Jun 07

Book Review: First Break all the Rules

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This is one of the best books on management I have read in a while.

Authors:Marcus Buckingham , Curt W Coffman

Rating: ★★★★★

First Break All Rules cover image.jpgTheme is based on “The greatest managers in the world don’t have much in common except that they break conventional rules of wisdom concerning management style.”

There are twelve questions in first chapter that managers should focus on to attract and retain top talent which are really good. These are like “Do I know what is expected of me at work?”, “Do I have materials and equipment to do my job?”,  “Do I have opportunity o do what I do best?”, “ Have I received recognition in for good work?” etc…

According to author,

  • The role of manager is to act as catalyst by working one on one with each person to convert his talent into performance.
  • Also, there is limit to how much you can develop people hence managers should help each person to become more of who he or she already is.
  • Focus on outcomes not right steps
  • When hiring select for talent, skill and abilities
  • Talent cannot be taught, skills and knowledge can be developed
  • Each person has his own strength, focus on strengths and work around weaknesses
  • Most importantly “FIND THE RIGHT FIT” Smile

Great read, highly recommend it.

Mar 15

Book Review: The Power of Less

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Author: Leo Babauta

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

I had high hopes from this book. It has 4 stars on Amazon and I wanted to read a book that would genuinely help me with how to manage with less. Smile This book was huge disappointment for me.

Actually when you have author giving you morning routine ideas like Have coffee or tea, Shower, Take a bath, Eat breakfast among others ideas, you really think if author is running out of ideas on what to write. Anyway, mostly the book is just common sense stuff nothing that you do not know already…


The only good part was I skimmed through this book REALLY FAST!!! Smile

Jan 05

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I did not enjoy David and Goliath as much as Malcolm’s previous books. The gist of the book is many time we think about something as a negative/disadvantage but actually it is not. Underdogs succeed because they have advantages which we fail to see.  Examples in the book were covering varied topics and sometimes did not feel like had a good theme/rhythm. If you like Malcolm’s other books you will enjoy this one too but it is not as good as Outliers or Tipping Point. Smile

Dec 26

Born to Run

Author: Christopher Mcdougall

Rating: ★★★★★

This book has changed how I think of running. I started running last year. Have done 3 half marathons and am training for a full marathon in Oct. I really believe that we as humans were born to run and it is amazing 36 years of my life I survived without running. Smile 

This book is an amazing story of 50 mile foot race in deadly Copper Canyons in Mexico. It is a story of author Christopher McDougall’s search of “Why do our feet Hurt?”. It is also a story of Caballo Blanco an American who lives in Copper Canyon with local tribes and just runs. Smile Christopher as done an great job with all the characters in the story. Loved every bit of the book. Smile

If you run then you should read this book and if you don’t then you must read the book. Smile

Some of my favorite passages from the book

Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else. And like everything else we love—everything we sentimentally call our “passions” and “desires”—it’s really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We’re all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.

‘When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.’

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up,” Bannister said. “It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle—when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

‘When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.’ ”

“You don’t stop running because you get old,” said the Demon. “You get old because you stop running.”

Jan 23

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership is a great read for people who want to improve their Leadership skills. I have read many articles on leadership and everyone of them focuses on different aspects of leadership.

Best part about this article is it tells you to focus internally to look at your own history and learn from that. Authors focus on following key aspects of your life to learn from

  • Learn from your own life story
  • Know your authentic self
  • Practice your values and principles
  • Balance your extrinsic and intrinsic motivations
  • Build a support team to learn and get guidance from
  • Integrate your life by staying grounded

Original Article: http://hbr.org/2007/02/discovering-your-authentic-leadership/ar/1

Authors: Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean and Diana Mayer


During the past 50 years, leadership scholars have conducted more than 1,000 studies in an attempt to determine the definitive styles, characteristics, or personality traits of great leaders. None of these studies has produced a clear profile of the ideal leader. Thank goodness. If scholars had produced a cookie-cutter leadership style, individuals would be forever trying to imitate it. They would make themselves into personae, not people, and others would see through them immediately.

No one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else. You can learn from others’ experiences, but there is no way you can be successful when you are trying to be like them. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else. Amgen CEO and president Kevin Sharer, who gained priceless experience working as Jack Welch’s assistant in the 1980s, saw the downside of GE’s cult of personality in those days. “Everyone wanted to be like Jack,” he explains. “Leadership has many voices. You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else.”

Jan 17

This Article by Daniel Goleman is a great read on different leadership styles and how leaders can use them in different scenarios to get results. In this article Goleman explores which precise leadership behaviors yield positive results. He outlines six distinct leadership styles, each one springing from different components of emotional intelligence. Each style has a distinct effect on the working atmosphere of a company, division, or team, and, in turn, on its financial performance.

You have to read the article to get the full picture. You can access it at http://hbr.org/product/leadership-that-gets-results/an/R00204-PDF-ENG . Below is a preview…

  1. Coercive leaders demand immediate compliance.
  2. Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision.
  3. Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds and harmony.
  4. Democratic leaders build consensus through participation.
  5. Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and self-direction.
  6. Coaching leaders develop people for the future.

Leadership Styles at a glance








The leader’s modus operandi

Demands immediate compliance

Mobilizes people toward a vision

Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds

Forges consensus through participation

Sets high standards for performance

Develops people for the future

The style in a phrase

"Do what I tell you."

"Come with me."

"People come first."

"What do you think?"

"Do as I do, now."

"Try this."

