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Akshat Agrawal's REVIEWS AND RATINGS

Ratings by Akshat (25)

Ratings Distribution
  • 5 star
     11
  • 4 star
     5
  • 3 star
     2
  • 2 star
     7
  • 1 star
     0

Reviews by Akshat (21)

68% of 19 users found this user's reviews helpful
The Polyester Prince: The rise of Dhirubhai Ambani
on 04 February 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

A well researched and well represented account of the manipulative political and economic influence that Dhirubhai and Reliance yielded in India in 70s and 80s and in fact till now.

The book talks about the role of several corrupt practices that led to Reliance becoming the behemoth it has become and the nexus between the businesses and politics in India.

The book details the crony capitalism unleashed by Indira Gandhi and followed by the later generations of the Gandhi family and Congress party.

A must read for every Indian!

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4 of 4 found this helpful
The Return of Depression Economics
on 15 April 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Laureate and needless to say this book is a masterpiece. If you have even the slightest of interest in Economics or any curiosity to know what leads to an economic crisis, how to detect it, how it can be handled or what the consequences can be, this is the perfect book for you.

It discusses in detail but with a very simple language, the various economic crisis from the Great Depression to Latin American Crisis of 80s, Japanese Economic Crisis of 90s, the Thai (or Asian) Crisis of '97 and American Crisis of 2008. The author takes great care to bring out the policy failures that led to each of these crises, the factors that exacerbated them and the response they initiated and how they could have been handled better, the learning that resulted and the impact they made.

A very interesting read with easy to follow, practical analogies to illustrate the concepts involved and a thought provoking description of events laid out in a very logical fashion.

Overall a great value of money! A must-read, I should say! Whole-heartedly recommended! If you had to read just one book to understand everything about economic crises, this would be it!

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2 of 2 found this helpful
Revolution 2020
on 04 February 12
Akshat rated:

The theme is good but a very very poor story. I would say the worst to have come from Chetan Bhagat so far. The ending is specially bizarre and abrupt.

Unlike many other books written by Chetan, this books fails to capture your imagination and looks very loosely and quickly written.

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2 of 3 found this helpful
How rich countries got rich and poor countries stay poor
on 15 April 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

A very lengthy and, at times, confusing and boring, laden with several theories, but at the end conveys a few very important and valid points.

The author argues against the present remedy for economic progress in poor countries, being advocated by Washington based institutions like IMF and World Bank, essentially forcing them to open up to international free trade, often leading to local commerce, de-industrialization and primitivization their economies and thus leading to further poverty and economic chaos rather than any improvement (like in Peru, Russia, Mongolia etc.). The author that path to prosperity is industrialization and protection of domestic industry till they are mature and diversified enough to handle international competition. He argues that protectionism is exactly how rich countries became rich and move up the value chain but now they are not allowing the poor countries to do the same. The author suggests that "Rather than doing what the Americans say, these countries should do what the Americans themselves did".

The key take-aways from the book from the economic policy point of view are:
1. Move away from agriculture or natural resource based economy to industrialized economy so rather than exporting low valued raw material focus should be on the export of value added finished goods.
2. The domestic industries should be promoted and protected under import duties and import substitution policies and a healthy internal competition between them must be promoted
3. Open an industry for competition only when it is mature enough and then too, it should be done gradually
4. A country should try to diversify the economic activities occurring within the economy rather than being dependent on just a few star performers
5. If this is followed as has been said it would automatically lead to investment in more productive assets, better infrastructure and stronger educational and political institutions and it need not be the other way around (i.e essentially first infrastructure, education, health, politics etc. need to be fixed, incurring huge expenses, before economic progress can kick off, in fact, that may be dangerous)

Overall, I think it is a little too expensive and after reading this review you have pretty much read the book! So go for it only if you must!

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1 of 1 found this helpful
World Class in India
on 03 March 12
Akshat rated:
first to review certified buyer

This is one of the best compilation of Indian business case studies that I have come across.

Unfortunately, Indian business case studies usually lack the flair of their western counterpart, especially when compared with Harvard Case Studies. But, I must say, that the authors of this book have done a wonderful job and the case studies are as descriptive as the Harvard Case Studies usually are.

It is thus beyond doubt that some of these case studies must have already been utilized for coursework in several Indian as well as foreign B-Schools but I suggest that it is good read even for an average reader interested in Indian businesses or business world in general. I would especially recommend this to all budding entrepreneurs and aspiring managers.

