Archive for March 2007

The Importance of Understanding

March 30, 2007

A RELAXING BOOK

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

[ Book Review of THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING by LIN YUTANG ]

 

 

 

Whenever I want to unwind and relax, I pick out one of my favorite books from my bookcase, settle down in my easy-chair, put my feet up, and open the book to any random page, or thumb through the pages, and dip into whatever arrests my attention, and as I begin reading I experience a soothing feeling and a calm tranquil sensation of absolute and perfect relaxation. From time to time, I let myself drift off into sweet slumber, and when I come around I begin my relaxed reading again. So the cycle continues till my mind recaptures the harmony it has lost during the hustle and bustle of daily life, and my inner self feels soothingly nourished.

 

The book is called  THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING and is compiled by Lin Yutang, the is more famous for his magnum opus THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING, the classic seminal philosophical masterpiece on The Art of Living [ do read my book review on the links below:

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/01/the-art-of-living.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/the-art-of-living/ 

 

or somewhere on this blog of mine].

 

 

I’ve got a hardcover copy of the book, published by Heinemann London in 1961, which I obtained, by a stroke of luck, from a raddiwala a few years ago. The book comprises translations from the Chinese. There are essays, reflections, poems, ancient wit and wisdom, literature, writings on The Art of Living, Enjoyment of Life and Zen, parables, epigrams and proverbs. The writings focus on the simple joys of living and distinction between the practical and the poetic vision of life.

 

There is wit and subtle humor throughout the book. Here is a story titled “Prohibition” from the chapter on Ancient Wit and Wisdom.

 

In the time of the ruler of Shu, Shienchu (third century AD) there was prohibition on wine on account of a drought…There were people who were arrested for having vats and distillery apparatus in their houses, punishable in the same terms as those actually caught making illegal liquor. Chien Yung was driving in the country with the ruler when they saw a young man.

“Have that man arrested,’ cried Chien Yung.

“What has he done?” asked the ruler in puzzlement.

“He is going to commit adultery.”

“How do you know?”

“He has the organs of adultery, just as those people have their vats.”

The ruler broke out into a loud laugh and ordered that the people arrested for mere possession of vats released.

 

The meat of the book is the section on “Home and Daily Living” which encompasses a wide range of facets of the art of living and enjoyment of daily life.

 

I’ll end with an epigram of Yuan Chunglang – Beware of the man who has no hobbies. If he is not sincere in loving what he loves, he is also probably not sincere in hating what he professes to hate.

 

Dear Reader. First read The Importance of Living and then read The Importance of Understanding. And I’m sure you will see your life from a different perspective.

 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

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Book Review – Autobiography of Anandibai Karve

March 21, 2007

Book Review 

Maze Puran(Marathi)ByAnandibai Karve(Published 1944, 2nd Edition 1951 by Keshav Bhikaji Davale, Mumbai) 

 

 

I have before me a fascinating little book titled Maze Puran –   the memoirs of Anandibai Karve, the wife of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve, written in Marathi. This autobiography, originally published in 1944, and revised by Kaveri Karve, Anandibai’s daughter-in-law, in 1951, is a story of extraordinary grit, determination, courage, resilience, sacrifice and optimism in the face of adversities shown by Anandibai Karve in facing and overcoming the trials and tribulations of early widowhood, and her subsequent marriage, pioneering work and intrepid life with the well-known 19th-century Maharastrian social reformer Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. 

 

I had earlier written about three books pertaining to the life and times of Maharshi Karve and have given the links below at the end of this article. Please do read it. 

This is not a voluminous tome, as some memoirs tend to be, but a small book written in unpretentious yet articulate storytelling style which keeps you engrossed till the very end. Anandibai Karve writes in simple sincere readable style with sincerity, honest forthrightness and remarkable candour. This is particularly evident in the chapter on her illustrious husband where she describes his personality, character, strengths, frailties, and their marital, domestic and familial relationship with frank candidness without mincing words. 

The story of her early life is indeed heart rending – married at the age of eight to a widower twenty years older than her, she became a widow just three months after her marriage and had to endure the humiliating social prejudice and difficult life of a child-widow. 

She vividly describes the turning point in her life when she joined Sharda Sadan of Pandita Ramabai in Mumbai, which began her emancipation from the manacles of widowhood. During his visits to Mumbai her father used to stay with Dhondo Keshav Karve. She narrates, with a touch of subtle humour, how Karve, a widower, when queried about remarriage, expressed his desire to marry a widow, and Anandibai’s father offered her hand in marriage to Karve. 

She unfolds the story of her social work and family life in such a lucid precise down-to-earth manner, sans pontification, that keeps the reader riveted till the very end. Her poignant end is depicted by Kaveri Karve in the last chapter. 

If you know Marathi, read the book. It is interesting and illuminating. I hope the publishers or the Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha brings out an English translation soon. 

