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Sunday, February 25, 2018

H. H. Holmes – The Life of The American Ripper by Hourly History



A Review on H. H. Holmes – The Life of the American Ripper by Hourly History.

Check the following list of the titles published by Hourly History a publication which probably originates from Ireland.

Jack – The Ripper - The Story of the Whitechapel Murderer
Ted Bundy - A Life Beginning to End
Edmund Kemper – The Life of the Co-Ed Killer
H. H. Holmes – The Life of The American Ripper
Charles Manson – A Life From Beginning to End


I do not have any information and understanding of the policy of the Hourly History publication, but I believe that soon the Hourly History would publish the following title.

Aileen Wuornos – A Life From Begining to End.

However, that is an inference which is a result of different inputs on my side which has prompted me to comment like that.

On the sideline, I add that they have taken up some titles which fulfils the definition of History. In support of my observation, I refer to "The Roaring Twenties". However, I will talk about that title in a separate post.

I have found another feature while reading three books by Hourly History. These are titles on H. H. Homes, Charles Manson and Edmund Kemper. All the three people were again in the news in the year 2017. In case of H. H. Holmes, I believe that cause was that his body was exhumed again in 2017 nearly after more than 100 years. I identified it when I was at the end of the reading the book which I have read in less than an hour. The search on the Internet yielded following observations, and I present it in the following manner.


Is Holmes the serial killer dead?

While reading the book, I was fascinated by a line that the body of the serial killer was exhumed in 2017. A desire arose to learn the necessity of such an act. I made some searches on the Internet. I suggest to the read the reports at the following link.

or
or


Why did I read it and then writing on it?

I was attracted to it because I learned that H. H. Holmes was living when Swami Vivekananda was in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda lived in Illinois and surrounding states when H. H. Holmes had been in the news. The USA was about to learn about their first serial killer when Swami Vivekananda was around. H. H. Holmes had visited the fair wherein the World Conference on Religion was held.

A Life from Beginning to End is dropped.

In case of titles published by Hourly History, I always had an objection that first, they used the term History which they should not have done and the second the feature which was the cause of the dissatisfaction was the phrase "From Beginning to End". They finish their book in less than 50 pages. They take up topics which are relevant, but they can not claim that it is a complete thing from beginning to end. The objection was that they could not say it in that manner. The Phrase picked by them conveys the idea that it is a complete work and that is not the case. However, in case of this book, they have used to term The Life of the American Ripper. They have not claimed it as from Beginning to end. They have done the right thing. They must review their policy of giving the title to their future publication.

The feature of the Book:

I must say that these people at Hourly History are doing a great job. The only objection to their work is that they are using the term History. It is another thing that the analysis which I have presented above is also a part of the features of the utility of history. History begins when a person finds a need to answer a question in his the present. The best data available to him is the data of past. In case of three titles, that is, Charles Mason, H. H. Holmes and still alive Edmund Kemper, all these people were in the news in 2017. They were in the news due to different reasons which had their origin in the past. Their personas had raised questions which troubled some societies in 2017. Therefore, it grabbed the attention of the publication.

As far the book is concerned, it contains eight chapters. I admire the abilities of the writers of the Hourly History to frame the chapters. When I read their book, I also check the contents of Wikipedia related to the title of the book. I have found that there is no much difference between the information from the two sources. However, both the sources maintain their nature and tones. I have intentionally not used the term 'quality' to qualify my statement. In case of Hourly History, they are more successful in interestingly presenting the topic. The continuity in the content is consistent. The information and facts are joined together judiciously to create a story which ends in one hour and sustain your attention. They had done it more impressively in case of their other title on Rasputin that I will take up in one of the forthcoming posts.


Just a Question: Will the Artificial Intelligence cause to produce people like Herman Webster Mudgett or Charles Mason?




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Friday, February 23, 2018

Commenting on a Review for developing a review: An Attempt



A review of Dongri to Dubai: Six decades of the Mumbai Mafia by S. Hussain Zaidi.


The First Look at the Book:
This post is a comment on the review of a book by Aditya Menon published in India Today in May 2012. The name of the book in question is "Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia". The book is written by S. Hussain Zaidi.

 Aditya Menon has titled the review of this book as "The Don's Story."


On the title page itself, there is a comment by Anil Kapoor. Hopefully, the name of the person mentioned is that of the film actor from Mumbai. The comment attributed to him states that it was the far best book on the Mumbai mafia. Is Anil Kapoor an authority on the Mumbai mob?


Another comment attributed to one Sanjay Gupta, who probably is the producer states that the film Shootout at Wadala was produced because of the information provided in the book under review. There is no doubt that one you read the first section of the book, you may undergo the feeling as if you are reading a story of a film. The text reads like as movie in a book.


The book was first published in 2012 by Roli Books Pvt limited, New Delhi.


Why did I get this book?

I am a student of History. My area of interest is Indian History. It does not mean that I read only about India. A history student studies the humanity as a whole. A history student does not belong to a particular nation, society, religion and other similar forces working in human society. When I read the history of other regions, I come across many studies which are of the crime and related issues. In case of the history of the USA, one can find many papers on the role of Mafia, the crime pattern and associated legislative debates. In India, you see such topics only in case of the research papers presented in the field of politics, law, public administration, police administration (it is now a separate faculty in many universities) or journalism. Therefore, there was always a feeling that something was missing while reading about the Indian society while reading history as defined by the universities. The general narrative is about the social groups, economic tensions, caste divide, development in legislation and other issues which are built on such conceptual framework that a common man does not recognise them in his daily life. There are such theoretical frameworks that are understood only by academicians. However, there are many topics which are missing from the history of India. On the other hand, if one reads the newspaper or watch television, there are reports and programmes related to crime. One does not find academicians discussing it as the part of the pursuit of the activities of humanity, especially among historians.


