Category Archives: Books

Brand Gardener, The Naked Traveler, Rindu

Ok. For some effectiveness reason, I’m going to review three books in one post this time.

1. Brand Gardener

Brand GardenerA book by Handoko Hendroyono, an advertising practitioner, about how everyone that works with brand need to change their paradigm and attitude to communicate in the world that change even faster than it used to.

Consumers today are well informed. They not easily believe in commercial or falls right away to a bombastic advertising. The pond has changed, so the fish has to adapt and transform to survive. In this book, Handoko is offering one concept to deal with all those changes. He thinks that everybody should be  a brand gardener.

Being a creative storyteller, as he called himself, Handoko share his thoughts through more than 30 stories in the book.

He keeps each of the story short and simple, so it’s easy to comprehend even if you are not in advertising or marketing business.

To be a brand gardener means that you need to really understand what a brand is represents. What is the idea behind it and what is the purpose of the product. Than you could choose the right medium and ways to communicate the brand to the consumer. Creativity is of course needed here. But a passionate heart, a sincere will to share, and the ability to connect rather than just to build awareness is the most important.

The book describes what the world society has change into, specially in its way to communicate. How the information travels, how everything become more personal than ever, and how to understand that creates more challenge yet also more opportunities to grow your brand. How interesting.

2. The Naked Traveler

TNT 4This is the fourth book of The Naked Traveler Series by Trinity. It’s always interesting to read Trinity’s  traveling stories. Not just about some monuments or spot worth visit in a country, but also about the people there, the habit and culture, and some specific experience that you can not find only by browsing about the place (except perhaps you read her blog :p).

In this book, Trinity puts one chapter about Indonesia. Like before, she mentions how beautiful Indonesia is, how many place that you can visit, and how we, as Indonesian, should start with Indonesia when it comes to traveling. This chapter reassures that.

She also shares some tips to travel and shows that what you need to start traveling is a strong will. She was able to backpacking to Europe when she was still a college student, with her own money. So, what are we waiting for? 😀

I don’t travel a lot myself  (I actually never really going anywhere). The entire series of The Naked Traveler encourage me to travel more. Go out there, see the world. Information, inspiration, insights. That’s what this book offers.

3. Rindu
RinduThis novel is about lost and how it could shock someone’s life so greatly it affects all aspects of it. The death of their only son changes everything in Krisna’s and Zahra’s life.

For me it’s a pretty nice novel. I think the writer, Sefryana Khairil, did a good job in describing the pain of loosing someone close to your heart, of missing (rindu) the one who’s gone and the life you have when he still around.

Reading through the pain and the healing process of the characters in this novel, I learn that everyone could have experience this kind of lost at least once in their life. It’s nice to share the feeling and see it from other people eyes. :)

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Sebelas Patriot

It’s Andrea Hirata‘s seventh novel, and his fifth book I read after his famous tetralogy “Laskar Pelangi” (The Rainbow Troops).

Overall, I pretty enjoy reading the tetralogy. The story was set in Belitung, an island in Indonesia. My parents are from Bangka, an island next to Belitung. Both island are in the same province called Bangka-Belitung now, and both island use similar language. That might be one thing that make the book interesting for me. The next book in the series is keep getting better than the earlier. So one day I stumble upon this one, and decided to read it, see if it’s as interesting.

Sebelas Patriot

Well, I have to say that it’s kinda not. Haha.

It’s not all bad. I just don’t get that excited feeling. Maybe because I’m not that into soccer which is what the novel is about. Maybe because the way Andrea tells it. Whatever it might be, I find it kind of boring.

I appreciate what he’s trying to say through this novel though. How soccer could mean a lot to someone. How it was once symbolized a fight against colonialism, and until now could still brought up a patriotic feeling in someone.

As you can see in the title, “Sebelas Patriot” (Eleven Patriots), the novel put the eleven player in a soccer team as a patriot, who is fighting in the name of their country.

Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi dan Kembali

“Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi” (When Mas Gagah’s Gone) was a short story written by Helvy Tiana Rosa. It was first published on 1993 in a magazine named Annida. It’s been published as an anthology by two publishers on 1997 and 2000 before it was published by Asmanadia Publishing House on 2011. This time, the short story combined with another one called “Lelaki Tak Bernama” (A Man with No Name), becoming a novelette. That’s why the anthology then titled “Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi dan Kembali” (When Mas Gagah’s Gone and Return).

There are 14 other short stories in the book. Since all of the stories in the book were published in Annida first, and I use to read the magazine a lot, this is not the first time I read them all. It doesn’t bored me though. I like it then, and I like it now. Every single one of them.

KMGP

Each story inside the book touches me. Some even manage to put some tears in my eyes. The stories are simple, yet has somewhat meaningful message in them. They make me think about life. What it’s all about, what’s really matter.

It’s nice to read those stories again all at once. Reminds me of good values of life in a beautiful way.

I love this one note from Mas Gagah to his sister on her birthday. For me, it’s not only the soul of the novelette, but also the spirit of the entire book.

“…Dan jadilah muslimah sejati (…And be a true muslimah)
yang selalu mengedepankan nurani (who always puts concience first/ listen to her concience)
Agar Allah selalu besertamu (So Allah always be with you)
Ingat Islam itu indah… (Remember that Islam is beatiful…)
Islam itu cinta… (Islam is love…)
Kalau kau tak setuju pada suatu kebaikan, (If you don’t agree in one kindness)
yang mungkin belum kau pahami, (that you might not yet understand)
kau selalu bisa menghargainya…” (you can always appreciate it…)

2

Again, this is a book that tells about dream. After his first novel “5 cm.” that was featuring mountain climbing, this time Donny Dhirgantoro used badminton as the vessel of the story.

The title of the book is “2”, which represent how everything is created two times. First in your imagination and then in reality.

The main character named Gusni Annisa Puspita. Her dream is to become a badminton athlete, win championships and make her parents happy. That is not easy to realized, especially with her condition. A genetic disease make it almost impossible for her to reach her dream but at the same time give her more reason to keep going. This is her fight to win, for herself, her family, and her country.

2

Just like before, Donny shows the love for Indonesia in his novel. Through badminton, a sport that has its own place and history in the heart of Indonesian, he grows the spirit of fighting for your dream, in the name of Indonesia. He shows how sport, in this case badminton, could bring the whole country together. That when an athlete wins, it also means the victory of the country. And Indonesia, should never loses hope of itself.

The story is likable. I like how it describes the struggle of every role in the story. How love gives strength and courage to each and all of the character to face anything they have to face, to never give up, to protect and support people they love, to fulfill their responsibilities and accomplish their missions. As parents to their children, children to their parents, as friends, best friends, sisters, lovers, and of course Indonesian.

I think it could use a good editor though. First, for a better use of punctuation mark. There are also some inconsistency in some facts of the story, like for example about Gusni’s weight that said stays at 125 kg, while at one point of the story were 130 kg. I found few confusing sentences or that could be better rephrased and would rather cut some paragraphs that contains too much of what might be intended to be motivational or inspirational statements.

I found those things pretty annoying, but I’m  glad that I decided to give it a chance and finished the entire novel for it gave me a quick reminder to believe in my dreams and work harder to achieve them.

One quote I love from the novel is:

“Jangan pernah meremehkan kekuatan seorang manusia, karena Tuhan sedikitpun tidak pernah!”

(Do not ever underestimate the power of a human being, because God Himself never does, not even a little)

Steve Jobs

After more than a month, I finally finished reading another book. Yes, it called “Steve Jobs”, an authorized biography of the man himself by Walter Isaacson.

Despite of the length of time I need, I actually glad I get to read it.

It’s really nice to be able to get to know Steve Jobs from different sides other than just someone who found Apple Inc.

The book lets me know that he was just a human being, the one with problems and imperfections, even mistakes that cause some pain in his and other people’s life. He didn’t have the best attitude or personality. He didn’t always make best choices either. But even then, he was still an amazing man whose passion and enthusiasm creates a great contribution and legacy to mankind.

