By Vishnu Makhijani
New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Read about the Battle of Plassey on June 23, 1757 between the forces of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, and East India Company troops led by Robert Clive, an ambitious soldier of fortune, that saw Britain on the way to becoming the dominant power in the region; educate yourself about a futuristic option called cryptocurrency; and finally, navigate the moat-full of dragons and turbulence that you must cross to make it to ‘Startup Paradise’.
There’s much knowledge to be gained from the IANS bookshelf this weekend. Don’t let the opportunity pass!
1. Book: Plassey – The Battle That Changed The Course of Indian History; Author: Sundeep Chakravarti; Publisher: Aleph; Pages: 392; Price: Rs 799.
“Some say India was won, or lost, at Plassey, when forces of the British East India Company led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Clive defeated the compromised forces of young
Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah. Others claim an extension of the stumbling, fracturing Mughal India, bereft of any mooring after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, lost to aggressive mercantilism married to geopolitics,” writes Chakravarti, an award-winning author of bestselling works of narrative non-fiction and an extensively published columnist.
Whatever the nuances, in a hundred years from a memorable victory in a brief battle on June 23, 1757, fought in a mango orchard – today a four-hour train ride north of Kolkata – the British went on from becoming a significant European power in the Indian sub-continent to the only year power. The equally ambitious French company, the briefly soaring Dutch enterprise and the freely marauding Marathas under Shivaji were left in the wake, writes Chakravarti in this painstakingly researched tome.
“Victory at Plassey…began a run of geopolitical and geoeconomic dazzle before the destitution of the (British) Empire nearly 200 years later. The process begun at Plassey would fuel much of Britain’s industrial revolution and its many wars in the name of civilisation. Indian men and women, and Indian money would significantly underwrite both World Wars,” says the book, a welcome addition – from the Indian viewpoint – to the history of the subcontinent.
2. Book: From Cowrie To Crypto – Blockchain And The Future Of Money; Author: T.C.A Sharad Raghavan; Publisher: Westland; Pages: 226; Price: Rs 399.
“Imagine a time when, as easily as you can send a message to a friend on the other side of the globe, you will be instantly and safely send them money or any other information you want. That is the future of money,” writes economic journalist Sharad Raghavan in this handy primer on cryptocurriences.
Whether used as actual currencies, as assets to be invested in, or as smart contracts, cryptocurriences are based on a unique system called the blockchain – an immutable network that functions based on the consensus of its participants.
“All the people who make up a blockchain potentially have an equal say on how (it) operates) and what can be added or removed from it. This has opened up applications in record-keeping, such as digitisation of land records, education certificates, government-issued identification, know-your-customer records and so on. At present, the limits of blockchain technology are only our imagination and the computing power available,” the book says.
It explains what blockchain is, how it works, what it has to do with cryptocurrencies, and what the applications are for companies and governments. It also discusses the advantages of cryptocurrencies, what the dangers are (there are several), and whether banning them – as the Indian government is contemplating – is the best way to deal with them.
“The government is taking a very conservative stance on cryptocurrencies, which it might reverse in the future, but the heartening thing is that it seems to have recognised the potential for blockchain technology and is embracing it,” the author concludes.
This is a must-read if you want to stay ahead in the fast-evolving world of technology.
3. Book: The Startup’s Guide to Sales – How Not to Crash and Burn; Authors: Roshan Louis Joseph & Ram Mohan Menon; Publisher: Sage; Pages: 204; Price: Rs 550.
Noting that there are thousands of startups around in India, the book says “this is what developing an economy is all about. There is a hunger right across the country. Be your own boss is the battle cry. No doubt there will be casualties along the way. There will be successes too. They will inspire others. The age of startupis here and it will not go away”.
Sales and marketing “are like the selection of the Indian cricket team. Everybody is an expert. Everybody has an opinion. And the official selectors are always blamed when the Boys in Blue don’t do well. So its always nice when some genuine experts enlighten us on key aspects of sales manages,” Kurush Grant, former Marketing Director of ITC writes in the Foreword.
So, read on as Joseph, Managing Partner of B-More Consulting, where he promotes various international sales development initiatives, and Menon, who is engaged in sonsulting and offering management advice to medium sized companies in the sales and marketing domain, grow and prosper.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at [email protected])