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5 out of 6 books from Penguin are in the run for The Booker Prize 2022!

We have just been updated that we have 5 out of 6 books from Penguin have been shortlisted for The Booker Prize 2022! The winner will be announced at the Roundhouse in London on October 17, 2022. Stay tuned! 

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

Booker Prize 2022!
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts who cluster around him can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka. Ten years after his prizewinning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Karunatilaka is back with a rip-roaring epic, full of mordant wit and disturbing truths.



Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

The long-awaited new work from the author of FosterSmall Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.




Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Glory is an energy burst, an exhilarating joyride. It is the story of an uprising, told by a bold, vivid chorus of animal voices that helps us see our human world more clearly. It tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it. History can be stopped in a moment. With the return of a long-lost daughter, a #freefairncredibleelection, a turning tide — even a single bullet.






Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’




The Trees by Percival Everett 

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of TelephonePercival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America’s pulse.

Our all time favourites for World Book Day!

Classics are timeless reads that bring you comfort, nostalgia, and warmth to invigorate and inspire you from time to time. This World Book Day, we’re bringing you our favourite books that will stay with you for a lifetime!


Navarasa by A.N.D. Haksar 

Navarasa || A.N.D. Haksar


According to Indian aesthetics, “rasa” is the sap or juice that permeates our culture, art, and helps to direct our basic human feelings. The Natya Shastra, an ancient Hindu text, first made reference to the Navarasas; our art, dance, theatre, and literature are all founded on these nine human emotions. For the first time, 99 verse translations of the nine rasas of old Hindu history are presented in Navarasa: The Nine Flavors of Sanskrit Poetry, coming soon.


The Monkey’s Wounds by Hajra Musroor

The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories
The Monkey’s Wounds || Hajra Musroor

A compilation of sixteen short tales by Hajra Masroor called The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories serves as an example of her unyielding voice, her piercing depictions of the bitter realities of life, and the wounds and traumas of women’s inner lives. The tales are taken from her renowned compilation of tales, Sab Afsanay Meray, and are translated from the original Urdu. They are tales that showcase Masroor at her finest.


The Sacred Wordsmith by Raja Rao

The Sacred Wordsmith
The Sacred Wordsmith || Raja Rao


Raja Rao’s best works, including his autobiographical Prefaces and Introductions, are collected in The Sacred Wordsmith. The book includes a number of his well-known acceptance speeches, such as those for the Sahitya Akademi Award and Neustadt International Prize, as well as other well-known writings, including “The World is Sound,” “The Word,” “Why Do You Write?” “The West Discovers Sanskrit,” “The English Language and Us,” and “The Story Round, Around Kanthapura,” a fascinating, unpublished account of the creation of his well-known first novel.


The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore
The Postmaster||Rabindranath Tagore


Poet, novelist, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore created the modern short story in India. Written in the 1890s, during a period of relative isolation, his best stories—included in this selection—recreate vivid images of life and landscapes. They depict the human condition in its many forms: innocence and childhood; love and loss; the city and the village; the natural and the supernatural. Tagore is India’s great Romantic. These stories reflect his profoundly modern, original vision. Translated and introduced by William Radice, this edition includes selected letters, bibliographical notes and a glossary.


Selected Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto

Manto's Selected Stories
Selected Stories|| Saadat Hasan Manto


The gentle dhobi who transforms into a killer, a prostitute who is more child than woman, the cocky, young coachman who falls in love at first sight, a father convinced that his son will die before his first birthday. Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories are vivid, dangerous and troubling and they slice into the everyday world to reveal its sombre, dark heart. These stories were written from the mid 30s on, many under the shadow of Partition. No Indian writer since has quite managed to capture the underbelly of Indian life with as much sympathy and colour. In a new translation that for the first time captures the richness of Manto’s prose and its combination of high emotion and taut narrative, this is a classic collection from the master of the Indian short story.


