Thursday, 15 February 2018

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence explains the psychology behind what makes us agrees to somethings and not to others. Through real life examples, especially through the study of sales techniques, Cialdini reveals the six principles that are consciously or subconsciously applied to persuade others. It brings these to light so that we are aware and can knowingly decide on our actions. But also teaches us how to use them to our advantage when necessary.

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking”

This is not the type of book I read, but I still found very interesting. While Cialdini right at the end makes a disclaimer that he does not encourage using these techniques to persuade people. And he finds it wrong to manipulate people willingly for profit, I still found that the book overall does actually work in favour of using these techniques to promote yourself – be it just to improve social status, get ahead in your career or make sales. And of course, there are the benefits of applying these, such as during accidents when people seem to be hesitant on how to help because they are looking at other – just as clueless – witnesses.

I think the main benefit of reading this book is being able to put it in writing what does happen every day. Most of what Cialdini writes about is very clearly observed in everyday events – so much so that he uses simple examples, and his own examples, as a basis for his research. And perhaps, people who are already in sales and have been instructed to operate in such manner, may find this book just repetitive and not of use. But for others, we may have a vague understanding of how we ourselves are influenced by others, but perhaps don’t have something clear to point to, or some signs to be aware of during those times. So sometimes we only realise after the fact. Readers of Influence can gain a better understanding of how the world works, and be able to actually apply a knowledge that was perhaps only in a very basic idea form in their minds.

So I don’t recommend to read this book, it is very useful for people of any career (again, with the exception of perhaps successful salespeople that are quite aware of the tricks of the industry). But here is the summary -->

Monday, 27 November 2017

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.” 

Fahrenheit 451 is a science fiction dystopian story about a world that has banned books. The world has become increasingly superficial. People are discouraged to think and ask questions. Television shows stimulate the senses and body rather than the brain. The protagonist is a firefighter, someone who burns books for a living. In the beginning, he is content in his life. But as he meets a very curious and unique seventeen-year-old girl, he begins to critically analyse. Through the course of the story, he starts to understand the importance of books in passing knowledge, philosophy and presenting to us both the good and bad in life, society and us.

Bradbury’s work for me was more of a poetic essay. A very short read, a very linear and simple plot but one that is heavily based on philosophy. A complete contrast to the world it presents in the book.  It shows that content ignorance, a world with no controversies, doesn’t lead to a happy life. As we see through the suicidal tendencies of Guy’s wife. Human relationships are also much more superficial, as people became shallower. So, while I agree with a more egalitarian society we cannot let political correctness and fear of offending, stop us from being critical or placing self/society imposed censoring on controversial pieces of work.  

I am personally a part of this problem...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Between the Lines Series by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines perfectly captured the reasons behind my love of reading. I swear, the main character was me :P So I thought it would be appropriate to start this review a little differently, with a bunch of quotes that I absolutely loved.

My favourite passage came from the ending of Off the Page (the second novel). Here's a shortened version of it;

 “Everyone has a story. You might think it’s not worth telling, but then again, it’s a story no one has ever heard. What you do, what you say, how you carry the plot, just might leave a mark on someone. ..[Stories] help you escape, and they give you the chance to do things you never imagined you would or could…They are dreams for those who are still awake…Stories are all around us, caught in the throats of the strangers you walk past and scrawled on the pages of locked diaries..You’d best get going. Your reader is eagerly awaiting the next chapter”

Now for a bunch of other amazing and very inspiring quotes;

“I’d much rather pretend I’m somewhere else, and any time I open the pages of a book, that happens.” 

"When you have so many people, each one inevitably fascinating, why would you limit yourself to only those like you?...Instead of feeling as if I'm being judged by someone different from me, I learn from them."

“We could all be lucky. We could all be what we want to be, instead of who someone else told us to be.” 

“The act of reading is a partnership. The author builds a house, but the reader makes it a home.” 

“Well, you have to find that rare someone for whom you’re not putting on a show. Someone who shines a spotlight in your direction—not because you’re who they need you to be, or who they want you to be…just because you’re you.” 

“When she wanted to escape her life, she read books” 

 “At that moment, Oliver realized that home is not a place, but rather, the people who love you.” 

“How do you know that you are not part of a book? That someone's not reading your story right now?” 

