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Charles Assisi
Articles by Charles Assisi

Know reservations: It’s okay to not have the right answer, says Charles Assisi

Check out a tale about Nobel laureate Max Planck and his driver, that offers lessons on faking smarts and admitting ignorance, in this week’s Life Hacks.

In the TV series The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper is a know-it-all physicist. When he doesn’t have the right answer, he’s rarely able to admit it. Instead, his face twitches, he mumbles and finds himself befuddled. Saying ‘I don’t know’ takes courage.
Updated on Mar 02, 2024 05:38 PM IST

The inevitable woes of Vijay Shekhar Sharma

If Sharma had his way, this isn’t how things would have gone. But the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had enough and there was only so much it was willing to tolerate. And Sharma had pushed the boundaries so far such that it could cripple India’s financial ecosystem

Updated on Mar 02, 2024 08:04 AM IST

What is it that drives us to create: Charles Assisi asks, in Life Hacks

Joy, self-discovery, exploration are obvious answers. In a world of readymade oblivion, endless ease, the creative act is also a necessary gesture of defiance.

Graffiti at the open-air East Side Gallery in Berlin. It takes courage, and a commitment to deeper truths, to step away from our consumption economy and say: there is more. (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Feb 17, 2024 04:21 PM IST

Best book recommendations, and Why humans score over ChatGPT

There were many overlaps as well. Ram Chandra Guha’s India after Gandhi made it to all the lists along with P Sainath’s Everybody loves a good drought and Amartya Sen’s “The argumentative Indian”. There was a surprise as well—Suketu Mehta’s “This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto” that ChatGPT put out

Best book recommendations, and Why humans score over ChatGPT
Updated on Feb 10, 2024 07:34 AM IST

Best book recommendations; and why humans score over ChatGPT

Ram Chandra Guha’s India after Gandhi made it to all the lists along with P Sainath’s Everybody Loves a Good Drought

Author Sukety Mehta’s acclaimed book, This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto. (Amazon)
Published on Feb 09, 2024 05:49 PM IST

Inside job: Charles Assisi offers tips on how to bid on a better you

It can help to think of oneself as an investment being vetted by a PE firm, he says. Just don’t forget to add well-being and happiness to the profit metrics too

Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt; 1909. When weighing losses and profits and charting a path forward, be sure to account for rest, creativity and for simply being human. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Feb 03, 2024 03:23 PM IST

The PayTM story is still unfinished business

From a business perspective, “what defensible moat did PayTM build over the last few years?” asks Krishna Jha, an investor and technology entrepreneur. By way of examples, Naykaa caught the imagination of young people looking for beauty products

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chairman of One97 Communications Ltd., operator of Paytm, in Noida, India, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Paytm plans to revamp its online wealth management services and hire more than 50,000 salespeople to get more merchants on its network, aiming to hit profitability sooner than targeted. Photographer: Ruhani Kaur/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
Updated on Feb 03, 2024 08:40 AM IST

In ‘No’ man’s land, there’s time to rest: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

In our culture of glorified busyness, saying no can feel like a personal affront, or failure. Learn the skill anyway. You deserve the benefits of it.

Starlight, in The Boys, is a fictional superhero, and even she has trouble saying no. A key battle she fights, early on, is over the absurd skimpiness of her costume. A lot changes, including the costume, once she finds her voice in the plot.
Updated on Jan 20, 2024 11:07 PM IST

On the Internet of Things, only an iota of progress

The Internet of Things (IoT) has not lived up to its hype, according to a technology veteran. While IoT devices exist, they lack interoperability, making it difficult for them to work together. However, there are still opportunities for IoT in sectors such as agriculture, where smart sensors and artificial intelligence can improve efficiency and productivity.