Lifting the Veil by Ismat Chughati

Ismat Chughtai
Lifting The Veil||Ismat Chughtai


At a time when writing by and about women was rare and tentative, Ismat Chughtai explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.
She wrote about the world that she knew, bringing the idiom of the middle class to Urdu prose, and totally transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction.
Lifting the Veil brings together Ismat Chughtai’s fiction and non-fiction writing. The twenty-one pieces in this selection are Chughtai at her best, marked by her brilliant turn of phrase, scintillating dialogue and wry humour, her characteristic irreverence, wit and eye for detail.

One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Perumal Murugan
One Part Woman||Perumal Murugan


All of Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child-from prayers topenance, potions to pilgrimages-have been in vain. Despite being in aloving and sexually satisfying relationship, they are relentlessly houndedby the taunts and insinuations of the people around them.Ultimately, all their hopes and apprehensions come to converge on thechariot festival in the temple of the half-female god Ardhanareeswaraand the revelry surrounding it. Everything hinges on the one night whenrules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman issanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation.

But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test.Acutely observed, One Part Woman lays bare with unsparing clarity arelationship caught between the dictates of social convention and the tugof personal anxieties, vividly conjuring an intimate and unsettling portraitof marriage, love and sex.


Loom of Time by Kalidasa

Loom of Time by Kalidasa
Loom Of Time||Kalidasa


Kalidasa is the greatest poet and playwright in classical Sanskrit literature and one of the greatest in world literature. Kalidasa is said to have lived and composed his work at the close of the first millennium BC though his dates have not been conclusively established. In all, seven of his works have survived: three plays, three long poems and an incomplete epic. Of these, this volume offers, in a brilliant new translation, his two most famous works, the play Sakuntala, a beautiful blend of romance and fairy tale with elements of comedy; and Meghadutam (The Cloud Messenger), the many-layered poem of longing and separation.

Also included is Rtusamharam (The Gathering of the Seasons), a much-neglected poem that celebrates the fulfillment of love and deserves to be known better. Taken together, these works provide a window to the remarkable world and work of a poet of whom it was said: Once, when poets were counted, Kalidasa occupied the little finger; the ring finger remains unnamed true to its name; for his second has not been found.


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Five Traditional Morning Routines to Optimize Your Energy

Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda Cover
Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda||Janesh Vaidya

In a post-pandemic era, your immunity is your only savior. The following five traditional routines to optimize your energy can help you feel energized not just physically, but also mentally. According to Janesh Vaidya’s Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda, the morning is the best time to start a good habit. This is because when we choose good thoughts in the morning, it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Moreover, following this, every day can bring in positivity for the rest of the week, and eventually, your entire life will be a cycle of positive energy.

If you’re struggling to find a good morning routine to help you get started, don’t fret! Here are five traditional Ayurveda practices to help you start your day with healthy habits. The following morning routines have been practiced by the traditional Ayurveda practitioners in India, known as Vaidyas. No matter what your presently dominating elements are, you can incorporate them into your morning routine and optimize your energy, both mentally and physically!



Clear your mind

Physical Practice: When your mind wakes from sleep in the morning, instead of rising, stay in your bed for a couple of minutes, lying in savasana and breathing gently, with eyes closed.

Note: Savasana is the corpse pose in yoga.

Mental Practice: Be grateful for being alive today. Cultivate affirmative thoughts and connect with your positive feelings, contemplating what you would love to do today to fulfill your heart’s wishes.


Clean your mouth and your mind

Physical Practice: Brush your teeth and tongue and massage your gums with your index fingers. (If you are following a clean, plant-based diet and you brush your teeth with toothpaste in the evening, you only need to use warm water to clean your teeth in the morning.) If you have any Kapha symptoms, such as mucus congestion in the throat, gargle with warm saline water.

Mental Practice: Look in the mirror with a smile from your heart, seeing a reflection of your good sides. Plan how you can invest your positive energies in the coming hours of the day to find joy and peace in your life, and prepare to greet the people you meet with a smile.


Cleanse your esophagus, stomach, and mind

Physical Practice: Practice water therapy or drink herbal tea as prescribed for your Pre-Dominant Element or PDE. For more information on water therapy, you can consult Janesh Vaidya’s website here.