I have collected many books on crime and mafia related to the USA. It was a casual search with a search term 'mafia of India' that I came across by the book authored by S. Hussain Zaidi. I bought it on Amazon. I also purchased another title by the same author, and it is Mafia Queens of Mumbai which he had co-authored with Jane Borgs.


A new approach for writing a review


This time I have adopted a new approach to write this review. I am commenting on review by Aditya Menon to write the report of the book.


I am least interested in writing a review. My urge is to write, and I write what I want to write. For me, reading and then writing on what I have learned is an exercise which is similar to taking food and then going to gym to keep my body healthy. To keep my brain healthy, I read and then write. Mere reading does not make your mind healthy. It makes you iller if you do only that part of the act. You must write also. It is a simple rule. You go for input and then give output. Then check and compare it. Now, to make it relevant and make these activities meaningful on a blog, I have borrowed the term 'Review' because the knowledgeable people consider it useful in that manner.


I generally write whatsoever comes to my mind while reading something. Most of the reviews which I have written here are usually a spontaneous outpouring after completing a reading. During reading, I also write some comments on the book. I definitely incorporate them into the post. I write then read it; make some addition and deletions by consulting the notes which I have written and finally look out for spelling and grammar check. However, while writing this post, I did not write many notes. I marked many highlights and comments on the information provided by Zaidi. The book is so gripping that you do not want to stop and pick a pen. You continue to read from one chapter to other if you are not forced to leave it by the exigencies of your existence.


After completing the reading, instead of writing straightaway, I went for a search of the reviews written by people about this book. I had already noted that this book was published in 2012. During reading, or preferably at the closing chapters of the book in the Sections Sources and Acknowledgements, the writer himself had written that he started the work on this work in 2004. He was not sure that about the year itself. He has written that he began to write it in 2004-2005. He declared there that he completed it in 2011. It is quite evident from the Epilogue section in the book that he had finished this book after May 2011. He had also mentioned that the quantity of material which was collected for this book, he would have continued for some more years before he gave the final touch to this book. One can fully appreciate that after reading his book.


I had read this book in about a week. You have to attend to your own work also, therefore, I took that much time. Some reviewers had commented that they completed the reading in three days. Well, the book is such that you can do it or the contents may force you to read it in one sitting to complete the reading of 377 page out of 378. You must read this book from the title to the end to fully appreciate the quality of the work. Out of many reviews, I have selected one review Aditya Menon which appeared in May 2012 in India Today, and the link is https://www.indiatoday.in/india/north/story/dawood-ibrahim-dongri-to-dubai-by-s.-hussain-zaidi-102732-2012-05-20.


The book:


As I have already mentioned that this book is spread over 378 pages in Kindle format. The copy which I have used is in the composition of the novel template, and the digital format reads 6677 locations on my computer.


The book is divided into two sections viz. Part 1 and Part 2.


Part 1 contains 35 chapters. The writer has written about the background of the Mumbai Underworld as it developed in post-Independent India. He has started with the life of Haji Mastan, traced his survival and growth, substantiated it with some photographs; while determining the rise and maturity of Karim Lala, Varadarajan Mudaliar and writing the chapter titled 'The Baap of Dons' while tracing the origin of Dawood Ibrahim.


Part 2 contains 28 chapters. The Part 2, is exclusively about Dawood Ibrahim and his minions.


The book closes with four more sections which are titled Epilogue, Sources, Index and Acknowledgements. They are also the inseparable part of the book. If one skips those sections, then he does not know the whole book and can not comment on the book. Here, I believe that Aditya Menon has faulted.


In index section, the book qualifies for the rank of academic work. However, the way it appears in a digital format, it is not correct. Secondly, it has forced me to learn about the best arrangement of an index.


Aditya Menon began with a categorical statement that 'Dawood Ibrahim sells." What did he want to say? Are there more good books on Dawood Ibrahim and Underworld activities in India. It means that I have to learn that how much more had been written about the events of Underworld up to 2012. I do not think that it is being pursued attentively in India.


I have seen that many reviewers make comments which are meant merely to attract the attention of the reader or make there writing sensational. There is no harm in doing that. But if it does not synchronise with the ground realities or it gives a different direction to a narrative in the book or report then it is cheating. I have found it generally a fashion among the people from media world which includes even people from the film industry. I have high regards for the creative activity of Vishal Bhardwaj. He has written a forward to another book of Zaidi. He began with a statement that Crime is more juicier than Spirituality.


Crime is more juicier than Spirituality. What does that mean? What is a type of proposition? What kind of mindset does create such a kind of statement? Does it not suggest the eccentric and unbaked mind? You find a similar sweeping statement in case of Aditya Menon comments.


Aditya Menon had given an opinion that the media world had made the people from Underworld larger than life figure. It is an opinion, but it diverts the attention from the real issue. In the field of history, a good historian will help you to understand that the newspaper, performing arts, film media and for that purpose, all the forms of creative works are a source of providing facts. However, when it comes to the newspaper, they are highly critical of the value of this media as a source of information on the facts. There is a good example concerning the works of Kushwant Singh, a legendary journalist, about the Sikh history. The historians are very critical of his History of Sikhs. It is because, while dealing with facts and reporting it, the media person are not able to detach themselves from the social forces. Merely by adopting the format of writing a work in which you give references, evidence and testimonies, one can claim that his work is of academic nature. There is a need of being critical about the inferences which you drive. You must be concerned by the formulation. If you say that a field of activity is made a person a larger than life icon, then what is the opinion when you call a cricket player a God. Do you not falter in your evaluation? There is every freedom for everyone to use the language as they do. But, when it comes to giving a professional output to the society, then you must be as attentive about the use of the terms and words.


