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Winding Down: Your Holiday Reading List for 2017

This post goes out to all the readers/ nerds/ bookworms out there. It is that time of the year again, time to bring in the tide and the cheer. You have probably been very busy winding up at work, to plan a holiday reading list. But we’ve got you covered there. For a break, and since you’re on break these recommendations have nothing to do with the world of work! All you need to do now, is source these books, make your self a mug of steaming hot chocolate, and settle down under the covers with a read. Sounds like bliss? We agree!

  1. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

    What happens when trouble breaks out in an idyllic little town, where the lives of all its residents are perfectly planned and pre-determined? A narrative weaving together tales of two mothers, their children, against the backdrop of a nail-biting mystery involving a custody battle over an adoption. A nail-biting mystery, succinctly described by the talented Celeste Ng. Listed as the Goodread Choice 2017 winner, this drama and thriller will surely keep you on edge! Buy here.

  2. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy

    How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everbody. No. By slowly becoming everything.’
    Two decades after her first book, God of Small Things, which won the Booker prize, Arundhati Roy has come out with her second master piece. Riding under the garb of fiction, she invokes the politics of Kashmir, of the saffron brigade, the rights and lives of the ‘third sex’, all woven through a fantastical narrative. This book requires patience, because more than a story it is a condensation of her thoughts about everything through her years of activism. A must read however, because of the courageous account of the India as we know it, or maybe refuse to know it as. Indeed, she tells the shattered story by becoming everybody and everything. Buy here.

  3. Chocolat, Joanne Harris

    While it is very unfair to the other recommendations on this list, if there was just one book you want to pick, we’d recommend this. Also a hit motion picture, Joanne Harris’s Chocolat is a story about love, acceptance, travel, religion, the home and the world, all of this brought together by something almost no one can resist – Chocolate. Just the perfect holiday read, this book will make you laugh and cry and in the need leave you feeling grateful that you read it. We also recommend two of her other books – Blackberry Wine and Three Quarters of an Orange – a delight for your senses. Buy here.

  4. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

    This classic is based on a real life story. The narrator documents beautifully, the life and more importantly the ending of the life of his favorite professor. This book captures in rare honesty the motions of life. Through the story of Professor Morrie we learn that there is beauty in everything. There is beauty in life, there is beauty in pain and suffering, for as long as we breathe there will always be something to be grateful for. If you haven’t already read this, this is a great time for you to read it. Nothing like ending the year on a note of gratitude. Buy here.

  5. The Last Interview – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, edited by David Streitfeld

    The Last Interview is a series on famous personalities with transcripts from their prominent interviews, and their last interview. If you are a Marquez fan (even if you aren’t), you will love this read. From discussing his extremely diverse works, magic realism as a trope in his Nobel winning book – A Hundred Years of Solitude, to his belief and disbelief in politics, and how he can never write without a yellow flower at his desk – get insights into the life of one of the world’s most loved writers. Buy here. 

Happy Reading folks!

Have recommendations to add to this list? Comment below!

Best Reads on Recruitment from 2017

Best Reads on Recruitment from 2017

The world of recruitment is ever so diverse, dynamic and fascinating. Today, there is so much we can learn about recruitment simply by way of reading some very well written blog posts which draw attention to aspects of recruitment we may not have thought about, before. Wondering which posts stand out for 2017, as far as recruitment related topics are concerned? Check out this list of the best 5 reads on recruitment related topics!

  1. Are We Winning the Battle Against Unconscious Hiring Bias

    This fantastic post by Irene McConnell brings into perspective the prevalence of unconscious hiring bias. This  bias has been the elephant in the room for the longest time, with very little having been done to address it. While she begins her article by referring to the Silicon Valley, she proceeds to explain how it is actually a global situation. As many would agree, India of course falls into that category as well. In her article she identifies what we call ‘unconscious bias’, and speaks about ways to get rid of it from our recruitment processes forever.

  2. How to Fire Someone You Actually Care About

    Just the title of the post is enough to get you to read this. All of us who’ve been in positions of responsibility have in all probability had to face the immensely sensitive task of letting a member of the team go. It is even tougher if you have been given the task of firing someone you genuinely wish well for. This post on The Muse is the perfect read to help you gear up towards implementing this very hard decision. Need more prep? Read our posts on The Art of Firing, and 5 Questions for you before you fire someone.