Mental Practice: Sit in a comfortable position, with a focused mind leading to affirmative thoughts. Drink slowly, as if you are eating the water/tea.


Eliminate waste particles and toxins from your intestines, and release tension from your belly

Physical Practice: Make a habit of sitting on the toilet for a few minutes in the morning after drinking the water/herbal tea. This routine helps the brain program the excretory organs to eliminate waste matter from the intestines every morning, even for people who have difficulty emptying the bowels regularly

Mental Practice: While sitting on the toilet, try to connect your mind to the bottom of your abdomen by placing your palms over your belly. Inhale, filling the diaphragm until the belly expands to its maximum, then exhale, gently drawing the belly toward the spine.


Vitalize your body and mind

Physical Practice: Follow your daily morning exercise/yoga therapy program. You can find specialized yoga programs for your PDE in Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda by Janesh Vaidya.

Mental Practice: When you are on the yoga mat, keep your complete focus inward and observe your body from head to toe while making a rhythmic flow of breath through your inhalations and exhalations.

The morning often brings with itself a set of new opportunities, and according to ancient health practices, the early morning sun rays can heal many illnesses in our system. The sunlight improves Agni, the fire element, which controls the immune power in the body, and the morning sun rejuvenates the brain and supports the production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for our mental function.

Follow these five traditional morning routines to optimize your energy throughout the day. For more insights into ayurvedic practices and how they can help your immune system, grab a copy of Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda today!

Leadership or Management? Both. Transform explains why!

Leadership and Management. What comes to your mind when you think about these concepts?

We often read about being successful, but how often do we really think about making the people around us successful? That is exactly what Transform, Chandramouli Venkatesan’s latest and final book talks. It also aims at helping people navigate people management and how intricately it’s connected to being successful professionally, as well as flourishing socially.

The word ‘management’ often has a one-dimensional approach for a majority of people However, Chandramouli explains how it’s irrevocably connected with another aspect of success: good leadership. They are both different sides of the same coin. Managing is the art of impacting people while being involved directly, and leading is the art of impacting people without being directly involved. They are mutually inclusive and even though they can be executed independently, the best results can only be achieved when they are practiced simultaneously.

Catalyst by Chandramouli Venkatesan
Catalyst||Chandramouli Venkatesan

In Catalyst, Chandramouli’s first novel, there was a great emphasis on career management and life management. It had crucial insights about the important strategies and decisions people take to move forward in their respective careers. Catalyst focused on helping people win where it matters- the second half of their careers. Moreover, it also took into account life management, and how success is not limited to professional boundaries. Excelling both personally and professionally is possible.




front cover Get Better at Getting Better
Get Better at Getting Better|| Chandramouli Venkatesan

Get Better at Getting better was the sequel and the second guide in this series, and eloquently talked about improving consistently. While it’s great to be good, you can always be better, and even hack the process of getting better. With a heavy emphasis on improving one’s skills, capabilities, judgements, communication, and decision-making abilities effectively, it talked about how to grow rapidly as a professional and remain relevant.

Getting Better Continuously, Career Management, and Life Management are three out of the four of the author’s pillars when it comes to effective management. They focus on bettering themselves to excel and have an inward approach. However, management and leadership are functions that involve people. Hence these three pillars and their success depend on the fourth and final concept: People Management.


Transform book cover
Transform||Chandramouli Venkatesan

Transform, the ultimate guide to lead and manage, is an insightful and interactive read for anyone struggling or striving to be better at being a good leader and manager. By keeping leading and managing as pre-conditions instead of mutually exclusive alternatives, Transform puts into perspective the importance of being good at both. With revelations and key learnings in all four sections, it helps managers who aren’t leaders and leaders who are struggling to be good managers understand how the two are connected through their own experiences.

Transform stands out from the long list of books on people management by facilitating two-way communication instead of a jargon-rich monologue. With exercises to improve self-awareness and steps to create practical action plans, it also takes into account that different things can work for different people. People management is the pillar that supports the other three, and according to Chandramouli, “It is not important whether you are a leader or a manager, what is important is whether you are leading and managing.”

