Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kenny Shopsin - Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin.

Dry sarcasm with a larger-than-life attitude, Kenny Shopsin's entire life and character in between two hard covers. It doesn't just sell you the shop (no matter how hard he tries not to) and the dishes sold in the shop, it sells you his philosophy - of staying small and accountable to his passion and dreams, not fame and fortune.

I'm amazed with the neverending list of weird sounding yummies generated from the book, which is really a reflection of the menu. I'm quite doubtful with some food combination stated but then again, I don't think Shopsin would care for anyone's doubt.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading this book and the first thing in the menu that I'm gonna try making? Corn Chowder. Hmm... What better way to start the New Year than experimenting with some food stuff and friends ;)

Shopsin is a small and personal restaurant on Essex Street, New York. You can find a similar set up in Malaysia at Checkers (Damansara Heights). Great place for deep porcine affection - ribs and all - minus the overwhelming food list and attitude.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

J.W von Goethe - The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Such passion locked in such compact epistolary novel. Goethe is a true romantic. He is gifted with a cunning ability to draw forth Werther's doomed passion from intricate poetic expressions to crisp punchy terseness. Dislocating himself from his romantic counterparts, Goethe seemed to have written to prove to his contemporaries that he can beg to differ in the zeitgeist where romance flourished in everything possible.

Every page is like a journey. It narrates Werther's mood beautifully - on his perspective, his predicament and how dangerous his desires can be. As much as I sympathize with his sorrows and long to set him free from desolation, I too, found myself getting consumed in anger and impatience for his overtly romantic notions. The sorrows of young Werther was laced with the early conception of Faust, our dear Faust, but in a complete paradox. Werther threw himself into the depths of darkness, burned in passion but one could still emphatize with his fate. While Faust who seemed to have inherited Werther's haughtiness and intelligence, amplified them to mock Fate and religion. Although both protagonists were wasted away because of their longing for the forbidden, they still maintain individual views on self-control and destiny on very different angles.

Goethe's flexibility is by no means docile because one could read his work and immediately identify its proprietor. And my admiration towards Goethe grows because he is a romantic, a poet, a dramatist. He's able to draw emotions from me and weave them into his narration creating a space where reality melds beautifully into fiction. I am definitely a romantic convert.

Look for it here!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Robin Sharma - The Greatness Guide.

Business strategies this is not. I think some of the aspects of great leadership skills really popped in this one, especially when it comes to self-leadership. Hey, when you can't get a hold of yourself, you can't get a hold of anyone, right? Right.

I was sent to the seminar a couple of weeks ago and I had the impression that it was one which talks about driving profits up the roof, which... is not. But I have to admit I breezed in without the slightest inkling of Robin Sharma except he's a writer with a pretty sizeable promotional budget. And I was nicely surprised because he talks about being a great person. And when you become a great person and you deal with issues in the bud, everything will just fall into place, including those dark clouds of impossibilities and frustrations at your work place. His messages are grounded on pure simple insights of living, with some relevance to being a leader in a professional environment. I'm glad I didn't take down notes because he was pretty much piping snippets from his book (wouldn't want to waste more paper than I should).

The book was simple (but not written in simplicity) and makes a very easy read. 101 ideas on how to improve your life - so he's talking about balance. Between work and play, relationships and personal space, materialism and self-actualization. I must admit though, after awhile, his optimism and enthusiasm is beginning to irk me. Like how can anyone be so optimistic 101% on every single page?! Well, trust Robin, he can. So I'd recommend this book to anyone who needs an uplifting moment or looks for simple strategies to make the most out of their life (who said anything about being easy?).

In a nutshell. I get him. I really do. But, I don't get get him, get it? I'm not feeling it :/

Look for it here!

Friday, May 29, 2009

First borrower :)

Ali G. Copywriter. Design appreciator. Indie lover. Dentsu-ian. Ex-ducks owner.

Taken two books in their best condition (no bone creases, no dog ears): Problem solving 101 by Ken Watanabe and The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. Good choice :) Returning on the 29th of June.