  3. Before Interviewing, Train Hiring Managers on These 5 Things

    A find on hrbartender.com, this post speaks about the much-needed tool kit every hiring manager needs to possess. Making the decision for hiring someone isn’t as simple as simply ticking off a check list. And this article tells us about what hiring managers or recruiters need to be aware of, before starting the interviewing process. The cost and impact of the hiring decisions, and their role in the hiring process are some important factors on the list. Read the full article by clicking here.

  4. 10 Candidates Every Recruiter will Encounter

    Reading this might feel like chicken soup for your soul, if you are a recruiter. Categorized aptly as ‘coffee break content’ on rulerecruitment.com, this blog post is a funny read on the many kinds of candidates that you may have or will encounter as a recruiter. “The Keen Bean”, “The Scrambler”, “The Over-achiever” amongst several others feature in this list. Read this post and find yourself ticking off the kinds you’ve dealt with, and anticipating the other kinds!

  5. How the Work-space Impacts Employee Experience

    All of us would agree that the work-space environment is indeed crucial to the productivity of employees. It is the little things that make all the difference. This post on speaks about what those little things are, and why they are more than just ‘little’ things. Going that extra mile to help your employees stay happy at work, stressing on work life balance  and being flexible are some of the things that this post draws our attention to. Recruiters, are you listening?

Did any of these make it to your favorite list? Have more recommendations for this post? Let us know!

Best Fiction Reads – You Deserve a Breather

Best Fiction Reads – You Deserve a Breather

Very few things offer the same kind of giddy, yet delicate excitement like the time when you are in love. But one thing you can be sure will offer you not just the same, but far greater happiness and joy, is reading a book. Falling in love with the words, sentences, phrases and verse, with the protagonist, the villain or the sidekick, is something else. Discovering through the ideologies of the narrator your own ideologies. And sometimes even finding the words you’ve been struggling to find, through the words of the author; which makes you say – “this book was written for me.” Away from the world of work, we have curated a list of five beautiful Fiction Reads which will flip your world on its head.

  1. The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

    This piece of work deserves every bit of the credit it has received. It won the Booker prize in 2011 . Barnes, a magician, plays with the concept of time as if it were play dough. He twists and turns the plot any which way he pleases – through the voice of an omnipresent narrator. A moving, hilarious, and nail-biting exploration of the self, friendships and relationships. When you make it to the end, tell us if you know the answer to the question he asks.

  2. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

    When I started reading this book, I said to myself, “I have never read anything like this before.” And I wasn’t wrong. Don Tillman, a “socially challenged” genetics professor who has never been on a second date embarks on a certain project to find himself a wife. He calls it “The Wife Project”, and designs questionnaires for all the potential suitors he wants to “screen”. Don’t cringe yet. Read it to find out the hilarious bends and twists of his encounter with Rosie.

  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

    This work of beauty has to its credit a very deserving Pulitzer prize for fiction. Do not be intimidated by the size of the book because you will feel sorry when it gets over. It is that good. It is the story of a little boy who loses his mother to a bomb blast and ends up with a painting. The painting decides the trajectory of the rest of his life. Every page of this book will have you laughing and crying along with the narrator.

  4. The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Set against the background of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war in Barcelona, this is a story of love, lost and found, and books lost and found in “forgotten cemeteries”. Passionately crafted and narrated, Carlos Zafon weaves magic by taking us around Barcelona through this story you will never forget. They don’t lie when they say, books help you see the world without leaving where you’re sitting at.

  5. Stardust, Neil Gaiman

    A must read if you are a fiction fan. Gaiman, a wizard with words is at his imaginative best with this book. No matter how old you are, you will believe in magic when you read this book. In a beautiful way, Gaiman explores the surreal, and the ethereal only by grounding it in very real and concrete everyday things – feelings. What happens when a boy goes out to find a shooting star that fell from the sky for his lover? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

If you’re contemplating a break and don’t know what to read, here you are spoilt for choices. If you’d really like a break but can’t take one – pick up any one of these books and feel yourself being transported very far away from wherever you are. Because you deserve a breather!

Top 10 Career Quotes from Literature and the Finest Authors

Top 10 Career Quotes from Literature and the Finest Authors

Here at Oorja Biz Ops, we are all voracious readers. We believe that books make the world and the #WorldOfWork a much better place, and rightly so! Wisdom, imagination, hope – books have a lot to offer. They influence, they inspire, they help us understand our lives, our careers. Literature, since the beginning of time, has been able to capture some of the most intense emotions human beings feel and express. Many a times we may not even be able to recognize or describe what we feel, and find the authors putting those exact emotions into words so eloquently. We feel as if the words were written just for us, as if the author has been privy to our innermost thoughts. We relate to the characters, we look for solutions through those characters. In a very short span of reading the book, we traverse an entire tapestry of emotions and feel overwhelmed of how much sharing is possible between an inanimate object, which is the book and us as individuals.