Renew the way you approach success at the workplace and in life and evolve into a more self-aware professional with Transform!

Whereabouts: Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest literary landscape

Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father’s untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change. This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.


Here is an excerpt from the book Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri:


The city doesn’t beckon or lend me a shoulder today. Maybe it knows I’m about to leave. The sun’s dull disk defeats me; the dense sky is the same one that will carry me away. That vast and vaporous territory, lacking precise pathways, is all that binds us together now. But it never preserves our tracks. The sky, unlike the sea, never holds on to the people that pass through it. The sky contains nothing of our spirit, it doesn’t care. Always shifting, altering its aspect from one moment to the next, it can’t be defined.


Whereabouts| Jhumpa Lahiri


This morning I’m scared. I’m afraid to leave this house, this neighborhood, this urban cocoon. But I’ve already got one foot out the door. The suitcases, purchased at my former stationery store, are already packed. I just need to lock them now. I’ve given the key to my subletter and I’ve told her how often she needs to water the plants, and how the handle of the door to the balcony sometimes sticks. I’ve emptied out one closet and locked another, inside of which I’ve amassed everything I consider important. It’s not much in the end: notebooks, letters, some photos and papers, my diligent agendas. As for the rest, I don’t really care, though it does occur to me that for the first time someone else will be using my cups, dishes, forks, and napkins on a daily basis.


Last night at dinner, at a friend’s house, everyone wished me well, telling me to have a wonderful time. They hugged me and said, Good luck! He wasn’t there, he had other plans. I had a nice time anyway, we lingered at the table, still talking after midnight.


I tell myself: A new sky awaits me, even though it’s the same as this one. In some ways it will be quite grand. For an entire year, for example, I won’t have to shop for food, or cook, or do the dishes. I’ll never have to eat dinner by myself.


I might have said no, I might have just stayed put. But something’s telling me to push past the barrier of my life, just like the dog that pulled me along the paths of the villa. And so I heed my call, having come to know the guts and soul of this place a little too well. It’s just that today, feeling slothful, I’m prey to those embedded fears that don’t dissipate.

Lessons on temporality from the last days of the Buddha

The one certainty in life, the one appointment which each of us will just have to face, is the one for which we do the least to prepare-death.

Preparing for Death explores the questions that have puzzled humanity from the very beginning as evinced by the rituals, texts and philosophies that surround death. From the lives and last days of the Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, Gandhiji, Vinoba; from our religious texts and teachings of great meditation masters; from santhara to sannyas , Arun Shourie explores all  these, for their  views on how to prepare oneself for the end.

Perhaps some of the most lucid and stark discussions as to the nature and inevitability of death exist in the teachings of the Buddha. With a lyrical look at the final discourses of the Buddha, Shourie offers guidelines on how to live so that one prepares oneself to face death with equanimity.


  1. Worldly troubles plague even the Perfect Ones

‘Ananda, I am now old,’ the Buddha says, ‘worn out, venerable, one who has traversed life’s path, I have reached the term of life, which is eighty . . .’ And pain is a constant blight: ‘It is only when the Tathagata withdraws his attention from outward signs, and by the cessation of certain feelings, enters into the signless concentration of mind, that his body knows comfort.


  1. Both in life, and in the preparation for death it is wise to withdraw the need for outside support, to removes one’s dependence on another’s existence and to find refuge within oneself

Therefore, Ananda, dwell with yourselves as your own island, with yourselves as your own refuge, with no other refuge; dwell with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge That is why, the Buddha counsels, it is well for a monk—and surely, for each of us—‘to review, from time to time, his own faults . . . another’s faults . . . his own attainments . . . another’s attainments’. And to dissolve by mindfulness the obsessions and ill-intentions that arise.