Steve Jobs

Jobs was someone who loves art and technology and know exactly how to combine those two aspects in everything that he created. His ability to focus, his vision, and his attention to details brought him further ahead. He was a genius and his so called reality distortion field, even though in some cases evoke problems, was helping him and his company (Apple and Pixar) to reach most of the impossible.

I read the Indonesian version of the book. I have to say that I don’t enjoy some of the translation. But most of all it’s still a good book. Isaacson manage to cover most part of Jobs live, from his personal journey to his life as a great innovator. What an inspiration. What a lost.

One small-maybe-not-significant thing, how come I don’t found the date Jobs passed away? Well, here goes.. RIP Steven Paul Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians

I spent last week reading the last three books of Percy Jackson & the Olympians pentalogy written by Rick Riordan. I think I read the first two books of the series about one year ago, then somehow I get distracted that I let the third book left unfinished. Now I wonder why, because ones I started reading the third book again, I can’t stop until the last page of fifth.

So, it’s another fantasy novel. I have a thing for fantasy stories. I just love them! In fantasy there just no limits on imagination. Everything could happen, anything could exist, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, just anything a mind could imagine and beyond. I would also like to write a fantasy novel some day.

Back to the series. If “Harry Potter” was describing the world of wizard and witchcraft, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” is a story based on Greek mythology.

As a request from his son Haley, Riordan was telling him a bed time stories based on Greek myths, and when ran out of myths had been asked to create new ones. That was when he created a story of Perseus “Percy” Jackson, a demigod who have to deal with his destiny, which includes fighting with monsters, facing God and Goddess and their father (Kronos, the lord of Titan who they destroyed and planning a comeback with vengeance), and dealing with other mythological creatures.

Even among demigods, Percy is special because he is a child of one of the three big God that had promise not to have another descendant, due to a prophecy about the downfall of the Olympians caused by one of their child.

I like the way Riordan put ADHD and dyslexia as characteristic of demigods and explain how their brain that was programmed to read ancient Greek letters and their battle reflects causes all that.  Demigods have better senses than human, they see things human can’t, they see so much it’s hard for them to concentrate. It creates a different point of view of those conditions. Now kids that diagnose with those (like Riordan’s son at the time), could  see it as a special thing and feel better, if not great, about it.

Riordan knowledge about Greek myths that he gets as a Greek mythology teacher in middle school for many years, combine with his good storytelling ability, produce this interesting story that are not just enjoyable but also add some basic knowledge and curiosity about Greek myths.

These are the complete series of “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” :

1. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
PJ1>> Percy Jackson just found out what he really is: a demigod. This is the first time he knows that Greek mythology is not actually a myth. He goes to Camp Half-Blood where demigods got their trainings to face the monsters and missions they got from time to time. In this book, Percy gets his first mission: To find and return Zeus’ thunderbolt.

 

 

 

 

2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters
>> CPJ2amp Half-Blood is threaten to be taken over by monsters. The magic tree that protected it all this long is poisoned and keeps getting weak. Percy get his next mission to get the one thing that could save everything. He also have to save his best friend Grover, the satyr from being a cyclops’s bride. To get it all done he has to across the sea of monsters.

 

 

 

 

3. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse
PJ3>> Olympian Goddess Artemis is kidnapped. Percy’s best friend Annabeth is also missing. Together with two hunters of Artemis, Grover, and a new found demigod Bianca, he’s on a quest to save both of them. They fought and beat a Titan named Atlas. Then Percy find out a fact about Bianca’s and her brother Nico’s father, that would make a huge change on things.

 

 

 

4. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth
PJ4>> Kronos is getting stronger. The war between the olympians and the titans is getting closer. Luke, one of the demigods that now is serving Kronos is planning to lead his army, that consist of monsters and demigods, to attack the Camp Half-Blood. To avoid the magic that protects the camp borders, Luke will going through a labyrinth made long time ago by Daedalus. This labyrinth has entrances everywhere that you can travel fast if you know the way, but it also has so many traps, monsters, dead ends, and illusions. The mission is to find Daedalus and stop Luke from using the labyrinth, even though it means they have to deal with the dangerous of the labyrinth.

