I have not read many books in this genre so I was really not sure what to be expected here. While I have heard of several that address a similar point, Utkarsh Rai’s book – Faster, Higher, Smarter is targeted mostly at middle managers and people who are going through a transitional phase in their career. This also happens to be one of the first books that I have come across to have been written by an Indian addressing the bull by its horns.

Split across 8 parts, the book aims to address different sets of values and some people management methods.

Managing Self
Managing your Manager
Managing your Team
Managing your Peers
Managing your Managers Boss
Managing Managers Peers
Managing Others
Managing the Acrobatics of the future.

The book often takes leaves out of the author’s own life and how he managed the situation. There is also an honest attempt to capture the various problems some high fliers faced during their early career and how they managed to make the best use of the situation in their favor.

The usage of simple language and thought provoking quotes at the start of each chapter motivate you to aim higher and achieve better than the best. It gives you a connect with the situations that are described and makes you feel the pang of not having had such a book earlier in your career.

The book tends to slow down and lose pace several times in the course of reading and sounds monotonus. However, the non-fiction genre is never meant to be kept exciting and has a different audience to address who are used to such a tone.

The book is recommended read no matter what stage of your career you are in. It does a decent job of guiding you ahead and preparing you in terms of what to talk, how to talk and how to be ahead in your career.

This review is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review program. To pick up your copy of this book just click here

About the Book:

Title : Faster, Smarter, Higher : Managing Your Career
Author :  Utkarsh Rai
Publisher : Rupa Publications India
Genre : Non Fiction / Management
ISBN : 9788129137500, 812913750X

Final_The Curse of Surya_RHI.indd A reporter, an Oxford professor of Archeology, an old man and the underworld – all in search of one elusive stone, the Shyamantaka. The story is woven around Sangeeta Rao, an Indian working for a Singapore based TV Channel and Allan Davies an Oxford based professor meeting by chance at the monument of Love, the Taj Mahal ending up being branded as terrorists after they are found seated next to a real terrorist who kills the main speaker at a conference held at Krishna Janmasthan, Mathura. Turn of events leads them on a wild goose chase across the country with the SP of the area, Nisha following them close on their tail. Events and cryptograms unfold one after the other leading to several connected more events. What happens to the trio, Sangeeta, Allan and Anton the old man who claims to be on a search for the Shyamantaka for the Govt. of India is the crux of the story. Read on to find more.
Tenzing, an undercover Tibet Liberation Front member, employed with a Singapore based TV Channel, is found murdered under mysterious circumstances. Sangeeta and Susan, both colleagues of Tenzing are off on a vacation the next morning from Singapore when an early morning call from her boss sends Sangeeta flying to India to cover an event of International importance involving the Prime Minister of India and President of Singapore meeting at the Taj Mahal in Agra. At the other end of the globe, a flirty Allan Davies is called by his boss and packed of for an assignment to India with a file that has all the details of the assignment as well as a new identity, Professor of Archeology at Oxford, reason being the Religious conference planned at Mathura where the location of Shyamantyaka is poised to be revealed.
Shyamantaka, a stone given by the Sun God to Satrajit in the Dwapar Yug has remained hidden for centuries at a stretch. None had been able to identify the location of the stone until date when a Hindu Swamy claims he has located it and plans to reveal the details to the world. The stone has the potential to tilt the powers of the world in favor of the possessor. Naturally, this evokes interest from media, local public and the international underworld alike. Everyone with just one wish. The need to own the stone.
At the conference where the Swamy was supposed to reveal the location, he is assassinated by a terrorist. Sangeeta and Allan who had no connection to him suddenly seem to be catapulted to the center of attention for only one fault. Being seated next to the terrorist and not raising an alarm about it. A wild goose chase takes them into the hidden chambers of the Krishna Janmasthan temple where they discover an underground library aging back to Kansa’s time. They also meet Anton over there who claims to be appointed by the GOI to locate the stone for them. They have the SP of the area, Nisha tailing them and catching up on them fast. Thinking on their feet, they locate a cryptograph which supposedly would lead them to Shyamantaka and stage a quick exit under the nose of Nisha. A disappointed and wounded (sic) Nisha decides to chase them to the end of the world to retrieve them and bring them to justice.
With a few quick contacts from Anton, the trio manage a cross country ride to Rajkot in a chartered plane where they are intercepted by Nisha’s contact. He tags the luggage with a GPS tracker so that Nisha can monitor their movements. In the meantime, Anton manages to divide Allan and Sangeeta. The trio discover a way to reach the stone in an old and dilapidated well in Dwarka. Anton tricks the couple and flees with the stone only to pay for it with his life. A disappointed and trapped under the well Sangeeta and Allan soon realize their folly that not only had they been tricked by Anton, but also that he never had the original stone. The two manage to get out of the well by sheer wit and presence of mind to meet a guide who takes them to the real Dwarkadhish Temple where they get another cryptogram to solve.
Solving one after another cryptograms and in the process falling in love, the couple explore the depths of the sea bringing alive the palace of Dwarka in its pristine glory and also to retell the story, history and importance of Shyamantaka. Does the couple succeed in retrieving the real stone? Do they manage to escape the clutches of Nisha and reach their countries safely? Does Nisha manage to nail down the real culprit? All this and more lies in wait for you to read and find out in the book, “The Curse of Surya” by Dev Prasad.
Dev Prasad is a senior IT Professional having a varied experience across several national and multinational organizations. He has written quite a few books and has won awards and recognition for many.