Zaidi had written this book based on the facts which he had collected with great efforts. It earns appreciation. While writing each chapter, he continues to shift from one style of writing to other. A reader may experience it by reading that in one chapter he is reading a script of a movie or a television episode. In another chapter, he may experience that as if he is reading a news report. In another chapter, he will find that as if he is reading an article. The best example is the chapter Making of an Empire, chapter 1 in Part 2. It is an economic report on the rise of Dubai as an international financial centre. Therein, the writer does not talk about Dawood as an icon but Dubai as an icon. But the question arises, that how does Dawood identify the significance of Dubai? Was it his religion or the international economy?


Similarly, Zaidi writes many chapters in which he writes dialogues between two characters as if he is writing a script of a scene. In chapter 25, 26 and 27, in Part 2, the nature of the chapters is entirely different from the rest of the book. They read like a report. Similarly, the chapter 28, titled The Big D makes the Forbes Cut is an euology of a different kind. Can we say that it was the film industry and news media that made him a larger than life figure that helped him to make it to Forbes list? The actual issue is something else. Zaidi has not taken up the question about the methods adopted during the tenure of Julius Reberio. He has not taken up the issue of the role of the politicians. The writer has not taken up the subject of Shiv Sena and Bal Thackrey's editorials in Samana. But, the work which he produced has emphasised the existing gap in the studies which are undertaken by the intellectuals of India and he has done his part of the job. It is definitely a right comment by Aditya Menon to emphasise this point.


Aditya Menon has made the right comments but mixed his with his own opinions. He calls it a seminal work. It is the correct observation and the perfect review of the work. However, he criticised it for a filmy narrative. One can quickly experience it by reading the book to appreciate the observation of Aditya Menon. Yet, we have to give space to Zaidi. It is his mixture of different styles of creating of each chapter, which has given a character to this book. Secondly, if you read his section of Acknowledgement, you will learn that he has to claim any perfection in the field of writing such a work. He has done the right type of work required for this job. He has taken help from many friends to finish this job. Being a journalist, they are already in the work of writing. It seems he knows the shortcomings of his own work. But if he has published it, then he has done it with the confidence in the actual nature of his activity and the book.


I have learnt later that one of his earlier book, 'Black Friday', has been made into a movie. He is definitely writing with multiple motives. He has a right to do that. But, his "filmy style narrative" has earned him a criticism from Aditya Menon.


Aditya Menon has raised some objections against the actual nature of work but pointing it out that Zaidi has not made it a concrete work. Aditya says that he had failed to answer many questions after raising it. There are many more similar issues. While giving references which are from the internet itself, Zaidi has not followed the professional style. In chapter 27, part 2, titled Boucher's Botched Attempt, he had referred to a document based narrative. Zaidi had reproduced the reports of Indian Express and even the stories registered by him in a capacity of a reporter. But, Zaidi has not adopted the professional style of quoting it. When he writes, to quote Aditya, in his dialogue-baazi style, he does a great job. But, when Zaidi writes a serious chapter based on documents, he does not follow the professional style. Zaidi raised issues. But, he does not write the inferences. Zaidi raised the issue of Dongri becoming a crime spot. Zaidi raised the issue of Muslim boys taking to crime. But, Zaidi missed the point about the Gawle or Bada Rajan, his typewriter Chor joining the crime world. He missed the point that Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh migrants became criminals in Mumbai. Zaidi has not tried to take up the issues of those police officers who were wronged by the Patthar wali building. He has praised Ibrahim Kaskar, as the most revered Headconstable for credibility as a professional policeman and Musalman whom even Karim Lala did not dare to oppose, but he missed those issues which were creating the situation to help the crime to flourish.


Aditya Menon has reasoned it out himself that the book of this kind cannot be encyclopaedic in nature. But, there is definitely an imbalance in the treatment of the subject. But, Aditya is too harsh in case of the quality of Epilogue chapter. One can understand that the details of the incident at that time were not available at the time when the book was packed for publication. It is right that Zaidi had tried to create an ambience about which probably did not have any authentic documentary or eyewitness account. But, Aditya is harsh in criticising the work of Zaidi in this case.


On the issue of Pakistan and Dawood role, Aditya has rightly marked out that Zaidi has been able to given an inference which is useful for the government to consider. Aditya has also praised the efforts of Zaidi to give the honour to all those journalists from different languages from whom Zaidi had collected the facts.


Aditya Menon has called his review as 'The Don's Story'. Now the criticism by Aditya Menon of the media that the latter tends to sensationalise some issues can be directed against Aditya Menon for choosing such a title. I was more interested in gathering information about Haji Mastan when I stumbled upon this book. I read it because it was telling about Haji Mastan. Is it a book only about Underworld Dons' or about one particular Don? I read it for knowing the story of Haji Mastan, and I learned about Dawood Ibrahim. Aditya Menon has praised the work of Vikram Chandra who has written forward to this book. Vikram Chandra is all praise for the abilities and calibre of Zaidi. For me, this book has justified my quest for this kind of literature. Therefore, there is all praise for the efforts of Zaidi.


Zaidi himself is an eyewitness to the developments which are the foundation of this book. Zaidi has recorded oral history from the eyewitnesses who would have been lost and then got distorted in future documentation if he had not documented that. Aditya Menon review is the best review of this book. I have read the whole book. I have found Aditya Menon has done an excellent job. Zaidi has performed his job for which he will be remembered.