 

 

5. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Last Olympian
PJ5>> Kronos and his army are attacking Olympus, while the Gods and Goddess are busy to fight Typhon, monster sent by Kronos to make them leave Olympus unguarded. Percy, the rest of the demigods and other creatures that’s on the Olympians side are fighting with all their power to protect Olympus. The prophecy becoming a reality. Heroes dies. Whole citizens of New York City puts to sleep. Olympus is falling apart.

My Life As: Actor

This book is the third book from the “My Life As” series written by Haqi Achmad.

After “My Life As: Video Music Director” and “My Life As: Film Director”, Haqi interviewed four Indonesian bright young actors and wrote their stories in this book.

In “My Life As: Actor”,  Dimas Anggara, Emir Mahira, Oka Antara, and Reza Rahadian, shared their experiences and point of views about what being an actor is about.

I think it is a good book for they whom interested to become an actor, looking for some insights about the profession or want to have a glimpse on the life of an actor (especially the ones mentioned in the book).

It’s not a deep or detailed book about acting or being an actor, but it has some interesting hint and tips of how someone can go from a person who always been rejected in acting to a famous actor that wins awards in his career.

From the journey of these four actors, you will see how being an actor is not simply relying on good looks, how sensitivity and wide insights is needed in acting, how you need to keep learning and working hard to stay and shine in the industry.

Like in most of other jobs, passion, motivation, and attitude is important in this profession. You need to be able to work in a team and build a good communication and relationship with other actors and the entire crews in any projects you are in. Being humble is a must. That way you can accept criticism well, learning from anyone anywhere, and never stop developing yourself, as an actor and as a human being.

The nice colorful layout is easy on the eye. And I think I should mention that there are some cool pictures of the handsome actors in the book (totally easy on the eye ;D). There are also some tips from Monty Tiwa (a movie director) and two casting directors about being an actor.

I enjoy reading this book and looking forward for the next book of the series: “My Life As: Writer”. :)

Life Without Limits

Inspirational is a good word to describe this book. Though it might be not enough word. Because it needs more than words to describe a Nick Vujicic, a man who goes from no limbs to no limits (as mentioned in his website).

Nick was born with a condition called phocomelia, which left him with no limbs on both hands and legs. Just by seeing him, you will know that life must be hard for him. He must be facing so many difficulties and limitation in his life. So how could he be so happy? How could he love this life so much?

That is actually what Nick tries to tell through the book. If he could be happy with his life, with the way he is, than everybody can too. And he share the how in the book.

Every single soul in this world were created with their own purpose. That’s the first point of this book. God created each of us with a certain details and conditions that will fit perfectly with what we were created for. God has a perfect plan for all of us. There’s no mistake or accident. It’s all meant to be. And it’s all meant to be good.

Realizing that, Nick manage to get out from his struggle in his younger age. He stop being depressed and start looking for the purpose of his life.

In his journey, he not just found, but also accept and love himself. He grows a lot of faith, he becomes full of hopes, and passionate in changing not only his own life but also lives of others.

By sharing his journey, and some amazing stories from amazing people, Nick inspire other people to believe. In themselves, in God and all the limitless possibilities that anyone could achieve in life.

Some of what he wrote in this book might not be a new thing. But “hearing” it from Nick makes me see it in a different way. It makes me feel it more, take it deeper in my heart and mind.

Nick reminds me to be thankful for what I have instead of being overly sad about what I don’t have. That behind every “limit” there are abilities. Behind every hardship there are strength and greatness that are waiting to be found. That there are beautiful life waiting for you if you never lose hopes and keep trying. That there’s always a way and the only thing that limit you is yourself and your own way of thinking.

You are special. Your life is a gift from God. It means something not just for yourself but also to the world, to the life of other people. God loves you and you should love yourself too.

I think everyone that is having a hard time right now, that is unhappy, desperate, feeling angry, even hate their lives should read this book. Also everyone that think that their lives are useless, pointless, or just wasting it out of ignorance and laziness. Or simply just everyone.

