Monday Reads – 14/09

Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash

Work Time, Impact Time, Algorithms and Bias, The Serendipity Mindset and the mighty Himalayas make up this week’s list. Happy Monday!

Work Time, Impact Time, Machine Learning & the Future of Jobs – This article is by Sajith Pai, a friend of mine. In addition to his day job in the VC industry, he is also a great researcher and writer. This is an interesting take on the future of work.

A Primer on Algorithms and Bias – Algorithms are having an increasing influence on our lives. As we start delegating more decision making to machines, it is important to understand the potential biases that might be at play. Not to mention that all algorithms rely on robust and high quality data which is very difficult to get.

The ‘serendipity mindset’: how to make your own luck – Have you ever wondered how some ‘successful’ people seem to have all the ‘luck’? As the author sees it, ‘since so much of our lives are influenced by the unplanned and the unexpected, it makes sense to capitalise on these moments.

Himalaya: Six decades of Photography – The Himalayas exert a certain aura that’s hard to describe but very apparent to experience. One of my memorable travel experiences was spending a few weeks backpacking in the Garhwal Himalayas 17 year ago. This collection of photographs will hopefully convey, to some extent, what it feels like to experience these mighty mountains.

Monday Reads – 07/09

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Why every year feels like the worst year ever, Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are, The Future of Mega-cities, The Hidden Risks of Cooking Your Food are some of the articles that make up this week’s list. Happy Reading!

Why every year—but especially 2020—feels like the worst ever – This article explores some of the biases that make many of us, especially in the Western World, tend to think of the present much more harshly. One of the ways in which we can address this bias creeping in? Step back from Social Media.

Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are – I have been interested in History for a few years now. This article explores lucidly, and at length, on why learning history is important. It also talks about how we could make learning history more interesting.

‘History of India’ series – On the topic of history is this fascinating series of articles that throw more light on lesser known times and facts of India’s long history. Worth exploring at length.

Here’s what New York City might look like after the pandemic – Yes, this article is about New York City, but it could just as easily be applied to any mega / global city across the world. It will be fascinating to see how this might play out over the next few months / years.

The hidden risks of cooking your food – It was over two years ago that I attended a course on healthy eating. One of the main points discussed was the harmful effects of processed food. Cooking is also a form of processing and there is a school of thought that believes it can cause harm. I still eat cooked food, but have become more conscious of the potential harmful effects of cooking and how these could be minimised, if not totally avoided.   

Monday Reads – 31/08

person reading book and holding coffee
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We are 2/3rds of the way into this year! We are also well into Festival Season here in India. And the anticipation of New Year is building! This week has an eclectic mix of thought-provoking articles:

Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore – This article is from last year and talks to American culture. But the world has changed so much in the intervening months that I would consider it relevant to many of us. I am sure most of us would relate to these lines, ‘Even if you aren’t asked to pull a weekend shift, work intrudes upon those once-sacred hours. The previous week’s unfinished business beckons when you open your laptop; urgent emails from a colleague await you in your inbox. A low-level sense of guilt attaches to those stretches of time not spent working.

How to Take the Perfect Breath – I have been practising some Yoga regularly for the past couple of years. And I believe it’s helping me. This article talks about the potential benefits to our sleep, digestion, immune and respiratory functions of breathing well.

The Last of the Monsters with Iron Teeth – Many of us in India from my generation (growing up in the 80’s) would easily relate to this article that speaks of the importance of unsupervised play in the learning and development of children. ‘The failure of adult culture, both its physical architecture and its social institutions, has impoverished children’s culture. And in return, children no longer avidly train, in their play, to take over the burden of preserving and remaking adult culture.

Why Finger Lickin’ Will Never Go Out Of Fashion For Indians – Today is Onam, the highlight of which for Keralites is the Onam Sadya. So it seems like a particularly apt moment to celebrate the tradition of eating with our fingers!

 

Monday Reads – 24/08

crop executive designer analyzing data using graphics tablet in office
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Business Models for the post-pandemic world, the robotics revolution, the Observer Effect and the Conflict of Obsessions make up this week’s list.

Modern Business Models Will Drive the Post-Pandemic World – What are the critical components of a business model that is most likely to survive and do well in a post-pandemic era? Read this article to find the answer.

The robot revolution has arrived – A long article that explores in detail the role that robots are already playing in our world and what impacts this is likely to make as more and more robots enter our lives.

The Conflict of Obsessions – Anyone who has worked in the field of Data and Analytics will be familiar with the premise of this (another) long article. The conflict that Avinash Kaushik writes about is between the Data Analyst / Visualiser on the one hand who would like to convey as mush information as possible in a visualisation / infographic and the Data Consumer on the other hand who is trying to answer the question of ‘What’s in it for me?‘ in the shortest possible time.

The Observer Effect: Seeing Is Changing – Anyone who has studied Physics would be familiar with the famous thought experiment of Erwin Shcrodinger and the cat. However, this effect is not restricted to Physics alone and has been observed in Biology as well. We would all likely agree with the statement – “In general, we change our behavior when we expect to be seen.” This article concludes with looking at how we could use this effect to our benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Reads – 17/08

Independence Day - 2020

India celebrated its 74th Independence Day on 15th August. And this week’s set of articles reflect this important day, and other topics such as Yuval Noah Harari on the consequences of Coronavirus and Accelerated Learning:

Nationhood at its Zenith and Nadir – This article explores what it means to be an independent nation in today’s times.

Yuval Noah Harari: “Every crisis is also an opportunity” – In this interview, ‘Israeli historian and author of Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, analyses what the consequences of the current coronavirus health crisis are likely to be, and underlines the need for greater international scientific co-operation and information-sharing between countries.

Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More – A very interesting article on how ‘You can train your brain to retain knowledge and insight better by understanding how you learn.

Can Travel Cure Bias? – Let’s face it, we all have some biases, whether conscious or sub-conscious. This article argues that “In a perfect world, travel can indeed cure bias… We can better navigate the cultural zeitgeist of a place and its people when we roll our sleeves up, dive in and throw out the book we think we already read.

Freedom from the Curry Tag – One of my pet peeves, after living abroad for many years, is how there is an overwhelming tendency to club all Indian food under the generic ‘Curry’ tag. I wish and hope that non-Indians will appreciate that Indian food is far more diverse (and tastier) than what passes for Indian food (curries) in most Indian restaurants outside of India. This article explores ‘How Indian-origin chefs liberated Indian food from the anglicised spicy gravy narrative‘.