Prescriptions on How To Remain Creative and Competent

July 18, 2010

THE PETER PRESCRIPTION
Prescriptions on How To Remain Creative and Competent

Book Review

By

VIKRAM KARVE

Title: The Peter Prescription

Author: Dr. Laurence J. Peter

Published: 1972 (William Morrow)

The hot weather in Pune gives me the golden opportunity to dust off my favourite books from my bookshelves, sit in cool comfort and re-read these lovely books sipping chilled ice-cool lemonade.   I have realized that re-reading good books gives me even greater pleasure.

So that’s what I’m going to do for the next few days – browse my bookshelves, re-read some of my favourite books, and tell you about them.   During my college days, in the 1970’s, I read three non-fiction books which had a lasting impact on me.

The first was Parkinson’s Law (written in 1958) based on the author’s study of the British Civil Service and Admiralty.

The other two books were written by Dr. Laurence J. Peter – The Peter Principle (1969) and The Peter Prescription (1972).

These three Management Classics are a must for the bookshelves of every manager.

Written with incisive wit, Parkinson’s Law is a seminal book on the workings of bureaucracy which is essential reading for any student of Management. It is consummate management classic, a masterpiece, which is a “must read” for every manager and management student.

The Peter Principle, a delightful read, provides a superb insight and intriguing study of hierarchiology.

If The Peter Principle is Dr. Peter’s seminal pioneering work, then The Peter Prescription is his definitive book, a wondeful all-time management classic.

If you have not read ‘The Peter Principle’, do read my review of the book, the previous post in my weblog right here.     Understanding ‘The Peter Principle’ is sine qua non, essential prerequisite reading, before you embark upon ‘The Peter Prescription’.   Whereas both Parkinson’s Law and The Peter Principle formulate and substantiate their respective theories, The Peter Prescription is a philosophical self-help treatise on how to achieve happiness in all aspects of life.

Written in his same hilarious inimitable style, Dr. Peter exhorts us to be creative, confident and competent by replacing mindless escalation with life-quality improvement. The message of the book is in congruence with eastern philosophies which focus on inward enhancement rather than outward escalation.

In his introduction Dr. Peter states: “Many authors offer answers before they understand the questions…….. I understand the operation of the Peter Principle, and the remedies offered are the product of years of research……… prescriptions will lead to great personal fulfillment and joy of real accomplishment.”   The book, interspersed liberally with quotations and case studies, comprises three parts.

The first, titled Incompetence Treadmill explores why conventional solutions not only fail to alleviate the effects of the Peter Principle but may actually serve to escalate the problems.

His analysis of ‘marital incompetence’ is hilarious. A bachelor is a man who looks before he leaps – and then does not leaphe concludes.

With the flattening of hierarchies, I wonder whether, in today’s world, there still exist any Professional Processionary Puppets – the organization-men.

It would be worthwhile to look dispassionately, from a distance, into your own organization for similarities to prototypes adorning bureaucracies of yesteryear in order to ascertain whether your own organisation is a modern state-of-the-art progressive one or a rigid hierarchy bound archaic organization heading for decay.   The meat of the book is in Part Two, titled ‘Protect your Competence’ which elucidate a total of 25 “prescriptions” on how to remain creative and competent throughout your working and personal life.

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that to enjoy it.

The prescriptions, which are condensed wisdom of the ages, guide us on how to achieve this cardinal aim of life.

“The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness” Dr. Peter quotes with elan in this delightful book.   Competence is a system-governed factor – your competence is as viewed by your bosses (like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, your competence lies in the eyes of your boss!) and thus the yardsticks of competence are governed by the HR policies in your organization.   Why is everyone around you so competitive…?

Do the HR policies in your organization encourage competition, rat race and reward escalationary behaviour, and if so, what can you do about it…?

Maybe you can find some answers by exploring the prescriptions.   Let’s have a look at Peter Prescription 3 – The Peter Panorama – which I have used to great effect, which comprises listing your satisfying activities, joyful experiences, pleasant reminiscences, and after introspection make a second list of those which are feasible to do regularly and then make sure you do them whenever feasible.

Enjoyable events begin to crowd out the unpleasant and you feel happy. And, in the extreme, there are prescriptions like utter irrelevance – hilariously effective.   Do read, experiment, and try to imbibe the prescriptions in your professional and personal life, and experience the results for yourself.

Introspect, evolve a philosophy of life, fine tune the art of living, concentrate your efforts within your area of competence, and have an improved quality of life consisting of abiding competence and contentment.

If you cannot be happy here and now, you can never be happy. Part Three of the book is written from the management perspective giving 42 “prescriptions” to Managers to contain and mitigate the effects of The Peter Principle in their domains and manage for competence.

It views The Peter Principle from a manager’s point of view, and assuming the manager himself is not a victim of the Peter Principle, offers valuable tips in the HR Management, particularly recruitment, promotion and selection.