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Updated on Jan 20, 2024 08:34 AM IST

Fake news, AI, and the worries ahead

Jency Jacob, Managing Editor of BoomLive and his team work to investigate fake news that spreads via the internet and social media

Artificial Intelligence
Updated on Jan 14, 2024 05:26 PM IST

First orient, then express: Charles Assisi, on the ethics of everyday choices

We pay scant attention to our many, little daily decisions, yet they shape our lives, our world. Start with the awareness that each choice has a moral dimension

Any major turning point is made up of scores of littler ones. A still from Oppenheimer (2023), a story of science and war; and of human frailty, vanity and regret.
Updated on Jan 06, 2024 07:29 PM IST

The merits of a year-end personal audit: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Recency bias can make it easy to lose sight of small achievements, new passions and little victories. But they all build up to bigger change.

Wall-E, the last robot on Earth, remains curious and excited to learn new things. An audit can serve as a reminder, of the energy one has invested in one’s goals through the year.
Updated on Dec 16, 2023 07:21 PM IST

Stop. Don’t let a bad start ruin your day: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Life doesn’t move in straight lines; allow for each day to be a series of highs and lows. Break the day into chunks, to ride these waves with grace.

There’s a f**k-up in the title, and several through the show. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team are somewhat-struggling spies, in the series FUBAR (2023 -), but they probably break their day into chunks, because they never let a disaster get them down.
Updated on Dec 02, 2023 05:48 PM IST

Lights will guide you home: Charles Assisi on the spirit of Diwali

It’s ironic that smog now defines a festival of light over darkness. Fireworks, after all, are only a few centuries old, while Diwali goes back millennia.

Woman with the Lamp / Glow of Hope by SL Haldankar; watercolour, 1945-46. Pause, hold the light up to the self, reflect on your world: that has always been the true message of Diwali.
Updated on Nov 11, 2023 08:18 PM IST

Life Hacks: Far from doing less, Gen-Z is demanding more, says Charles Assisi

There is a lack of nuance in the discussions underway, Assisi says. Study the data and one finds a generation with focus, searching for meaning and balance.

A Reclining Youth, attributed to 17th-century artist Muhammad Qasim of Safavid Isfahan in Iran. Since at least the time of the 5th-century-CE philosopher Socrates, elders have written, rhymed and sung of their disappointment in ‘lazy’ young people. (Christie’s)
Updated on Oct 21, 2023 07:51 PM IST

Surround sound: Online time is shaping us in new ways, says Charles Assisi

Those we spend time with now include attention-hungry algorithms. This has a corrosive impact. Among the fallouts: a habit called continuous partial attention.

Watch out!: Smartphone addiction as depicted in the animated music video by Steve Cutts, for Moby and Void Pacific Choir’s 2016 song, Are You Lost In The World Like Me?
Updated on Sep 30, 2023 03:16 PM IST

Writers’ bloc: Testing AI’s limits, by Charles Assisi

The new programs may learn faster and better than we expected, but good prose cannot be crafted by checking off boxes, Assisi says. In this week’s Life Hacks.

The Library of Trinity College, Dublin. It takes ideas, conviction – and, of course, rare skill – to craft a story in such a way that it turns into an heirloom. (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Sep 16, 2023 09:21 PM IST
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Watching: Google’s first monopoly trial in USA

The first monopoly trial of the internet era begins next week as US courts decide whether to break up Google's parent company, Alphabet. The trial will determine if the company is too big and engaged in unfair trade practices. The outcome will have implications for other technology giants and governments worldwide, including the EU and India, which are implementing legislation to regulate technology companies. India is also supporting the Beckn Protocol, a language that allows devices and services to exchange information, preventing monopolies from forming. There is divided public opinion in the US on whether Google should be broken up, with some believing it has become too big for American interests.

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Updated on Sep 09, 2023 12:29 AM IST

Reassessing chore values: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

There is no way to ‘maximise efficiency’ when running a home. Unpredictability must be embraced. I recently experienced the crushing loss of control this causes

Even today, even among those of us who ‘do our part’, there is no real sense of this world. Above, A Woman Cleaning Fish, by Dutch artist Hercules Sanders; 1647. Only a man who had never touched a raw fish would have her doing this, in that dress, with those sleeves. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Aug 26, 2023 05:51 PM IST

Free time? Do some second guessing, says Charles Assisi

Vacant hours must be protected, but should they also be scheduled and planned? Try going with the flow, as we all once did, before the gadgets, apps and alerts.