Do follow the links below to know more about books on the life and times of Maharshi Karve. 

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/03/maharshi-karve-books-on-his-life-and-times.htm 

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/maharshi-karve-books-on-his-life-and-times/ 

 

http://vwkarve.blogspot.com/2006/08/maharshi-karve.html#links 

 

http://karve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/maharshi-karve-books-on-his-life-and-times.htm 

 

http://vikramkarve.mbablogs.businessweek.com/archive/2007/01/05/1if8730fo23po 

 

 

And if you come across any literature on Maharshi Karve please be so good as to let me know. 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

19 Stars – A Study in Military Leadership – Book Review

March 15, 2007

AN INSPIRING BOOK ON LEADERSHIP 19 STARS: A STUDY IN MILITARY LEADERSHIP 

By EDGAR F. PURYEAR Jr. 

  (Book Review by Vikram Karve) 

    

         It was indeed a pleasant surprise to chance upon this engrossing treatise buried in the books that adorn the shelves of my bookcase, last Sunday evening.  I had read this book long back, maybe fifteen years ago. I read it again. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and found it inspiring, educative, enjoyable and stimulating.                                                               

        “19 Stars” is a comparative study of the contrasting styles of leadership by four of the most outstanding American generals of World War II. The book attempts to capture those elusive qualities that have made great leaders of Generals Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton. The title of the book symbolizes the total number of ‘stars’ these four Generals wore on their collars.           The book starts with a lucid description of their early years as Cadets and traces their diverse backgrounds. It is revealed that whereas MacArthur and Patton, belonged to families with rich military heritage, Eisenhower grew up with no knowledge of, or any inclination towards, a military career. He could not afford to go to college, qualified for entrance to Naval Academy, Annapolis, but was overage, so opted for West Point, which had a higher entering age.


Marshall just decided to follow his elder brother into the Army. MacArthur’s career as a cadet was brilliant. Patton distinguished himself in the qualities of a soldier and athletic skills but faced difficulty in academics. Eisenhower has been depicted as indifferent, carefree and careless.
    

         An absorbing narrative encompassing World Wars I and II and the interregnum is the highlight of the book. It is a thoroughly researched analysis interspersed with a large number of anecdotes and reminiscences. The author avoids platitudes and presents his analysis with remarkable candor. Whether it be the ‘flamboyant’ Patton, ‘imperious’ MacArthur, ‘genial’ Eisenhower or ‘austere’ Marshall, a pattern of common leadership qualities emerges despite their contrasting temperaments It is revealing that these intrepid men were groomed under the tutelage of various patrons who not only furthered their careers but also bailed them out of professional crises on a number of occasions. The numerous first person reminiscences of eminent personalities, lucidly illustrate the universal respect and honest relationships, totally devoid of sycophancy that they developed and loyally sustained. Decisiveness, sometimes based on a “Sixth Sense”, Outspokenness, and an uncanny knack of spotting the right man for the right job are highlighted in various episodes, as also their inner strength and courageous attitude towards reversals and adversities, over which they invariably triumphed.   

        The author has succeeded in organizing and presenting his analysis in an extremely streamlined and readable manner. This is an enjoyable book which inspires; once you start reading it, it’s unputdownable.   

    

Reviewed by VIKRAM KARVE 

vikramkarve@sify.com  

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

  

                 

Musings on The Art of Living

March 1, 2007

MUSINGS BY VIKRAM KARVE ON THE ART OF LIVING

 

My name is Vikram Karve. I’m 50 and live in
Pune, India. I love reading, writing and blogging and have a philosophical attitude towards life. Here are a few links to my musings on various aspects of the art of living. I trust you will enjoy and derive benefit by reading them. Do send me your comments and feedback to:

vikramkarve@sify.com

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

TEACHING STORIES

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/two-teaching-stories.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-sweet-chillies.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-room-with-a-variable-climate.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/teaching-stories-part-4-by-vikram-karve-on-teachers.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/teaching-stories-part-3-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/teaching-stories-part-2-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/teaching-stories.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2005/10/a-teaching-story-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

 

 

Book Review of THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING by LIN YUTANG

[A book that shaped my life and taught me the art of living]

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/01/the-art-of-living.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/the-art-of-living/

 

 

THE ART OF HAPPINESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-art-of-happiness-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/the-art-of-happiness-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/01/happiness.htm

 

 

THE ART OF EATING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-art-of-eating.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/the-art-of-eating-by-vikram-karve/

 

 

HOW I QUIT SMOKING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/12/how-i-quit-smoking.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/how-i-quit-smoking-by-vikram-karve/

 

THE DAY AFTER I QUIT SMOKING

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/29/the-day-after-i-quit-smoking-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/12/the-day-after-i-quit-smoking.htm

 

DO YOU WANT TO QUIT DRINKING?