Click to read more, for the real review...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

“We have to face difficulties to find out what our true strengths are. How we come back from a failure is a very valuable test.”Insatiable, Meg Cabot

Insatiable by Meg Cabot is a modern retelling of Dracula. Meena is a soap opera writer with a special gift – she can predict when and how someone is going to die. Although facing supernatural powers in her everyday life, she does not believe in the other supernatural beings – especially not Vampires! In fact she hates vampires. But when she meets the mysterious Lucien Antonescu, Romanian nobility, she may have to reconsider everything.

Did I like this book? Of course I did! It’s Meg Cabot for goodness’ sake! Mediator is one of my favourite book series, and I was eager to read another supernatural romance by Cabot. I think Cabot really has a talent. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Lucien and Meena to be together, even though, like Meena, I find the idea of vampires kind of repulsive. (I like to read about them, but I would not like them if they were real…) I mean, he bit Meena even after she specifically said, “No biting”. And after the meeting, I could see he loved her but at the same time he was a very violent creature and would mean trouble for Meena. Despite all of this, whilst I was reading I was upset with Meena for not just running away with Lucien. That is what some good writing does – gets you to go against your beliefs and fall in love with whatever the author wants.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

“Life, unfortunately, doesn't seem to care what we want.” 
-        - Richelle Mead, Last Sacrifice

Vampire academy follows the story of Rosemarie Hathway. Rose is a ‘dhampir’ – dhampir’s genetics are half human and half vampire. Her job is to protect the Moroi, a form of vampires. The story begins when Rose is taken back to St. Vladimir's Academy, after having fled in order to protect her best friend and Moroi, Vasilisa Dragomir. Vasilisa is the last of the Dragomir line, and is in line for the throne. As they return to the academy, there are still many mysteries and dangers that hunt Vasilisa.

There is not much I want to write, except recommend anyone who likes fantasy and young adult novels. I think that this is one of the better young-adult paranormal novels. I literally spent a whole day reading series, only stopping to eat. This is how entranced by the story I was. This is mainly because of the protagonist. Rosemarie is strong and loyal. She is unlikely many female characters in novels of the same genre.

Richelle Mead is really able to transport the reader onto a journey. The story starts slow, and with every book in the series the story becomes darker, with more action, adventure and more complex story lines. The series is a whirlwind of emotions.

Again, this is really short… Especially because I read this so fast, that it's just a blur. I can't really examine it book by book. What I can say is that the overall series is light, entertaining and very enjoyable.  Kind of sad that they're not making any film sequels...

READ IT! :) Every book gets better

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Gathering by Anne Enright

'People do not change, they are merely revealed.' 

The Gathering is written in the perspective of Veronica, and she explains her family's stories and secrets. Her brother, Liam, died, and his funeral brings her large family together (Veronica is one of nine living children! I'm not sure how many there were originally). She talks about three different generations, starting with her grandma. 

It was written in an interesting way and I enjoyed reading it. It has a pessimistic tone, which left me feeling downhearted as I was reading it. To be frank, I was disappointed in the story. Since there were a few deaths, I was expecting a murder/detective novel. But alas, I was completely wrong. After finishing the book, I thought 'oh, is that all?'. It left me feeling that something was missing from the story. The idea of the story was interesting, but there could be more twists and surprises. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2007, so I might be the only one feeling this way. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book. But I think it wasn't my style. It was wonderfully written, but I was looking for a bit more action. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

'The more I found, the less I understood'. 

This is our first book review of 2016 yippee!!! Happy New Year! I'm glad this is the first review because I really liked the book. I feel as though this book has made an impact on me- most of the time after I finish reading, I write a review, forget about the story soon after and move on to the next book. I actually finished reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close a couple of weeks ago, but decided to watch the movie before writing the review (and also because I lacked the motivation to write it as soon as I finished reading it). A picture of the book's cover is on the left, and the movie's cover is below.I hope you all have a good day and have very light boots :) 

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is about a young boy, called Oskar, who lost his dad in the 9/11 attack. The story takes place about a year after his father's death, when Oskar finds a key in a vase in his dad's closet. They used to do scavenger hunts, and Oskar thinks the key is part of a scavenger hunt. So he goes looking for the lock that it opens, thinking that it will open something important and meaningful. He meets many people along the way and hears their stories.... until he finds the lock (or does he?).