Obviously, outsourcing wasn’t that prevalent way back then in the sixties and seventies, otherwise organizations may even have ‘outsourced’ incompetence.

Isn’t it a brilliant idea to outsource incompetence…? In the outsourcing jargon, let’s call it IPO – Incompetence Process Outsourcing…!!!

Maybe some are doing it already…!

As stated in the introduction, the purpose of The Peter Prescription is to help you explore how you yourself can mitigate the effects of The Peter Principle by avoiding the final placement syndrome, and as a manager, it tells you how to keep your employees at their appropriate competence levels so that they remain happy and productive and help achieve mutual optimal benefit.   First read and understand The Peter Principle.
And then apply to your own life The Peter Prescription and experience genuine personal fulfillment and joy of real accomplishment.  


Book Review of The Peter Prescription

by

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this Book Review.


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HAPPINESS An Epicurean Approach

November 22, 2009

HAPPINESS

 

The Epicurean Approach

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Musings on the Art of Happiness

 

HAPPINESS & PLEASURE

 

 

Are Happiness and Pleasure correlated?

 

 

They say:

 

1.  Pleasure is Quantitative; Happiness is Qualitative.

 

2.   Happiness is a lifelong goal.

 

3.       Happiness requires cognitive judgment.

 

4.       Pleasure is not essential to achieving happiness – here I do not agree. I feel happiness and pleasure are not mutually exclusive; in fact genuine pleasure can be the source of much happiness.

 

 

No philosopher has better explored the distinction between happiness and pleasure than Epicurus, a Greek Philosopher of the Third Century BC. Epicurus (341-270 BC) espoused a strategy for achieving genuine human happiness by emphasizing the delights of the mind (over which a person has control) rather than the delights derived from material things (which are so often beyond one’s personal control).

 

 

Epicurus’ name survives in the team “epicurean” which is used to refer to someone with elevated tastes and a lifestyle centred on pleasure. However, if you peruse his philosophy thoroughly, you will realize that Epicurus counsels a way of life very different from what the popular use of the term “pleasure” implies.

 

 

You may feel that Epicurean philosophy champions the pursuit of pleasure as the supreme goal of life, but this does not mean the unrestrained pursuit of excesses of any kind. Instead, Epicurus argues for a life of sober restrain and moderation in all things. The pleasures Epicurus recommends are those that are easy to achieve and simple in nature. The prolonged pursuit of pleasure is best achieved by restraint and enlightened choice.

 

 

It may be the prudent to moderate our single minded pursuit of “outward” success and achievement, the mindless acquisition of material possessions and accumulation of wealth, tendencies to showing off and ostentation, conspicuous consumption and lavish unrestrained pleasures; and focus more on the more authentic “inner” pleasures of life such as happy family life, enriching relationships, cultivating the mind and intellect, enjoying the pleasures of friends and companions, and living on the higher plane.

 

 

Epicureanism does not advocate the wanton pursuit of pleasure. Also, you must remember that pleasures and pains of the mind are of greater importance than those of the body. Epicurus set forth a strategy for achieving authentic human happiness by emphasizing the delights of the mind (over which a person has control) rather than the delights derived from material things (which are so often beyond one’s personal control). The fundamental premise is that presence of pleasure is synonymous with the absence of pain.

 

 

Genuine happiness emanates from pleasures that are easy to achieve and simple in nature. If you have only a few things, we will enjoy them more than if you had many things, and if you do not become used to rich and expensive foods, then simple fare, which is easier to obtain will satisfy you more.

 

 

In a nutshell: “The Art of Happiness is in keeping your Pleasures Mild”.

 

 

And how do you keep your pleasures mild?

 

 

 

DESIRE & PLEASURE

 

 

Are pleasures in any way linked to satisfying your desires?

 

 

There are two different types of pleasures:

 

  1. Moving Pleasures

 

  1. Static Pleasures

 

 

“Moving” pleasures occur when one is in the process of satisfying a desire – like eating delicious food when one is hungry.

 

 

These pleasures involve an active enjoyable titillation of the senses which most people call “pleasure”.

 

 

However, Epicurus says that after one’s desires have been satisfied, like suppose you are fully satiated after eating a heart meal; this state of satiety, a state of no longer being in need or want, is itself pleasurable. Epicurus calls this “static” pleasure, and says that these static pleasures are the best pleasures.

 

 

Hence, Epicurus says that there is no intermediate state between pleasure and pain. When one has unfulfilled desires, this is painful, and when one no longer has unfulfilled desires, this steady state is the most pleasurable of all. There is no intermediate state between pleasure and pain – either your desires are fulfilled or they are not.

 

 

Epicurus also distinguishes between physical and mental pleasures and pains. Physical pleasures and pains concern only the present, whereas mental pleasures and pains also encompass the past (fond memories of past pleasure or regret over past pain or mistakes) and the future (confidence or fear about what will occur).

