Friday, September 25

How to Have A BEAUTIFUL MIND - Edward de Bono

I read the back-cover of this book and the summary was more than enough to convince me that this would be my next read. The book is very detailed and methodically written with lots of examples. Edward de Bono very well explains the concepts. Heads-up, this book is like a text book and no fun read, however ensures that a reader is hooked to it because the topics are very well covered, with summary at the end of each chapter. Things that happen in our daily life i.e at work/at home, the discussions, the arguments, small talk etc. that we engage with people, the society, is something that we actually need to learn. The book talks about such life situations and teaches how to be proactive to be more involved and accepted.

"We spend a fortune on clothes, cosmetics, diets and work-outs - even surgery - to make our bodies more attractive. Yet we hardly consider the one thing that enhances everyone's appeal. It consts nothing, takes very little time, and without it even the most physically beautiful person will be unattractive: it is beautiful mind. No matter how stunning you are, if your mind is dull you have no hope of impressing people in any situation."

Excerpts from the book

"The Beauty of your mind shows in your conversation"

How to Agree?
- If you completely agree with other's Point of View, then there is no further conversation. If you completely are in disagreement then there will be argument. An argument is a battle between egos.
When you agree, you seem to be submitting to the other point of view - so you loose. When you disagree, you are asserting your ego and indicating that you may be superior.

- A discussion should be a genuine attempt to explore a subject rather than a battle between competing egos.

- Genuinely seek to find points of agreement in what the other person is saying.

- There is no contribution if you simply agree with everything.

- To disagree at every point is irritating and boring

- Being argumentative is not at all beautiful, there are better methods of exploring a subject.

- There is no need to be right all the time, Remove your ego from the discussion and focus instead on the subject matter.

- Make an effort to understand other person's point of view.

- Changing your perception to look at things in a different way is an important step in reaching possible agreement.

How to disagree?
- Do no disagree just to show how clever you are or to boost your ego.

- When you disagree, do so politely and gently rather then rudely and aggressively.

- Distinguish between having a different opinion and disagreeing with an opinion.

How to differ?
- Before accepting the difference, an attempt should be made to reconcile the difference.

- There are times when only one of a different set of opinions can be right, this is where "TRUTH" can be checked out.

- Difference may arise from
a) Different definition of the basis for judgement
b) Personal preference, taste of choice
c) Different set of values
d) Different point of view of perception
e) Differing personal experience or differing knowledge

How to be interesting?
- Being interesting is much more than winning an argument. Being interesting is much more than showing how clever you are.

- The first rule is to talk about what you are good at and what interest you. You will need to fashion your discourse to suit different audiences. The first is made up of those who  know nothing about the subject. The second is those who know something about the subject and want to know more.

- Unusual information is one type of interest.

- Using the "What if?" technique can open up new possibilities and new lines of thought.

- Looking out for possibilities and alternatives enriches the conversation. There is usually more than one way of doing things or looking at things.

- New ideas are rare and freshen any discussion. Seek to be creative and to generate new ideas. Learn and apply the formal technique of lateral thinking.

- Use as a formal tool the phrase : "Now that is interesting". Be ready to apply this to anything that you hear.

How to respond?
- The overall objective in any conversation might be to agree, to disagree, to agree on the difference and to have an enjoyable and interesting discussion.

- If you are in any doubt about what has been said, it is important to ask for clarification.

- Anecdotes, examples and stories add liveliness and reality to the discussion.

How to listen?
- The ability to listen and the enjoyment of listening is a key part of developing a beautiful mind.

- A good listener pays attention and seeks to get the maximum value from what is being said.

- You should take note of the words used and especially the adjectives, which indicate feelings.

- Questions are key means of interactions in any conversation or discussion. A listener should seek to ask questions.

-  With a "Shooting Question", you know  that the answer you will get is a "Yes" or a "No". A "Fishing Question" is a more open-ended.

- Questions are essential to challenge the validity and source of information that is being used to support an argument.

Parallel Thinking
- In traditional argument each side prepares a case and then seeks to defend that case and to attack the other case. Actual exploration of subject is limited.

- Parallel thinking replaces the battle of arguments with a joint exploration of the subject as all parties think "in parallel" at any moment.

- Concepts are a very important part of thinking and a key component of a beautiful mind.

- Concepts are important in generating ideas and designing ways forward. Where there is no routine available, concepts are essential.

- "You can have any color you like so long as it is black" - Henry ford to his customers. In real life it means that, "If what you want is exactly what is available, then you  can be very happy"

- Groucho Max said "I would not want to belong to any club which would accept me as a member". In real life his comment means that if what you want is by definition, impossible then you are not very likely to be happy.

- Looking for alternative is a very important activity of a beautiful mind.

- Because we have any adequate way of doing something does not mean that there might not be a much better way. If we try we can find that better way.

-To be chosen a new way of doing something must show clean benefits over the existing way.

- Emotions and feelings are very important part of thinking.

- Ultimately, choices and decisions are based on emotions and feelings.

- In a very serious discussion you may want to listen first, and ask questions, before showing your feelings.

- Values determine what we like or do not like, values determine our choices and decisions.

Sunday, September 20

How to prepare a delicious oats and egg pancake in 10 minutes

Oats are very good for health. For past couple of days my usual recipe of oats was
to cook them in water for about 3 minutes, add some spices or masala cubes and eat. However, I got a very good idea of preparing an Oats omelette the other day. I wasn't sure, how it wold turn out, but surprisingly it did look awesome and tasted very well. So here is the recipe.