Underlying emotional intelligence competencies

Drive to achieve, initiative, self-control

Self-confidence, empathy, change catalyst

Empathy, building relationships, communication

Collaboration, team leadership, communication

Conscientiousness, drive to achieve, initiative

Developing others, empathy, self-awareness

When the style works best

In a crisis, to kick start a turnaround, or with problem employees

When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed

To heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances

To build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valuable employees

To get quick results from a highly motivated and competent team

To help an employee improve performance or develop long-term strengths

Overall impact on climate


Most strongly positive





The research indicates that leaders who get the best results don’t rely on just one leadership style; they use most of the styles in any given week.

Jan 17


I got this list of best-selling HBR articles through our library. I am planning read (and in some cases re-read) the articles and post a summary. Hope it is useful to y’all.



The Parable of the Sadhu by Bowen McCoy, May/Jun 1997 (originally published 1983)


What Is Strategy by Michael Porter, Nov/Dec 1996


Discipline of Building Character by Joseph Badaracco, Mar/Apr 1998


Hidden Challenge of Cross-Border Negotiations by James Sebenius, Mar 2002


Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail by John Kotter, Jan 2007 (originally published Mar/Apr 1995)


The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy by Michael Porter, Jan 2008


What Makes a Leader by Daniel Goleman, Jan 2004 (originally published Nov/Dec 1998)


What Leaders Really Do by John Kotter, Dec 2001 (originally published May/Jun 1990 )


Harnessing the Science of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, Oct 2001


Leadership That Gets Results by Daniel Goleman, Mar/Apr 2000


The CEO’s Role in Business Model Reinvention by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, Jan/Feb 2011


Creating Shared Value by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, Jan/Feb 2011


Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker, Jan 2005 (originally published Mar/Apr 1999)


Discovering Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew McLean, and Diana Mayer, Feb 2007


Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Oct 2004


Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve by Jim Collins, Jul 2005 (originally published Jan 2001 )


Can You Say What Your Strategy Is? by David Collis and Michael Rukstad, Apr 2008


Discipline of Teams by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, Jul/Aug 2005 (originally published Mar/Apr 1993)


Managing Your Boss by John Gabarro and John Kotter, Jan 2005 (originally published Jan/Feb 1980)


Building Your Company’s Vision by James Collins and Jerry Porras, Sep/Oct 1996


Hidden Traps in Decision Making by John Hammond, Ralph Keeney, and Howard Raiffa, Jan 2006 (originally published Sep/Oct 1998)


Strategy & Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, Dec 2006


Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey by William Oncken and Donald Wass, Nov/Dec 1999 (originally published Nov/Dec 1974


Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones, Sep/Oct 2000


Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt, Jul/Aug 2004 (originally published Jul/Aug 1960)

Oct 30

Author: Tim Harfordimage

This book was recommended to me by my colleague Richard Chin, who is a PHD in economics. Me and Richard were waiting in our café and I started talking about how bad the choices were. At that point he started talking about Undercover Economist.

Have you ever wondered by food in tourist places is horrible or Have you ever wondered why wine is expensive in restaurants? Tim has done amazing job of explaining simple complex and boring economic concepts with simple daily examples. Smile 

It took me a while to read this book more because I could not give time to it but it is a great read. If you liked Freakonomics you will love this. I enjoyed second half much more.

Best example discussed in book was on what happened during different government auctions of cellular radio spectrum, i.e., the right to create cellular networks and thus sell phone service to customers. How the auctions were set up played a major role in determining if the auctions were effective in raising revenue for the government. Tim compares the spectrum auctions to auctioning off your house, worth $300,000 and receiving either $3,000 or a whopping $2.3 million. Tim talks about Game theory and how it impacts decision. Smile

Great read.

Dec 09

Author: Michael Lewis

I had heard about this book a while back but after last years Wall Street Crash it was right time to read it. It took me a while to read it. It is not a very easy read. But I am glad I read it though.

Michael Lewis has shard story of Soloman Brothers and their collapse. Lewis illustrates how economic decisions made at the national level changed securities markets and made bonds the most lucrative game on the Street. His description of the firm’s personalities and of the events from 1984 through the crash of October 1987 are vivid and memorable.

It is a very good book to learn how Wall Street actually runs, what goes in mind of people at Wall Street. How investment backs make money etc…

It is fascinating to see how history repeats itself. You will read this book and think as if it was written after last years crash. 🙂 This book is from 80’s. 🙂

It is a great read for anyone who wants to learn how mortgage securities market took off and how credit swaps came in play. 🙂 Great book.

Jun 15

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Author: Chip & Dan Heath

This is an awesome book. I was looking for book on storytelling this is an ideal book on that.

Made to Stick focuses on telling your story/message in a way that it sticks with the audience. Author focuses on very common themes like Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, Stories to make the stories stick.

Book also has some good punch line which are good. The one I liked and remembered was “Avoid burying the lead. Don’t start with something interesting but irrelevant in hopes of entertaining the audience. Instead, work to make the core message itself more interesting.”

Other Good quotes:

  • "And that’s the great thing about the world of ideas — any of us, with the right insight and the right message, can make an idea stick."
  • "Becoming an expert in something means that we become more and more fascinated by nuance and complexity."
  • "Abstraction is the luxury of the expert. If you’ve got to teach an idea to a room full of people, and you aren’t certain what they know, concreteness is the only safe language."

It is really great book to read. I will try to take authors class if I get a chance it is that good. Enjoy.