27 January 2013

Sunday Reads - Kill Him Silently & The Myth of Long Working Hours

Food for thought for your Sunday!
  • The myth of long working hours. (The Rodin Hoods)
  • Kill him silently: The story behind Mossad's bungled bid to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. (AlJazeera
  • Mali Army, Riding U.S. Hopes, Is Proving No Match for Militants (NY Times)
  • The Resource Race: China Dips Toes in Arctic Waters (Der Spiegel)

Check out this slideshow of 20 terrific pictures of the U.S. Air Force.

25 January 2013

The Rothschilds Family - Do they own the world?

Conspiracy theories may sound improbable yet they are fascinating, else they would not sustain our interest. 

Let me share yet another major conspiracy theory: that the world is controlled by one major banker family - the Rothschilds! 

A few weeks back, I read this interesting piece on the Business Insider website on how the Rothschilds created modern finance and a vast fortune that has lasted for centuries. In fact, the Rothschilds are considered to be the richest family in all of history.

Seen in the picture above is Emma Georgina Rothschild, an economic historian at Harvard and an honorary professor at Cambridge. She also serves as a trustee to the Rothschild Archive, a London-based center for research into the family. She is married to the Nobel-prize winning economist Amartya Sen. 

Also check this photo-show to meet the remaining heirs of the legendary Rothschild family.

24 January 2013

Did we go to the Moon?

Over the years, I have often heard that the U.S. never made it to the Moon in 1969 and that the whole thing was a big fake. 

I have never believed in the 'fake Moon landing' theory; if terming it fake, we would only be belittling the effort of the courageous men and women associated with the Moon landing project. 

Ever since the first human landing on the Moon, we have accumulated a great deal of knowledge of our only natural satellite. We have used such knowledge to great effect by launching further endeavors directed at the Moon, one of them being India's very Chandrayaan - I mission.

I stumbled on this cool video where SG Collins calls the bluff of the conspiracy theorists about the Moon landing. 

22 January 2013

Our Story in 2 Minutes (Video)

Don't like history? Don't like to run through reams and reams of fat books on human history? 

Then check out this video that captures the history of humankind in just 2 minutes!

Hat Tip: Mohan Ramiah

20 January 2013

Sunday Reads: I-Banking in Crisis & Wrapped in Smog

After four agonizing days when this blog in the dynamic view was down, it is back but in the old world 'Simple' template style. The blog is up after I put into action some real good technical advice from Mishka of the Blogger Team. Thank you, Mishka!

So, let me get down to my favourite business of sharing learning.

  • Africa: Where black is not really beautiful (BBC)
  • Wrapped in smog: Something in the air (Economist)
  • Snakes & Ladders: Investment banking on the brink (Der Spiegel)
  • The evolutionary mystery of Homosexuality (Chronicle)

Nouriel Roubini, often called "Dr Doom" for his gloomy outlook, says even if the U.S. debt rating is downgraded and the country ends up in a double-dip recession the rest of the world still will turn to the dollar and Treasury bonds.

15 January 2013

GDP: Fastest Growers & Shrinkers

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) relates to the total money value of all goods and services produced in one country's domestic territory in one fiscal (financial) year. 

The world's economy by GDP is the United States, with the value of its total output pegged at U.S.$15.2 trillion. China is in the second place with U.S.$7.3 trillion while India, with a GDP of U.S.$1.82 trillion, occupies the tenth place. 

GDP growth is represented in terms of percentage change over the previous period (it could be a quarter or a half-year or a year). 

The Indian economy is not doing well; today, I will not get into the factors behind the slump in economic activity in India. From a peak GDP growth of 9.6% in 2007 to a likely growth rate of 5.7% this financial year, India's economy has seen a significant fall in growth rate.

(For a detailed explanation of GDP, read The Explainer: GDP)

So, which countries will be the biggest growers and shrinkers in 2013? The Economist has an infographic on this interesting issue. Unsurprisingly, China is the only country among large economies to feature in the list of the fastest growers while debt-laden Greece will see its economy contract by almost 6%.

14 January 2013

The Internet Since 2002 - An Infographic

It was in 1997 that a friend had introduced me to the wonderful world of the Internet. At the time, I had no clue about it; today, it is an indispensable part of life. 

I think the Internet is the most dynamic technology platform ever created. So, how has the Internet changed in the last decade? Bestedsites.com has an super-large explanatory infographic on the changes the Internet has undergone since 2002.

13 January 2013

Sunday Reads Late Edition - Pakistan Special

  • Formidable power of Pakistan's anti-Shia militants. (BBC
  • O God, have mercy on Pakistan. (Dawn

(Read Preparing for B-School GD, Essay, & Interview)

The Tribune Pakistan
has a slideshow on the increasing violence against Shia Muslims in Pakistan. 