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CONFIDENCE: HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS by Martin Meadows




The post is a review of the book 'CONFIDENCE: HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS' by Martin Meadows. It was an obvious choice as I have collected two books by Martin Meadows which are free of cost. I have already written a post on his earlier 'How to Think Bigger' under the title 'All Free Books are not a Stupid Act or Marketing Gimmick'. I have also collected another free book directly from the author titled 'Grit: How to keep going when you want to give up'. It is in a pdf format. I have not located this book on Amazon portal.

The book contains five chapters and an epilogue. It is spread over 73 pages. One can quickly read this book in less than two hours. The language is smooth and straightforward as it is in case of the earlier book by the same author titled as "How to Think Bigger". There are many references given as endnotes.

The book begins with a chapter on Self-Efficacy. If you have not read or listened about this term, which is probably not in the dictionary which I am using, then you may resolve the issue by accepting that it is the word coined by the author. The second way out is that you replace it with your own preconceived term which is The Self. However, he has not talked about the term Confidence. 

The writer has explained the term by giving some features of the Self Efficacy.

While reading the reviews on the book on the Amazon portal, I located a reviewer who has given five stars. He was highly impressed by his summary subsection to each of the chapters. Now, those who have read titles on a similar topic that is Self Help or Self Improvement books, they might have found that this is a standard feature among such writers. 


Chapter 2 titled The Experience of Mastery.
This chapter is incomplete. The author has not given the complete list of the steps of suggestions to reduce weight. He may be suggesting a thing. He expects that the reader may visualise it. He provides 5 steps. Then, he wrote the 10th stage. Four levels are missing. Did he forget to write it? Had he left it to write it later but did not remember to complete the list before publishing the book?

I have found an impressive way of telling a thing in his writings. In chapter 2, section on Rejection Therapy, he tries to emphasise a rule of that therapy. He states the first practice. Then in the second rule writes that there are no further rules. This is quite an efficient way to emphasise a point.

However, an issue arises on the topic of Rejection Therapy. It also raises questions about the efficacy and utility of the self-help books. They are suggestions. They may work for you or they may not. The author may be good at writing an essay, but he may not be an expert in a particular field. I raise this question to myself, Why do I read Self Help Books?

Are they really worth the time spend on it?

How far can it be stated with a responsibility that the talks are approved by the scientific fraternity?

Can a Self Help Book replace the work of a qualified psychologist?

Do we have to seek the help of others for doing experiments with the Self to bring changes to it?


Comment on Chapter 4.

I am excluding chapter 3 which is social modelling. For me, the idea is a creation of the writer. I support the argument which the author gives but I am not assured of the choice of the title as Social Modelling. It has forced me to rethink the term 'Social'.

In chapter 4, he has talked on the issue of "Social Persuasion and Psychological Responses". The contents are simple and straightforward. However, with every line, I was reminded about the messages provided by the Vedantists. I was specifically reminded of the writings of Swami Vivekananda. It again brings in the issue of relating everything to research, scientific observations, the issue of the real meaning of being scientific and how far all these things relates to the Self. The self-help books are mainly advice. It may work for you or it may not. You may be receptive or not. In the same chapter, there is a subsection titled "Find a Mentor". Why did he try to say that? Look out for a Guru and some underlying philosophy. Is it not that? That is where this raga of being scientific and research-based claims fail to make the impact. It is the interpretation which matters. The analysis requires some guiding philosophy or a priori. Here, the mumbo jumbo of being scientific and research-based narrative collapses.


However, in this section, the writer comes out with his own solution. Many people will find it a practical suggestion.

“Yeah, the man talks sense.”
I hear this growling sound coming back from past when someone had read his book up to that point.

For me, that is merely a materialistic approach to a life devoid of morality and ethics. I now listen to the disapproving and disparaging sounds. Such responses are equally welcomed, but I write what I wish to write.

In the same chapter 4, he has talked about the psychological responses. Surprisingly, he is not referring to any research-based finding there. He is instead directing the attention of the readers to his other manuals.

In the summary of chapter 4, he gives a different direction to his narrative. He has dealt with the problem of some negative psychological. He has given a very pragmatic solution for that. However, in his summary, he has provided the core point in a manner that some readers may like to have more elaboration on that. I doubt if qualified psychologists will approve his observations on this issue.


The Chapter 5.

The writer gives great importance to this chapter. He has called it the actual and independent part of his book. In other words, he has presented it as the only chapter which is meant to be followed. The preceding sections were merely the build-up to this chapter. This is what he made it out while introducing chapter.

Let me emphasise that in this chapter I have come across a thing about which I did not know earlier. I did not have even a smallest possible glimpse. I believe that there is a reason that in the very opening lines of this chapter, the writer has confidently confined it to his readers that it is the penultimate chapter. Here is the reason.

The Writer introduces the use of the software for mind mapping.

I did not know about it. I explored this software which is registered in Hongkong.

However, it repeats the issue about the most efficacious method to deal with the Self. I believe that the best practice is to deal inside. If you keep on going out for finding solutions, then, it will end up in a vicious circle of seeking a solution outside. You get elated to see it. But soon you get a new problem and get stuck there. You again move out and then seek further. It is actually inside you. Get inside and find a solution there.

I accept I use software to correct my spelling and grammar. But, it is a minor problem. It is small assistance. Gradually, I use such resources only to see alternatives. My actual skills of developing narrative are inside me. Secondly, these outside aids do not have an answer for every related problem. The grammar software will splash instruction to change the style of a sentence from Passive voice to Active voice. It is you who have to decide that if it is required or not. The Grammar Software works on AI. You may not find a narrative as corrected by the Grammar software for your type of an audience. It is your understanding and skill which matters. The outside help can be assistance but not a remedy. For Self improvement, the target is to improve the Self. The outside help is one solution. But, if such answers add up to a horde of assistants, then you become their slave. Go to a barber for a haircut. Got to a tailor for stitching. Go to a dress designer for selection of the dress. Go to the nutritionist for designing your diet plan. Go to Nursery Gardner for raising your garden. Go to the interior designer for arranging your house. Go to yoga expert to learn the right way of breathing. That is no guidance for self-improvement.

