Description : An intimate portrait of the little-known aspects of Swami Vivekananda’s life. Wandering mystic, India’s spiritual ambassador to the West and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda awakened India’s masses to the country’s spiritual richness while stressing the importance of scientific inquiry. These aspects of Swamiji’s life have been well chronicled by Swamiji himself, through his letters, speeches and writings; his own brothers who between them have written more than a hundred books; his co-disciples, disciples and others whose lives were enriched by their interactions with him; and, more than a century after his death, followers who had only read or heard of the magnetic personality of this revered teacher. Gleaned from all these sources, through painstaking research Sankar’s biography focuses on the personal life of the saint: What was Vivekananda like as a man? What role did his mother play in his life, both before and after he renounced all family ties? Could he reconcile the duties of a monk with the duties of an eldest son? What prompted him to promote Vedanta and biriyani in the West? Did the long drawn battles over family property affect his health and cut short his life? Did his sister commit suicide? Why did his brother not write a single letter for six years when he was wandering around the world? What was Swamiji’s favourite dish and what fruit did he like the least? What was his height? Where did he have his second heart attack? How much did the Calcutta doctor charge him at his chamber? Sankar’s composite picture of the monk as man has sold over one lakh copies in Bengali and this translation brings the unfamiliar Vivekananda to a larger readership.
Description : Much has been written about the ups and downs of financial markets, from the lure of prosperity to the despair of crises. Yet a more fundamental and pernicious source of uncertainty exists in today's world: the traditional “insurance” risks of earthquakes, storms, terrorist attacks, and other disasters. Insightfully exploring these "acts of God and man," Michael R. Powers guides readers through the methods available for identifying and measuring such risks, financing their consequences, and forecasting their future behavior within the limits of science. A distinctive characteristic of earthquakes, hurricanes, bombings, and other insurance risks is that they impact the values of stocks, bonds, commodities, and other market-based financial products, while remaining largely unaffected by or “aloof” from the behavior of markets. Quantifying such risks given limited data is difficult yet crucial for achieving the financing objectives of insurance. Powers begins with a discussion of how risk impacts our lives, health, and possessions and proceeds to introduce the statistical techniques necessary for analyzing these uncertainties. He then considers the experience of risk from the perspectives of both policyholders and insurance companies, and compares their respective responses. The risks inherent in the private insurance industry lead naturally to a discussion of the government's role as both market regulator and potential "insurer of last resort." Following a thoughtful and balanced analysis of these issues, Powers concludes with an interdisciplinary investigation into the nature of uncertainty, incorporating ideas from physics, philosophy, and game theory to assess science's limitations in predicting the ramifications of risk.