 

 

The greatest destroyer of happiness is anxiety about the future, especially the fear of death. If you can banish fear about the future, and face the future with confidence that one’s desires will be satisfied, then you can attain a most exalted state of tranquillity.

 

 

This we see that the key to happiness is the effective management of your desires – Desire Management.

 

 

 

DESIRE MANAGEMENT

 

There is a close connection between pleasure and desire-satisfaction.

 

 

If pleasure results from getting what you want (desire-satisfaction) and pain from not getting what you want (desire-frustration), then there are two strategies you can pursue with respect to any given desire: you can either strive to fulfil the desire, or you can try to eliminate the desire.

 

 

Epicurus advocates the second strategy of scaling down your desires to the basic minimum which can easily be satisfied.

 

 

Epicurus distinguishes between three types of desires:

 

1.      Natural and necessary desires,

 

2.      Natural but non-necessary desires,

 

3.    “Vain and Empty” or unnatural and unnecessary desires.

 

 

How we tackle each of these three types of desires determines our tendency to happiness [or unhappiness].

 

 

Examples of natural and necessary desires include the desires for food, shelter, health, sense of security and basic physical needs, cravings which will necessarily lead to greater pain if they are not fulfilled.

 

 

These basic desires are easy to satisfy yet difficult to eliminate (they are ‘hard-wired’ into human beings naturally) and bring great pleasure when satisfied (“Happiness begins at the stomach”).

 

 

Furthermore, they are necessary for life, and they are naturally limited: that is, if one is hungry, it only takes a limited amount of food to fill the stomach, after which the desire is satisfied.

 

 

Epicurus says that you should try to fulfil natural and necessary desires.

 

Vain, unnatural and unnecessary desires include desires for excessive power, wealth, fame, and other egoistic ambitions which have all the trappings of status and prestige.

 

 

Vain desires are difficult to satisfy, in part because they have no natural limit. If one desires wealth or power, no matter how much one gets, it is always possible to get more, and the more one gets, the more one wants. These desires are not natural to human beings, but inculcated by society and by false beliefs about what we need; (e.g.) believing that being very powerful or wealthy or famous will guarantee us happiness. In fact, Opulence attracts thieves, and power and fame attract sycophants.

 

 

Epicurus says that such vain and empty desires should be eliminated.

 

An example of a natural but non-necessary desire is the desire for luxury food. Although food is needed for survival, one does not need rich expensive gourmet food to survive. Thus, despite his hedonism, Epicurus advocates a surprisingly ascetic way of life. Although you shouldn’t spurn extravagant foods if they happen to be available, becoming dependent on such food ultimately leads to unhappiness.

 

 

These natural but non-necessary desires are those cravings that do not necessarily lead to greater pain if they are not fulfilled. These desires are typically recreational in nature: Sexual gratification, aesthetic desires, entertainment, pleasant conversation, the arts, sports, travel etc.

 

 

In the case of natural but non-necessary desires you must approach life as a banquet. Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously, when dishes are passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion. If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate. And if a dish hasn’t being passed to you yet, patiently wait for your turn.

 

 

To paraphrase Epicurus, “If you wish to make a man wealthy, don’t give him more money; rather, reduce his desires”.

 

By eliminating the pain caused by unfulfilled desires, and the anxiety that occurs because of the fear that one’s desires will not be fulfilled in the future, the wise Epicurean attains tranquillity, and thus happiness.

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

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Appetite for a Stroll

 

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Ancient Wit and Wisdom

July 22, 2009

LAUGH and LEARN
HUMOR WISDOM ENJOYMENT AND EDUCATION

By

VIKRAM KARVE

Everyone loves stories.

So whenever I want to drive home my point or communicate a message, I like to tell a story rather than pontificate.

Everyone loves to laugh.

Yes, storytelling is certainly more enjoyable if you add a dash of humour than laborious dogmatic pontificating or moral lectures.

Laughing and Learning go together.

Enjoyable learning is more effective as wit and humour are excellent vehicles for transmission of views and values besides the important fact that you do not bore, annoy, or hurt egos.

I am, therefore, always in search of such stories, tales, and parables, which impart wisdom and produce spiritual growth, and there is plenty of ancient wit and wisdom enshrined in teaching stories flourishing all around both oriental and occidental which have stood the test of time through the ages.

Teaching Stories are not mere jokes.

Teaching Stories relate events that are funny, foolish, bemusing, and sometimes even apparently stupid. But they usually have deeper meanings.

A good teaching story has several levels of meaning and interpretation and offers us opportunities to think in new ways.

At first you may just have a good laugh but as you think about it the significance becomes more and more profound.

Each story veils its knowledge and as you ruminate, the walls of its outer meanings crumble away and the beauty of the previously invisible inner wisdom is revealed, and you begin to identify yourself in the story, and to acknowledge that you too could be as foolish or as lacking in discernment as the characters in these classic tales.