Here are some videos of Nick. See for yourself how wonderful he is. :)

Waktu Aku Sama Mika

It did not take a long time for me to read this book. It’s a small 145 pages book with a very simple words used to form the story in it. But in that short time of reading, between those simple words, it delivers nicely a message about one of the most important aspects in life: love.

In form of a diary, the writer, Indi, tells a story about her life when she was still in high school. Yes, it based on true story.

A 15 year old Indi was struggling with her scoliosis condition. It’s not easy to have friends in such condition.  Indi was growing to be a quiet, shy, lack of confident girl.

Then she met Mika, a 22 year old young man. He was fun, kind, and highly confident. He was having AIDS.

Waktu Aku Sama Mika

Through her diary, that she wrote two years after he passed away, Indi tells us about how Mika was, how he had changed her life, and how she was proud to have him as her boyfriend. Her own personal hero.

One thing that I think amazing about Mika is his unconditional love towards Indi. Towards life.

Most people in his condition might feel sad, depressed, maybe even think that life is unfair and death would be better for them. But Mika is so optimistic and full of love. He once said to Indi that she shouldn’t feel like the person with the most pain. Because then, she would not have courage to help other people.

The book reminds me to love sincerely. To be grateful about life. To appreciate what you have. To share kindness no matter what condition you are in. To give people chances to show who they really is.

The book is small and simple. A nice light reading that add some sprinkle of meaning to your daily life.

Dream Catcher

Another book review. Haha.. I don’t know how long it’s gonna last, but I think while I still feel like it I will keep writing a review on every book I finished reading. It helps me understand the book better anyway. And hopefully, helps other people to get the big picture of the book, inspire them to read more, write a review, or even write a book too. 😀

“Dream Catcher” is a book written by Alanda Kariza, a 21 year old college student (by the time this book is published, on 2012).

Alanda believes that dream is something that you got to have in life. For it will gives you a purpose, a direction to who you want to be or what you want to do with your live. Your dream will guide you to the life you want to live in.

Based on her own experience, Alanda shares what she knows about dream, from inventing your dream, changing your mindset about what you think stopping you from achieving your dream, designing the blueprint (plans and visualizations) of your dream, making your dream come true, and finally, living your dream.

DreamCatcher

Dreams are invented. You should find out what you want to do. Your dream could come from something you love, a problem you want to solve, things you want to change, or something you want to share with others.

When you found your dream, it’s time to make it come true. First by believing that you can achieve any dream, then making some plans to really reach it.

To reach your dream is the hardest part. You need the right attitude and a strong determination. It needs focus, persistency, and perseverance. You have to find even create opportunities, set your priorities, open your eyes and mind to new insights and possibilities. Along the way, you should never forget to be yourself and make sure that your doing it for the right reason.

Even when you already living your dream, you still have to maintain your life quality. You should keep learning and improving yourself. Remember to share and improve others too. You should also renew your dreams. That way you will keep growing as a human being. Be your better self and give more meaning to your life and the live of other people.

Last but not least, be happy. In a way to make your dreams come true, when you’re living your dream, or when you’re creating new dreams. Try your best but enjoy what you do. Aim high but make peace with every hardship or failure.

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Dream Catcher page lay out

I think those are some things that I got from reading the book. Of course there are a lot more. You got to read it yourself to get them. 😀

“Dream Catcher” has a cool lay out design that make reading it more fun. Alanda also make it feels like a sharing to a friend. Besides her own experience, she also put other successful young profile that had accomplish some of their dreams and in a way to achieve other dreams in their life. There are also some simple worksheet in the book that related with the topic in that chapter.

Alanda is an active young woman. With her friends, she establish a community for young people The Cure for Tomorrow (2006) and Indonesian Youth Conference. She was chosen to represent Indonesia in some international forum like Global Changemakers and One Young World. She received some awards one of them as one of the most influential woman in Indonesia (Marketeers, 2011). She writes in various media, and “Dream Catcher” is her fourth book.

We can also be like her. Catch our own dreams and create any kind of life we want.