Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas
There has never been a more accurately or honestly titled book than that of Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas. From kitty litter and calories to space exploration and the stock market, Ponnapalli ponders whatever crosses his mind in search of a solution, and those solutions run the gamut from surprisingly simple to mindbogglingly unfeasible.
I must admit, there is a proactiveness and ingenuity to Ponnapalli that is really engaging. I appreciate anyone who sees a problem and, instead of simply accepting it or bemoaning the unfairness of it all, tackles it head-on with gusto. His enthusiasm for each topic is obvious, and his willingness to appear silly or to be criticized is well-tempered by his overwhelming positivity. If you can imagine a melange of straightforward outside-the-box thinking, you’ve got an idea of Mr. Ponnapalli’s style.
He pulls from his personal experiences — including an ongoing struggle with weight management and a harrowing accident while hiking — as well as his physics and IT background in order to examine problems both trivial and crucial.
Yes, some of these ideas are pretty crazy. We certainly differ in our opinions on where the new Star Trek film should head, for example. And I don’t know about the feasibility of his building-cum-stepping-stones approach to the space elevator — for instance, where could we build it that could offer both the necessary land and the population to make it a viable workspace? — but I did experiment with both of his proposed revisions to chess with great results. The book is a bit of a mixed bag.
As a handbook of solutions to major and minor problems, it falters a bit, but as a conversation sparker, Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas is a success.
Pardu S Ponnapalli