An example of the concept of teaching stories is embodied in the tales of the inimitable Mulla Nasrudin narrated by Sufis to illustrate aspects of human behaviour which are relevant to both our personal and professional lives.

Last week I told someone this Mulla Nasrudin Story:

Mulla Nasrudin’s donkey died and he went into deep mourning weeping inconsolably. A friend seeing Nasrudin crying bitterly consoled, “What’s wrong with you – you didn’t weep and mourn so much even when your first wife died.”

“When my wife died all of you promised to find a younger and more beautiful wife for me – and indeed you did. However, nobody has promised to replace my donkey.”

And I’m sure you have heard this one:

One night, Nasrudin was on his hands and knees searching for his key in a well-lit area in the centre of the street. Some of his neighbours came to see why Nasrudin was on his hands and knees.

“What are you looking for, Nasrudin?” enquired one of his neighbours.

“My door key,” Nasrudin replied.

The helpful neighbours dropped to their hands and knees and joined Nasrudin in his search for the lost key.

After a long unsuccessful search, one of the neighbours asked: “We’ve looked everywhere. Are you sure you dropped it here?”

Nasrudin answers: “Of course I didn’t drop it here; I dropped it outside my door.”

“Then, why are you looking for it here?”

“Because there is much more light here,” responded Nasrudin.


When one reads or hears several Nasrudin tales, they can have a compelling effect. You can reflect, introspect or take them with a pinch of salt – the choice is yours.

You may ask the storyteller: “You relate stories, but do not tell us how to understand them” – to which he will reply: “How would you like it if the shopkeeper from whom you bought a banana ate it before your eyes, leaving you only the skin?”

One of the great bonuses in learning through humour is that even as you have a good time and doubt that you have learned anything, the lessons penetrate subtly, and stay with you, to come alive when the need arises. 

A few years ago, while walking home one evening, I stopped for a browse at Mumbai’s famous Strand Book Fair, held every January, at SNDT University’s Sunderbai Hall near Churchgate.

I saw a book – Tales of the Dervishes – and began browsing, and became so engrossed in the Sufi teaching stories that I lost all sense of time, and before I realized it, the clock struck eight and it was time to close.

Seeing the crowd, and in a hurry to get home, I decided to come the next day to buy the book, but when I did come the next day the one and only copy of this book which I liked so much had been sold out.

Since then I had been hunting for this rare elusive book and I was truly delighted to find a copy at Landmark Bookstore on Moledina Road in Pune Camp a few months ago.

Dear Reader, permit me to tell you a bit about this wonderful book, a truly delightfully illuminating assortment of Sufi Teaching Stories.

Title: Tales of the Dervishes

Author: Idries Shah (1967)

Arkana Penguin (1993)

ISBN 0-14-019358-8

The author has collated a very meaningful selection of Sufi Teaching Stories ranging from the 7th century to the 20th century and has given chronological references to sources which comprise Sufi Masters, classics and manuscripts.

I am sure you may be familiar with a few of these classic tales of wisdom, or versions of them, like The Three Fishes, How to Catch Monkeys, and The Blind Ones and the Matter of the Elephant, but there are so many unique gems of wit and wisdom.

I recommend that you must read each teaching story thrice.

Yes, thrice!

Read the story once. It may entertain you; maybe produce a laugh, like a joke.

Read the story the second time. Reflect on it. Apply it to your life. That will give you a taste of self-discovery.

Read the story again, for the third time, after you have reflected on it. Carry the story around in your mind all day and allow its fragrance, its melody to haunt you. Create a silence within you and let the story reveal to you its inner depth and meaning. Let it speak to your heart, not to your brain. This will give you a feel for the mystical and you will develop the art of tasting and feeling the inner meaning of such stories to the point that they transform you.

I’ll not tell you more about the droll, witty, entertaining yet tremendously meaningful and enlightening tales in this book – that you must read yourself – but I will end this piece by narrating my favourite Mulla Nasrudin teaching story:

On his way from Persia to India, Mulla Nasrudin saw a man selling a small long green fruit which he had never seen before.  Curious, he asked the vendor:  “What is this lovely fruit?”

“Chillies. Fresh Green Chillies,” said the Vendor.

Mulla Nasrudin gave the vendor a gold coin and the Vendor was so overjoyed that he gave Nasrudin the full basket of green Chillies.

Mulla Nasrudin sat down under a tree and started to munch the Chillies and   within a few seconds, his mouth was burning. Tears streamed down his cheeks, his nose watered copiously and there was fire his throat.

But, utterly nonchalant, Nasrudin went on eating the chillies and his condition began to get worse and worse.

Seeing his pitiable condition, a passerby asked, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you stop eating those hot Chillies?”

“May be there is one that is sweet, “Nasrudin answered. “I keep waiting for the sweet one!” Nasrudin said and he kept on eating the fiery Chillies.