The Epilogue is of a general nature. It has the tone of the humility which generally the author display about the utility of their book nurturing a wish that their book will positively be received by some discerning readers and rest of the lot is a bunch of fools.


Concluding Remarks:
I may have given some negative remarks. I write what I want to write. Those observations are not about the quality of the content in specific. Those views are about the narrative which is generally found in our day to day talks. In non-fiction literature, we deal with such issues which are of highly significant nature, but we never understand them. However, we develop a narrative without caring to know the direction in which those narratives are carrying us. They are generally directing us to the dead ends. Then, such narratives are mixed with the spice mixture of scientific and research-based talks, and the attempt is made to make sense out of them. I am trying to address that issue. As far as the writer is concerned, he has definitely done a great job. His book will definitely work for many readers.

People like me, who read and then write as per their own whims are influenced by numerous sets of thought sets, theories and philosophies. We evaluate a piece of work from many angles. Therefore, the contents of our review may look like negative criticism. But, they are not adverse criticisms. They are intentional bashing of the material to squeeze more out of it and add a dimension to it. If the core of stream of the logic underlying the comments is touched, then it can be appreciated. However, in simpler terms, one can go through this book. It is not bad to acquire this book when it is free. It contains only 70 pages. It can be read in less than two hours with a little bit of musing where you find this book touching some chord in you or communicating something that is required by you.


Push the Buy Button. It is free. It is worth spending some time on it. At least, I have found it interesting.


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

All Free Books are not a Stupid Act or Marketing Gimmick

The post is a review of the book titled, "How to Think Bigger: Aim Higher, Get More Motivated and Accomplish Big Things" by Martin Meadows.

The very title is quite long. It contains 13 words and 78 characters. However, total pages as per the Amazon counts are merely 106 pages and 1031 locations. It includes seven chapters and an Appendix. A list of books for further reading is included there. It is free and ready for download.

There is a need for, to begin with, a comment on the title of this post itself and the idea of getting this book.

There are numerous books which are available free of cost not only on Amazon but elsewhere also. It is not a researched based conclusion but an experiential observation that such offers are just a Marketing Gimmick. The marketing people are making use of indie-publishing paradigm as a part of the craft of their profession. It is even taught in business schools to write brochure in the form of books or comics to introduce your product and then present it as a book. The booklet is also advertised to promote the selling. The game plan is to tell the world that the book which is a brochure, is free, free and free. A greedy person like me will collect it. If you are sincere and posses my kind of psyche, you may also obtain such free things. Now, if you happen to read the contents, you learn that it was an advertisement for some product. The task of the advertiser was to apprise you of his product, and he had achieved his job if you had fallen into the trap.

I had fallen for such a bait on many occasions. The title was simple. The name of the title attracted me. It was free of cost. I pushed the "Buy It" button and the rest followed.

I have collected this title in the manner stated above. Now, it was not the only title which I had obtained. There are a good number of titles which I have collected. I receive such titles from Hourly History series. I have written about some of their books on this blog. I have read a large number of their other titles. However, I have not written posts on all those books which I have gone through that I have received from Hourly History publication. I am not suggesting that Hourly History series is also a gimmick. I will emphasise that the actual import of the title of the present post in their support. I mean to say that every free book is not a marketing gimmick. I repeat that all free books are not stupid acts. The Hourly History series is doing a good job. I will come out with more posts on their titles. On the other hand, I have found some such free books as a mere gimmick or Stupid Act.

I may be a greedy person. I do not feel shy to accept it. However, I am a reader also. I read. It is next to breathing for me. If I do not read, I feel suffocated. Therefore, I read. I write also. I write with fountain pens. If I write on the computer, I blog. However, many registers are piling up with me which contain all the pages blackened with black Parker Ink written with Parker, Hero (Chinese) and Elegante Camlin. Some of the pages are also in gel and ballpoint blue ink. Whenever I read, I write too. Now in case of this title, I did not pick my fountain pen. I came to the computer and wrote this post.

I must say that the author is sincere. He wrote about what he had experienced. He is not someone like Napoleon Hill or Dale Carnegie or Joseph Murphy or even Swami Vivekananda or Devadutta Patanik asking you to follow some Christian or Vedanta ethics. He seeks references from research-based observations of psychologists, sports trainers and contemporary corporate winners like Jeff Bezos (I am not advertising for Amazon), Richard Branson, Elon Musk and many such celebrities. He refers to his experiential observations. No doubt it is his ultra selling point that he stands as an example of the efficacy of the methods which he propounds. No doubt he also advertises about his writings. He tells about his other books. He has made some of his titles available free of cost, and now I will read his title 'Confidence: How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Goals'. The book is also available free of cost, and it is already in my collection. I hope that I may not change my view after reading his second title. I may buy some of his other titles by paying the cost of the title. If these two free books are his marketing gimmick, then he is a success.


He writes well. His narration is smooth. He does not use intricate terms or flowery language or difficult technical terms in his pursuit to get references from scientific research.


One of the statements made by the author about the ways to improve your Self is to give importance to reading. It is the most responsible statement of the author which is a practical and result oriented (Kindly do not ask the evidence of any research here. Continue to read, and you will get the answer). I do not know about the views of psychologist and neuropsychologist. However, this is something which anyone can verify on his own. It is an experiment which one can perform on his own and learn the benefits. However, in this world of Whats-app, Facebook, Instagram and other social media, (kindly exclude blogging out of it as it turns up as an archaic activity), the humanity is denying itself one of the most straightforward exercises and the methods of self-improvement.

