User Profile

Siddhartha Golu

Joined 1 year ago

I read books to understand myself. Writes sporadically on

Although Goodreads is still the main site by which I track my reads, excited to see a growing community of people joining together to make an independent stand.

Goodreads profile, in case anyone wants to say hello there:

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Patrick Radden Keefe, Patrick Radden Keefe: Empire of Pain (Hardcover, 2021, Doubleday) 5 stars

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty is a 2021 book by …

Review of 'Empire of Pain' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I remember first knowing about the Sackler family when Jon Oliver did a segment on them, and I remember feeling infuriated. Little did I know about the empire that they had created, riding on the wave of people's addictions, creating and fueling the opioid crisis and absolving themselves of all the blame while at the same time, putting up their names on all the Ivy league buildings.

It's sickening to learn how the rich always get a preferential treatment by law and society.


This is also available on my website here.

Clayton M. Christensen: The Innovator's Dilemma (2003, Collins) 4 stars

In his book, The Innovator's Dilemma [3], Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School describes …

Review of "The Innovator's Dilemma" on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This is one of those books that you hear so much about that you're already familiar with the ideas before you even pick up the book. Alas, what you might read in summaries is exactly what you get when you read the entire thing - albeit in more words.

Oliver Burkeman: Four Thousand Weeks (Hardcover, 2021, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 4 stars

The average human lifespan is absurdly, outrageously, insultingly brief: if you live to 80, you …

Review of 'Four Thousand Weeks' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Nothing extra-ordinary in terms of content, but special when you think of the book as a compilation of useful frameworks to think about time.

Alas, I stumbled upon Four Thousand Weeks at such a point in my life where I’ve already been a productivity addict for so long that it’s impossible for me to make a fresh start. The central theme of the book - that you won’t ever get to do all the things you’ve set out to do so you should consciously choose and be happy about your choice - is such an aphoristic statement that no matter how you spin it, it always feels bland.

Having said that, the self-help ocean that this book is a part of, is filled with heaps of garbage books, so stumbling upon this one is like finding a needle in a haystack. Few ways of thinking about time and choices that …

Jan Gehl: Life between buildings (2006, The Danish Architectural Press) 4 stars

Review of 'Life between buildings' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

One of the principal joys of reading is to discover the magic hidden in the seemingly banal things in life. I would've never cared to think twice about the intricacies of designing buildings and urban spaces, had it not been for this book. This serves as a gentle introduction to the fascinating study of how subtle differences in design of public spaces affect interactions on a much more broader scale.

Review of 'Anxious People' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

There are two kinds of favourite books for me; one where every chapter brings with it a fresh wave of insights about things hitherto unclear for me, and another where I get amazed by the love, understanding and empathy that is on display throughout the book. I guess this is the age-old debate of reading for pleasure and utility, between fiction and non-fiction.

I don't have anything new to add to the conversation, except that there's a place in my heart which longs for warm, fuzzy feelings - emotions that I only get from reading certain kinds of fiction. Zen Pencils is one of them. All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief belong there. This book marks another entry to that club. Such a joy all throughout!

Peter Singer: The Way We Eat (2006, Rodale, Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers) 4 stars

A thought-provoking look at how what we eat profoundly affects all living things--and how we …

Review of 'The Way We Eat' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Ethics is hard.

If I've learnt something all these years, it is this universal maxim. Everybody wishes they'd make ethically sound choices in their lives, but more often than not, ethical choices are in contrast with cost and convenience. Nowhere is this more apparent than the way we consume food.

There are a lot of similarities between food and religion. Both are deeply personal choices which are erroneously thought of as having a clear, set winning answer. Both divide people into disjoint sets where they vehemently try to outdo one another in following "The Right Way". And of course, both are deeply political.

My personal journey in food, as in religion, has been quite tumultuous. Coming from a vegetarian family, I used to feel discomfort in sitting at the same table where somebody was eating meat, used to scoff at the smell of eggs and couldn't go near anything related …