Sunday, November 27, 2016

Scaling Up - Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles

In Scaling Up, Harnish and his team share practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business.
These approaches have been honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives and helping them navigate the increasing complexities (and weight) that come with scaling up a venture. 
This book is written so everyone -- from frontline employees to senior executives -- can get aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm. 
There's no reason to do it alone, yet many top leaders feel like they are the ones dragging the rest of the organization up the S-curve of growth. 
The goal of this book is to help you turn what feels like an anchor into wind at your back -- creating a company where the team is engaged; the customers are doing your marketing; and everyone is making money. 
To accomplish this, Scaling Up focuses on the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. 
The book includes a series of new one-page tools including the updated One-Page Strategic Plan and the Rockefeller Habits Checklist (TM), which more than 40,000 firms around the globe have used to scale their companies successfully -- many to $1 billion and beyond. 
Running a business is ultimately about freedom.  
Scaling Up shows business leaders how to get their organizations moving in sync to create something significant and enjoy the ride.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.24 out of 5 (761 Ratings; 64 Reviews - As on November 27 2016)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments: Very practical guide to scaling up your business. Provides several useful tools and techniques.  A slightly dry read but the utility of the book more than makes it up for it.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Balaji-Venkateshwara, Lord of Tirumala, Tirupati - Nanditha Krishna

The Temple of Balaji or Venkateshwara on Tirumala hill above the town of Tirupati in India has become a focal point of contemporary religion attracting crowds of all ages,faiths and nationalities.
However,not much is known about the God,except his ability to answer prayers and perform the most improbable miracles.
Not many people are aware that the sanctity of the God and the hill is over two thousand years old.
What makes the temple so popular,and what are the beliefs of the people,are the questions that this Book has tried to answer. 

This Book is a collection of the folk legends about Venkateshwara,the sacred Tirumala hill and it's many lakes and waterfalls,his miracles,and the beautiful rituals and festivals associated with him.
He is a manifestation of Vishnu the preserver,and his association with the other incarnations is well documented. 

There are rare photographs of the God,his gold and diamond jewellery,the various other bronzes and sculptures contained in the temple and the images of the festivals for which Tirumala has been famous from time immemorial.
The illustrations of the stories have been executed in the Tirupati style of drawing. 

This Book should be of equal interest to to the layman,the scholar and the devotee,and a valuable addition to every home and library.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4 out of 5 (1 Rating; 0 Reviews - As on November 26 2016)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments: Very beautifully illustrated pictorial guide with lots of interesting information.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Oxford Guide to Plain English - Martin Cutts

Plain English is an essential tool for effective communication. 
 Information transmitted in letters, documents, reports, contracts, and forms is clearer and more understandable when presented in straightforward terms. 
The Oxford Guide to Plain English provides authoritative guidance on how to write plain English using easy-to-follow guidelines which cover straightforward language, sentence length, active and passive verbs, punctuation, grammar, planning, and good organization.
This handy guide will be invaluable to writers of all levels. 

It provides essential guidelines that will allow readers to develop their writing style, grammar, and punctuation. 
The book also offers help in understanding official jargon and legalese giving the plain English alternatives.
This guide gives hundreds of real examples and shows 'before and after' versions of texts of different kinds which will help readers to look critically at their own writing. 

It is organized in 25 short chapters, which each cover a different aspect of writing. 
Clearly laid out and easy to use, the Oxford Guide to Plain English is the best guide to writing clear and helpful documents.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.22 out of 5 (82 Ratings; 2 Reviews - As on November 19 2016)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: A pretty useful guide to tone down one's pompous, confusing & verbose English writing. Written with a subtle sense of humor.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sufis, Mystics and Yogis of India - Bankey Behari

This book is a collection of life sketches and selected compositions of sufis and mystics who worshiped the formless aspect of God. 
 Sufi saints featured in this book are:
  • Baba Farid
  • Sarmad
  • Bullah Shah
  • Shah Latif
  • Nazir
Other mystics  featured are:
  • Shankracharya
  • Gyaneswar
  • Nanak
  • Kabir
  • Namdeva
  • Saint Ramdas

Goodreads Rating - 3 out of 5 (1 Rating; 0 Review - As on November 1 2016)
My Rating  3 out of 5

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. 
At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. 
The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.
 If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.02 out of 5 (122,451 Ratings; 12,225 Reviews - As on October 30 2016)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments:  Not as good as the first book in Coromoran Strike series "The Cuckoo's Calling".

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Power of Compassion - The Dalai Lama

“Genuine compassion is based on a clear acceptance or recognition that others, like oneself, want happiness and have the right to overcome suffering. On that basis one develops concern about the welfare of others, irrespective of one’s attitude to oneself. 
That is compassion.” - THE DALAI LAMA

Many people have asked the Dalai Lama to address the current difficulties facing humanity. 
In these talks given in London he speaks about a wide range of issues including: Bosnia, racial hatred, gender and environmental protection.
Modern life is so full of confusion and suffering that people need the courage to face their anger and hatred, in order to transform their lives and relationships.
The Dalai Lama describes in a clear and simple style how to live and die well and how to bring wisdom and compassion into our everyday lives.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.13 out of 5 (150 Ratings; 14 Reviews - As on October 11 2016)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments: Very thought provoking and inspiring talks by  Dalai Lama on following topics:
1) Contentment, Joy and Living Well
2) Facing Death and Dying Well
3) Dealing with Anger and Emotion
4) Giving and Receiving: A Practical Way of Directing Love and Compassion
5) Interdependence, Inter-connectedness and the nature of Reality
6) The Challenge for Humanity: An Interfaith Address

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Visual Meetings - David Sibbet

How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity
Use eye-popping visual tools to energize your people!
Just as social networking has reclaimed the Internet for human interactivity and co-creation, the visual meetings movement is reclaiming creativity, productivity, and playful exchange for serious work in groups.
Visual Meetings explains how anyone can implement powerful visual tools, and how these tools are being used in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to facilitate both face-to-face and virtual group work. 
This dynamic and richly illustrated resource gives meeting leaders, presenters, and consultants a slew of exciting tricks and tools, including
  • Graphic recording, visual planning, story boarding, graphic templates, idea mapping, etc.
  • Creative ways to energize team building, sales presentations, staff meetings, strategy sessions, brainstorming, and more
  • Getting beyond paper and whiteboards to engage new media platforms
  • Understanding emerging visual language for leading groups
Unlocking formerly untapped creative resources for business success, Visual Meetings will help you and your team communicate ideas more effectively and engagingly.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.79 out of 5 (783 Ratings; 22 Reviews - As on October 9 2016)
My Rating  2 out of 5
My Review: Lots of interesting ideas but too much of self-promotion. Felt like I was reading a  long and dry brochure of the author's company. OK for people who have never been exposed to the concept of Visual Meeting but the rest can look elsewhere.

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