His book is also a teaser for me. He has published this e-book on Amazon. He has used endnotes which works immaculately. I am of the impression that the footnotes or endnotes do not work while formatting on Kindle Direct Publishing. However, in this book, there is a good demonstration of this feature. It means that I have yet to learn about formatting a manuscript on KDP. I believe that the problem exists in the use of the word processor software. I use OO, and most of the writer use MS Word. In short, the success of the feature of the endnotes suggests that I do not fully understand the use of word processor and formatting of an e-book.

It is a continuation of above paragraph. The writer has used a simple title. It is not gaudy or flashy. I differ on this issue with some of the authors and publishers. In case of Fiction genre, there is too much stress on this feature. You can grab the attention by a flashy title, but if the content is not worth the salt, then you are in the business of cheating.

However, there are some irritants also. Who is "Martin Meadows"? It is a pen name of an author as per his claim in the book. Even on the author page of Amazon portable, he or she has not written anything more than that. He has not shown any photograph of self. He talks about his achievements, but he does not introduce himself. That is not fair Martin Meadows.

The second irritant is that he keeps on referring to other titles authored by him to elaborate his point and expect the reader to read them for further clarification. He has mentioned titles authored by some established authors. He has even suggested a list of titles. He has done it in the form of an essay termed as Appendix A. The fascinating thing is that the writer has not found the urge or need of claiming evidence in its favour based on research.

The use of the phrase that "The research I conducted" is a norm, a fad and the buzz words presently. In India, even a Yogi, covering his torso with saffron coloured sheets, is making claims that he has researched for 25 years on the herbs and produced a pill for Blood Pressure or discovered a formulation of toothpaste or face cream to look white like a European or American research institute demonstrates that mineral oils are not safe in hair oils, therefore, his herbal hair oil is research approved because it does not contain mineral oil. I accept the value of research. However, I hate it because everyone uses it without actually understanding the meaning of research. A research claim without pondering, without contemplating, without thinking, and merely using ratios, the sum of the total, beta charts, technical charts, mean, median and mode is not research. Every data procured from experiment preceded by the right type of questioning on the issue in hand demands an interpretation. You say everything with some responsibility. It has to be researched. You write and claim with responsibility. However, why is this insistence of repeating every time that whatever is being said is based on research? I hate the day when a poet will say; I have researched and written this poem. What will happen if tomorrow a research paper says that Cambridge University has proved that Oxford University has produced more politicians and a lesser number of Nobel Prize winners?

Further, it is my observation, that all such Self Help and Self Improvement Books are personal statements of each author. If a book has become popular, then it is because of the writing skills of the author. If you face some problem with the Self, then one of the ways is to seek the help of a psychologist. The second method is to meet your self on your own. Accept your self. Then do experiments with it. You may seek clues and advice, but ultimately you have to deal with it on your own. Your methods may not work for others. At the most, it may divert the attention of a reader for a time. However, if one faces a problem with Self, then remember, the Self is with you and in you. You are the master and the director. You learn cycling on your own. No manual can teach you cycling. It is your body, your muscles, your self. If there is some physical problem, then consult a doctor. However, kindly keep your Self in your ownership. Accept it and deal with it.

A Parting Message:

This book is also an advertisement. It will ask you to download the next free book. You click the link. You will receive the instruction to register by providing your email. You will get a confirmation email which includes the catalogue of his books. It will ask to buy one of his books. It is a quite deal. But my question remains. Who is this Martin Meadow from Portland, Oregon, USA?



Attention Please: It is an Advertisement. It includes the books of Martin Meadows which are free.




Saturday, January 13, 2018

Free Classic Novels of Munshi Premchand (HINDI)



Do me a favour by visiting the author page on Amazon HERE -AUTHOR AMAZON PAGE.


The Classic works are forever.

Well, I would have played with a line of John Keats and say that the classic works are a joy forever.

In this post, I have collected the thumbnails on the Kindle Store to the classic novels of Munshi Premchand which can be read on Kindle free software for PC, Android and Apple. They are all free of cost or for ₹ 0/-.

It is not that they are the only classic books which are available free of cost. There are numerous such books. However, there is a need to write this post exclusively in the name of Shri Dhanpat Rai or Munshi Premchand as he was popularly known. Those who follow my blog, they may have observed that I narrate an anecdote with each post. Here also, I have an anecdote to narrate which I use as a reason to select only the novels of Munshi Premchand. I am sure that it will interest those who are interested in reading Hindi literature and writing blogs.

It was way back in 2005 when I started to blog. Every blog writer desires that his posts become popular and his blog gets regular visitors. I do not have any professional training like that of SEOs to accomplish such a task. I have learned through hit and trial. In those days, the Blogger site allowed and it still allows, to insert the codes of site meter reading devices. I opted for technorati.com sitemeter. Now, this URL takes you to some different site. Anyhow, coming back to my story, the site meter provided some data about the visitors to your site. Gradually I learned that some visitors to my site had used the search term "premchand". I started searching for this term. I learned that the C-DAC, the department of the Government of India in those days had displayed a huge collection of Indian literature. But when I accessed that site, I was not able to collect anything from there which I could read with my scant knowledge of computers and software. You were expected to learn the whole engineering to make use of those resources. It is one of the shortcomings of the resources provided by the Government of India that they are not intuitive in nature. Well, remaining on my story, I was able to locate a site by one Raman Kaul. He was probably a computer professional. He had converted all the contents of the government site into UTF-8 and displayed it on his site. I gave a link to his site on my blog at SUMIR-HISTORY. Then, a miracle happened. Suddenly, the visit to my blog sumir-history.blogspot.in increased. I had done nothing. I had just given a link to the site of Raman Kaul which is still alive at  Munshi Premchand's Stories. The visitors posted comments in my praise. The search engines upgraded my site. The term 'Munshi Premchand Ki Kahaniya' was a wonder term. It is from there I learned that there is a huge readership still seeking his works.

