I read 38 books this year — more than three a month — amidst the usual 24x7 pressure in the media world. The two books I really enjoyed reading were both written by friends — Parag Khanna and Sugato Bose. Khanna’s The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order was a hit but his latest How to Run the World was just great. His argument is interesting: “The world is entering a perfect storm of calamities: a great game for scarce natural resources, financial instability, environmental stress and failing states. In some respects, it isn’t far off from that medieval landscape of almost a millennium ago. It is a multi-polar, multi-civilisational world in which every empire, city-state, multi-national corporation or mercenary army is out for itself.” I have met Khanna in a few seminars and become friends with him but that’s not why I say he is terrific. Read these two books and you will know why.
Harvard Professor Sugato Bose’s His Majesty’s Opponent is the best critical biography I have read of his great-grandfather Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, in which he does a historian's job so admirably that if his name was not printed on the book, no one would even know they were related. Subhas Bose is my childhood hero; I even got married on his birth date. This critical biography, again so well written, was absolutely gripping.
In 2012, I am looking forward to reading Bertil Lintner's Great Game East (that is the tentative title) which looks at the Big Power games and how they are affecting the smaller nations of South and Southeast Asia.