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Home > How To Lounge> Books > What's trending or not in our bookshelves this week

What's trending or not in our bookshelves this week

Business tips from LinkedIn co-founder, the magical world of Mehlli Gobhai, and the joys and sorrows of young Kashmiris 

Front covers of the books.
Front covers of the books.

Masters Of Scale: By Reid Hoffman with June Cohen and Deron Triff, Bantam Press, 304 pages, 799.

Most people turn books into podcasts, but LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has gone the other way. The host of the popular Masters of Scale podcast has turned it into a book co-authored with producers June Cohen and Deron Triff. Since 2017, Hoffman has done over 100 episodes with the world’s best-known entrepreneurs, using one founder’s story to establish truisms about how companies scale. The book draws on the interviews—as wide-ranging as Google’s Eric Schmidt and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer to Canva’s Melanie Perkins and Duolingo’s Luis von Ahn—to explain how these incredibly successful people pulled it off. There’s much to take away if you can push past the inevitable startup cliches (“A ‘No’ can turn a good idea into a game-changing one”; “The biggest new ideas are contrarian”) to get to the real stories.

The Secret World Of Mehlli Gobhai: By Jerry Pinto and Kripa, Pratham Books, 32 pages, 55.

Subtitled The Man Who Found Art Everywhere, this pictorial biography of the artist Mehlli Gobhai is a treat for children as well as for adults. Acclaimed writer Jerry Pinto distils the essence of his close friend Gobhai’s career into luminous prose, with subtle lessons on art appreciation along the way. The illustrations by Kripa complement a selection of the reprints of Gobhai’s own work, drawn from the retrospectives organised last year to celebrate his multifaceted genius. From advertising creatives and illustrations to the white cube of the gallery and children’s books, Gobhai spread his talent across a range of media, spaces and formats. But at its core, the beauty of his work derived from the world that surrounded him, be it in the US, where he lived for much of his life, or the verdant hills of Gholvad, Maharashtra, among which he spent his last years.

Kashmir! Kashmir! By Deepa Agarwal, Scholastic India, 128 pages, 295.

The lives of the young in conflict zones yield much research in the social sciences but relatively less awareness in the public sphere. Deepa Agarwal’s collection of stories—intended for young readers but also a pertinent antidote for adults who get their biases from WhatsApp—tries to redress this lacuna by training the gaze on life in militarised Kashmir. The protagonists are teen boys and girls, grappling with the daily challenges thrown at them by life. Expectedly, there is a reckoning with hard circumstances in each tale. But, to her credit, Agarwal puts the spotlight on challenges that stem as much from the political crisis in Kashmir as from the personal lives of her characters. There is subtle messaging about the importance of bringing up sporty girls, the tyranny of patriarchy faced by little boys expected to grow up fast, and even a beautiful ghost-haunted story.

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