Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A resource companion to "mindfulness: connecting with the real you" book

My book "Mindfulness: connecting with the real you" uses metaphors from movies, novels, scientific experiments, magic shows, etc. to illustrate main points. The table below presents the links to the publicly available videos for each of the chapters.


1. Balancing the bicycle of life

2. Listening to the mental shotgun

3. Stepping out of the train of thought

4. Recognizing wasteful thoughts

5. Watching the dance of necessities

6. Investigating the shooting game

7. Searching for the real hero

8. Dying to self-image every moment

  • Eckhart Tolle talks about the film "Groundhog day" from his interview "Conversations on compassion" by Dr. James Doty of Stanford. 
  • "Groundhog day...again", Phil realizes for the first time that he is in a time loop.
  • Bengali film "Ghare Baire" (English: The home and the world" with English subtitles. Nikhil's dialogue with his sister-in-law is at 1:36:18.
  • "Kamla" Hindi film (1984) with subtitles, written by Vijay Tendulkar, directed by Jagmohan Mudhra. The dialogue between Kamla and Sarita is at 1:13:54. The dialogue between Sarita and her uncle is at 1:54:25.
9.  Question and Answers

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Advance praise for “Mindfulness: Connecting with the real you”

I really appreciate these wellwishers who graciously agreed to take a look and write an endorsement for my book, “Mindfulness: Connecting with the real you” which is releasing tomorrow (Amazon link). In the top row, Thulasiraj Ravilla, Radhika Herzberger and Swami Chidananda. Bottom row, Ravi Venkatesan, Mukunda Rao, and Vipul Mathur. The one whose picture is missing is Fr Lancy Prabhu. Here is what they say:

Thulasiraj Ravilla, executive director, LAICO and operations director, Aravind Eye Care System
It’s a delightfully engaging and easy-to-read book on a really complex subject. It isn’t a spiritual book and yet at the core of spirituality is being conscious of who we really are. This book trains us to become mindful so that we don’t unknowingly deviate from things that really matter it. This book is a must-read for living a regret-free life.  

Radhika Herzberger, writer, educator and scholar of Sanskrit and Indology
Vinay Dabholkar’s Mindfulness: Connecting with the Real You is a ground-breaking approach to mindfulness. The book offers a practice that stills the mind and discerns the present—breath, music, skies, nature as well as our wayward thoughts and the surrounding garbage on the street. For Dabholkar mindfulness is a search for what is real, for truth rather than profit. In order to uncover deeper facets of the mind, the book adopts a layered structure, moving from the simple to the complex, and illustrating each with wide-ranging examples drawn from popular cinema and books by scientists and spiritual masters. In the process, the author seeks to untangle the rigid, deluded and trigger-happy tendencies of our minds. Based on the premise that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, Vinay Dabholkar’s book holds out the promise of a new approach to the humanities.

Swami Chidananda, spiritual teacher, Vedanta scholar and founder, FOWAI Forum 
This is valuable writing that presents in a delightful manner many serious aspects of the challenging theme of mindfulness. It can bring tremendous clarity to the reader about the much-talked-about subject. It is intellectually stimulating as it draws from great minds in a spectrum of disciplines like psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and physics. It makes for enjoyable reading as illustrations are taken from movies of Hollywood and Bollywood, among other sources. We encounter in its pages mystics of India, thinkers of Western universities and life experimenters from everywhere. Above all, the deep insights and significant remarks by the author himself make this book a very precious addition to anybody’s collection of reading material that deepens one’s understanding of life. It can cause a major shift in one’s outlooks and facilitate a fundamental transformation.

Ravi Ventakesan, Business Leader, Philanthropist, Author
Mindfulness is a crucial practice in reaching our potential as human beings. Vinay’s book is very readable and makes the concept and the practice of mindfulness accessible.

Mukunda Rao, Author
It is not by sitting in meditation but by being mindfully aware in your to day-to-day living that you grow in self-knowledge and learn to creatively negotiate the problems of living. Vinay Dabholkar’s Mindfulness brings home this wonderful, cleansing truth most effectively.

Vipul Mathur, CEO, Mufti, coach, trainer, and writer
This book makes much-needed mindfulness accessible and achievable. Vinay, with his unvarnished narration, probing questions and heartening Bollywood stories break the far-fetched concept into a simple idea that can be adopted easily in daily life.

Fr Lancy Prabhu, former head of department, inter-religious studies, St Xavier’s College, Mumbai
Replete with numerous attention-grabbing stories, analogies, metaphors and anecdotes, drawn from diverse sources including especially movies, the book brings into relief the many typical problematic patterns our mind gets trapped in, resulting in misery. More significantly, the book clarifies the process of Mindfulness, at whose heart lies Investigation, or present-moment spirit of learning, that brings understanding and freedom to ‘see things as they are’ especially the ‘real you’. An appealing and challenging book for our times to many, especially the young.