In exchange, Ali traded 'Forgetting Things by Sigmund 'Dream man' Freud' with me although it was under no obligation at all. 10-point size 55 pages, should be okay.

Was just about to wonder if this works. But so far, I did have another request for Ken Watanabe's book. Anyway, we'll see. Let's all read more and make this world a better place.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sparks' Open Library Project.

As Sparks' initiative to promote sustainability (creatively), I've decided to open my personal library of reads.

How it works:

You'll find different genres of books that may be of interest to you (browse catalogue at the side bar). Some of these books are my precious keepsake (so please take good care of them), some are brilliant, some were presents, some were donated and etc. But whatever it is, feel free to let me know if you want to borrow any of them. Just email me and tell me which title(s) and we'll figure a way to get them to you. My apologies but I think at this moment, this project may be only relevant to those residing in Klang Valley (Malaysia). If it grows (somehow), we'll figure ways to improve the 'system'.
But please please please do NOT crease the books. Thanks.

I think the question on everyone's mind will be copyright issue? Hmm. While I don't think I've violated anything (would lending a book to a friend be considered as copyright violation? Or would this be considered as illegal distribution?), if at all, I think it helps people to make wiser purchase. If they really enjoyed something, I'm sure they'll purchase it to keep. I'd rather think this as promoting 'efficient consumption'. Purchase only when you absolutely (friggin') got to have it. So, stop buying and start investing :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


1. Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug


1. Awakened Qin’s Terra-Cotta Army
2. A Kitchen Safari (Stories & Recipes from the African Wilderness) – CC Africa
3. Cuba – DK
4. Cuba – Lonely Planet
5. Culture Shock Cambodia
6. Culture Shock Malaysia
7. Dubai – Lonely Planet
8. Faster, They’re Gaining – Peter Biddlecombe
9. France - Lonely Planet
10. Germany – Lonely Planet
11. Hawaii (From $80 a Day) – Frommer’s
12. Italy – MTV Guide
13. Japan (A Pictorial Portrait)
14. Japan – Lonely Planet
15. Kenya – Rough Guide
16. Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei – Lonely Planet
17. Middle of Nowhere – Lonely Planet
18. New Zealand – Lonely Planet
19. Panmunjom (Facts About the Korean DMZ) – Wayne A. Kirkbride
20. Rome
21. Silent Night
22. Simple French (Language Book)
23. Tokyo (A Certain Style)
24. Tokyo Timeout Shortlist
25. Turkey
26. Vienna – Lonely Planet
27. Vietnam – Lonely Planet
28. Where on Earth Am I? – Jug Suraiya
29. 1000 Places to See Before You Die – Patricia Schultz

Research & Psychology

  1. Counting Sheep – Paul Martin
  2. Drive - Daniel H. Pink
  3. How Would You Move Mount Fuji – William Poundstone
  4. How to Have a Beautiful Mind – Edward de Bono
  5. Lateral Thinking – Edward de Bono
  6. Market Research (9th Edition) – Aaker, Kumar and Day
  7. Problem Solving 101: The Simple Book for Smart People – Ken Watanabe
  8. Psychology (The Science of Mind and Behavior)
  9. Teaching Thinking – Edward de Bono
  10. The Invisible Gorilla – Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
  11. The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
  12. The Social Animal - David Brooks
  13. Who Moved My Cheese – Dr. Spencer Johnson

Sociology & History

1. All About Love – Bell Hooks
2. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
3. Auschwitz – Laurence Rees
4. Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
5. Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J Durner
6. Future Fastforward – Matthias Chang
7. High Adventure: The Story of the National Geographic Society
8. Killing Monsters (Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes & Make Believe Violence) – Gerard Jones
9. Love Letters of Great Men – Various
10. No Logo – Naomi Klein
11. Origin of Everyday Things
12. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
13. Microtrends – Mark J. Penn
14. Perspective in Sociology (3rd Edition)
15. Schindler’s List – Thomas Keneally
16. Social Ethics – Mappers, Zambaty
17. Sociolinguistics – Peter Trudgill
18. Tales by Japanese Soldiers – Kazuo Tamayama & John Nunneley
19. The Book of Lists – David Wallechinsky & Amy Wallace
20. The End of Faith – Sam Harris
21. The Hulton Getty Picture Collection (1920s) – Nick Yapp
22. The Hulton Getty Picture Collection (1950s) – Nick Yapp
23. The Monkey & The Dragon – Linda Jaivin
24. The Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
25. The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwartz
26. The Penguin Book of Twentieth Century Speeches
27. The Private Lives of Roman Emperors – Anthony Blond
28. The Story of Philosophy (From Antiquity to the Present)
29. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
30. Vatican
31. What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell


