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Great New Reads



Photo by British Library on Unsplash

This is my book review of the book ‘Ancient History’ by Sophie Penhaligon. Thanks to NetGalley for the Advanced Review Copy! The link to the NetGalley page for this book is here.
#AncientHistory #NetGalley

Lovely book — felt like a blend of the movie ‘National Book of Treasures’ meets Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’ with bits of '50 Shades of Grey' thrown in for good measure! 

The story was quite interesting, and fast-paced without going too deep into Egyptian history or technical archaeology. Almost like a Mission Impossible or James Bond movie — exotic backgrounds and locales but nothing overwhelming! 

The only reason I gave it 4-stars is that I felt the book derailed a bit and went too deep into the romance part. I was not expecting that — my fault perhaps! I was slightly disappointed that the hero did most of the action in the last part.

Still, I will give credit to the author for attempting a new genre. This book combines chick-lit, cozy mysteries, and romance genres. Readers from all these genres will like this book!
A perfect companion for a beach stay or vacation!
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Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay

This post is a review of the book “Big Breaches” by Neil Daswani and Moudy Elbayadi. I received the book via the NetGalley site, and this book is awesome! Thank you to #NetGalley!

Normally I am very selective about the books I request on the site – it has to pique my interest first! For this book, the description was compelling, and seemed useful for someone like me who works in in the risk management IT space! Happy to say the book exceeded expectations on all counts – this post is a gist of the ‘Whys’! 🙂

[Note – a modified version of this post is also posted on my Medium blog here.]

Did You See The News?

With the recent news about the Colonial pipeline breach and ensuing gas shortage nightmares, everyone is (or should be) concerned about cybersecurity. Whether you work in IT or not! Data breaches have become as common as excessive rains in Mumbai, India – Experian, Facebook, Target! Ugh!

This book offers detailed insight into the how and why, in an easy manner targeting non-technical folks and the general public!

Data Breaches Affect Everyone!

NetGalley Cover — Screenshot from Author’s Dashboard

Data breaches affect everyone, not just gullible senior citizens or folks posting a zillion social media posts!

Preventing such breaches is hard, almost akin to the Border Security Police (BSP) work! BSP personnel have thousands of points to monitor — illegal tunnels, airport passengers, rogue shipments at ports, etc. increasing the odds of failure! Terrorists only have to find a single vulnerability to get in — an overlooked mine, overpower a tired soldier or bribe a single person! Similarly, banks and large corporations have to work tirelessly to keep their digital assets secure — the task is Herculean, thankless and often feels like an uphill (and losing) battle! I worked in credit card fraud analytics and risk management and can personally vouch at the inventive ways cyber criminals attack our orgs!

This book brings explains such incidents in a masterful storytelling method!

AI investments, anyone?

Image from Pixabay

Loved the discussion on investments in information security companies and startups!

Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools are already used for identifying money laundering activities, preventing credit card fraud, and securing digital data related to consumers. Many types of software tools are used for compliance (think GDPR data laws and similar federal regulations). However, as more companies start to use cloud-based vendors and services, tools in this space “cybersecurity cloud services” will also start to mature and become ubiquitous. Perhaps even mandatory!

So I can totally imagine the stocks of those companies soaring as the Zoom stock did once the pandemic started! Money-makers of the future! (This is just a thought, not a guarantee! Not doling out investment advice in any shape or form!) This section on cybersecurity markets and investments is a fascinating read!

Astute readers may even come away with ideas for products (or startups) that fit those niches. I know I have been bursting with ideas that I plan to validate soon!

Conclusion

Must read for anyone who works in IT or financial firms — whether you work in cybersecurity or not!

Amazon book link here.

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Other Than GoodReads or Libraries…

Photo by Doz Gabrial on Unsplash

This post is for all the book lovers and voracious readers who want to read so many books, they run out of money to buy them all! As an indie author myself, I am all for supporting authors by buying books at full price. However, I do like freebies, and having access to free books allows me to stretch my book budgets as much as possible!

Two bloggers recently posted about sites to find FREE books, including the brilliant Niru. Taking a leaf out of their book, and creating a post of my own! Pun not intended – would hate to damage any book! 😉 

#1] NetGalley

I am glad NetGalley did not exist when I was in college, or I might have never graduated! I totally love this site!

The site has strict rules for approvals for each publisher, so you will not receive books unless you maintain a specific completion ratio. This has accidentally coaxed me to find more time to devour books, so I could finish them and send feedback! Some genres and authors are very hard to attain!

All the major publishers are on here and I am delighted to say I scored books that later turned out to be NYT vestsellers like ‘Think Like A Data Scientist’ and ‘In a Holidaze’. I am currently hoping to snag ‘Masters of Scale’ by Reid Hoffman. (#NetGalley, are ye listening??) 