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1 of 1 found this helpful
The Origin of Wealth
on 17 December 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

The book is only so-so. If you are interested in reading about the history of money and the financial system, "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson serves better.

The price of Origin of Wealth in India is way too high as it is imported and not printed here. At this price, buying this book makes even lesser sense. The narrative style is quite boring and verbose.

"The Ascent of Money" gives a better insight on almost everything mentioned in this book and in a much more interesting manner!

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1 of 2 found this helpful
The Immortals of Meluha
on 31 March 12
Akshat rated:

A cracking novel! Hats off to the author! Very creative thinking indeed! This might bring a revival in interest in Indian mythology. Overall a total paisa-vasool. It is just not a story but a whole philosophy behind it that is impressive. Recommended!

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1 of 2 found this helpful
A very unbiased and holistic view on the Arab-Israel Conflict with a message for everyone
on 18 May 12
Akshat rated:

It is a touching true story of a Jewish girl named Dalia and an Arab boy named Bashir, who are connected by the house in Ramallah that they lived in, Bshir before 1948 and Dalia after that.

The book presents the history of Arab-Israel conflict in great detail (I am a history buff and have read much into Arab-Israel conflict but there was so much that I came to know through this book). The book presents the Arab as well as the Israel viewpoint of each and every event. Moreover, the book for a change is not biased by the Israel's version of the things (which is usually the case as the Arab viewpoint never gets any press and Arabs are labelled as terrorists and Jews the victims by the biased world media led by the US, even though reality is quite the opposite).

Without going into nitties and gritties of the story, I would say this is one of the best books I have ever read. The book presents the facts very well and merges it too well into the real life (true) story of Bashir and Dalia. The book is extremely well researched over years and with the help of multiple agencies. Hats-off for the journalist-turned-author.

Even if you have no interest in the Arab-Israel conflict, I would still recommend this book for the subtle messages in humanity that it conveys. The book brings out what a war takes away from its people, whether it be in Middle East or in our own backyard in Kashmir. After all, humans are all the same everywhere and war anywhere is nothing but the clash of egos, insecurities and incompatible and uncompromising ideologies, for which people and their future is sacrificed, nothing won but a lot lost.

Overall, a very interesting and meaningful reading.

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0 of 0 found this helpful
One Economics, Many Recipes
on 18 May 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

The book advocates the fact that the so called "Washington Consensus" i.e. the strategy for economic growth suggested by the Washington DC based economic institutions like World Bank and IMF involving free trade i.e lowering of protectionism and removal of trade barriers and implementing free movement of goods between developed and developing countries has produced more failures than examples of success (namely India and China) and has benefited the developed countries more than the developing countries (as it provides developed countries' companies access to new market while many developing countries have little to sell to the developed world). In any case the developed countries continue to protect their agriculture and labour markets. Moreover, the rapid integration with world markets, that developed nations suggest to the developing countries, were not adopted for a long time by the now developed countries during their own development. Further, the failure of the WB-IMF suggested economic reforms in Latin America is another proof that the one-size-fits-all approach used by these institutions when handling different developing countries does not yield the desired result, in fact, makes the situation worse.

The success of India and China is not due to implementing the WB-IMF advise to the core but, in fact, due to the failure to do so. Both these countries opened up their economy to the world trade only after decades of decades of economic progress and protectionism and that too in their own style by developing unorthodox institutions and practices that were adapted to the local needs and situations.

This school of thought that the economist at the leading economic organizations (like WB and IMF) are not the know-all that they claim that they are, has been catching fire lately. This is one more book bringing out this fact. The layout is a lengthy and boring presentation of several papers scattered here and there without clear organization.

There are better (and cheaper) books out there on this subject like : The Return of Depression Economics by Paul Krugman ( I highly recommend this book) and How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor by Erik Reinert (quite boring presentation again!).

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0 of 0 found this helpful
Interpretation of Dreams
on 29 April 12
Akshat rated:
first to review

Not an amazing book. Just average or should I say below average. Most of the things presented here might have been ground breaking in their times but are now just commonly known facts known by almost everybody. The narrative is lengthy, boring and poorly presented, perhaps the book was written for the academicians of that age. It is supposedly the masterpiece among Sigmund Freud's work,his Magnum Opus, but I found it to be a dismal read :(

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0 of 3 found this helpful
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