Book Review: Life by Keith Richards

I have a confession to make, I didn’t know anything about Keith Richards before reading this book, and I am not proud of this but, it’s the truth. I picked up this book just to read something which I would have never read if I would have chosen the book the way I use to do before. It was a complete random selection from Amazon. This book was among top biographies to be read, and I selected this for no apparent reason. It was really very difficult to complete this book mainly because it was full of very detailed life style of Keith Richards which I was totally unaware of.

Keith Richards is an English musician, singer, songwriter, actor, and one of the original members of the rock band The Rolling Stone. This guy is a living legend. If you are not a Rolling Stone fan, you may have seen him as Captain Teague, from Pirates of the Caribbean where he played the role of Captain Jack Sparrow’s father.

Keith did not have a very pleasant beginning, it was actually quite rough. From the very start of his life he started playing guitar and was really very passionate for music, there was a very sweet story in the book on how he got his first guitar.

lifeTime and time again I have observed pattern that great people do not plan things, they are so passionate for their stuff that they don’t know what is happening around them, similar was the case for Keith also, in his band everything was about music and everything else got taken care of. It was like everything else was just happening around them and it was as if they just didn’t know what to do with things happening around them because they all were so into music.

They created an era of music and it was amazing to witness it from the words of legend himself and I got a learning that it does not take a mastermind to change the world all it takes is passion for doing things we love. They were not planning for becoming great it was just playing guitars, making songs and nothing else. It is really strange to know all these things because it’s so contrary to the things that we generally believe in.

This book would definitely help those people who would like to know what it takes to be a legend, and this book is more about the total unexpected series of events happening around Keith.
Keith’s transition from being a guitarist to a song writer was also very inspiring. It was quite visible that there was no road map for Keith in early years. Actually he was so busy getting stoned, playing guitar, and partying that there was no time for anything else.  Keith was terrible father, and I feel very sorry for his kids, the things that they had to went through, it reflected the dark aspects of being a legend and a Rockstar.
If I would have to take only one learning from this book I would take this:
In the book Keith mentioned that “If we gave thought how the world is going to react on our songs we wouldn’t have done it..!”

Thank you,

Faisal

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Book Review :Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Yesterday I completed the book “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration“,   by Dr. Ed Catmull co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

I have many learning from this book and I have shared few of them in my earlier posts. This book contains the journey of Ed Catmull, since his childhood dream of becoming an animator at Disney till becoming the President of Pixar and Disney both. It was really awesome to see his dream unfolding bit by bit.

One of the major key takeaways from his experiences is that where we are right we can not predict the future all we can do is to hold on to the dream that we have right now and never let it go. There were many times in his journey where he had no idea where his life was going but he had that one dream with him.

However one thing struck me in his journey was that when he did get a chance to work at Disney, he refused, and that story is pretty great too.

creativityIncIn this book he has mentioned that he was always fascinated by people who were doing really great in silicon valley and then collapsed after sometime and he didn’t want it for Pixar hence devoted his life in studying successful people and he has shared all his wisdom related to this in the book, it was really awesome to get an insight from the man behind the greatest animation studio of all time.

Well, I got to know that Pixar was never intended to do animation rather it was a computer graphics company and Steve Jobs purchased it for making high end machines. The journey from a failed computer graphics company to the most successful animation studio is really worth reading.

He has shared most of the things which Pixar studios does while making a feature film and also explains why they have put a particular process in that way. He has written various visualization techniques employed by top executives at Pixar to get through hardship of making a movie. One of the things that he stressed the most was that, ideas can come from anywhere and he also have shared many stories to support that fact.

He has written about the earlier versions of various movies that Pixar have made and I was shocked to know the stories of their earlier versions, because that had nothing to do with the final version (the ones which we saw at the theater), he also describes how important it is to come up with an idea and enhance the idea every single day to make a great movie.

He had a very friendly relationship with Steve Jobs and it was really amazing to get to know his journey with Steve. He mentioned that how Steve got changed in later period of his life and how it had to do with Pixar.

I would recommend this book to people who have a creative job profile or people who want to create something because this book would provide an insight on how to get people to work with you , I would also recommend this book to Steve’s fans because it was really awesome to get to know Steve from perspective of such a close friend.

Thank you,

Faisal

 Poke The Box

 

When we were child we use to play to with everything that comes in our contact. It was awesome, we did not care for the consequences and we just wanted to play and have fun. Whenever I get a chance to see a child play I never miss it. They are so curious about everything.