Image sources: aravind.org, alchetron.com, sadhanamandira.com, linkedin.com, twitter.com, afaqs.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Career-chat with Ravi Aranke: Career as surfing a wave vs climbing a ladder

My classmate and friend Ravi Aranke and I quit our jobs around the same time in 2006. But between the two of us, Ravi has been far more adventurous in his experiments with his career. So, as we near and cross the age of fifty, it creates a wonderful opportunity to look back and see if there are any lessons we learned. Ravi now works as a Senior Director, Technical Support at Cloudera, a leading cloud platform company and is based out of Silicon Valley in California. When Ravi visited Bangalore a month ago, I grabbed the opportunity to have a chat with him. In this interview, Ravi presents his view of a career journey as surfing a wave rather than climbing a ladder. You can listen to the interview here (14MB).

Here are salient points from the interview:

0:00   Introductions

1:15   Brief sketch of Ravi’s career:  Spanning Japan, Singapore in software development and support, Sun Microsystems, RedHat, linear progression till 2006, from individual contributor to senior management. Sun Microsystems, Dotcom bubble, euphoric, Bust, layoffs, a period of introspection, slowly started the feeling, “if you don’t do it now, when will you do it?”, urge to do something different.

3:45 Were you sure as to what you don’t want to do rather than what you want to do? Yes. I was looking at some of the start-up success stories, there was some ego involved, “If I am working hard, I should be working hard for myself.” In hindsight, it was more of self-discovery and spending time doing what I enjoy.

4:45 What happened after you quit your job? I was gravitating towards reading certain books, spending time on investing related things, talking to those people. This was telling that I enjoy these other things more than building the company. Fortunately, I had saved some money. Internet was becoming a thing by that time. Videos on YouTube – 2007-08.

6:25 What was the day for Ravi at that point in time? I started seeing that availability and analyzing data would be a big thing in the future. This hunch came around 2006-07. If I learn these techniques, I will make money in stock markets. Idea of trading system, investing system.

8:13 Were you building skills? Yes, building skills, talent, assets in data science, building models.

9:50 What did the asset involve? Write code, acquire data, regression testing. Had to get back to programming.

12:12 Doing projects together with your kids? One of the best outcomes. Got a lot of time with kids. Google cloud in 2009.

15:25 Motivation to move to a small town. Could I build a small company in a small town? Broadband was a challenge. Now it would be easier. Suddenly I realized I doubled my time.

18:45 After 7 years, what triggered you to consider going back to a job? We made a 5-year plan. Son decided to pursue an undergraduate in the US.

20:30 How difficult was to get back to the corporate world? Wave of big data. New wave brings new companies, demand outstrip supply. Worked in my favor.

22:33 What does it mean to look at a career as surfing a wave? Needs a lot of preparation and some amount of luck. Building up for a wave to come. Not looking to go anywhere. Just enjoy.

25:30 Did you realize getting somewhere was not important? Yes. Buffett’s internal yardstick.

28:09 Is financial security an important aspect? Yes, absolutely, especially if you have a family. You need to get your burn rate down. Moving to small-town helped.

30:15 Anything else? Consider it more like adventure sport. Be prepared that ride would be rough sometimes.

Friday, October 18, 2019

"Managing technological innovation" course at IIT Bombay Oct 10-21

Currently, I am teaching 4 classes (Oct 10, 14, 17, 21) in "Managing Technological Innovation" course being taught by Prof. Anand Kusre at IIT Bombay. This course is being offered at Desai Sethi Center for Entrepreneurship.  

The classes are:

Oct 10 (class slides): Creating a challenge book, Iterative thinking, Framing a challenge through metaphors 

Oct 14 (class slides): Rapid prototyping, feels-like, looks-like and works-like prototypes, before-and-after storyboard 

Oct 17 (class slides): Taking big technological bets, technology sandbox, Lego mindstorm - building a sandbox collaboratively

Oct 21 (class slides): Building a margin of safety, pre-mortem, cognitive biases and investigating cognitive illusions

Oct 20: Based on the first 3 classes, students have to submit the following assignment by Oct 20 (Sunday):

What to submit: A pdf document with the following:

1. Class-1 (10-Oct) exercise:
   1.1 List of challenge areas - one each for pain-wave-waste
   1.2 Shortlist them using PIC framework - Passion, Impact, chance of progress
   1.3 Identify a metaphor
   1.4 Frame a challenge statement - one line only

2. Class-2 (14-Oct) exercise:
   2.1 A before-and-after storyboard of an idea
   2.2 A paper model of the idea

3. Class-3 (17-Oct) exercise:
  3.1 Design of low-cost working prototype
  3.2 Cost of the prototype
  3.3 Outcome of your 1-hour effort towards working prototype