1. Mental Fight – Ben Okri
2. The Essential Neruda – Pablo Neruda


1. Images of Elvis – Marie Clayton
2. The Encyclopedia of Music
3. Twelve Bar Blues – Patrick Neate


1. A Guide to Acupuncture – Peter Firebrace & Sandra Hill
2. Chinese Medicines – Wong Kiew Kit


1. An Illustrated Cycle of Chinese Festivities – C.S. Wong

2. Culture Shock Malaysia

3. Insider’s KL – Lam Seng Fatt

4. Malaysia at Random

5. Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei – Lonely Planet

6. Malaysian Human Rights Report

7. The Budget: How The Malaysian Government Is Spending OUR Money – Teh Chi-Chang

8. Tipping Points (Viewpoints on the Reason for & Impact of the March 8 Election Earthquake) – The Edge

9. The Encyclopedia of Malaysia 4: Early History


  1. Angels In Our Midst – Various
  2. Boo - the life of the world's cutest dog - J. H. Lee
  3. Sudoku – Alan W.S. Tan
  4. The Mensa Puzzle Book
  5. The Big Book of TopGear

日本語 and Other Languages

1. ハンバーグ

2. クマゴヨミ (第四)

3. 星の王子さま

4. 大切な人

5. 森のこえ

6. Good Tea Time Book (楽しいチータイムブック)

7. 私のクロセットから

8. ブラウンダイアリ 

9. ブラウンダイアリ(ゴルデン)

10. かさじそう

11. 靴下にゃんこ

12. 窓ぎわのトットちゃん (Japanese & English)

13. Faust – J.W.v. Goethe (German)

14. Le Petit Prince (French & Japanese)

15. Petits Chefs en Cuisine (プチシェフのためのフレンチレシピ)(French & Japanese)

16. The Essential Neruda – Pablo Neruda (Spanish)

17. The Seven Brothers & The Big Dipper (Korean)


1. Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones
2. Lord of The Rings 1: The Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien
3. Lord of The Rings 3: The Two Towers – JRR Tolkien
4. Lord of The Rings 3: The Return of the King – JRR Tolkien
5. Harry Potter 1: The Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling
6. Harry Potter 2: The Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
7. Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
8. Harry Potter 4: The Globlet of Fire – JK Rowling
9. Harry Potter 5: The Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling
10. Harry Potter 6: The Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling
11. Harry Potter 7: The Deadly Hallows – JK Rowling
12. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
13. The Chronicles of Narnia 1: The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
14. The Chronicles of Narnia 2: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
15. The Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Horse & His Boy – C.S. Lewis
16. The Chronicles of Narnia 4: Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
17. The Chronicles of Narnia 5: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis

Life changing

Environmental & Sustainable Living

1. Go Green (How to Bukd an Earth Friendly Community) – Nancy H. Taylor
2. Stirring it Up (How to Make Money & Save the World) – Gary Hirshberg

Dummies’ Guide

1. Auto Repair
2. Facebook API
3. Strategic Planning

Contemporary Literature (Fiction & Autobiography)