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/force-field-analysis-helps-you-quit-drinking/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/want-to-quit-drinking-.htm

 

 

TIME MANAGEMENT – SPEND TIME ADD VALUE

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/time-management.htm

 

 

A SENSE OF VALUES

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/a-sense-of-values-by-vikram-karve/

 

 

THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/the-map-is-not-the-territory-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-map-is-not-the-territory.htm

 

THE SWEET CHILLIES

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-sweet-chillies.htm

 

 

COOSING THE RIGHT CAREER

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/choosing-the-right-career.htm

 

EPICTETUS – THE ART OF LIVING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/the-art-of-living-a-book-review–2.htm

 

80/20 LIVING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-book-review-80-20-principle.htm

 

A TEACHING STORY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-room-with-a-variable-climate.htm

 

BOOK REVIEW – A SOLDIER’S STORY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/book-review-a-soldier-s-story.htm

 

ORIENTAL STORIES – A FASCINATING BOOK

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/a-fascinating-book.htm

 

KNOW YOUR VALUES FOR HAPPINESS AND HARMONY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/know-your-values-for-harmony-and-happiness.htm

 

HURRY SICKNESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/hurry-sickness.htm

 

BIBLIOTHERAPY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/bibliotherapy.htm

 

LIFE PROCESS OUTSOURCING (LPO)

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/life-process-outsourcing-lpo.htm

 

BOOK REVIEW – THE PETER PRINCIPLE AND PETER PRESCRIPTION

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/book-review-the-peter-prescription-the-peter-principle.htm

 

 

ETHICAL FITNESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/07/ethical-fitness-2.htm

 

THOUGHT CONTROL

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/be-happy-and-healthy/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/06/monday-morning-rumination.htm

 

HAIKU

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/06/haiku-minerva-moment-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2005/12/the-art-of-eating-an-affair-to-remember-by-vikram.htm

 

MANAGEMENT OF THE ABSURD – A book review

 

http://karve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/management-of-the-absurd.htm

 

MAHARSHI KARVE – BOOKS ON HIS LIFE AND TIMES

 

http://karve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/maharshi-karve-books-on-his-life-and-times.htm

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these articles and look forward to your feedback. I’ll keep on posting.

 

VIKRAM KARVE

Pune
India

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

http://karve.wordpress.com

http://vikramkarve.blog.co.uk

http://vikramwamankarve.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80/20 Principle – Book Review

March 1, 2007

Book Review The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch (Reviewed by Vikram Karve) 

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) states that for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes. Richard Koch takes a fresh look at the 80/20 principle and finds that the basic imbalance observed by Pareto way back in 1906 can be found in almost every aspect of modern life even today. He creatively and ingeniously extrapolates the Pareto Principle and discovers that it applies throughout our lives in every thread of it. It occurs in managing time, work, people, emotions, friendships, love, marriage, personal health and relationships.  Take relationships – 20 per cent of the people we deal with give us 80 per cent of our happiness. What can you do to spend more quality time with these 20 per cent happiness givers? Count on these people. They are your key friends, the 20 percent who contribute 80 percent of happiness and add value to the quality of your life. The book is in four parts. Part One (Overture) introduces the principle, is a bit analytical but interesting and tells us how to think the 80/20 way.   Part Two (Corporate Success needn’t be a mystery) discusses the application of the principle to the business management and corporate domains. 

The meat of the book is in Part Three (Work Less, Earn and Enjoy More) where Richard Koch explores application of the 80/20 theory in a number of ways to diverse aspects of life.  Chapter 10 titled Time Revolution is superb, and I can vouch for the fact that concepts like being unconventional and eccentric in the use of your time and high-value and low-value uses of time are really effective as I have incorporated them into my life with great success. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent high-value uses of time produce 80 percent of your results and happiness. Identify and focus on those things and make sure you make optimal high value use of time to achieve a harmonious balance between your work, home, social, self and other aspects of life. Chapter 13 titled Intelligent and Lazy delves on the application of Von Manstein Matrix. General von Manstein identified four types of officers in the German Officer Corps of the army. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm. Second, are the hard-working, intelligent ones. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate. Third are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, according to him, are a menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody. And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. [The 80/20 types?] .They are suited for the highest office. The fourth and last part (Crescendo) explains the success and failure of various approaches in social, government and economic issues with the 80/20 principle as an ever present thread. 

The book is readable, educational and interesting. The secret of a happy and fulfilled life is not difficult – the book shows how to apply the 80/20 principle to focus on your best 20 percent in each aspect of your life and thereby enhance your quality of life and elevate your plane of living. It’s a captivating book. Read it. You will certainly benefit from it. Keep the book on your table. The 80/20 Principle should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on that 20 percent that is really important. Experiment, have fun, apply the Pareto Principle in various aspects and facets of your life wherever feasible, and use it wisely. And see for yourself how the quality of your life improves, you achieve a harmonious balance between your work life, home life and social life and you feel happy, tranquil and fulfilled. 

VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com

http://karve.sulekha.com http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com