#2] FaceBook MarketPlace

Posts on FB market — image screenshot by author

I have recently become a big fan of the Facebook marketplace. You get so many amazing gently used items at half price or less! A lot of items from my daughter’s nursery were bought and sold on FB marketplace.

With regards to books, just search ‘free books’ and you will find dozens of people getting rid of their books for cheap ($0.25 to $5) for books that normally sell for $20+. Depending on your location, you may see book results with ‘free shipping’ mix up the results, but just continue scrolling past them. I found at least 7 posts for free books within 50 miles of my home. Many posts showed books in mint condition or at least such good condition that they could be resold. [A smart person might snag these books and resell them to make a bit of profit, but it would take a lot of research and trips to the post office.]  

The true ‘Free book’ posts usually ‘sell’ out pretty quickly. So keep looking, it is literally like finding a treasure!

Or you can be creative and offer to pick books for free in your local area! I saw a post in my area where the person picks up books every last Saturday of the month. Just make sure to put a date at least 2–3 weeks in advance, so your post has a chance to be seen! Many folks want to de-clutter but end up giving books away to Goodwill or throwing them in the trash, for lack of an alternative.

#3] Bookstagram giveaways. 

No-brainer if you already use Instagram. 

Essentially a giveaway but happening on Instagram. If you already loiter on the platform, then it is easy peasy — most contest rules are as simple as follow, tag and comment. Look for Instagram accounts that are related to the hashtag #bookstagram. Smaller accounts with fewer followers are easier to win! 

#4] Kindle Free Books

Not to be confused with Kindle Unlimited Program. On the homepage, just filter the book categories you like and sort the books by price. Viola! Free books bubble up to the top. 

step1 — browse the categories you want. Image screenshot by author.

Tedious and manual, if you like multiple categories. And you may have to scroll quite a bit before you see something you like! There are often books that are by new or unknown authors, no reviews, and some just not up to your liking! But hey! They are free, and there is no compulsion to finish a book just because you started it! 

The lists change every week, so no harm in browsing. 

step2 — sort books by price. Image screenshot author

#5] Bonus  — Library Castoffs and more…

The original post by Niru is found here. (Link will take you to Medium.com)

Do you know of any other ideas to get free books? Share the knowledge with the world — or at least tell me via the comments! 🙂 

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Reading Lists 2021
Best Books to Read in 2021

Happy New Year! Looking to crush your reading goals in 2021? Well, here are some amazing books that will make you healthy, wealthy and wise!

For easy selection, these book lists are segmented into broad themes like personal development, marketing, etc. Last year’s reading list is very much relevant although I have added a new theme this year “Money”.

New Books not on the previous lists:

#1. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. [Personal Development]

#2. Think like a Rocket scientist. [Personal Development]

#3. 12 months to 1Million Dollar [Money]

#4. Think and Grow Rich [Money]

#5. How I Built This. [Personal Development]

#6. Hype Yourself. [Marketing]

#7. Invested [Money]

#8. Hooked [Marketing & Entrepreneurship]

Top 25 Books:

Here is the list from 2020 – http://greatnewreads.com/top-25-books-2020/.

For Writers:

If you are an author, you should definitely look up these books on writing and author promotion. https://medium.com/self-publish-world/best-books-on-marketing-for-indie-authors-810b3ff09fc3

Books on Leadership:

  • Books for Young Professionals – Link here.
  • Executive Leadership and Management – Link here.

Creativity and Innovation 

Want to add more creativity to your life or spark innovation in your team? Use ideas from these brilliant books.

Reading Habits:

Want to speed up your reading, content retention or just want to find more time to read more? These links will help.

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Imagination and creativity for writers

As the year comes to an end, ponder what you want to do in 2021. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that life is unpredictable and we cannot wait for a perfect moment to live our dreams!

As a budding writer, author or content creator, what stories are you deferring for later?

Don’t wait anymore!

Be Bold! Put your writing for all to see!

Commit to your writing dreams for 2021 and use this last month to plan how you are going to achieve it. At worst, you will fail which means the status quo (from today) remains unchanged. At best, you will do a spectacular job and live your dreams!

If you still need motivation, here is a screenshot from Gumroad where hundreds and thousands of indie creators have made astonishing sales! Achieving even 0.01% of this success translates to $100; wouldn’t that be delightful?

Plus, this is just one site. You could publish on Amazon or Google Play or host a course on Udemy and Teachable. The possibilities are limitless!

Gumroad sales

For me, I have been writing sporadically in 2020 despite my professional and personal commitments. For 2021 though I plan to be more regular and also publish 4 books that have been simmering inside me for years!

So, what will you achieve in 2021?

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