Heart, Mind and Wallet: Book Review

0

Author: Ankur Ashta

Genre: Non Fiction, Marketing

Heart, Mind and Wallet

Book Blurb:

Consumer insight, though a potent possession, is not a magical agent that transpires from years of scrutiny and soul-searching. All it takes is a basic understanding of what enhances the pleasure for human beings and what reduces their pain. We all have, for example, used the ATM to withdraw cash, sometime or the other. Consider a situation where a person visiting the ATM doesn’t have to bother to key-in the amount he needs; the ATM recognizes him and hands him the money basis his identified needs. “Heart, Mind & Wallet” aims to highlight the handiness of insights, while – at the same time – capturing their potential, bringing into focus, in the context, how certain thought-leaders have used them to create winning stories.Consider a company leveraging expiry date for pillows to increase the sales of the product by more than 300%. Also, consider a company bridging the gap between ice-cream parlours and consumers and re-writing the way, ice-cream is consumed in India. This well-researched book throws light on some innate human factors, which – while being ridiculously entertaining – are also capable of defining success or failure of a brand. The book has been written in a fairly easy to understand language and, explains everything with loads of exciting stories and marketing examples (largely in Indian context).

Review:

This book explains marketing concepts without being too preachy. With extremely easy to understand and interesting examples, for managers, MBA students as well as those who have any interest in marketing.

The ice cream case study as well as the consumer and seller psychology by a simple sales guy was just so interesting.The main thing that sets this book apart from all others is that it is written in Indian context. Marketers of India face a tough time as Indians use products differently, and there needs to be different marketing tatctics that work with us, which comes out brilliantly in the Godrej Hair Dye Case Study.

This is a short, but very insightful and interesting read.

Book Buying link for: 
Amazon.in

Flipkart

(I received a copy of this book though Goodreads “First reads” program)

Subtle Sexism: On Pets and Feminism

0

It has been a little over two years that those two melting brown eyes looked at me, and it was love at first sight. Indeed! I knew at that moment, that he and I are meant to be, and that is how I met Scooby, an adorable, naughty yellow Labrador.

These two years were fun and inspiring, he makes me a more responsible person. He is with me in the fun times and the bad. Especially the bad, he would insist on doing everything possible to bring back the smile. I just can never have a 100% bad day as his presence makes even the worst bearable, and the best, blissful. These two years have been the best and the most fulfilling years, I have grown as a person and learned things that only a loving dog could teach.

And in these two years, I have had a lot of people come up to me and ask me “So, what are you going to do with him once you get married?”, even before as a kid when I wanted a pet I was told “Not now, maybe after marriage you can think of having pets”.

I found it horribly weird, that people expect me to leave my dog (whom I love, and who loves me UNCONDITIONALLY, who makes me happy and makes my life better) with strangers, because some guy and his family, who till date have not made an appearance in my life, might not like having pets.

Now I have a lot of friends who have pets, so I asked around if this expectation were on every unmarried pet owner, or are those sundry people around me just a bit off.

Almost all the girls that I asked had heard these statements from the people around them, even those who wanted pets, could not get them, just because their future masters might not approve. (Yea, I always use the term “Master”, because in my mind, a husband is someone one can have an equal, loving relationship with. )

But strangely these expectations were not so rampant for the unmarried guys. In these cases, the girls who married the guys were expected to love the pet by default or just suck up and adjust if they did not like his pet. One person even went so far as to recommend the girl in question that she married a guy, and should love everything and everybody related to him, that is love…

But, why is this advice not given to the guys at large?

Why even in 21st century, a girl can have a pet only and only if her lord and master approves?

Why still what a guy prefers has importance than what a girl prefers?  Why cannot society see men as husbands, why it insists on seeing them as masters and lords?

As Superwoman says in this video, “anytime I want to do something like buy a dog, my mom says “No, you are not allowed to buy a dog for as long as you live in this house, when you get married, you can get two dogs”..umm..that’s stupid, when I get married, why would I want two dogs? And if my husband does not like dogs or does not want a dog, great, I have spent eight hundred thousand dollars getting married, and now I would have to spend thousands more to get a divorce. Mom really? I’m trying to save you money.” :P

This post was originally published here.

Hunger Games and Gender stereotypes

4

The Mokingjay Part One is about to be released, and the phenomenal success of the books, has pointed to some glaring loopholes for the media industry. When asked about why there is such dominant stereotypes that are shown in the mainstream moves, the industry usually shrugs it off saying: “This is what the Audience Wants.”

But, if it really is what the audience wants, then how come hunger games got so popular?

So, I would like to point out a few ways in which hunger games has been successful in breaking very toxic stereotypical portrayal of both genders.

The HERO:

Industry standards: He is usually the main character, strong, romantic, funny, smart, and able to kill a million bad guys with his bare hands.

While in Hunger Games:

We have a guy who is sweet, sensitive, loves painting and baking.

The Heroine:

Industry Standards:

The prettiest girl that hero chooses to love and she, obviously, falls for him too, and she is there to look pretty and romance the hero whenever he feels like or get kidnapped by the villain so that the hero can save her! Her hobbies include: waiting for the hero, thinking about the hero, talking about the hero and dreaming about the hero.