Some days are just difficult. It is hard to feel inspired or motivated to get up and get to work. To find meaning in our careers or to find a career that means something. It is during this phase that we assess ourselves the most, we are full of doubts and uncertainty, full of “what ifs”. The good news is, we are not alone. We have heroes from literature and we have writers who created these heroes, who went through the same trajectory, had the same doubts and in the end succeeded. So who better to turn to than these fine authors for some inspiration?

Here are some of the best career quotes from literature that the finest authors have gifted us!

Career Quotes #1 : Do not forget Life.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” ― Maya Angelou, I’ve Learned

Career Quotes #2 : You are the CEO of You, Inc.

“It is not in stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves” ― Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 

Career Quotes #3 : Find Your Passion and Make it your Vocation

“Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations? He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation’. The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.” ― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Career Quotes #4 : Say No to Pressure, Take your Time

“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.”― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Career Quotes #5 : Keep the Faith

“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.”— Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Career Quotes #6 : Never Give Up

“When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.” – Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Career Quotes #7 : Trust in Yourself

“You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved

Career Quotes #8 : Purpose is Everything

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” — JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Career Quotes #9 : Happiness is a Choice

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Career Quotes #10 : Do not Let Your Fire go Out

 

Being uncertain about your career, or not knowing where you are headed is one of those challenges that can actually be turned into a power house of opportunities. How you think determines the path you take. As John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost – “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Dive in into the fascinating world of literature when you are feeling numb or need to clear your head. You will arise manifold wiser and humbler and ready to take on the #WorldOfWork!

We hope this post on beautiful career quotes from literature has inspired you to keep calm and keep going! Which is your favourite quote from amongst these? Did we leave out your favourite quote? We would love to hear from you!

Top 6 Must-Read Leadership Books of All Time (Part 2)

Top 6 Must-Read Leadership Books of All Time (Part 2)

Here is continuing where we left off, with the second part of our post on top 6 leadership books of all times! In this post, we move to leadership books released in the last two decades and bring to you books written by leaders who have played key roles in the making of three corporate giants in the world – IBM, Google and Amazon. They write about their successes, failures and how they led people to turn failure into success :

4. Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround, Lou Gerstner – If you happened to follow the news when this book was published, you would remember the controversial reviews it stirred up. Mostly because of the fame (or notoriety) of the author of the book, Lou Gerstner, erstwhile CEO of IBM. He is best known for the number of people he fired during his tenure at IBM. What he is also well-known for is, piecing back IBM together when it saw its worst times. Whether you love him or hate him, you definitely cannot ignore him, and most definitely should not ignore this book where he talks about how he accomplished the mammoth task of stabilizing the company, bringing in investors and about the strategic choices he made where margin for error was nil. He speaks candidly about all that and more. A great read for some food for thought!

5. Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google that Will Transform How You Live and Lead, Laszlo Bock – Working at Google is one of the most coveted dreams many of us share. We all know about the wonderful stories about how employees are treated there, their professional lives and the resources they have access to. Well, if you’ve been in love with how Google works, here is a book which is a must read for you. Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, has changed the way Human Resources has been regarded thus far, and has debunked some of the most popular myths by proving that a company can achieve great heights if it truly empowers its employees. He talks about deconstructing the power dynamics between the employer and the employee, and proves how doing so has benefitted Google. A dynamic leader, Laszlo has revolutionized the way corporates regard HR in the modern world.

6. The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company, John Rossman: Former executive at Amazon, John Rossman puts together the fourteen principles quite succinctly in his book. A breezy and entertaining read, it brings to the reader several revelations regarding how the gigantic organization functions and the non-negotiables of an organization as big as itself. He shares candid vignettes from inside Amazon – the crucial role an employee has in ownership and decision making functions of the organization, irrespective of his/ her position in the hierarchy.

There is no standard recipe to be a good leader. It takes years of experience, toil and passion. You cannot really aim to ‘become’ a leader, it is the vote of the people who you want to lead that will make you a leader. If you want to set an example for your team, strive for perfectionism yourself. This is something all these books communicate at some point. We hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We know that you may not agree with our 6 picks on the top must-read leadership books of all time.  We would love to hear from you if you think we have missed out on any book which has made a difference to the way you think, lead and live! We love a good debate, you see 🙂