Apj Abdul Kalam 3

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His life has been most selflessly devoted to his country, and rewarded most deservingly, with the highest civilian award of the country, the Bharat Ratna. The book also goes beyond biography, and serves as an excellent practical guide to R & D management, on how to design and build institutions, mentor and inspire men, to success and fulfilment. The account often goes deep into his own personal philosophy, austere beyond the reach of most average householders, and fortunately for posterity, records his philosophical and spiritual insights in a most accessible way, in spite of his own modest disclaimer, "I am not a philosopher." This man, who spent all his life "learning rocketry", also learnt many valuable lessons on how to manage men, matters and materials, while building up the country's defence R & D Programmes, as also its technological capabilities in space and atomic energy. Born to an obscure middle-class family in a remote but spiritually supercharged island town at the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, Kalam progressed in sure and steady steps through childhood, among loving family members who sacrificed readily for him, through scholarship with devoted and inspirational teachers (Rameswaram Elementary School; Schwartz High School, Ramanathapuram; St. Joseph's College, Trichy; Madras Institute of Technology, Madras), into his first foray into professional life. This first phase of his life covers 32 eventful years most felicitiously in the space of 31 pages. My nephew, an aspiring engineer himself, just on the threshold of his career after graduation, found this the best part of the book. I was particularly intrigued by the following paragraph on pg. 18, which I thought the most meaningful lesson for a young person preparing for a professional life: "The trouble with Indians [was] not that they lacked educational opportunities or industrial infrastructure - the trouble was in their failure to discriminate between disciplines and to rationalise their...
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