Review: Smart Phones Dumb People? by Parthajeet Sarma

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Author: Parthajeet Sarma
Pages:  176 pages 
Good Times Books
Genre: Non-Fiction

Release: 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon / Homeshop18
(Source : review copy)

This is an easy read for anyone interested in innovation, entrepreneurship, social issues and the current challenges like excessive corruption that face us today.

Parts of India and the world live in the 21st century whereas parts live in the 19th century. Whilst many of us live in times ruled by smartphones and the internet, millions go without easy access to basics like water and electricity.

We live in an opportune moment today. We have, available to us, the technological tools of the 21st century to address 19th century issues. In a fast changing world, will mankind be ruled by smartphones soon or will mankind use technology to make life changing innovations to make our societies far more equitable? Can technology be used to address the most crying needs in our societies?

Entrepreneur and innovator Parthajeet builds the big picture by narrating stories about the modern fruits of technology and how these are being used by leadership groups to combine business with social causes

"Earlier I had 5 friends whom I spoke to daily. Today I have 547 friends whom I don'ts even talk to in years." ~ Pg. 23
'Smart phones dumb People' is an engaging title, but it is very important to notice the question mark by its end. That '?' is the main reason why I accepted to review this debut book by Parthajeet Sarma. It is true that phones are getting smarter and people are getting dumber. But are really people getting dumber? Is there any way around it? This book is not about condemning excess use of technology, social networking or even just about technology but it touches many aspects of day to day life along with the much concerning issues.
It's tagline: Using 21st century tools to address 19th century issues
According to the author, in 21st century cities there are two groups residing, one belonging to the present and other belonging to the 19th century. He has provided many tools of present technology to address the issues which have been with use since long, and are the hindrance in the progress. 

The book is abscind into 5 chapters ranging from Innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, priorities and corruption. Author has very smartly organised the content under sub-titles, it makes it easier to read and re-read if you wish to. 
The first chapter pretty much covers what we already know, but the way author have written is something new, there is a paragraph on page 25 which I liked. 
Here are few lines:
" is important to pause for a second and realize that smartphones and wide array of mechanical tools available to us are there to aid our decision making and make life easier for us..." 
In the second chapter, innovation author emphasized the fast paced innovation. 
"What is 'in' in January is 'so yesterday' in February." ~Pg 48
In this chapter, at one point author pointed that computer does not break down flashing a warning. And when it is screwed, it screws us with it. Couple of days ago the mother Board of my Laptop got replaced because it broke down, that's when I realize how dependent I am on Computer, though I tried blogging using my Phone but  it was not that convenient but I found a way around it, at one point I accidentally deleted the whole blog post and it wasn't even saved. Okay getting back to the subject at hand, author explained the connection between Computer applications and human intellect. Different tools in business are discussed like ERP (Enterprises Resource Planning), etc.

The next chapter starts with rather an amusing quote:
"An entrepreneur is what you become when you get fired."
This chapter ranges from the importance of entrepreneurship and nation building, how Government should support in flourishing it, what could be the possible catalyst agents, types of entrepreneurship etc. Author's ideas are somewhat fresh and something to give a serious though to.

Then author have accentuated the power of Prioritizing, mainly on what areas India need to focus on to improve them like healthcare, education, infrastructure, water & power and housing. India is indeed facing a huge problem of migration and it is indeed affecting the destination city. A city needs an effecting planning. Author has explained how many entrepreneurs have made significant changes in society in many fields

Then there comes the topic of Corruption. I really liked that instead of going on an on about morals and ethics, author has directly jumped onto the topic and how can corruption be controlled by the help of technology, how more transparency is needed. 

Overall this book has 176 pages but have cover many aspects and issues concerning growth as an individual and an a nation. 
It is indeed an easy breezy engaging read specially for those who wants to know more about how technology and innovations can help the nation, and it did touch the corners we are well aware of, but at the same time it provided the tools that needs to be pondered upon, which can be a good measure for improvement. The zeal of the Author to make lives better in every way possible is visible throughout.
The best thing about this was all the chapters were interconnected, there wasn't any unnecessary gibberish anywhere. I enjoyed my time with it specially because this is the type of non-fiction I like.

About the Author

Parthajeet is an award winning innovator and successful entrepreneur. A fan of free markets and technology, he likes writing and talking about holistic approaches towards addressing 'base of the pyramid' issues. After a degree in Architecture from Sir J J College of Architecture, an MBA changed Parthajeet's perspective towards the building industry. Today, in addition to running successful businesses in the building industry, Parthajeet devotes ample time towards R&D in the industry. Such research, often done with international knowledge partners, yields award winning products and services. Well travelled, Parthajeet often pens down his thoughts, as writing brings clarity to most thoughts. When not travelling, he can be found making attempts helping his wife Sibani manage their two young daughters in Mumbai.

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I like to keep things Sweet & Tangy sometimes bitter & strong, I write when words rhymes with my emotions. I firmly believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and can make a change in the society ergo my words always aim for that.

An engineer who is occasionally published in Newspapers (INT) and anthologies, curious soul that is eternally filling the bucket of knowledge. Bibliophile who loves reading all the time. An ordinary girl that loves science and art, blogging, different languages, fancy cooking, travelling and flying (hopefully someday with real wings). Believes in humanity & spreading smiles.

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