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HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

This week’s good reads include a book that looks at why smart people make dumb mistakes, a debut novel, and the transcreation of a Mughal cookbook

books Updated: May 11, 2019 11:37 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Shah Jahan,cookbook,intelligence
A look at why even very intelligent people make terrible mistakes, a novel that follows three lives, and a wonderful transcreation of a Mughal cookbook - all that on our list of good reads this week.(HT Team)


337pp Rs 499; Hachette

There are certain types of mistakes you are more likely to make if you’ve got a high IQ. This is the ‘intelligence trap’, a revelatory idea that will change how we work, learn and think.

People with high IQs are more likely to miss mortgage payments, reach their credit limit and face bankruptcy. Experts make the wrong call again and again; world leaders fail to think ahead; geniuses are often wildly irrational. If history teaches us anything, it’s that even the brightest minds and most talented organizations can backfire – from Thomas Edison’s worst ideas to failures at NASA, Nokia, the FBI and the English football team.

But there are simple ways to avoid the intelligence trap. As David Robson shows in this inspiring work, packed with historical case studies and entertaining stories, each of us can escape it, avoid mistakes, protect ourselves from misinformation and fake news, and make better, wiser decisions.*


258pp, Rs 350; Roli Books

Destiny’s Flowers ushers us through the journeys of Urmilla, Pema and Atish, who unwittingly find their destinies intertwined. Urmilla is an art restorer whose mission to revive priceless artworks in the Fort of Joji is overturned by a brutal and puzzling midnight assault. To unravel the mystery and conquer the paralytic fear that ensues she embarks on a spiritual voyage. Under the garb and demeanour of a Buddhist nun, Pema conceals a past that forces her to question her ethics as she wrestles with the burden of her deeds. Atish is the indulged hero of a slum, who achieves the ‘unattainable’ but cannot hold on to his good fortune. He must plunge into troubled waters, face the consequences of his cowardly actions to prove himself. As the characters are thrust in each others’ paths a story full of surprises unfolds. Frailty and courage, generosity and meanness, grace and effrontery appear in the most unexpected of places.

We savour three unique perspectives, as the novel take us from a fairytale fort in a financial mess to a class clash in a Bengali household; from the soothing environs of Buddhist monasteries to the cacophony of the overpopulated slums.

Provocative, playful, romantic and profound, Destiny’s Flowers ventures into the turbulent heart of human emotion answering questions every anxious modern mind asks. *


258pp, Rs 350; Roli Books

The Mughal Feast is a delightful transcreation of the original handwritten Persian recipe book Nuskha-e-Shahjahani from the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s time. A culinary journey into the Mughal imperial kitchen, where food was cooked with just the right amount of spices to enhance the base flavours of the dishes, this book is divided into seven sections: Naan, Aash, Qalia and Do-piyazah, Bharta, Zeer Biryan and Pulao, Kabab, and Shiriniha. It contains a plethora of recipes, ranging from the familiar shami kabab and baqlawa to the more exotic amba pulao (tangy mango lamb rice) and indersa (sweet, deep-fried rice flour balls). The book also provides helpful tips for cooking, including methods to clean fish and soften bones, throwing light on the creativity of the Mughal cooks.

Watch: More recommendations on Bookstack

Complementing the mouth-watering dishes Salma Husain’s informative introduction offers an intriguing glimpse into the royal lifestyle of one of India’s greatest empires. This book effortlessly recaptures the nostalgia of Mughal times while remaining a practical guide for the modern reader.*

*All copy from book flap

First Published: May 10, 2019 16:56 IST