On his way back, the passerby saw that Mulla Nasrudin’s condition had become even more terrible, but he kept on eating, and the basket of Chillies was almost empty.

“Stop at once or you will die.  There are no sweet Chillies!” the passerby shouted at Nasrudin.

“I cannot stop until I have finished the whole basketful,” Nasrudin said, croaking in agony, “I have paid for the full basket   I am not eating Chillies anymore.  I am eating my money”.

Dear Reader – Read this story once more, close your eyes, think about it and let the story perambulate in your mind, reflect on it, and apply it to your life.

Don’t we cling on to things, people and places that we know we should let go and move on, at first hoping to find ‘sweet one’ and even when we discover that there is no ‘sweet chilli’ we still continue to shackle and bind ourselves to material things, memories and persons who we know are painful, harmful and detrimental just to ‘get our money’s worth’ when we should ‘let go’ and move on in life and liberate ourselves.

Hey, there I go pontificating again.

It’s time for you, Dear Reader, to read The Tales of the Dervishes and it is high time you enlightened me with a Teaching Story.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this review.

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An Insight on Life Enlightened – Book Review

December 10, 2008

Book Review

 

Swami Rama: Selected Poems

An Insight on Life Enlightened

Compiled & Translated by Shakuntala Bodas

Published New Delhi 2007

 

 

 

My indefatigable aunt Shakuntala Bodas, an ardent and committed devotee of Swami Rama, has authored a number of books in English, Hindi and Marathi on the life and his teachings of Swami Rama.

 

Of all her books, my favourite is Swami Rama : Selected Poems – An Insight on Life Enlightened compiled & translated by Shakuntala Bodas.

 

Pessimism or disappointment is living death

So please do not allow it entrance into your mind

Keep your body, mind, and energy filled

With enthusiasm, coupled with peace and balanced mind.

 

This is an excerpt from the poem titled The Secret of a Happy Life. 

 

Poetry, breathtaking in its simplicity, expressing clear thoughts and delivering precise message – that is the beauty of the poems in this compilation.

 

The book has a large number of simple evocative poems; each one will touch your soul in some way or the other.

 

The sincere devotion, earnest zeal and erudition of the author are evident in the free-hand translations, and as one absorbs the delightful poems, one does experience a sense of sublime joy.

 

At the beginning of the book, Shakuntala Bodas explains the background, reasons for writing this book, and recounts the life story of Swami Rama. Her effortless, attractive writing style makes this book a delight to read.

 

Dear Reader, doesn’t matter whether you are spiritually inclined or not, get a copy of this book, carry it with you, open a page at random, read a poem, and you will feel inspired and spiritually elated.

 

 

[Reviewed by VIKRAM KARVE]

 

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Embedded System Design

December 10, 2008

Book: Embedded System Design – A Unified Hardware / Software Introduction 

Authors: Frank Vahid, Tony Givargis

Publication: John Wiley and Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2002

ISBN 9971-51-405-2

Pages: 324.

 

[Reviewed by Prachi  A. Deshmukh] 

 

Once, there was a conversation going on between three ladies. They were discussing on something very seriously. Each of them was telling her own experience and others were listening to the speaker very carefully. They were neither discussing about some TV serial, nor about the latest fashions. Their topic was regarding cooking. (But they were not discussing culinary recipes!). The three ladies were from three different generations – the first an 80 years old Granny, the second her 56 years old mother and the third the 28 years old daughter. They were discussing how the kitchen has been changed. Conclusion of their discussion was that, now cooking is a task of few minutes. Mixer, food processor, microwave oven, dishwasher etc. are there waiting for your orders!

 

Not only in kitchen, but everywhere one can see things are becoming easier and simpler. Those who are born after 1980s can experience the changes happening around themselves. Now there is no need to make your hands panic by washing the clothes. Washing machine will do it for you!

 

Do you want to listen to music of your choice? An MP3 player can store thousands of songs of your choice. If you want to convert your beautiful moments into sweet memories, then digital camera is there for your help.

 

Are you planning to go for shopping? No need to carry money with you. Credit card will maintain your account.

 

All these examples look unrelated to each others, but there is some relation in them. ATM, barcode scanner, cell-phone, digital camera, fax machine, home alarm system all are totally different from each others but they do have one thing common in them. All of them are embedded systems. Now the question arises ’What does an embedded system actually mean?’

 

In simple words, Embedded System is a computing system which does a specifically focused job. It’s nearly any computing system other than a desktop computer. We can not be unaware of it because embedded systems are part of our day to day life. We find them almost everywhere.

 

That’s why one must study about embedded systems, especially if you are aspiring to be an Electronics, Communications, Computer Engineer or IT Professional. For those who really want to know about embedded systems, a good book to start off with is ‘Embedded System Design- A Unified Hardware/ software Introduction ’ by Frank Vahid and Tony Givargis.

