Sunday, October 22, 2006

BOOK REVIEW

Following are some of the books I have read and their reviews. I have posted them in my geocities homepage. Since some of my friends are interested in this posting it as a seperate blog. Read them and let me know your comments :)
Envisioning an empowered nation – Abdul Kalam with Sivathanu Pillai
This is the last by Kalam and it gives a very clear picture of what should be done in each sectors of India. India as a country is very diverse and only the knowledge based economy will help India to become a developed nation. This books talks about agriculture, healthcare, information and communication, critical sectors, biotechnology sectors. He explains clearly what is been done in each and every sector and gives a proposal of what should be done in each sector. This is a very nice book to understand India’s economy in a very top level.

Count your chickens before they hatch – Arindham Chaudhuri
This is one of the best selling books in India. This book consists of two major sections. The first section is more of a ‘Self development’ stuff where the author talks about the ASK paradigm (Attitude, Skill and Knowledge) in order to raise any individual. The second sections talks about the theory ‘I’ management. The ‘I’ stand for ‘India Centric’ management. Particularly I liked the second section where the author mentions that the management policies in any country should be based on the social architecture. He compared the western and Japanese management and gives a proposal for India for which is quotes lots of examples from Mahabharata.

Straight from the gut – Jack Welch
This is autobiography of Jack Welch one of the very well known CEOs of the world. He talks about how he became the CEO of General Electric (GE) and talks some thing about his personal things as well. Things like “Profit, Sell or close” policy, which he applied to each and every divisions of GE, “Churning bottom 15% people” which he applied when we wanted to downsize a particular business is simply revolutionary. One simple lesson, which at least I learned from this book, is neither the organization nor the technology, will give lifetime employment for anybody in any hi-tech industry. Only working in a focused way for the customer will give that.

Wise and Otherwise – Sudha Narayanamurthy
This book contains collection of short stories, which the author wrote in many newspapers and magazines. The author has traveled extensively to the rural parts of India where she met different people in a diversified country India. She explains how people in rural India are having very high value system and leading a self-contained life. This book contains almost 50 small stories. Written in very simple English, this book explains the author’s experiences.

The monk who sold his Ferrari – Robin S Sharma
This is a fable about understanding the real purpose of life. The main character in this book is a lawyer in the US who is very well known in his field. He becomes a workaholic and one day suddenly gets heart attack. After recovering from that he goes to Himalayas in search of Yogis in order to find out the real meaning of life. After learning the same he comes back again to the US and shared his experience what he learnt from the yogis in Himalayas. Wonderfully written book, which emphasizes about the real purpose of life and the importance of following the dream.

Only the paranoid survive – Andrew S grove
Andrew is one of the famous CEOs who lead Intel into the path of microprocessors. In this book he shares his experiences, which can be applied to individual’s career as well as organizations. He explains about how the businesses are affected by many factors which he calls as “10X’ forces. He explains this “10X” force will example of Intel. Initially Intel was into memory chip manufacturing. When the computing industry changed from vertical to horizontal, he made Intel to quit from the memory business and move to the microprocessor business. He also talks about how important it is to listen to lower level employees and the importance of leadership in crisis situations.

Awakening Indians to India – Chinmaya yuva Kendra
This book is a kind of manual, which serves as a manual to know more about India. The data in this book is a collection, which talks about India’s contributions to the world as well as achievements of India in various areas like arts, science, education, management, leadership, medicine, engineering etc. This book can be used as an index and on depending on the interest of the individual one can read more about any particular topic.

Accidental Entrepreneur – Puneet Srivatsava
This book talks about the Entrepreneurship and its components. The author explains the two components Strategic thinking and focused action with the help of the Krishna-Arjuna example in Mahabharata. The author gives some kind of ‘To do’ list for each topic which becomes boring to read. Anyways this is a good text to learn the basics of entrepreneurship.

Who says elephants cannot dance – Louis V Gerstner
This books talks about the historic turnaround of the IBM. In the 1990s because of the changes in the computer industry IBM was losing ground in the PC business and their mainframes business was going down day by day. That time Louis Gerstner took over as CEO of the IBM Corporation and made some revolutionary changes, which made IBM to come out of, lose making. The mentions about the changes he made into the organizations like making the IBM to become more service oriented, venturing into the e-Commerce business and changes in the performance evaluation system etc.

Who moved by Cheese – Spensor Johnson
This is a very small and wonderful story about change management. The couple of characters adapt to change and move ahead in life, whereas the remaining two characters are not accepting the change and end up in losing. Irrespective of age this book has got a very strong message.

The HP way – Dave Packard
Dave Packard, gives an insight of how he and his friend Bill Hewlett built the Hewlett-Packard Company. Both of them started the company in a garage, which was declared as the ‘Birthplace of Silicon Valley’. More than the company’s background the management practices that was followed in the company became very famous and became the popular ‘HP way’ of management. This book gives overview of Management By Walking Around (MBWA), Management By Objectives (MBO), Trust on individuals, which are building blocks of the HP way. This book also explains how the inkjet printing technology was invented in HP, which was an historic breakthrough in the area of digital printing.

Six thinking hats – Edward De Bono
Six thinking hats is a method, which can be applied to any group, or individual thinking by which the thinking process can be made in a parallel and more organized way of any given situation. The ‘Objective’ white hat thinking, ‘Negative’ black hat thinking, ‘Innovative’ green hat thinking, ‘Positive’ yellow hat thinking, ‘Overall’ blue hat thinking, ‘Emotional’ red hat thinking are the building block of the six thinking hats. This book also gives an introduction about the ‘Lateral thinking’, which is more of innovative thinking and suggests some methods for the lateral thinking.

