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Sreeram Ramakrishnan RSS Feed (Lynnfield, MA)
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Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
by Rebecca Goldstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.26
72 used & new from $12.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concept, patchy editing, April 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In a book that alternates between painfully detailed historical background and uniquely creative approach of placing Plato in a fictitious context in modern times, Goldstein could consistently irritate or charm a reader. This may be because, she tried to be the punctilious scholar in explaining the background of Plato and his arguments a little too much for the average reader. But once a reader is able to plow through myriads of footnotes and citations (a graduate student's delight, no doubt), he/she is treated to a very different setting that makes for entertaining and thought provoking read. However, judging from the reviews in the press (and on Amazon), only a true philosophy aficionado or in some cases a serious student, can fully appreciate the ways Goldtein is channeling the Plato-esque in making her own arguments on issues facing the modern world. A tough but informative read.


Gandhi Before India
Gandhi Before India
by Ramachandra Guha
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.14
49 used & new from $17.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspectives on the evolution of a great human's thought process, April 17, 2014
This review is from: Gandhi Before India (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With tomes of dissertations and books written on Gandhi, it is always difficult to come up with a new lens to rediscover the personality that shaped much of the strategies in modern world's political movements. Most authors adopt an approach to explain how Gandhi influenced India (the world, in general). and focus less on how the world shaped Gandhi. Guha does a masterful job in a blended approach of employing Gandhi both as a protagonist and a mere witness to prevalent social-economic-political-religious circumstances. In that nuanced approach, Guha is able to discover the unique roles non-Indians have played in the early shaping of Gandhi's philosophies, moral compass, and the urge to fight injustice within the system.

Some narratives (especially the ones I read growing up in India) tend to portray Westerners as mostly of the same ilk as the infamous General Dyre. But the narrative around Gandhi in England for studies portray an entirely different picture; almost to the extent that one could argue England really didn't know what the English were doing once they were out of England - the general tolerance and often camaraderie (as in vegetarian society, for example) that Gandhi experienced in his college days is in stark contrast to how the English raj was perceived. That contrast is educational, a reader also is able to witness the gradual degeneration of the "benevolence" of the English rulers in all colonies. The social tensions within these colonies, the debate on immigrants (and Indians' role in shaping that discourse via non-violent ways), and the general apathy that was shown towards immigrants and other races in South Africa is a story that is often unsaid in the context of Gandhi. Those sections alone are worth this book.

Perhaps the best chapter that crystallizes the transformation that Gandhi went through, as a result of his numerous moves between India and South Africa (not flatteringly, more moves were associated with professional growth than a compelling sense of principles, often at a significant cost to his family) is "from conciliation to confrontation". Religious, racial undertones to a legal battle in Natal really captures the thought process of Gandhi - as a political strategist.

In some sense, the biggest contribution of Guha, in this account, is the portrayal of Gandhi as a political strategist (primarily) as opposed to a moral leader which is typically the narrative most biographers have chosen to do. In addition, the detailed discussions on the South African colonies provide an extremely detailed and insightful analysis on how these events gradually shaped Gandhi's views (as opposed to the dramatic narrative involving throwing Gandhi from a train...).

While often times dry (due to the attention to detail) and difficult to digest the jumps in narrative settings (Gandhi was obviously a great packer-mover, it seems), Guha does an excellent job in educating the social-political-racial circumstances that shaped one of the most influential political strategists. An excellent read.


Altec Lansing iMW555-BLK Inmotion Bluetooth Speaker
Altec Lansing iMW555-BLK Inmotion Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars decent sound, excellent battery life, April 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For a middle-of-the-road BT speaker, the Altec unit is a well-designed, aesthetically unique choice. The sound quality is nothing to rave about, but nothing really to complain. Syncs without fail to any of the three devices I have paired this speaker - and amazed by its battery life. Considering it is a single unit, stereo effects wasnt that noticeable - so, for those who have high expectations, this may be a drawback. For background music, occasional use with conference call settings, this is a good choice.


TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT ADVANCED 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender, Repeater, AV500 Powerline Edition, Wi-Fi Clone Button, 2 LAN Ports
TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT ADVANCED 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender, Repeater, AV500 Powerline Edition, Wi-Fi Clone Button, 2 LAN Ports
Price: Click here to see our price
38 used & new from $45.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Ethernet works fine, Wi-fi extender - hit or miss, April 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Despite the easy set up and the ability to communicate across circuit breakers in the same power meter, the unit is unreliable when it comes to WiFi extension. At best, its performance is spotty as a range extender. This may be because of any conflicts with the primary and guest networks on my WiFi. The main advantages of this unit are the 2 LAN ports compared to the Trendline unit I was using before and the much smaller size of these units that looks more modern. Great choice if you are in the market for a powerline unit, but a so-so as a range extender as well...good idea, patchy results on the range extender feature.


Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities
Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities
by Thomas H. Davenport
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.98
54 used & new from $11.50

3.0 out of 5 stars an OK intro to non-technical leaders, March 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Compared to books such as Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning and Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, this book provides a fairly non-technical look at the process of defining and executing a "big data" project. While the early chapters take to task (rightfully so), the hoopla around consultant-speak on this topic, Davenport chooses to focus less on technical issues and more on project management/strategy consulting in this book. The relatively fewer case studies and (new) examples and generic discussion on what constitutes big data and why companies need to develop a new strategy around it may not be appealing to readers who are already exposed to the field. Overall, a rather uninspired discussion on big data framework and a revisit to his earlier DELTA framework.


