England had issued directions that a woman judge has to be addressed as ‘My Lady’. The lawyer, however, had no idea what to do and when explained what was expected out of him, he simply chose to turn his face towards Justice Chawla and answer as if he had asked the question.

On another occasion, I was disturbed by shuffling of feet and the soft murmur of many voices. When enquired, I came to know that the dozens of people staring at me were a group of farmers whom Prime Minister Charan Singh had invited to Delhi to see the sights. They had visited the zoo and then came to see the woman judge at the Delhi High Court!

Women’s economic empowerment

Since the beginning, I had refrained myself from appearing only for cases about women. I had, by choice, taken up civil and constitutional work. However, as a judge, I wrote judgements for cases that had a woman’s angle (whether Silver utensils and Gold ornaments were considered ‘Jewelry’), a dowry-death case, and a custody case and so on.

In the dowry-death case, I was appalled at the alacrity with which the man remarried while he was still on bail and the parent’s mindset to give away their daughter to such a man. The law can only help. It is for parents of young girls to change their mindset about marriage being the be-all and end-all of their life. The education and economic empowerment of a girl are necessary.

Once, when I had asked a good friend who rose to very high judicial position, if he will give a dowry to his daughter, he answered that he would as it was nearly impossible in his community to get his daughter married without a dowry but at the same time he would not take dowry for his son. Though it was not what I wanted to hear, it was one small step forward.

Meanwhile, on the personal front, my daughter Aradhana was over 25 and was making commendable progress with her career in films. However, I could not help my apprehensions and fear about her landing up with someone unsuitable or worse, no one at all. My eldest son Vikram had his Tibetan journey compiled and published as a book and was working on his novel, The Golden Gate. My other son, Shantum, on the other hand, pursuing his search for an alternate lifestyle and a path of peace.

First female Chief Justice of India

11 years after being a Judge, in 1988, I was elated to know about my recommendation to be elevated to the Supreme Court of India. However, by a twist of fate, Ms.Fathima Beevi was recommended in place of me and she went on to become the first woman to be a judge at the Supreme Court of India. On the other hand, I was the senior most judge in line to become the Chief Justice. In 1991, Ranganath Misra, the then Chief Justice of India, decided that I should be made the Chief Justice of the High court of Himachal Pradesh in Shimla.

Unlike male judges whose families would follow them to their places of transfer, mine would not be able to give up their assignments. However, I was going to be the first woman Chief Justice of a state in India, and I did not want to pass up. I accepted the move and had the new experience of the entire household revolving around me. In my earlier homes, everything revolved around the needs of the man of the house, and for the first time I felt like I am a person in my right. It was in Shimla, Vikram completed his revision of A Suitable Boy.

As my sixty-second birthday approached, and so did my retirement, my memories came rushing back to me and I indulged myself in memories of the past.

Retirement is not the end

After my retirement, we moved to our own house in Noida with its tiny garden, which is my great joy. We had decided to move to Noida, as we did not have the sort of money to buy a house in Delhi.

About six months after retirement, I started getting depressed about not being able to have a routine anymore, and I could find no sense of purpose. Therefore, I joined a nine-month course of study to do a diploma in environmental law at the World Wide Fund for Nature. When I completed it, I was invited to be a member of the Board of Trustees and later became its Vice President.

In 1997, when I was busy with my arbitration work, I was appointed a full-time member of the 15th Law Commission. The Law Commission’s work was to look at particular areas of law suggested by the Government or Supreme Court or taken up by ourselves and prepare a report to be submitted to the government regarding the reforms that need to be done.We prepared several reports covering a wide range of subjects.

I did face difficulties and challenges in my legal career, but there were brave women, both in India and in other countries, who inspired me with their courage and determination. I feel humbled when I think of such luminaries.

I remember my mother who would feel upset when she was left out of activities of her children, and I was determined that I should have a life of own, so that there is no expectation of reciprocation of attention from my children. This did not mean I did not give my children affection or time; it was just that it was not to the exclusion of everything else.

