A.P.J Abdul Kalam, President of India
Among the several books I read this year, a few left an enriching impression and triggered my imagination. The first is Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos (Alfred A. Knopf). I liked Greene's discussions on the constitution of spacetime and the way he has reconciled string theory with loop quantum gravity. This book delves into the fabric of cosmos construction. It is engaging. I quite often refer to this book.
The second book that left a good impression on me is Paulo Coelho's Manual of the Warrior of Light (HarperCollins). I enjoyed reading Paulo's statement in the book, "The warrior smiles because nothing frightens him and nothing holds him. With the confidence of one who knows what he wants, he opens the door."
Another interesting book is the one I received from my friend Radhakrishnamurthy of New Century Book House, Chennai. It is a colossal work of Sangam Tamil literature compiled in several volumes belonging to the 2nd century BC. Commentaries to the Purananuru has been written in two volumes. In a commentary to one of the 400 poems, it outlines how a ruler of the nation ought to be. It says, "It is not the quality of the land or the productivity of the nation that matters most. But the quality of the man who rules the nation will ensure prosperity of the nation."
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
There is very little time for reading in my new job. But of the few books I've read, my favourite is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (Crown Publishers, New York). It's a fascinating book portraying Genghis Khan in a totally new light. It shows that he was a great secular leader, among other things.
Other books I've read this year include Strobe Talbott's Engaging India—Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb (Penguin/Viking), P.C. Alexander's autobiography, Through the Corridors of Power—An Insider's Story (HarperCollins), Amrik Singh's The Challenge of Education (ICFAI University Press).
I'm also re-reading The Mulk Raj Anand Omnibus (Penguin/Viking). Mulk Raj and I were neighbours in Amritsar where both of us taught in Punjab University. He was like a father figure to me, helping me through difficult times.