Men are from Mars women are from Venus – John Gray
This book explains about the why men and women behave the way they are. It starts with a small story what the men are from mars planet and women are from Venus planet and the characteristics of the people in that particular planet. Because of the very reason that the people are from different planets they totally behave in a different way. This book is a must read in order to understand the behavior of the opposite sex.

The wings of fire – Abdul Kalam
This book is autobiography of Indian president Abdul Kalam. He starts of from his life in Rameshwaram, where he born and brought up. By seeing stars on the night he developed a passion for the space. Later he worked for DRDL, ISRO and he explains about how he and his team went ahead and built the indigenous security systems for India. He also explains about the dreams of Satish Dawan and Vikram Sarabhai, which motivated him a lot. He quotes examples from Thirukkural, Bhagavath Geetha and Kur-an, which give a philosophical touch to the book. In simple words ‘Wonderful, inspirational stuff’.

You can win – Shiv Khera
This book is about motivational kind. The author talks about the confidence building, self esteem, motivation, subconscious mind and habits. In each chapter he explains each concept with simple and easy to understand stories. Also he suggests some tools and action plans at each chapter, which can be used as a manual. This book I believe is the ‘First Book’ one should read in order to pull him out of socks and start working towards the goal.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
This book is a fable about following individual’s dream. Santiago a Shepard finds about his dream, which is to get the treasure in Egypt. The Alchemy is a methodology, which was mastered by some people in the Arabian countries by which one can transform any metal to gold. Learning this methodology was not very easy and it involves lots of patience and persistence. Guided by one of the Alchemist the boy goes through huge number of hurdles and finally attains his dream.

India Unbound – Gurucharan Das
This is an excellent book talks about the socio-economic aspects of India. This book starts explaining about India’s history from 17th Century and how the British -Raj ruined Indian Economy in the earlier times. Then it talks about post independent economic in which India taken a back seat because of Nehru’s socialistic democracy. This the author calls as License-Raj. So starting from 17th century to 1991 British-Raj and License-Raj has almost done most of the damage whereas the western world capitalized the Industrial revolution and became super powers of the world. The author gives a very good picture of how the economic reforms in 1991 is reshaping India and leaves the hope of a brighter and better India going forward. This is one of the wonderful books I have ever read. I strongly recommend this book for all young Indians.

The Infosys Founder – N.R.Narayana Murthy
This is a small book about the Infosys Technologies founder N.R.Narayana Murthy. The good thing about this book is it is written in such a way even a school going boy or a girl can understand how Murthy built his software powerhouse with a 10,000 rupees investment in 1981. It also gives Mr. Murthy’s perspective about India and its society. Nice and crispy book!

Ignited Minds – Abdul Kalam
This is another wonderful inspirational book by Kalam. Even though this book is written for young school going children of India it gives a clear idea about achievements of Ancient Indians. It includes the invention of number ‘Zero’, Aryabatta’s achievements, Leadership qualities of Gandhi, India’s achievement in the defense and strategic sectors etc...

Competing for the Future – C.K Prahlad and Gary Hamel
This book is about the future strategies that organizations should think about in order to compete in the global world. The material given in the book shows the extensive knowledge of the authors in the management research. This book gives various examples from the past where companies capitalized certain opportunities which others missed. One exciting example they give is about NEC which capitalized on the Computer and Communication boom. I would enjoy this book more when I am actually going the management.

Rich dad poor dad – Robert Kiosaki
This is a very good book talks about basics of financial literacy. The author calls his dad as a poor dad who spent his life working for someone else and calls his friend’s dad as rich dad because he ran his own business and became rich. The book gives a basic framework for wealth generation by dividing the money idea into revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities. Rich people become richer by making their revenue more and more by investing in assets whereas the poor invest in liabilities and suffer. Excellent idea but explained in a simple way. In some places he mentioned as if studying and getting good grades is not a good thing which I cannot agree.

Secret of software success – Harvard business school review
This is a book written by Harvard business school folks along with some consultants. These folks studied successful habits of many software companies in many places and came up with common observations. Ranging from hiring good people to using nightly builds this book covers extensive topics in the Software engineering area which is a good read for people working in the software industry like me. In some places I felt like some contents are repeated again and again but overall it’s nice to read.

Silicon valley greats - S.S Kshatriy
This book is a case study made by the author about successful Indians who brought in significant changes to the technology industry. This book contains people like Chandra, Kanwal who in 1990s built organizations that has literally brought a revolution in the Silicon Valley. This book also gives enough information about India based entrepreneurs like Narayana Murthy and Pradeep Khar. The author met these people in person and compiled the information in this book, which makes this book unique.

WINNING – Jack Welch
After retiring from GE, Jack went on world tour and met various people from all parts of the world ranging from youngsters to chief executives. Almost all discussions with them boiled down to one simple question “What it takes to win ?”, Win as a team, organization and individuals. In this book he talks about how to shape the Individual career, organization and strategies which lead to winning. Especially the “Your Career” portion I really loved it as I can co-related it to my daily work.

How buffet does it
Warren Buffet is the second richest person in the world next to Bill Gates. He earned all his money by investing in stock market. He basically introduced the concept of “VALUE INVESTING”. This means investing in businesses which has got real values and not thinking about short term benefits. This book consists of 24 powerful lessons of VALUE INVESTING.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool blog Anna..

It would be nice if you post these reviews in amazon.com in the corresponding books' homepages. It will then enable many around the world to buy the books.

Shanmuga

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

I will do that from now on. I think I have an account in Amazon already and will post these comments there as well.

Anonymous said...

good one..
I should hav seen this article before mailing u to ask about books.

I'v read some of them, like wings of fire, who moved my cheese n u can win.. these r really inspiring.
n I'm looking forward to read Ignited Minds – Abdul Kalam.
It'll b helpful to hav a review of books for having an idea to read it.

Rupali.