MISTRESS OF HONOURA haughty child Rihana asking to buy her a brother out of desperation, an Indo British mother Pansy and an Army man for father, Major Potnis. The story revolves around the lives of three generations of Army WaGs. Spanning across two generations in detail, the story weaves intricately in and out of what the wives and girlfriends of Defence personnel live through – desperation, separation and anxiety. The story starts with Rihana d emanding her parents to buy her a brother from the market just because her friend told her so. She goes to the extent of threatening to run away from home if she did not get one. An evening of cat and mouse play followed by a night of passion, Pansy soon discovers that she is pregnant and can’t contain her happiness. Six months later, all this changes for the worse with Potnis being deputed to Sri Lanka and bad news coming by. The family faces their worst and emerges stronger.

Feeling the need to maintain a constant schooling for her daughter Rihana, Pansy soon enrolls her in one of the best schools in Pune leaving her to the love and care of her mother in law. Pansy later joins Potnis in his various transfers across India to live the life out of a suitcase. Time flies fast and Rihana is soon enrolled to Army Public School for her 10th boards. A few days later during a visit to a famous graveyard, she meets a wayward boy who she earlier saw in a compromising position, Advik. Advik has parents who are in a troubled relationship and finds his solace in sex. Rihana and Advik share a common friend Kabir whose godfather was the best friend of Potnis, Shamsher. Kabir warns Advik to stay away from Rihana and not cause any ripples in the calm. Advik being a very close friend of Kabir promises him not to mess around with Rihana. Few months later, the boys who were in their 12th attempt the NDA and clear it with flying colours.

Life changes for better or worse when one starts being a part of the NDA. Broken and bruised in the process of turning a boy to a man, Advik runs away from the academy one fine day unable to take it anymore. A pep talk by Rihana and his dad, Rajan, Advik is back at NDA the next day to continue his studies. Advik and Kabir are soon a part of the Air Force and continue with their training. Advik proposes Rihana and with lot of deliberation her father agrees. Read on the book to know what happens next.

The Krishna Key is a story about a little rich boy who grows up to be made to believe that he is the tenth and final incarnation of Vishnu, the Kalki Avatar, but then the facts are that he is a serial killer. The book is a riveting read and just like Ashwin Sanghi’s earlier book “Chanakya Chants” it alternates between the past and present.

Built to be a fictional thriller, the book achieves just that. Set in an academic background, the story is woven around Professor Ravi Mohan Saini and his friends. Starting off with being accused of murdering his childhood best friend, Saini sets off on a soul stirring journey with his favorite student Priya Ratnani to set the wrongs done to him right. Zipping between Somnath, Mount Kailash, Agra, Lucknow, Chandigarh and many other cities, Saini discovers himself, his knowledge about the mythical, a few truths and many realities. He is joined by the tough cop Radhika who has her own reasons to bring every criminal to knees and to the altar of justice. Saini happens to be the prime suspect when it comes to the murders that are committed since the events present them that way. Since Priya helps Saini abscond in the first place, she goes on to become the second prime suspect.

Bringing in the character of Sir Khan, a dreaded underworld Mafia don and weaving his connection to the Krishna Key, Saini and Priya plays a very important part in paving the climax. What happens and how he is related to the Krishna Key is left up to the reader to read, imagine and relive the book as Ashwin had intended.

Ashwin Sanghi goes on to describe and uncover many of the facts that though were right in front of us, were never realized. The best being the discourse about why 108 is a God Number. He further goes on to uncover the truths to many of Mahabharata and Krishna related details and events. Delving deeper into the mind of the reader, playing and implanting the idea that Krishna would still be alive some place somewhere. He also goes on to reiterate on the fact that Hindus and Muslims are one and are in fact brothers of a distant clan!

Like every book has its share of good points, it is but imperative that there must be a few negative traits as well. Unlike Chanakya Chants where there is a direct relation between the events in Chanakya and Chandragupta and the protagonists of the story, this story bears a little or no semblance to Krishna’s side of story. If he really did intend to bring about a relation between the italicized Krishna Story at the beginning of each chapter and its contents, either he failed miserably or I was too dumb enough not to catch the point in it! It is may be in the last few chapters that one would be able to draw a vague connection between the two. For the others, it just plain flew right over the head out of the window!

As a final review, I would say that the book is a great read and must be read by anyone and everyone who is interested in fictional mythology. I am sure, your time and money would be well spent!

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