  1. A certain purity of thought and intention allows one to face death with equanimity.

And the Buddha draws a lesson from Devadatta’s fall, a lesson apt for the way we live our lives. Devadatta went to perdition, the Buddha says, because he had been overpowered by thoughts of gain and loss, of fame and obscurity, of honour and infamy; because he had been consumed by evil intentions and poisoned by evil friendship.


  1. Death invariably seems something that happens to other, so the first acceptance of the temporality of all things-including oneself

Ananda, have I not told you before: All those things that are dear and pleasant to us must suffer change, separation and alteration? So how could this be possible? Whatever is born, become, compounded, is liable to decay—that it should not decay is impossible.


  1. The idea of ‘preparing for death’ also encompasses an acceptance that there are no guarantees, no certainties as to when and where the final moment will occur. Thus our lives itself are ordered in a way that one is, by necessity-preparing for death.

As the Buddhist teachers say, even though we see death every other day, our general attitude is, ‘Yes, yes, I know I will die. But I won’t be dying this year, certainly not this week. In any case, not today.’ The Buddha placed great emphasis on reversing this complacence. He wanted us to always bear in mind: death is certain, but its manner, place, time are absolutely uncertain. He wanted us to internalize these facts, and order our lives accordingly.


  1. Death ultimately subsumes all possessions both material and immaterial.

Each of the ones now lying on the pyre or on those wretched rails had come empty-handed, each is going empty-handed. The assets they had acquired, the honours they had won, the services they had performed, the high positions they had held—none of these could save them, nor was any possession or honour accompanying them.


  1. Death is inescapable, even for the enlightened who have freed themselves from all material fetters, even for the Tathagata himself.

Even in the case of those Bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, and are completely liberated through final knowledge: even for them this body is subject to breaking up, subject to being laid down.


  1. Preparing for death is in itself a discipline-as the Buddha’s address to his monks at Vesali before departing for his final pilgrimage suggests.

Ripe I am in years. My life-span’s determined.Now I go from you, having made myself my refuge. Monks, be untiring, mindful, disciplined,Guarding your minds with well-collected thought. He who, tireless, keeps to law and discipline, Leaving birth behind will put an end to woe.

A Dream Within a Dream

Edgar Allan Poe, the great American writer, editor, and literary critic is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. His poem, A Dream Within A Dream conveys an important message about human life slipping away, trickling like sand.
Here’s the poem.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Beautiful isn’t it?

Monetize Your Expertise

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. In her book, Entrepreneurial You she shares the stories of entrepreneurs of all kinds—from consultants and coaches to podcasters, bloggers and online marketers—who have generated six- and seven-figure incomes. It shows you how you can liberate yourself financially and shape your own career destiny.
Some professionals may hesitate to monetize because they fear the audience reaction. Indeed, people who are used to getting something for free may well rebel once you ask them to start paying. That’s what happened to Andrew Warner. A successful entrepreneur, Warner and his brother built a multimillion-dollar online greeting card business. “I felt like I was invincible,” he recalls, and assumed his next venture, a foray into online invitations, would be an even bigger hit. But it didn’t work out that way. “I ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this idea that really didn’t turn into gold. It turned into mud,” he says.
Looking for answers, he decided to reach out to other business owners: “I said, ‘I want to learn from as many entrepreneurs as I can how to build a business and never make this mistake again.’” He recorded the interviews on Skype and, in 2008, launched Mixergy, a website and video podcast where he compiled them. For a couple of years, he offered them all for free. But eventually, Warner was devoting so much time to the enterprise—including hiring a staff to help him with editing and doing pre-interviews of his guests—that he decided to start charging $25 per month for access.
As soon as he did, he heard about it. “People were posting publicly that I shouldn’t be charging, and people were emailing me and saying ‘What are you doing?’” he recalls. The feedback stung. “I felt hurt that my audience didn’t like me as much.” But charging an access fee enabled him to keep investing the time in creating the site, which now contains more than twelve hundred interviews. “If you do something that matters, some people are going to dislike you,” he says. “Some people are going to disagree with you. It’s not an indication that you’re on the wrong track.”
Try This:

As you start psyching yourself up to monetize, it’s worth considering the following:

  • Get clear on what it costs you to share your work with others. Are there recording or editing expenses? Website hosting fees? The cost of your time? The first step is to understand what you’re already putting in, so you can determine what break even (and beyond) would look like.
  • Think about various pricing models. Can you continue to offer some material for free, for those who genuinely can’t pay, while offering exclusive paid content to your super-fans?
  • Brace for criticism. You’ll inevitably face some blowback, but don’t take the outliers too seriously. If 90 percent of your audience is upset, you may want to reconsider. But if three people send you churlish emails, try to put it out of your head.