The balancing act

This balancing act has not been easy. However, I have realised that if you are sincere with your work and love your family, you can share your problems and difficulties with them and it is surprising to see the solutions that emerge through consensus. In addition, I felt it was less stressful doing two different kinds of work. You could switch between your work and household, the change itself becoming a form of relaxation. The fame, the privileges, the recognition are fleeting, and I bring myself down to earth with a remark Premo made to me when we were first married: ‘It is better to spend time making something of yourself than socialising’

Click here to download India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook to read more than 100 non fiction book summaries

 

Buy this book from:
  Read this book summary on India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook? Now buy the bookRead this book summary on India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook? Now buy the book
[/column]
[/row]

 

Why book summaries?

In this tl;dr world, you are running short on time. There’s hardly any time to read for a few hours at a stretch. And yet we are in the knowledge economy, where knowing more is equal to more success at work. How can you, then, know more without reading more? book summaries are one way to grasp knowledge in nuggets. After all, you need to read it all quickly. So how long is too long to stop reading? Is tl;dr about the (l) (adjective) or about the ‘(dr) (verb). As per a recent report, the average attention span for humans seems to have dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to 8 seconds in 2016. At 8 seconds, our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. In simple words, we cannot focus on a task beyond 8 seconds without getting distracted. And this drop in attention span was across all age groups and gender. The number one reason attributed to this societal trend is penetration of multiple devices-smartphones, laptops, tabs, smartwatches and the endless list.

In such a scenario, you need a nonfiction book summary that captures the essence of the book, without taking away the pleasure of reading.

Where can I find the best book summary app or book summaries website?

bookbhook.com curates nonfiction books for you and then converts them into handcrafted short book summaries. But why book summaries? Because in this age of distracted attention, a book summary helps you grasp the book abstract and essence of the book in just a few minutes. bookbhook handcrafted book summary is available via one of the best book summary (book summaries) app and book summaries website-bookbhook.com.

Like blinkist in Europe and getabstract in the U.S, bookbhook converts non-fiction books into handcrafted short summaries. The bookbhook service is designed for the tl;dr world- with bookbhook you do not need to read more to know more. Why should a Hindi medium educated young entrepreneur in Aligarh miss out on Peter Thiel’s Zero to One? bookbhook brings the Hindi book summary of Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Do not like reading at all, not even a 10 min summary? Hopefully a book summary video will get you to know more without reading more?

How is a book summary different from a book review?

A book summary is not a book review. Book summaries actually much more than a book review, they are about the abstract of the book. While there are global book summary websites and book summaries websites like blinkist and getabstract, bookbhook is India’s first book summary and books based micro-learning service. With bookbhook.com, you no longer need to look for pdf of books like Blink, Outliers, The Secret, Thinking Fast & Slow, Dream With Your Eyes Open. An example of book summary can be seen here http://bookbhook.com/bookbhook-handcrafted-book-summary-of-super-30/

Which is the best app for non-fiction book summaries in India?

You just need to fire up the best book summary app from India- bookbhook and read handcrafted book summaries of nonfiction books like The Lean Startup, Zero to One. If you do not have the time to read or tired looking for pdf of books, your search ends with the best book summary app at bookbhook. bookbhook offers you book summaries of thoughtfully curated books as well as audio book summary. Soe of these audio book summary are free for you to listen to.

bookbhook.com is a book summary website that has book summaries in English. bookbhook app for book summary has audio book summaries, summary in Hindi and English. For the best business book summery, history book summary, your search ends with bookbhook. bookbhook is available as android book summary app as well as iPhone book summary app. You can read some book summeries on desktop as well. The audio book summary are available on the best app for book summary, for select books.

Where can I read more nonfiction book summeries from India and the world?

You can read high quality nonfiction book summery on www.bookbhook.com or you can click here to download India’s favourite book summary app-bookbhook to read more than 100 non fiction book summaries