1. A Child Called It – Dave Pelzer
2. A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius – David Eggers
3. Angels & Demons – Dan Brown
4. Beatrice and Virgil – Yann Martel
5. Danger – Josephine Hart
6. Equus – Peter Shaffer
7. East, West – Salman Rushdie
8. Ignorance – Milan Kundera
9. I’m Not Sick, Just Abit Unwell – Yvonne Foong
10. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
11. Man & Boy – Tony Parsons
12. Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
13. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
14. Sam The Cat – Matthew Klam
15. Songs of Enchantment – Ben Okri
16. Southern Mail & Night Flight – Antoine de Saint Exupery
17. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
18. The Autograph Man – Zadie Smith
19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
20. The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
21. The Lost Boy – Dave Pelzer
22. The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
23. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
24. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
25. Veronika decides to die - Paulo Coelho
26. Vox – Nicholson Baker
27. Wind, Sand & Stars – Antoine de Saint Exupery


1. A Kitchen Safari (Stories & Recipes from the African Wilderness) – CC Africa
2. Cook with Jamie – Jamie Oliver
3. Eat Me. The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin - Kenny Shopsin
4. Good Tea Time Book (楽しいチータイムブック)
5. Jamie At Home – Jamie Oliver
6. Jamie’s Dinners – Jamie Oliver
7. Jamie Does… – Jamie Oliver
8. Japanese Family Style Recipes
9. Petits Chefs en Cuisine (プチシェフのためのフレンチレシピ)
10. Smoothies – Love Food

Classic Literature (English & Foreign Language)

1. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
2. Ben Hur – Lew Wallace
3. Faust – J.W.v Goethe
4. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
5. Selected Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
6. The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
7. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Happy Prince& Other Stories – Oscar Wilde
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
10. The Sorrows of Young Werther – J.W.v. Goethe

Life changing

Christianity (Theology, Biography, Non-fiction & Fiction)

1. A Charmed Life – Francis Bridger
2. Mister God, This is Anna – Fynn
3. Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
4. Boundaries in Dating – Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
5. Good Morning, Holy Spirit – Benny Hinn
6. Lead Like Jesus – Blanchard & Hodges
7. Paul, A Novel – Walter Jr. Wangerin
8. Searching for God Knows What – Donald Miller
9. The Cloud of Unknowing & Other Works – Various
10. The Fragrance of Beauty – Joyce Landorf
11. The 4th Dimension 1 & 2 – Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho & R. Whitney Manzanol
12. The Heavenly Man – Brother Yun & Paul Hathaway
13. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A. Kempis
14. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
15. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller

Life changing


  1. And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street - Dr. Seuss
  2. A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
  3. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  4. Asterix and then Normans – René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
  5. Boy & Going Solo – Roald Dahl
  6. Boys & Girls (A Ladybird Book of Childhood)
  7. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
  8. Harry Potter 1: The Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling
  9. Harry Potter 2: The Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
  10. Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
  11. Harry Potter 4: The Globlet of Fire – JK Rowling
  12. Harry Potter 5: The Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling
  13. Harry Potter 6: The Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling
  14. Harry Potter 7: The Deadly Hallows – JK Rowling
  15. How To Rescue My Delirious Heart – b.wing
  16. Lionboy – Zizou Corder
  17. Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail – Annie North Bedford.
  18. Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter – Astrid Lindgren
  19. Tales of Long Ago – Enid Blyton
  20. The BFG – Roald Dahl
  21. The Chronicles of Narnia 1: The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
  22. The Chronicles of Narnia 2: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  23. The Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Horse & His Boy – C.S. Lewis
  24. The Chronicles of Narnia 4: Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
  25. The Chronicles of Narnia 5: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis
  26. The Enchanted Wood – Enid Blyton
  27. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  28. The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
  29. The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl
  30. The Magic World of Harry Potter – David Colbert
  31. The Seven Brothers & The Big Dipper (Korean)
  32. Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window - Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
  33. Lost and Found - Oliver Jeffers
  34. The Incredible Book Eating Boy - Oliver Jeffers
  35. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories - Tim Burton
  36. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak 