ICE with Very Unusual Spirits, An Excerpt

A devotee of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Ruzbeh N. Bharucha is one of the most influential spiritual writers of our times. His new book, ‘ICE with Very Unusual Spirits’ is about Irashaw Cawas Engineer (Ice), a world-renowned painter of Divinity, who turns his back on his Master and spirituality after the death of his young children. The book is derived from the sages and is about the wisdom of life and living, and understanding, accepting and seeking a higher purpose.

Here’s an excerpt from the book.
Why is he called Ice?’ his wife asked.
‘Apparently, at the boarding school where he studied, children had to write their initials on all their possessions—bags, clothes, etc.—to avoid misplacing them. His real name is Irashaw Cawas Engineer, thus I.C.E. Since then, he’s known by his initials. He signs off on his paintings as ICE too.’
‘What is he doing here? Wasn’t he in New York or somewhere abroad? I have a bad feeling, Ashish. It’s not going to be good with him living next door, you mark my words. This man brings doom with him.’
‘Don’t say this, Maya. It was this man’s painting of Lords Ganesh, Krishna, Jesus, and Hanumanji and Sai Baba playing together as kids with a small baby girl that helped you get through  your pregnancy. You yourself told me that if it weren’t for that painting, you would never have wanted to be a mother and undergone eight months of bed rest . . .’
‘Bed imprisonment, Ashish! All you men are dogs . . . ’
‘Breathe, sweetheart. Yes, bed imprisonment . . . and you used to bless Ice every day. Remember, when you went into depression after hearing about the accident and the death of his kids?’
‘I know, but he was a different man back then. This man here is a ghost of him. Trust me, Ashish, he walks with death itself. Why the hell did you help him get this flat adjacent to ours?’
‘What did you want me to do? Imran called me up saying Ice wanted to shift here. I couldn’t refuse him. He has stood by me through thick and thin.’
‘Imran I understand, but why do you feel so much for Ice?’
Ashish looked at his wife. By God, she was beautiful. He could never understand why she had agreed to marry him; she had every affluent man waiting in line to marry her. During those days he had no money, not much of a career, in fact nothing going for him. It had taken them years to get settled. But Maya had never complained. The only thing missing in their marriage was physical intimacy. Fortunately, he wasn’t too keen on getting into the sack himself and often thought that his disinterest in sex was probably the reason why she had married him. But she loved him and took care of him and their child, and yes, she had her issues and she could drive him up the wall, but he loved her in spite of everything.
‘Okay, I am going to tell you something I haven’t shared with you. Remember, how much I wanted to be a father? For whatever reason, you weren’t keen on getting pregnant. I know you love me, but there are certain areas in your life that you don’t share with me. Anyway, nine years ago, I had met Imran at his house for dinner and we had drunk a bit too much and during our conversation, I had mentioned that it would be a miracle if you ever agreed to become a mother. Ten days later, he came home and gifted you that painting. You fell in love with it and then slowly, over time, decided to be a mother.’
‘It seems Imran told Ice about our conversation and a week later, Ice presented him the painting to be given to “that neurotic woman and her daft husband who want a kid”. Do you know how expensive this painting is now? All our savings, investments and gold put together won’t be worth as much. If we were to sell it today, we would be able to buy this or any other house like this in the city. Ice gave it to us because he wanted his friend’s friend to be at peace. Come on, Maya, who would do such a thing for strangers? People don’t even help their families nowadays and here is a man who gifted us a painting that could have fetched him enough to live lavishly for a long time. Ice used to be a workaholic back then but he still took time to paint the portrait for us. Even now, whenever Ice has an exhibition, his paintings are sold out even before they are displayed. I am indebted to Ice for life. He had as much a role in Ayesha’s birth as you and I. And haven’t you noticed one thing? Look at the girl in the painting. Doesn’t Ayesha look like her?’
Maya looked at the painting. There was no doubt that the girl in the painting was a spitting image of Ayesha. Nobody could deny the similarity. It was as though Ayesha had posed for the painting herself. Damn that Ice! She looked down from the drawing room window. Ice was standing with a cigarette between his lips. He had lost a lot of weight. A huge black dog with tan stripes lay next to him. Both needed a haircut. Ice was wearing a pair of jeans and a light-blue T-shirt, both of which were soiled with paint. People stared at him. Passers-by turned around to get a better look. They recognized him but didn’t dare approach him for an autograph. He was temperamental, to put it politely. On good days, Ice would chat and laugh for a long time; on the  not-so-good days, it was rumoured that he had broken many a journalist’s camera and phone. Even now, he didn’t pay attention to anybody. He just stood there and smoked. After a while, he looked up, straight at her, and Maya felt her blood turn cold. This man was trouble. She just knew it.