Now, being a regular explorer of the Kindle store and also interested in watching my own title that I had written, I observed and located a large number of classic titles which were available free of cost. From there, I have intentionally collected the works of Munshi Premchand to write this post with the reason which I have already narrated as an anecdote. I will definitely write another post of a similar kind wherein I will act as a curator to some good literature, especially in the non-fiction category. Here is the collection. It is all in HINDI.


Do me a favour by visiting the author page on Amazon HERE -AUTHOR AMAZON PAGE.









Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thus, I Wrote a Book


Warning


It is an advertisement. It is an advertisement in self promotion. I am going to blow my own trumpet in my own appreciation.

I will not like that anyone may feel that he or she has wasted his or her time reading the whole post. In brief, I have published an ebook. The thumbnail display is given below.

The rest of the post follows after this display.






This is my first ebook. It is my third book that is published and available to the readers.

It is not that I have written only three books. I have written some books related to courses concerning different level of academic courses but that is a different story.

The book is published on Kindle Direct Publication (KDP) under their Self Publication paradigm. It is written in Hindi. It falls under the category of Literature and Short story. The whole book is a single story in itself of an unclassified category.

The book is based on the content of one of my blog. In other words, it is 'a blog to a book' product. In simpler terms, I have converted one of my blog into a book.

The name of the blog is 'Sumir Sharma Hindi Main'. The blog was started in 2005. I always desire to write in Hindi. However, due to some technical hindrances, I am not able to pursue it aggressively. I can type in English at a good speed. Therefore, whenever, I get a chance to write on the Internet or for publication, I prefer to write in English.

Secondly, way back in 2005, when I wished to write in Hindi on the Internet, there were not enough models and methods for people like us who did not have the required knowledge of computers, to write in Hindi. In those days, the Internet speed was also very slow. Secondly, there were regular electricity cuts for a long period which continued for days together. I virtually struggled to show something in Devanagari Script on the Internet. However there were some people already writing it in Hindi on the Internet. I was able to establish contact with them and with their help I was able to write that blog.

Now, it is easy to say that you can write. When you attempt to write for a wider audience, you find lack of faith in your ownself. Sometimes, you are not able to appreciate your own writing. You fear criticism. You fear that nobody would read it. You fear that it will be a mere wastage of time. Soon, you realise that you stand nowhere.

I generally write in Hindi. However, when I got the chance to write the blog in Hindi after learning it from my friends on the Internet, I found that I had nothing substantial to write for my blog. I had written some poems in my childhood. I did not have the confidence in the quality of those poems. The need was to put something in Hindi on the Internet. I had the ready material with me. It was merely an experiment to display something in Hindi. Secondly, poems are generally shorter in length. Therefore, I displayed some of the poems on that blog. It was a surprise for me that I received some encouraging comments on them. It increased my enthusiasm and gave me encouragement. However, during this whole struggle, the friends on the Internet continued to help me to improve my skills on writing in Hindi on the Internet. I even wrote a story at that time. Even, that story brought me some appreciation from unknown quarters. It all happened on the Internet. There are evidences of these activities still showing on my blog.

Now, the whole of this activity is compressed into an ebook form. That is the story which I have presented in the book. The title of book is 'Ek Kahani Kuch Kavitayan'. In English, it can be called as 'One Story Few Poems'.

I had learned about Kindle Direct Publication (KDP) or rather had downloaded their software somewhere in the beginning of 2017. Earlier, I had discontinued my activity of publishing books with traditional Publishers. I was confined to blogging. The Kindle Direct Publication has provided an opportunity to self publish your work. I find it as an opportunity to fulfil my earlier dreams. I want to execute my earlier dream plans into a reality. I have started working on all those projects which I once dreamed to publish through traditional method.

I had set a target to come up with a book this year. My work is still continuing. In the meantime, I tried to enquire from the Amazon people (The KDP is a part of Amazon.) that if I could publish in Hindi. They suggested me a way out. But, again there was a technical problem. It was just a chance that I happened to acquire Anmol Fonts from one of my acquaintance. I have Kruti Fonts, Mangal Fonts, and many more such Fonts already with me. But, I was never able to become comfortable with them. However, Anmol Fonts are more user friendly. I had already this plan in my mind to convert my experiences on blogging in Hindi into a story.

My work on my other titles is still in progress. The year was coming to end and I was not ready with my manuscript. I got this idea that I must try to practice typing on the Anmol Fonts. I visualized a plan to write that story which I wished to write. In short, I was able to collect the material which could be converted into a book. I tried to format it on the Kindle Textbook Creator. To my surprise, I was able to compile a book. In this manner, this book was written.

I believe that those who have read it up to here may have liked this story. However, the book that is mentioned here, is in Hindi.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunt for the Best Available Price Tag





I have been reading some old titles. Such titles are available free of cost in pdf format from different websites. However, I have bought their Kindle edition from the Kindle bookstore. It was not a well thought out approach. I knew about the title. I did not care to acquire such books. However, when I located them in Kindle bookstore, I tried to explore the contents of such books. I found the price quite cheap. I knew that it was available free of cost from other different sources like Internet Archives or Google books. Such books are available in pdf format. However, I have found the Kindle software more user-friendly interface. Therefore, I opted to pay a small amount to acquire it.