Meanwhile in Hunger Games: We have a girl who is a hunter, who puts her life in danger daily as she is the main bread earner of her family. She specializes in archery and has no clue about fashion. She prefers her dad’s old jackets and old boots to gowns and makeup. For major part, her aim is to help the hero and her family be safe and will go to every length to see them safe.

The Fashion Conscious Person:

Industry Standard: Almost always a female, who is brainless and loves pink.

Meanwhile in Hunger Games: We have a MAN who loves fashion, and he has the brains and the courage to stand up to the capitol and make a very impactful statement publicly that cost him everything…

The Handsome Jerk:

Industry Standards: The guy, usually this is the Hero, who is extremely attractive and is arrogant about it and gets everything he wants, and he is ready to flaunt his attractiveness. He is usually found with a new pretty girl wrapped around his arm every few days.

Meanwhile, in Hunger Games: We have the most attractive guy, who is not the hero, who is exploited for being good looking, and is madly in love with a mentally unstable girl.

The Beautiful Bitch:

Industry Standards: A girl who is stuck up and thinks so much about her looks that she is arrogant to everyone around her. She thinks no one can come up to her standards.

Meanwhile, in Hungergames, we have a beautiful girl who is arrogantbut not because she thinks her beauty is a gift, but because everyone she loved, were taken away from her. And now she does not want to keep anyone close to her so that she is able to indirectly save their lives.

The LOVE triangle:

Industry Standard: The girl has to choose between two guys, she will go with her heart and be with the one “she has true feelings for”.

Meanwhile, in Hunger games: The girl refuses to listen t0 the emotions and makes the decision with her head. She does not understand the concept of love. She decides her partner based on his personality and his thinking. As Gale puts it: “Katniss will choose the one who she can survive with.”

So, Industry people, it’s high time you break out of those stereotypes and give people their personalities based on their characters, instead of their genders!

The Camellia Resistance: Book Review

4

Author: A.R. Williams

The Camellia Resistance

Book Blurb:

2044. Willow Carlyle is the youngest cultural epidemiology research director in the history of the Ministry of Health and is on the fast-track for further promotion until a night of passion shatters her carefully constructed life.

Marked and unemployed, Willow falls in with a band of dissidents. Everyone wants something. In the process of discerning friend from foe, Willow begins to unravel secrets that will shake the New Republic of America to its foundation.

My Review:

This is an adult dystopian book.

This days people are becoming more and more concerned about the health and hygiene of themselves and of those around them.

But, even this should be done in moderation. The Camellia Resistance is based in a futuristic society, where people have become so fixated on hygiene that they are ready to limit human interactions in order to stay ‘healthy’.

Like all dystopias, the book makes us realize that everything is good only in moderation, extremism even for a supposedly “good” thing would have detrimental results.

The story makes you think hard on issues that we take for granted.

The most interesting thing that I found was how a ministry official, who was one of the people responsible to enact the extreme rules of sanitation, learns the error of her ways when she herself becomes ‘contaminated’. She realizes how those who are unwell are treated as second class citizens instead of offering them proper health care, as the society feels that they must have done something that made them ‘contact the virus’.

The book is very fast paced, and a lot of characters are included at once, so it might take a while to be used to this pace and knowing each and every character.

The writing and story flow is simple, lucid and precise.

Book Buying links: 

Amazon

(I’d like to thank Isoke Salaam, publicist to the author, for sending a copy of this book)

Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace.

0

A Person’s Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation had nothing to do with the quality of one’s Character”

Zak Ebrahim, the author of the book “The Terrorist’s Son”, was raised to hate others. I had blogged about this book here.

But, unlike his father, he had to work with the very people he was taught to hate, and realized that all the reasons that he was taught, were untrue. He realized he was tired of Hating. He wanted peace, and peace never comes out of hate.

Watch his Tedx Talk here:

Growing up in India, where castism is alive and thriving, I realized there was more than what met the eye.

I have met people of various castes and sub castes, and each believes that their sub caste is the best, and others are, well not as good as them.

There is so much hypocrisy that when it comes to doing business or earning money, these same people would have no problem dealing with the “others”. But when they are not benefited financially, suddenly they realize the importance of castism and what the society will say.

These people are extremely selective, and bend the rules of the society to suit themselves.

For Eg: We cannot associate with people of that caste, it’s a sin (unless the people of that caste want to give me employment or buy my products), but, since people of y caste are not that different, we can associate with them, one just cannot associate to x caste, it’s the society that says so not me!!”

Confused?

Yea, tell me about it!

To them I say, either have the guts to accept your convictions in its entirety or reject them completely. Choosing the option that best suits you and bending the castism rules to suit your needs just shows weakness of character.

Long story short, is not it high time we learn to see people for who they are instead of judging them for their birth?

200th Blog Post GIVEAWAY (India Only)!!!!!!!!

0

This is my 200th Blog Post! And I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming here and supporting me. It is your constant presence and comments that keep me motivated to keep on blogging.

And as an expression of my heartfelt thanks, I am giving away one new Perks of Being A Wall Flower Book by Stephen Chbosky.

At the moment, I am just keeping this giveaway open only for Indian readers, but I will try to arrange a giveaway for non-Indian readers soon!

So, How do you win a copy?

Click here to enter in the giveaway.

Giveaway is open from today till 10th December 2014. The result will be declared on 11th December 2014.

About the book:
Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Thanks a lot for your support!