Handbook of Market Risk
Handbook of Market Risk
by Christian Szylar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $137.13
29 used & new from $100.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Good resource for professionals and grad students; challenging for individual investors, March 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In a comprehensive handbook (with a pithy and mostly technical style), Szylar provides a researcher/grad student an excellent resource to understand the context of market risk and its evolution over time. One should note that the technical/academic viewpoint is serving to educate the entry-level professional (or refresh an experienced mind) rather than to generate thought-provoking hypotheses such as seen in other treatments of risk (Nassim Taleb's books for example). Nevertheless, the systematic approach in describing market efficiency, efficiency frontier, historical progression of value-at-risk models, CAPM and APT approaches makes this a good resource to begin any exploration. The chapters on derivatives doesn't add any new insights to the literature and may be too concise for the non-professional. Perhaps, as the "handbook" in the title implies, the target audience is predominantly those in the field of portfolio management or will be entering it soon - not individual investors. Individual investors may find the book to add some theoretical insights on how markets work and how risks could be viewed - but they are not likely to gain any actionable portfolio management strategies (this could've remedied partly if the author had a short section at the end of each chapter explaining the import to the individual investor - even if it was constructed as a framework that can be used by professional manager to explain to their clients). The discussion on interest-rate and liquidity risks is fairly unique to the book; while the discussion on regulations may be of limited value.

Overall, a good starting point/reference book for professionals in the field. As an individual investor with a technical background, I found the discussions to provide a better insight on how to view portfolio and risks, but not necessarily any new "ideas" to implement. The pithy writing style is welcome, but one wishes that the citations were less stingy - most chapters end with very few "further reading" suggestions and the list typically do not include emerging thoughts in the field. A well-written, "traditional" and technical resource.


Survive! Inside the Human Body, Vol. 2: The Circulatory System
Survive! Inside the Human Body, Vol. 2: The Circulatory System
by Hyun-Dong Han
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.84
44 used & new from $8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun way to introduce concepts, March 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The vivid graphics, attention to details, and a sense of humor that may appeal to the target audience, this is an excellent attempt in alternative ways to introduce new topics, especially complex ones. The author (and the entire series) succeeds on that objective. Teachers may find it challenging to use it in a class-room setting (given that it is mostly a comic, conversations are very colloquial (rightfully so) and may not appeal in formal settings). That is the only 0.5* knock on this book.

Overall, for a 9 yr old, this book sustained her interest throughout and encouraged to ask questions despite the numerous "Ew. gross" screams - will clearly provide a child a new perspective on science and parents on how to tap into imagination to discuss complex subjects.


Multivariate Time Series Analysis: With R and Financial Applications
Multivariate Time Series Analysis: With R and Financial Applications
by Ruey S. Tsay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $122.87
45 used & new from $103.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Concise yet exhaustive treatment, February 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a researcher interested in adapting financial analytical techniques to patient-generated data/healthcare, this book is proving to be an excellent resource for quickly familiarizing/revising key concepts , particularly around VARMA time series & models. Tsay approaches the topics very systematically but with very little "introduction". A student/practitioner is assumed to have significant familiarity with the traditional notations and definitions and the brevity of the discussions may make this book (for practitioners) more of a quick refresher on a particular topic or an entry point for further studies. Where the book could have been strengthened is more discussion on characterizing problems to enable easier identification of which time series analytical methods are more appropriate. There is an inherent assumption that the reader already knows how to identify which technique is most appropriate for their problem - which may make this a tough book to use in upper undergraduate courses (more geared towards early graduate level courses).


LeapFrog LeapPad2 Kids' Learning Tablet (Custom Edition), Pink
LeapFrog LeapPad2 Kids' Learning Tablet (Custom Edition), Pink
Price: $69.00
17 used & new from $44.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a compelling value, February 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For the pricepoint, you are really paying for the LeapFrog brand and the "opportunity" to buy a curated (high-price) set of apps designed for kids. The form factor is OK (almost like a phablet) but the screen size, reliance on alkaline batteries, absence of WiFi, limited number of apps does not make this a compelling value. Even for a child, you may better off buying a relatively cheap Android-based tablet that will provide access to ebooks and a much wider ecosystem of apps - most of which will be free. Plus, it can serve as an occasional back-up tablet for the adult in the family too. Such a tablet could also serve a growing child through middle school at least and you will not have this tablet gathering dust after 1-2 years. Overall, an excellent concept - but at this price point, not a compelling value.


Paleo Workouts For Dummies
Paleo Workouts For Dummies
by Pat Flynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.13
55 used & new from $10.68

4.0 out of 5 stars exercising "like a caveman"....explained for a newbie, February 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
True to the "Dummies" brand, this take on Paleo fitness (exercise and nutrition) is a very good introduction to the concept, a beginners action plan and an extended transformation plan that are relatively easy to understand and adhere to (with few additional equipment). The premise that modern humans do not move around or exercise consistent to what the body has evolved to is well studied; this book essentially distills that thought process into a "fitness regime". Nutritional advice may not be practical for most and somewhat irrelevant for those on predominantly vegetarian diets. Overall, a good introduction to the topic. 4.5


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