 

The book is actually an introductory book which makes us familiar with the basics of embedded systems, the hardware for them, the software, peripherals, memory and interfacing. This book is also helpful for those students who are going to take more specialized courses. To understand this book one needs the basic knowledge of electronics, flowcharts and algorithms.

 

The book shows its usefulness and applications starting from the cover itself. The picture on the cover shows all the applications in our day-to-day life which we find in home as well as outside our homes. A simple picture tells us how important to study the embedded systems.

 

The content in the book is divided into 11 Chapters. The first chapter introduces us with the basics of embedded systems. We become familiar with the Optimizing Design Metrics, processor technology, IC technology, design technology and trade offs.

 

In second chapter we learn about custom single purpose processors: Hardware. We learn about the combinational logic, sequential logic, custom single purpose processor design, RT level custom single purpose processor Design and the optimizing custom single purpose processors. If the reader knows about the transistors, logic gates and flowcharts then it will be easier to understand this chapter.

 

In third chapter the authors introduce us with the General Purpose Processors: Software. Here we learn the basic architecture of the general purpose processor, its operation, developing environment, ASIPs, General Purpose processor Design and about the selection of a processor.  

 

In fourth chapter we study the Peripherals of standard Single-Purpose Processors like Timer, Counters, Watchdog Timers, UART, PWM, LCD controllers, Keypad controllers, Stepper motor controllers, ADC and RTC.

 

There are different types of memory like ROM, PROM, OTOROM, EPROM, EEPROM, FRAM, RAM, SRAMDRAM, PSRAM NVRAM etc. We learn different types of memories as well as cache memory and MMU in the fifth chapter.

 

In sixth chapter we study the different types of interfacings to the processors as well as arbitration, multiple Bus architectures and advanced communication principles. Here we come to know about the different types of protocols.

 

Digital camera is an important and interesting example of embedded systems. In seventh chapter this example is explained very briefly. Here we learn about the requirements as well as the design of an embedded system very detail. Chapter no 8 and 9 are about the state machine and concurrent process models as well as the control systems.

 

Chapter 10 introduces us with the IC technology. Here we learn about the VLSI IC technology, ASIC IC technology and PLD IC technology. This chapter teaches about the IC technologies briefly.

 

In last chapter of the book, chapter 11 we learn about the techniques like Automation, Verification, Reuse, Design Process Models. At the end of this chapter we find the book summary. It gives us summary of the entire book in few words.

 

In appendix A the website is given which includes important information regarding the embedded systems. Also included are chapter wise lab resources. As embedded system is combination of both- hardware and software, it is very important to perform the practical experiments to understand the concepts.

 

This book is not just a simple basic book but is adequate for a complete course in embedded systems. The authors have maintained a smooth flow throughout the book. The language is easy to understand. One special feature of this edition of the book is that it has been designed specially for the students in developing countries.

An ideal textbook, this book may prove even more useful to understand the importance of embedded systems if some more applications of embedded systems were illustrated. Maybe further editions can be made more attractive by adding the photographs of the examples of embedded systems.

 

The summary at the end of every chapter give the important part of each chapter in brief. The review questions are helpful to prepare for the subject. The References and further reading are useful for those interested in a more detailed study of the subject.

 

We feel that this book may be extremely useful for students, engineers, technologists and professionals interested in the fascinating field of Embedded Systems. 

 

NANO The Essentials

December 9, 2008

In his insightful memoirs, War As I Knew It, General George S. Patton, one of history’s most charismatic, famous and successful generals, gifted us an priceless gem of his human resource management wisdom: “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”.

 

Ever since I read this illuminating book more than thirty years ago, I have followed this adage with great success in my multifarious avatars as a Human Resource Manager, a Project Manager, a Design Engineer, a Teacher and a Mentor.

 

A few days ago, a young lady, Prachi A Deshmukh, a fresh engineering graduate, joined our department as a research fellow; and I gave her a book from my bookcase, told her to review it and email me her book review by the end of the day. [As per my style, I just curtly told her what to do, not how to do it].

 

When I opened my email early next morning, the book review was there, waiting for me, and yes, Prachi Deshmukh had indeed surprised me with her ingenuity. I am truly proud of my young colleague and mentee.

 

A delight to read, written in a refreshingly youthful vibrant style, breathtaking in its simplicity, I liked the book review so much that I am placing it below as it is, with minimal editing, for you to read. We look forward to your comments and feedback; do tell us if you enjoyed reading the review, and the book. 

