Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Electronic Commerce: Framework, Technologies and Applications – A book review

If anyone’s looking quizzically at this and trying to map the extent of insanity that my mind has reached to be reviewing a book such as this, I must tell them that their most dire estimations will fall woefully short of the truth. Although other parts of my brain continue to function as they’ve always done, the IT part of it has taken a turn for the positively maniacal off late. Thanks to the very book that is now set to be reviewed.

Electronic Commerce: Framework, Technologies and Applications is the definitive book on how to ‘globe’ on a subject which you’ve got some idea about and which you know most other people besides you, have absolutely no idea about.

Written in a rambling fashion that has nothing but utter disregard for punctuations or paragraphs, this book gives you every reason why you shouldn’t read it. Every chapter, be it five pages or fifty, is one single mammoth paragraph; the words inside are so crowded and their proximity to each other so proximal, that you start losing track of which line you were on, almost as frequently as a new Ram Gopal Verma movie release. I don’t know whether the knowledgeable author of this book harboured any illusions of writing an immortal classic, for those are the only books which bear similar printing performances and still manage to get away with it.

You never really understand why the book was written in the first place. The absence of proper audience analysis is painfully evident. If it was meant for technically bent minds, it is too superfluous and simple to excite them. And if it was meant for the not-so-technically bent ones that need to get acquainted with the basics of ecommerce, it is too elaborate and jargon-heavy. The jargons of course, are left completely to themselves and their explanation to the layman has not been considered of any importance whatsoever.

Then again, most of the content in this book interests and amuses you for all the wrong reasons. Some of the content is downright howl-arious. Sample these:

1. There’s this magnificent first chapter which introduces (?) the reader to ecommerce. It is a 43 page chapter and when you finally grumble and groan your way to its end, you find that it took the author 42 references to compile it.

2. Some of the references used are striking in their absurdity. Take for example – For the blissfully uninitiated, this website is India’s answer to Google. I briefly contemplated the ramifications of some of us putting Google as a reference in one of our project reports; the contemplations were hardly encouraging.

3. This one must take the cake for the funniest line ever written anywhere. In its attempt to enlighten the reader to the advantages of wireless transmission, it tells you in absolutely clear cut terms

‘The advantage of wireless networks is that it doesn’t require wires’

Speechless, I was.

There are other glaring errors to be found aplenty for the more technically discerning. Radio waves being omni-directional, for example. Now I always thought it was the transmitter and the antenna that decided the directional attributes of a signal wave. Perhaps, I was wrong.

Not stretching it too far, let me just put it this way:

For everyone who wishes to have an inadvertently funny book to add to his/her collection, this is a definite recommendation.
For everyone who wishes to learn anything remotely relevant, reliable and usable about ecommerce – Please! Don’t even think about it!

In the end, this book tells you almost everything that you need to write a good, solid subject oriented book. By doing exactly the opposite.

Note: The identities of the author and the publication have not been disclosed on purpose. Humour is the sole intention of this post.


Sapan Oza said...

Great of the better ones that I have read in recent times. Unlike the ones of ToI where the film reviews tend to rake up a lot of PR (mis)endeavors. Like the KANK (short form for Kabhi Alvida...) review which had absolutely no positives but still being a Karan Johar movie ended up getting 3.5 stars. Get that book when you are back in town....would definitely like to have a look at it. I think...if my memory serves me right...i have a copy of the same thru my MBA days.
Cheers and be good.

prayag said...

nice post...
except for the lame disclaimers at the end of it... speak ur mind dude... BB = no book writer !

Kushal Chowdhury said...

@ sapan bhai

Yep, the book shalt soon be demonstrated to thee!
Haven't read KANK's TOI review, read the Taran Adarsh one on Indiafm. Now if TOI has managed to do worse than that, hats off!

@ prayag

Arrey yaar, gotta be politically correct on occaisions!

Gaurav Varma said...

eureka...nice one..applause!!!

Anonymous said...

It almost made me want to read the book, but for the fact thaht I have already endured it once!!


Ankur said...

One of the best best book reviews I have read till now!! Really good post!