Books This Weekend: Of naval experiences, vision and a celebrated radio show

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New Delhi– Get insight into the life and experiences of a naval captain, know how a compelling vision can motivate and inspire organisations, get inspired by optimism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has woven through his Mann Ki Baat, and read a selection of the Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas’s short stories.

IANS bookshelf offers a nice variety of fiction and non-fiction for this weekend.

1. Book: My Ships Sailed The Seas But Stayed Ashore; Author: N.S. Mohan Ram; Publisher: Bookventure; Pages: 213; Price: Rs 295

This is a light-hearted look at life in the navy. It is an easy read for just about anyone. Captain Mohan Ram has had amazing experiences that he has captured in his own inimitable style in the book.

The book is replete with simple yet profound incidents in the Captain’s life, which he recounts in his own distinctive, self-deprecating and humorous manner. He seems to have met the most interesting people including a former Finance Minister, during his long and distinguished life, whether it be in London, Paris or Visakhapatnam. He has an engaging and occasionally irreverent way of telling a story, often throwing in life’s learnings as well.

Amidst all the understated anecdotes, let’s not forget that the Captain is a pioneer in Indian warship design and was honoured with the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1977.

It is old school writing with references to Shakespeare and PG Wodehouse, a throwback to all that is beautiful and memorable about the English language that we all adore.

2. Book: Mann Ki Baat; Author: BlueKraft Digital Foundation; Publisher: LexisNexis; Pages: 424; Price: Rs 299

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popular and ubiquitous monthly radio address, Mann Ki Baat, has developed into a tour-de-force in itself. Ever since the programme began on Vijaya Dashami in 2014, there has been considerable curiosity about the origins of the programme, the idea behind it and the man behind the voice that reaches millions every month.

In times of visual bombardment, Mann Ki Baat became one of the most popular programmes in the history of radio.

This book recites the common thread of positivity and optimism that the Prime Minister has woven through his Mann Ki Baat.

3. Book: Leading With Vision; Authors: Bonnie Hagemann, Simon Vetter, John Maketa; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 219; Price: Rs 599

What does it mean to lead with vision? In the book devoted entirely to vision as a key leadership principle, the authors delve deeply into the notion that a compelling vision that motivates and inspires is a true differentiator for organisations that want to hire and retain talent, be more competitive, and thrive in uncertain times.

But a compelling vision on its own is not enough, which is why the authors, sought-after development experts, provide readers with detailed analysis of the essential things that leaders must do to effectively engage the workforce around that vision: embody courage, forge clarity, build connectedness, and shape culture.

4. Book: Vampire in Love; Author: Enrique Vila-Matas; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Pages: 260; Price: Rs 399

“Vampire in Love” offers a selection of the Spanish master Enrique Vila-Matas’ finest short stories. An effeminate, hunchbacked barber on the verge of death falls in love with a choirboy.

A fledgling writer on barbiturates visits Marguerite Duras’s Paris apartment and watches his dinner companion slip into the abyss. An unsuspecting man receives a mysterious phone call from a lonely ophthalmologist, visits his abandoned villa, and is privy to a secret.

The stories, selected and nicely translated by the renowned translator Margaret Jull Costa, are all told with Vila-Matas’ signature erudition and wit and his provocative questioning of the interrelation of art and life.

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