                                                                             

Name of the book: Nano: The Essentials – Understanding Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Author:  T. Pradeep

Publication: Tata McGraw-Hill, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0-07-061788-9

ISBN-10: 0-07-061788-0

 

[Reviewed by Prachi A. Deshmukh]

 

At the root of every invention, there is a seed of a thought which was unbelievable at that time. Yesterday’s dream is today’s truth; yesterday’s imagination is today’s reality. Let us take an example of ATM. Today we use ATM as if its ‘Any Time Money’ machine; but if we had told about this to somebody in the last century, he might had thought that we have gone mad! The same thing happened in December 1959, when Richard Feynman gave an after dinner speech at the annual meeting of the ‘American Physical Society’. He took the audience in the amazing world of his imagination. He was telling about the future where everything will be so small that there will be machines smaller than the tip of a needle. People were laughing, enjoying his ideas but no one knew the real meaning of his words-“There is plenty of room at the bottom.” Feynman is now credited for his great foresight which made him the first prophet of nanotechnology.

 

21st century is the era of great revolution in technology. Information Technology, Bio Technology and Nano Technology are some of the great windows which have tremendous capabilities to change the world around us. Especially Nanotechnology is a promising field in the near future which will provide us with many breakthroughs in a wide range of applications. It has been predicted that by the year 2015 the market share of nanotechnology and nanoscience will be worth 350 billion dollars. This calls for new investments in human resource development. These people must have strong foundation to build strong building. For those who are interested in this new technology, the book ‘Nano: The Essentials’ will prove to be a true guide.

 

The author of this book- Prof. T. Pradeep is with the IIT – Madras [Chennai]. Being a professor, he has structured this book so nicely that the reader gets his concepts clear right from the beginning. Starting from the preface we get more and more interest in this amazing world of nanotechnology and nanoscience.

 

The content of the book is well organized into five parts. In the first introductory part the author takes us in the world of nanotechnology with its relation with the nature. This part is enriched with the details of the technological inventions of 20th and 21st century.

 

In second part, we move towards the experimental methods. The author introduces us with the different types of microscopies . The neat diagrams, graphs and pictures in this part make it easier to understand the different experimental methods.

 

In the third part, we enter into the world of fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, gas phase clusters, nanoshells etc. In this section also, author addresses us with his simple language. There are sufficient diagrams and graphs to understand the concept properly.

 

In fourth part we become familiar with nanobiology, nanosensors,  nanomedicines , nanotribiology and molecular nanomachines.

 

Whenever some new technology comes into picture it’s the duty of every conscientious technologist to study the societal implications of it. In the fifth part we go through the relationship between nanotechnology and the society.

 

The most appreciable thing in this book is I think the ‘History of nanoscience and nanotechnology’ which tells us about all the important events in the development of Nanotechnology. Hats off to the author for this effort. The glossary of nanoterms at the end of this book summarizes all the important terms used throughout the book.

 

The author has given the references and additional related reading books at the end of every chapter for the keen readers to know more about the things.

 

In simple words, the book ‘Nano: The Essentials’ is really essential for those who are keen to know about nanotechnology and nanoscience . With his simple language the author has maintained the flow throughout the book. There are plenty of diagrams, graphs, tables and pictures which make the study more meaningful. If you are really serious about nanotechnology, then I will insist you to have a copy of this book. It’s easier for understanding if you have enough base of science and technology. I recommend this book to students, engineers, teachers and technologists who are willing to enter in this amazing world of nanotechnology and nanoscience.

My Food Adventures

December 9, 2008

APPETITE FOR A STROLL 

[Foodie Adventures, Simple Recipes, Musings on The Art of Eating and Vikram Karve’s Authentic Guide to Value For Money Food in Mumbai and Pune]


By


VIKRAM KARVE

Please click the link and read the review of Appetite for a Stroll titled Food for Soul in the Indian Express [Pune] Sunday 7th September 2008 

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/358363.html

expressonline book review

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Food-for-soul/358363/#

 

If you want to get a copy of the book just click the links below:

 

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

 

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

 

 

I am sure you will enjoy reading the book.

Happy Reading and Happy Eating

 

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

VIKRAM KARVE

EMC for Product Designers – Book Review

December 9, 2008

A Comprehensive Reference Book for IT, Electronic, Telecom and Electrical Engineering and Design Professionals

 

 

Title: EMC for Product Designers

Author: Tim Williams

Elsevier [Fourth Edition, 2007] 498 pages

ISBN – 13: 978-0-75-068170-4

ISBN – 10: 0-750-68170-5

 

 

 

Most of us consider a number of factors, exoteric and esoteric, while designing [or selecting] our homes and in the configuration of the numerous modern technological devices and domestic appliances, most of them electrical and electronic, therein.

 

Recently I saw a programme on TV where a Vastu Shastra expert was advising viewers not only regarding the various aspects of designing and building living environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces but also specifying optimal locations and layouts for various electrical and electronic appliances and devices in both residential homes and workplaces.

 

I listened with intriguing interest as he gave precise directions and specified exact locations for positioning of Televisions, Computers, Communication Devices, Microwave Ovens, Music systems and other appliances, and fascinated by the congruence between principles and aspects of Vastu and Electromagnetic Compatibility [EMC] and wondered whether the expert in reality was actually an EMC Design Engineer in addition to being a Vastu Shastra Specialist.