1) 1 Cup of Oats
2) 1/2 finely chopped onions
3) 1/2 Chilli
4) Ginger powder for taste
5) 1 Egg, you can add more if you want more healthy
6) 1 1/2 cups of water

Take a bowl and add your oats. Mix chilli and chopped onions to it. Add an Egg and mix well. Then add some ginger powder to it. Add enough water so that oats are properly soaked. Don't make it too watery. It should be thick. Mix everything well.

Take a Pan and heat it on low flame. Add enough butter/oil to spread across the pan. If you have a non-stick pan, no need of oil. Once the Pan is heated, add your mixture to the pan and spread it across evenly. Cover the Pan and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip the Pancake now and let it cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Make sure it does not get burnt :)

Add mustard sauce and tomato sauce for taste. Serve hot

Thursday, September 17

The To-Do List - Mike Gayle

I have been a huge fan of To-Do list and even though I have failed several times keeping my own To-Do list, I was looking forward to this book. To-Do list help you be in track and as per my experience, how few times may be, but there is a feeling of achievement when you work through your To-Do list.

Also, I like reading about people's life experiences, so this was a perfect book for me. The author realizes on his 36th birthday, that he has to get out of the normal routine and feel a sense of adulthood, this can be achieved by doing all the tasks/To-Do's that have been delayed over time. The To-Do list has items that are not only simple but quite achievable like watching a TV series or cleaning the house etc. But something or other, forces Mike Gayle to procrastinate. But now that he has self realized, it is time to get in action. The list has about 1227 items and it is fun to read the author's journey to try to achieve those items in just 1 year.

The book is not only a good read, but what I really enjoyed was the author's journey. The time when he actually thought the idea of To-Do list was vague and the time when he actually made an attempt to try to work on the To-Do list. As usual, below are some of the excerpts from the book for my reference.

- First undeniable truth of To-Do list : Unless you are dead, there's always going to be stuff that needs doing.

- Keep the To-Do list realistic

- A To-Do list is probably like a Manifesto. A Manifesto for life, a manifesto for anyone who has ever sat down and thought to themselves, "If only I had more time I'd do this of that...", in fact it is a manifesto for People like us.

- A To-Do list is a kind of Stuff that you ought to do, but can always find a good excuse for not doing.

- You can't just race headlong into the list hoping that a bit of luck and sheer momentum will take you all the way through. You need a plan.

- Let everyone know that you are working on a To-Do list. "The reason I'm telling you lot this is to give me the inspiration and motivation to succeed, knowing full well that should I fail in my task, I will look like a complete and utter buffoon in  front of you all and will afford you the right to mock me to within an inch of my life."

- Time is what our lives are made of and yet our failure to use time properly can have disastrous effects on our happiness and sense of well being

- To Successfully get through the To-Do list and be systematic throughout your life, have a ROUTINE.

- "I make a To-Do list all the time and sometimes when I'm feeling particularly low I put things like "Take a shower" just to have the satisfaction of ticking it off. It's my kick start for the day.

- Break your To-Do list into the things that you're excited about and the things that you're not so excited about and then alternate them so there's always something to look forward to.

- The best thing is to tell every single person you know what you're doing so that you commit yourself fully to the project

- "It had been more like a tornado ripping through my relatively tranquil life and turning various objects (small cows included) upside down and ripping the roof off every thing that had a roof to rip off."

- Catch up with lost friends because you know what? They used to be great friends.

Friday, August 28

Setting height of a div inside a td to 100%

Recently came across this issue in a table based layout (old code) where there was an empty div which needed to fit to the height of the td. What would happen now is the div would take up just as much height as the content inside it.

Searching through various forums (read : stackoverflow), I could not get a sturdy solution, however it appears we need to apply the div's parent a height of 100%. However doing so also did not work in my case considering that there many levels of cascading table's and td's. So to fix the issue, what i did was gave an explicit height of 1 to the most parent td.

<td class="parent" height="1" width="100%">
   <table ....>     
      <!-- more code here-->

Monday, August 24

Curd Salaad

This time I had to try something different, then the earlier Chicken salad. Also, something very quick and easy and at the same time nutritious and tasty. I had been to the mall and bought myself "Dahi" or Curd. Actually I wanted to buy Yogurt, and thinking that Dahi is Yogurt I bought 2 packets. But it is today that I realized there is a difference between Yogurt and Curd. Anyways, Curd is healthy too. So lets get started with the recipe.

1) Chopped Cucumber
2) Chopped Tomato
3) Finely Chopped Cabbage
4) Boiled Corn
5) Dahi/Curd
6) Sugar
7) Pepper and Chaat Masala for taste

I ensured that all the ingredients are finely chopped because it becomes easier to chew and also you get a good mixture of everything in your spoon. The curd gives you a good flavor and hence good taste.

Mix all the ingredients well. Make sure you have boiled corn, it gives a very good flavor as well as color to the salad. Add 1 spoon of Sugar it gives sweetness as well as it tastes very well. Add pepper and chaat masala as per your taste. Now add a lot of Curd to the mixture, ensuring that there is no water in it. Mix well and refrigerate it for half an hour.

Enjoy your salad direct from the refrigerator, cold.