Don’t be a Doc Ock, twisting yourself into odd shapes as you attempt to over-achieve.
Updated on Aug 12, 2023 06:27 PM IST

Why going uphill takes you further: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

The aim in taking on a challenge is not just to surmount it, but to learn what one is capable of. Doing this in youth lets one acquire skills that can be vital.

Record-setter Taylor Swift, 33, on her Eras Tour. Success, in all its forms, is defined by the ability to set new limits for the self. (Getty Images)
Updated on Jul 29, 2023 04:47 PM IST

Life Hacks: Is your calendar working for you...

...or is it the other way around? An optimal life is ruled by a schedule, we’re told. But life hacks began as an invitation to get creative, says Charles Assisi

A still from the series Ed, Edd n Eddy. Productivity guru David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, now has a book called Getting Things Done for Teens. Whatever happened to embracing unstructured time and learning to use it creatively, or simply goofing off?
Updated on Jul 19, 2023 12:17 PM IST

Evolution of an OTP nation

While the technology has its flaws, telecom companies that deliver these OTPs are at work to upgrade all networks across India to 5G

Work is in progress to create the blueprints for a 6G world. (Representational image.)
Updated on Jul 08, 2023 12:03 PM IST

An oracle is only as good as the question: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

The tricks to getting good advice could also help you make better decisions. Read on for links between semantics, maths and intuition.

Alex Honnold in the documentary film Free Solo (2018). Not every decision is life-and-death, not every leap can be precisely calculated. This is where intuition can play a role.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 04:59 PM IST

Hero material: Role models are being reimagined, says Charles Assisi

The idea of masculinity is getting an update to reflect the aspirations of Gen-Z males. Our roles, our goals are changing, and so are the people we look up to

In the 2021 retelling of West Side Story (left), the protagonist Tony is a sensitive and vulnerable young man as compared to his macho counterpart in the 1961 version.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 10:39 PM IST

Putting the little things in their place: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Even when we know we’re doing it, we can’t seem to peel away from the trivial, to focus on what is vital. I’m now trying a new way out, Assisi says.

Reams have been written about the inexplicable hold that triviality seems to exert on humans; charts have been drawn to represent the urgency of the matter. Above, books by Tom DeMarco, Cyril Parkinson, and Rolf Dobelli; and the Time-Life Grid by Tim Urban.
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 01:03 PM IST

Finding peace in a whisper campaign: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

ASMR videos have gone beyond soft sounds to include roleplay, storytelling. I’m intrigued by the comfort and sense of community they foster among young people.

(From left) Anil Cakmak is an ASMR barber. Gibi talks of “nothing important enough to stay awake for”… “I do love looking at the moon”.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 11:11 PM IST

Can we resist the allure of liquid modernity, asks Charles Assisi

Humans have gone from being pilgrims in search of meaning to tourists in search of excitement. It is time to find a way back, a way to add depth to our days.

Today’s young Indians have known no world except one of ceaseless stimulus. Can they reclaim their focus amid it? The answer to that will determine our collective future. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Aug 04, 2023 09:19 PM IST

First Principles | Without building hardware, India’s tech dreams are just that

To future-proof India’s software technology prowess, why isn’t India thinking as a “hardware product nation” as well?

it’s clear that the Make-in-India narrative has much ground to cover, replete with fractured attempts to get it going. (AP)
Published on Apr 28, 2023 04:17 PM IST

Be India, by design

Design must be indigenous. It must be developed for local conditions. But it takes time to understand and appreciate good design

But it takes time to understand and appreciate good design, says Prof Nadkarni. “This is like learning music, or any other form of art, riaz in the only way to master the skills. There are no short cuts.” (SHUTTERSTOCK)
Updated on Apr 22, 2023 03:37 PM IST
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