They have courage to poke everything,

Seth Godin in his book “Poke The Box”  talks about this phenomenon and how we have forgotten this virtue and have adopted a culture of compliance. We are so afraid of poking the box that we never do anything new. Poking the box doesn’t mean that outcome would be desirable and pleasing,  it means new and we should be able to adapt and accommodate the new.

poke the boxRemember dinosaurs, they are not here because they could not adapt. Well I am not saying that we would be extinct literally. If only we would dare to poke the box our life would be different. I am not saying it would be good or bad different rather you would gain an experience, a story to tell, I believe this is what is life for. To tell our endeavors to our next generation.

To conclude poking the box doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your ways to do something new, it means wherever you are, do not fear to experiment , and try to change things around you for the good.

Thank you,

Faisal

Book Review: Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

Today I completed the book “Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain” by two very famous economists Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Steven was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006.

This book is totally based on facts and data and I got to know about how the economy approach works in real life and it cleared my doubts that it has nothing to do with money, and it is everything to do with facts and actual data. It is really a very long and tedious process.Every theory is backed by countless number of data here.

In this book there are stories involving people who shook the world by taking a really freaky approach and this book also tells us why we should opt for a strategy which is not conventional. This book talks about how to ask a better question to solve a problem and why is it important to ask better and different question to solve a  problem.
I also got to know the importance of feedback in real life and realized that how often we loose focus on giving and receiving feedback.

think like a freakI got to know why it’s important to focus on smalls problems rather than wasting energy and time in solving a lot bigger problem. I am not saying that bigger problems are not important but it helped me to gain a whole new perspective to look  at a problem irrespective of it’s size and how it can create a big impact, it was really a good experience to view things from an economist’s point of view.

I would suggest this book to people who would like to know what is happening inside the mind of person who is about to break a world record by many folds and what is his way of thinking and this is just one example, if you want to know answers to questions like that this book is for you.

Thank you,
Faisal

Book Review: Act Like Success Think Like Success

Today I completed the book “Act Like Success, Think Like Success”  by famous American comedian, television host, radio personality, actor and author Steve Harvey.

He starts the book with the saying that God has given everyone a unique gift,  many people realize it and work upon it and create their ways to success while many lead their life without realizing their true potential, Steve asks everybody to realize their true gift.

For people who have not find it yet should reinvent themselves to find it out. He asks everybody to be open for the new opportunities and not to restricts oneself on doing only one thing.

One of the key takeaways from this book is creating S.M.A.R.T goals in our life which means:

S:-Specific

M:-Measurable

A:-Attainable

R:-Realistic

T:-Time bound

All of our goals should have above attributes because creating goals in such manner will force ourselves to be crystal clear about the goal and it would have a time constrain which would determine if we are on track or not.

steveSteve asks everybody to create a vision board and keep it in such a manner that we would see it every single day. He defines success not as one time thing but as a continuous process, and to be successful one has to evolve and grow continuously.

He believes that nobody is self-made and we become successful because of the people behind us and people who support us and we should not be reluctant in seeking help from people who are already successful and Steve asks everybody to seek help and connect with everybody in our circle and create a nurturing relationship.

I would suggest this book to those who are thinking big but are hesitant to take the first step, this book would definitely help, a very easy to read book and I loved reading it.

Thank you,

Faisal

 

 