What happens next? Find out
in ‘ICE With Very Unusual Spirits.’

Assessing the Prototypes

Jennifer Riel is a strategic adviser to senior leaders at a number of Fortune 500 companies. Her book, Creating Great Choices is an insightful and instructive blend of storytelling, theory and hands-on advice to help any leader or manager facing a tough choice. The book includes fresh stories of successful integrative thinkers that will demystify the process of creative problem solving, as well as practical tools and exercises to help readers engage with the ideas. 
Storytelling converts a possibility into a narrative— a tale of events that proceeds over time and has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A story lets you explain what happens within the possibility— the plot points of your new and better world. Narrative is an effective way to capture and explain a new idea because humans are naturally drawn to stories; stories are the way people have learned and shared critical information since our ancestors were crouched around a campfire.
Using stories lets you engage deeply with ideas, because you can fully picture the possibility in your mind’s eye. Once you do that, you will be able to communicate that picture to others. As screenwriting teacher Robert McKee puts it, “If you can harness imagination and the principles of a well- told story, then you get people rising to their feet amid thunderous applause instead of yawning and ignoring you.”
Our friend Claudia Kotchka, former head of design at P&G, is a master storyteller. To illustrate the impact of human- centered design to her peers at the sometimes- rigid consumer goods giant, she would tell a story about Altoids. Yes, the curiously strong mint introduced in the 1780s and now owned by Wrigley. Kotchka would illustrate the special appeal of Altoids by describing the process of looking at the cheerful metallic box with its nostalgic typeface and then opening the tin, hearing the liner paper crinkle, smelling the wafting scent of peppermint oil, and seeing the uneven little mints, seemingly hand-made, lying haphazardly within.
Kotchka would go on to describe what Altoids would look like if they’d been developed through P&G’s structured, rigorous, and highly reliable processes: perfect, uniform mints in a simple plastic container with a slightly garish sticker on the front. The “waste” of the liner paper and the expensive metal box would be eliminated. The “imperfection” of the varied mints would be remedied. The understated label design would be “livened up.” And voilà, all the distinctiveness of Altoids would disappear— along with the brand’s intense consumer loyalty and price premium.
Kotchka called her imaginary new product Proctoids, after the irreverent nickname sometimes applied to P&G employees. Her vivid and funny story hit home with audiences inside P&G and out, illustrating her point more clearly than reams of data on failed innovations.
Try This
Think back to the invention of the iPod. Craft a short narrative that would explain the core of the idea and the way it works to create new value for users and for Apple. Try the same for one of the possibilities you generated in chapter 7.
For each of your possibilities, think about the story you could tell about it, focusing on how each possibility would be experienced by real people. The story needn’t be long or obsessively detailed. The objective of the narrative should always be to help you, and others, understand the core value of the possibility.


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