 

When you design or select or configure your house or office I am sure you consider various aesthetic, architectural, financial, utilitarian, geographical, interior and exterior design and other practical aspects, maybe even incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui, but do you give even a fleeting thought to EMC?

 

In today’s world with the increasing use of electrical, communication, electronic and information technologies we are under continual exposure to Electromagnetic Field [ EMFs ], both inside and outside our homes, in our workplaces and even in the open wherever we go, radiating from radiating from electricity power lines, household wiring, microwave ovens, computers, monitors, televisions, communication devices, cellular phones, electrical, electronic and IT appliances.

 

“Electro-pollution” is an increasingly serious form of Environment Pollution and merits serious consideration, as much as, if not more than, other well-known forms of pollution.

 

Electro-pollution seems to be omnipresent. Apart from hazards to our health, Electromagnetic Interference [EMI] is detrimental to the proper functioning of most electrical, electronic, IT, ITES, communication and technology-based systems and may cause malfunctions and even potentially disastrous and fatal accidents.

 

The book being reviewed – EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams – is one of the most comprehensive reference books I have read on the subject of the Design Management aspects of Electromagnetic Interference and Electromagnetic Compatibility [EMI / EMC].

 

The book comprises sixteen chapters arranged in three parts [Legislation and Standards, Testing and Design] the author lucidly covers most micro and macro aspects of EMC Management in meticulous detail.

 

The logical sequence of topics, clear diagrams, tables and illustrations facilitate easy understanding of this complicated subject.

 

The Design Checklist, interesting Case Studies and useful mathematical formulae in the appendices and the extensive bibliography add value to this reference book.

 

Whilst the earlier chapters provide an excellent understanding of the EMC Standards and the basic theoretical principles of EMI / EMC, the “meat” of the book lies in the chapters on Systems EMC and EMC Management which encapsulate all relevant facets of EMC in a holistic manner.

 

I wish the author had included a detailed chapter on Electromagnetic Health Hazards and mitigation techniques. This most vital topic concerning all of us humans seems to have not been accorded the due importance it deserves and I hope the author presents a more holistic and systemic view of EMC and includes a comprehensive chapter on pertinent aspects of Bio-electromagnetics, Thermal and Athermal EMR Hazards and their mitigation in the next edition.

 

I commend this book – it is an excellent reference book for Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and IT Engineers and Managers, Designers, Students, practising professionals in the field and, with the increasing awareness and compliance requirements of EMC Standards worldwide, this book will prove a valuable addition to the shelnves of engineering and technical libraries.

 

 

 

[EMC for Product Designers - Book Review by VIKRAM KARVE]

 

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

Book Review – Appetite for a Stroll

September 8, 2008

APPETITE FOR A STROLL 

[Foodie Adventures, Simple Recipes, Authentic Value For Money Food in Mumbai and Pune and Musings on The Art of Eating]


By


VIKRAM KARVE

Please click the link and read the review of Appetite for a Stroll titled Food for Soul in the Indian Express [Pune] Sunday 7th September 2008 

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/358363.html

expressonline book review

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Food-for-soul/358363/#

Happy Reading and Happy Eating

VIKRAM KARVE

PS: If you want to get the book just click the links below:

 

 

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

 

 

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

 

 

I am sure you will enjoy reading the book.

 

Swami Rama Selected Poems

March 20, 2008

Book Review Swami Rama: Selected PoemsAn Insight on Life EnlightenedCompiled & Translated by Shakuntala BodasPublished New Delhi 2007   My indefatigable aunt Shakuntala Bodas, an ardent and committed devotee of Swami Rama, has authored a number of books in English, Hindi and Marathi on Swami Rama, his life and his teachings. My favorite is Swami Rama : Selected Poems – An Insight on Life Enlightened compiled & translated by Shakuntala Bodas. Pessimism or disappointment is living deathSo please do not allow it entrance into your mindKeep your body, mind, and energy filledWith enthusiasm, coupled with peace and balanced mind. This is an excerpt from the poem titled The Secret of a Happy Life.   Poetry, breathtaking in its simplicity, expressing clear thoughts and delivering precise message – that is the beauty of the poems in this compilation.  The book has a large number of simple evocative poems; each one will touch your soul in some way or the other. The sincere devotion, earnest zeal and erudition of the author are evident in the free-hand translations, and as one absorbs the delightful poems, one does experience a sense of sublime joy. At the beginning of the book, Shakuntala Bodas explains the background, reasons for writing this book, and recounts the life story of Swami Rama. Her effortless, attractive writing style makes this book a delight to read. Dear Reader, doesn’t matter whether you are spiritually inclined or not, get a copy of this book, carry it with you, open a page at random, read a poem, and you will feel inspired and spiritually elated.    [Reviewed by Vikram Waman Karve] http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve vikramkarve@hotmail.com vikramkarve@sify.com  

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