Jul 11, 2018

Rebel Talent

In Rebel Talent, behavioral scientist and professor at Harvard Business School uses her research to assert the value of breaking rules at work and in life. Troublemakers pave way for new ways of thinking and work around constraints to arrive at novel solutions. Gino uses examples from military, restaurants and corporate life to name a few, to tell stories of rebel leaders and their path to success.

The book presents ideas of seeking new ideas, curiosity, thinking outside the box (resourcefulness), openness, confidence (being true to our inner voice) and engagement. Engagement being the sauce that binds the ideas and prep work together.
She concludes the book with eight principles of rebel leadership. If you are short of time, going over these should give a glimpse of working theory in the book.

I liked the book. It reminded me other book I read years back - Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern Management.

Jul 2, 2018

Blockchain Revolution : How The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World

"Blockchain Revolution : How The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World" is a primer on what block-chain can do and how it has arrived on the financial markets scene and soon will enter the main street and our day today lives. Blockchain is a promising technology built on cryptography, algorithms and game theory and therefore less vulnerable to frauds. It has the potential to transform world of finance, insurance and everything that uses "money" so pretty much everything.

The authors have done fine job of introducing the current problems with online transactions and value. They are problems of the "internet" where we need to rely on a third party (bank or credit card company's like Visa) for developing trust between two parties doing business. Third parties certify at a fee of course and that creates a centralized power source in a otherwise decentralized Internet. The ownership of data is a problem too and as recent events have shown these problems are warranting large scale discussions. Remember GDPR?

This book gave me pointers to interesting people and technologies. There are several implementations at large banks which are trying to develop their versions of block-chains. It will be interesting how those will work out. That will be reminder to the "Old is Gold" adage.

This technology will definitely create lots of opportunity for software developers, legal experts and bankers too. I have added Nick Szabo's writing at unenumerated.blogspot.com to my reading list. And listen to the podcast with Nick on the Tim Ferris show.

Lastly it's hard to believe that this book is available for $2 today. Now that's a steal

Jun 25, 2018

Getting to Yes

I am a follower of Scott Adam's blog. I would say was, till he went all podcast/periscope mode. I preferred the article mode more. For last two and half years Scott has been making a point to make readers aware of power of persuasion to sway people's opinion. He claims to see master persuasion skills in Trump and predicted him win 2016 US presidential elections. Scott's writing was the reason to pick up the book - "Getting to Yes" at book sale at our office library. 

"Getting to Yes" is a book on principled negotiations. It outlines techniques to use to negotiate to solve problems and arrive at a amicable solutions. There are many lessons to take home from this gem of a book, the most important one I think is to be patient and endure. Keep inventing options and weigh them on merits. Take time to prepare well and then save time during working at the problem. 

The book fits in the mental models for solving problems. Something we learnt in first year in college with - "How to Solve it by Computer". Good book to put to practice. 

Jun 19, 2018

Born to Run


I was pleasantly surprised to see a pack of guys running bare-chested today morning. Summer is here now and it was the right time for a quick dash before the heat makes it hard to move around. They were smiling as they were striding out. It gave me much needed jolt to be fully awake and get going.

Aerobic activity is the best mood booster available out there. All you need is some free time and a pair of sneakers. And as Christopher McDougall tells in “Born to Run” you don’t need fancy pair of sneakers, but some that protect you from the elements on road will do. Finished rereading the book yesterday. Listened to it this time and enjoyed it. It’s fun to listen to it on a run.

I loved the story telling style of the book. Vivid images compel me to take notice and want to dash out and run. Loved the Tarahumara runners and their way of life. Connections of running to human evolution is fascinating. The book introduces us to ultra-marathon races and people who run them. They sure are a different breed. We had one runner at our gym, who used to run more than he drove. And surprisingly even after running 100 miles, he doesn’t sleep more than 6-8 hours. Scott Jurak’s ability to use compassions as his greatest strength needs to be inculcated in our training schedules and lives. As coach Joe Vihill says, “You have to be a good person to be a good runner”. Whether or not we were “Born to Run”, no one can argue that we better get off and get moving, run when we can and walk if be needed.

I recommend this book for everyone looking for motivation to get in shape and start “running”.


Jun 13, 2018

बनगरवाडी

“रंज की जब गुफ़्तगू होने लगी आप से तुम तुम से तू होने लगी” is a famous gazhal by Daag Dehalwi. I like the original sung by Ghulam Ali and one Hari Haran sang too. The tune is awesome, but the lyrics are amazing as well. Like everything worth doing, it gets better with time. And that’s what the gazhal says. Reading good stuff has the same experience. Some books are to be read and some are to be reread several times. “Bangarwadi” belongs to the latter category. 

Vyankatesh Madgulkar was a talented writer, artist and hunter. He taught himself to read English so that he can enjoy works in English. His strength as an observer of nature and people is seen in Bangarwadi. I love the way he plays magic with the language. Beauty in the mundane is savory. Descriptions of latching calves reminds summer vacations in Sindhudurga. For the same reason Bangarwadi is a long poem.

I can’t wait to retire to read Bangarwadi again.