Gradually I learned that the same title was available for a more lesser price on the Kindle bookstore itself. The old titles are published by different publishers on the Kindle bookstore with different price tags. Some publishers charge more than the other. The contents are same, but there is a big difference in prices from publisher to publisher. It is all there in Kindle bookstore. For a single author, whose work has come out of copyright clauses and now available as open source, are being recycled by different publishers as digital books. The new thing which they bring in is the formatting of the content of the book. The price is very less. However, from publisher to publisher, there is a difference in price tag. The main feature is that they try to format the content in digital format. One publisher will make an index of the chapter in a way that it becomes easier to navigate through the subject matter. The other publisher may format them in some different way. Probably, that may be the reason for the difference in prices.

However, such a price difference for the same title has become a cause of dissatisfaction also. I bought a book of an author for a particular price. Gradually, I learn that the same title is available in a lesser amount but with better formatting that helps me more to navigate through the contents of the title. In case of a cheaper book, the format is more functional and practical. Now, this brings in the dissatisfaction. I present below two case studies to show my point.

Case Study One

Second Purchase: ₹38/-

Name of the title:

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Length of Pages: 452

Publisher: Oregan Publishing (26 June, 2017)

Kindle ASIN: B073GYW7W2

I bought this edition on September 30, 2017. I had this title in my Kindle library already. However, I bought it because it was formatted differently. Navigating between the chapters of 9 volumes was easy.

On the other hand, the first bought of the same title had following particulars.

Name of the title:

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

First Purchase: ₹ 349/-

Length of Pages: 4361

Publisher: The name of the Publisher is not given but in the description on the Kindle website, it is stated the proceed from the sale would go to the Advaita Ashrama founded by Swami Vivekananda.

Kindle ASIN: B004NIFSQ6

A Commentary:

The titles are same. However, there is the difference in prices. The difference in price is quite vast. Secondly, The first purchase claims that it has 4361 pages. The second purchase claims that it has 452 pages. However, Kindle software is not displaying the page numbers. It shows only the location and the total count of location in the following purchase is 63829. In case of the first purchase, it is 63837. The difference in the quantity of the content is caused by the editorial notes. However, both the editorials are claimed to have been written on July 4, 1907.

In short, I bought the same title for different prices. The contents are same, but there is a considerable difference in price and published dates.

There are many more issues concerning this title. However, presently, I am here to present my point on the difference of rates on the same title which is available on Kindle Book Store. The contents are virtually identical, but there is a vast difference in price. One can access the whole content on different websites. Some of them allow free download. However, to use Kindle software I bought it directly from the Kindle bookstore. However, when I find that there is a considerable price difference for the same content, then I have every reason to express my dissatisfaction.

Case Study Two.

Second Purchase:

Name of the title:

The Complete Works of William Walker Atkinson (Unabridged)

Price: ₹ 48/-

Length of pages: 7920

Publisher: e-artnow; 2 edition (March 3, 2016)

Kindle ASIN: B01CKH7POO

Date of Bought: December 28, 2016.

It is a vast volume. It contains a large number of titles published by W. W. Atkinson. It includes the title 'Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism'. In this title, the author keeps on repeating that many more things will be explained in the next volume and that is titled as "Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The compilation includes that title also. I bought it for ₹ 48/-

First Purchase:

Name of the Title:

Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism.

Length of pages: 270

Price:₹64.12/-

Publisher: Not specified

Kindle ASIN: B007PF9C9S

Date of Bought: December 26, 2016.

The Commentary:

The contents of this title are same as it is given in Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The only difference is in the use of the term Fourteen.

Now here also, the price difference is quite vast. If you observe the details, I had bought these two titles within a gap of two days. The cause was that the writer therein, who claims himself to be Yogi Ramacharaka kept on repeating in the book that he would explain many more things in his Advance course.

In the compilation published under the name of W. W. Atkinson, I found both the titles. I paid far less. I received far more on W. W. Atkinson in my second purchase.

Secondly, in case of publisher e-artnow, the date of publication of each title is not mentioned. However, the different titles published by W. W. Atkinson are published by various publishers with different price tags. However, in case of e-artnow, I believe, I have received virtually all the available titles. The only shortcoming is that the publisher has not mentioned the date of publication of each title. I have reviewed a large number of his titles on this very blog. I had mentioned this shortcoming in case of one or two reviews.

In short, at different prices, you purchase the same content. All these titles and purchases can be made at Kindle bookstore.

My Argument:

In case of some titles, which have come out of copyright clause, different publishers are republishing those titles. The contents are same. However, the various publishers charge different rates.

The Kindle store, as well as Amazon.com in its Feedback links which are given at the end of each display of the book, meant for selling, provides the purchasers to share their dissatisfaction with the product. In case of books, they allow reporting inappropriate claims, copyright issues, and wrong formatting. It is quite fair. I have found and observed that in case of one publisher, who had overstated his claim, the Kindle had stopped the sale of title by that publisher. However, being a reader, you are more motivated towards the content and the author. You do not want to spend time in raising issues and getting involved in such contentions which may strain your resources. I leave to the Kindle and Amazon people to consider the issues raised in this post if they happen to come across it. If I write to Amazon people, then I will prefer to spend time in writing the reviews than to act like a whistleblower.

For the general readers, I have this message for them. If you are interested in some title, then explore the various options provided there. Do not take quick decisions to buy at the spur of the wimps. This approach can be adopted in case of those titles which are now out of copyright clauses and available free of cost. If you prefer, Amazon and Kindle backed titles, even then, have the patience to explore the Kindle site. You may get a better prize for the same title.



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