Branding, Business, Economics, Finance & Management

  1. Benetton – Jonathan Mantle
  2. Big in Asia – Michael Backman & Charlotte Butler
  3. Brand Sense – Martin Lindstrom
  4. Brand Warriors – Various
  5. Building Brand Identity – Lynn Upshaw
  6. Clean Car Wars – Hasegawa Kimm
  7. Competitive Branding – Torsten Nilson
  8. Competitive Strategy – Porter
  9. Differentiate or Die – Jack Trout
  10. Fire Someone Today - Pratchett
  11. Focus – Al Ries
  12. God Explained in a Taxi Ride – Paul Arden
  13. Harvard Business Review on Brand Management
  14. Horse Sense – Al Ries & Jack Trout
  15. How Customers Think – Gerald Zaltman
  16. How to Write & Speak Better – Reader’s Digest
  17. I Have a Strategy (No You Don't): The Illustrated Guide to Strategy - Howell J. Malham Jr.
  18. I’d Like The World to Buy a Coke – Roberto Goizueta
  19. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be – Paul Arden
  20. Kellogg on Advertising & Media – Kellogg School of Management
  21. K-Mart’s 10 Deadly Sins – Turner
  22. Managing in a Time of Great Change – Drucker
  23. Marketing Aesthetics – Schmidt & Simonson
  24. Planet Google - Randall Stross
  25. Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People – Ken Watanabe
  26. Recreating Asia – Frank Juergen-Richter & Pamela CM Mar
  27. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  28. Strategic Planning – George A. Steiner
  29. The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy (2nd Edition)
  30. The Disney Way – Capodagli & Jackson
  31. The Economic Naturalist – Robert H. Frank
  32. The Emperor of Chocolate – Brennan
  33. The Greatness Guide – Robin Sharma
  34. The Honda Myth: The Genius and His Wake - Maasaki Sato
  35. The Inspirations of Tao Zhu-Gong - Wee
  36. The Long Tail, Longer – Chris Anderson
  37. The New Positioning – Jack Trout
  38. The New Rational Manager – Kepner & Tregoe
  39. The One Minute Manager – Kenneth Blanchard
  40. The Portable MBA in Strategy – Fahey & Randall
  41. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Corey
  42. The Starbucks Experience – Michelli
  43. The Sustainable MBA – Giselle Weybrecht
  44. The Wal-Mart Effect – Charles Fishman
  45. The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki
  46. Truth (The New Rules for Marketing in a Skeptical World) – Lynn Upshaw
  47. Wharton on Dynamic Competitive Strategy
  48. Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite – Paul Arden
  49. What Sticks – Briggs & Stuart
  50. What’s the Secret? To provide a world-class customer experience – John R. DiJulius III
  51. 100 Ways to Save Tax in Malaysia for Small Business (2nd Edition) – Richard Thornton
  52. 101 Reasons To Own the World’s Greatest Investment – Miles

Asian Literature (Fiction, Autobiography)

1. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
2. Asleep – Banana Yoshimoto
3. Bound Feet & Western Dress – Pang-Mei Natasha Chang
4. Geisha – Lesley Downer
5. Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
6. Lizard – Banana Yoshimoto
7. Memories of a Pure Spring – Duong Thu Huang
8. N.P. – Banana Yoshimoto
9. South of the Border, West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami
10. Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
11. The Bridegroom – Ha Jin
12. The Middle Kingdom – Andrea Barett

Art & Design

1. A Guide to Art – Sandro & Sproccati
2. China Products
3. Design Directory: Germany
4. Design Directory: Italy
5. Fruits
6. Made in China – Darmon
7. Monet – Karin Sagner Duchting
8. Naoshima Standard2
9. The Black Book of Style – Nina Garcia
10. Vincent Van Gogh – Ingo F. Walther
11. Tate Artist Timeline - Sara Franelli for Tate

Advertising & Communications

  1. Advertising Copywriting (7th Edition) – Burton
  2. Asian Branding - Batey
  3. Creative Leaps – Newman
  4. Cutting Edge Advertising – Aitchison
  5. Cutting Edge Commercials – Aitchison
  6. Cutting Edge Radio – Aitchison
  7. Distilling Desire – John Machado
  8. How Asia Advertises – Aitchison
  9. How to Advertise – Kenneth Rome, Jane Maas
  10. Yasmin How You Know - Assorted contributors