12 January 2013

Preparing for B-School GD, Essay & Interview

This post on GDPI preparation comes in the wake of several requests from readers of this blog. This is my first ever post on this subject.

If you have secured or expect an interview short-list from a b-school, then you should now focus on your preparation for the highly competitive rigorous stages like GD, Essay, & Interview.  

Over the next several weeks, please focus on the following for effective GDPI prep: 

(a) Academics
  • Pour over your graduation subjects. Many of us have our own favourite subject(s). If you have one, then you must be really comfortable with almost all things related to this subject. Also, throw a glance at your project work and paper presentation.

(b) Career 
  • Think about long term plans, even if not concrete, get a hang of things in the chosen line of activity, how your strengths (current skill set) match your choice.

(c) Personality-related Qs
  • Evaluate your mental strengths and weaknesses; think of instances where they came into picture; how has a particular strength helped you become better; what are you doing to overcome/tackle any weakness.

(d) GK & Current Affairs 
  • Global economics: eurozone debt crisis and U.S. economic problems (like fiscal cliff) and their likely impact on India and the world; rise of China as an economic power, BRICS, PIIGS, etc.
  • Indian economy: FDI in retail (both single brand and multi-brand), reasons behind slowing growth in India, India's failing reform process, infrastructure bottlenecks, etc.
  • Global politics: Arab Revolutions, Syrian crisis, Israel-Palestine imbroglio, rise of Turkey, Korean peninsula, Iranian nuke plans, aggressive Chinese policy in Far East and SE Asia, terrorism in Afghanistan & Pakistan, South American issues like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's health and succession issues, Bolivia's Evo Morales's nationalisation of Spanish companies, and Argentina's altercation with Great Britain over the Falkland islands, etc.
  • National politics & social issues: Local political issues like Gujarat elections, Naxalism, freedom of speech & social networking curbs, menace of corruption & Lokpal bill movement, gender related issues, including women empowerment and safety issues. 

 (e) Work-related 
  • One's work profile, industry profile, info about companies you worked for, learning from work, etc.

 (f) Also, work on 
  • Why MBA, why management career, alternate career plan, what other calls, which school will you join.

Please share your feedback in the comments section. 

Keep learning!

11 January 2013

India's Stalled Auto Industry

Starting today, there will be greater number of posts on the Indian economy. 

India is home to one of the largest automotive markets in the world. From luxury car makers to producers of automobiles for the masses, the who's who of the global automobile industry is wooing the Indian car consumer. 

However, as this FE graphic shows. passenger car sales went down by a little over 12% in December last year over the corresponding period in 2011, despite auto companies running a host of incentive schemes. 

10 January 2013

Mid-Week Reads - India's Stolen Girls & The Future as seen by Larry Page

Starting this year's Reads Series with this superb collection:

  • The girls stolen from the streets of India. (BBC)
  • The future according to Larry Page. (Fortune)
  • Cash transfer scheme may hurt girls and kids, says Amartya Sen. (The Hindu

Ever wondered how many prisoners are there in India's central jails that dot the entire landscape of this nation? 

According to the Indian Home Ministry, there are more than 1.6 lakh inmates in central jails, not to speak of lakhs more in state-owned prisons. 

Check this interesting infographic I picked on this subject from the Financial Express. As the infographic reveals, several of these central jails are overcrowded, leading to a host of problems like poor sanitation and sleep deprivation.

09 January 2013

Video - Top Ten Global Threats in 2013

... and so let me go back to what I do best on this blog: share learning!

We begin with a video on the Ten Biggest Global Risks in 2013. Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group lists his top ten geopolitical and global economic risks. 

In Bremmer's list, India comes in at No 9!

Source: Reuters

01 January 2013

Keep the Learning Curve Steep

The world around us is always in a flux. Unless we are adaptable and keep ourselves abreast of the latest around us, we will be left behind; no, not behind as in the rat race sense, but in not using our potential to keep the learning curve steep. 

We need to bear in mind that success does not come cheap; rather it comes from pushing ourselves hard, backed by sustained passion and a keen sense of learning. 

In the pursuit of our aspirations, we may falter; it is pretty ok to fail. What’s not ok is the lack of willingness to learn from such failure.

Aspire. Start working today to realize your aspirations. It may be true that we may not enjoy the same degree of comfort in the various things that we do. That's ok. 

To prepare for a highly competitive future, resolve to put in a determined effort, sharpen your mental strengths and fine-tune your weaknesses (that often hold you back). 

Be prepared ‘to be wrong’. Do not take yourself too seriously; however, remember that what we need to cultivate is a 'seriousness of purpose'. 

My best wishes for a year of learning and fulfillment of aspirations. Nourish the tree of knowledge.

Be passionate. Work hard. Keep learning.