NOBEL LAUREATES IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY AND INTEGRITY Voices of Different Cultures

A collection of essays, biographies and Nobel lectures from 10 Nobel Laureates. The literary styles were contrasting and for some, I just couldn’t read beyond 2-3 paragraphs so I skipped them. Those in asterisk were the ones I really got down to reading as they were styles that appealed to me more. I liked especially the one by Amartya Sen and he also wrote about Rabindranath Tagore in this book. which is interesting as Amartya was a student of Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan, the school which Tagore had set up. So there was a good insight about how the school was run from a student’s perspective. Genuine interest and curiosity in subject matter was more important than academic excellence in the school and most of the time, classes were held outdoors if Tagore had the choice as he believed a natural setting was conducive.

Memorable quote from Tagore as he described blind following of tradition – “lost in the dreary desert sand of dead habit”

I enjoyed reading VS Naipaul as he wrote in a simple style that was pleasing and relaxing and not at all flowery, which I can’t take to. The life of Grazia from Sardinia was also interesting and dramatic and the education of the very learned Amartya Sen was impressive to read as he went from one reknown university to another as an academic.

Sir V S Naipaul (United Kingdom, born in Trinidad)*
Nadine Gordimer (South Africa)
Derek Walcott (St Lucia)
Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)
Patrick White (Australia)
Ernest Hemingway (USA)
Grazia Deledda (Sardinia, Italy)*
Amartya Sen (United Kingdom and the USA, born in India)*
Rabindranath Tagore (India)*
Nelson Mandela (South Africa)

*ones that I read fully, others were skimmed through.

Books read (starting Nov 2007)

1. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson

2. The Monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma

3. Universal Father, A Life of Pope John Paul II – Garry O’connor

4. Five Minds for the Future – Howard Gardner

5. Nobel Laureates in Search of Identity and Integrity: Voices of Different Cultures – Anders Hallengren

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