Book Review: How Google Works by Eric Schmidth

Yesterday I completed the book, “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidth. I would be sharing my key learning in this post.
This book includes a complete understanding of Google from it’s mission statement to how they hire people and work on daily basis.
A quick question for you, do you know your company’s mission statement?
The book explains how people at Google are connected with the mission statement of the Google (one of the them is “Don’t be Evil” and they mean it) and  I respect that.
It explains what is wrong with hierarchical structure of other IT companies and how they use to kill innovations. There is a term “Smart creative” which is often used in this book to describe the type of people who are passionate and creative about things and have a tendency of doing things differently and it is one of the qualities which is required to work at Google.
coverThis book discusses the culture of Google which is totally different as compared to traditional IT company, to explain this here is a brief story, one time the founder of Google finds out a serious problem with Google searches and made a print out the bad searches and circled the bad searches and wrote “This Sucks” on the paper, and pasted it in the cafeteria, it got resolved by weekend in just 2 days and that also by the engineers who were not on that project.
How this sounds to you?
Pretty great right..!!  Also Unbelievable..!
This book shows how big things start from scratch, the story goes like this, once Sergey Brin took a book from the library and went to his office and start taking pictures of the pages from the book and came up with an idea of digitizing all the books in the whole world. Well it looked impossible at that time, yet we all use Google books now from time to time. How great is that..!!
At Google they believe that anyone who stop learning is old and anyone who is learning is still young, I am happy that I am young and I encourage you to be young.
I learned about Elevator pitch from this book which says that if you stumble upon the founder of the company in an elevator what will you say? How would you pitch your idea to him provided you have a limited time, and you must have a elevator pitch..!
The author asks a question in this book and that is “What is the most important thing you do at work?”. Well it defines what we do at work and we should all ask this question to ourselves and if we don’t like the answer, please do something that you could be proud of.
With that said the author ended the book with acknowledging that “At this point of time there must be some guys working in their dorm and making some project which would eventually make Google obsolete because that’s the nature of technology”.
I would suggest this book to people who are in technology and those who has a dream of working for this amazing company, this book will also help an entrepreneur in adopting the Google methodology to achieve greater results.
Happy new Year..!!!
Thank you,
Faisal

Try Not To Think For A While

In 24 hours of the day how much time we spend on thinking. My guess is that almost all the time we are thinking about something, now a days we have a culture of constantly checking our phones for the status updates of the people that we do not care at all.

Our mind is busy all the time, and we feel awesome while multitasking, thinking that we are very efficient. I have seen my friends switching on the television just for the background noise. Well, that was not the way we lived in the past, and it is certainly not the right way, It is very important to not to think for a while. Our mind is a thinking machine and wants to be busy all the time, in a way it controls us.

meditationTo set things into perspective, before going to bed try to recall the things that you were thinking all day long, it will turn out that those were irrelevant things and you didn’t have any control over it on how to stop thinking for a while.

Some time back I read “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle and one of the greatest revelations I had from this book is “We are not our mind”. This book talks about being present in the moment, and it is answer to all the anxiety we have for the future and all the regrets we had in the past and meditation can help us be in the present moment. This book also talks about how we can improve our immune system. Thank you so much Rehan Allahwala for suggesting me the book.

Meditation is one of the tools which is at our disposal which can help us not to think for a while and just focusing on our breathing pattern is one of the ways to practice meditation easily. We are surrounded by noise and unwanted messages all the time and it is very important to be with ourselves even if it is only for 5 minutes.

Thank you,

Faisal

Why Having greater IQ is Not Enough

Hi Everybody,

In today’s world having high IQ(Intelligence Quotient) is not the measure of success.It is however an entry criteria to be in the game of being successful.

What matters the most in this growing economy is having high CQ and PQ. Let me explain what these are.

A very famous American Journalist Thomas Loren Friedman, who has won  Pulitzer Prize (A very prestigious price in journalism) three times in his carrier, puts it in his book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century in this way.

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CQ and PQ are curiosity Quotient and Passion Quotient respectively.That means people having high curiosity and passion can and will outperform the people having higher intelligence in the long run, because current economy supports the people who have curiosity and passion for doing things.

So if you are sitting there wondering that I am not good enough;time to wake up and smell the coffee. We all have the information we need, to be a success. All we have to do is find a work or a job to which we can connect to and be passionate about and start working towards it.

Remember that all we need is available to us.Our father and forefathers didn’t have this golden opportunity of having everything on their finger tips.

Hope you find some value from it. Looking forward for your comments, share the blog if you like it.

Thank you,

Faisal

10,000 Hours Rule

Hi Everybody,

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success talks about the people who have reached pinnacle of success in their fields.Among many things that he talked about, one of the thing is putting  “10,000 hours of work”. In his book it is evident and is seen over and over again that people who have put their 10,000 hours of effort in any field, are extremely successful (i.e. from piano players to software developers). He also talks about this in a manner in which it is achievable to get this much hours of work.

10K_hours

In his study of people like Steve Jobs, Bill gates and many others among them, all of them have this one thing in common and it is really great to see this pattern.

Now that we have realized this fact, it is very simple to be a success, all we have to do is:

  1. Find a work that we love to do.
  2. Invest our 10,000 hours in it.

And you got stratospheric success and it is really that simple.

I would recommend this book to everyone, and also let me remind you all that it is not a self help book. This book talks about patterns which are found among all the successful people. What I have shared here is one of the learning of this book.

Hope you find some value from it, Please share and comment if you like it.

Thank you,

Faisal