Friday, November 29, 2013

50 Best Business Ideas of the Last 50 years by Ian Wallis (Editor)

As the title mentions this book offers a selection of 50 business ideas which according to the editor are the best ones over the last 50 years.
Each of these business ideas are described in a seperate chapter in a structured manner  as per the following sections -
The Background,  Commercial Impact, What Happened Next

The ideas are categorized as per the decades as follows:

1960s (18 chapters) - The Pill, The Disposable Nappy, Contact Lenses, Sattelite Television, Biometrics, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), The Ring Pull, Touch-tone Phones, Equal Opportunities Policy, Video Conferencing, The Fax Machine, The Plastic Bag, The Microwave Oven, The Smoke Alarm, Kevlar, Aerosol Deodorant, Computer-aided design (CAD),The Internet
1970s (14 chapters) - The Pocket Calculator, Budget Airlines, Email,The Automated Teller Machine (ATM),The Computer Game, Just-in-Time Inventory Management, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI),VHS,The Barcode, Electronic Point-of-sale (EPOS) Technology, The Global Positioning System (GPS), Fibre Optics, The Electronic Spreadsheet,The Walkman
1980s (9 chapters) - The Personal Computer (PC),Infrared Remote Controls,The Post-it Note,
The Compact Disc (CD), The 20-70-10 Rule,The Digital Camera, Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) Systems, Dyson (Dual Cyclone Vacuum Cleaner), Tablet Computers
1990s (7 chapters) -  International Overnight Courier Services,The Smartphone, Search Engines, Pay-per-click Advertising, Pay-by-swipe Technology,The Hybrid Car,The MP3 Player
2000s (2 chapters) - Google's 20% Innovation Time,The E-reader

Many writers (too many to be named) have contributed to the chapters in the book. But apart from the fact that there are some interesting facts you can find here and there in bits and pieces, none of the chapters could keep me engaged. The narration and discussions lack depth and vitality. It is just overloading the reader with facts.
You can make note of the ideas from the above list and look them up in the internet. Or you can collate all the Wikipedia articles about these ideas in one place. They will certainly make  a better read and provide you more depth in the subject matter.

But if you want some quick facts about  the 50 ideas in a handy and compact form, then this book may serve some purpose.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here's Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos

"Math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative. Mathematical thought is one of the great achievements of human race, and arguably the foundation of all human progress. The world of mathematics is a remarkable place", says the Alex Bellos, the author of this book.
And he takes the reader on a very fascinating journey through this wonderful world of maths.
He narrates exciting stories about - the Euclidean geometry; the mathematics behind origami the art of paper folding; a tribe in the wilds of the Amazon who can count only up to five; how ants can actually count how many steps they have taken; the mathematical insights of Buddha; Sudoku and other mathematical games; the random numbers ; the number pi and many more.

The book is packed with very interesting information and  anecdotes written in a very humorous and engaging style.
This is probably the best book I have read in this genre.
Don't miss it if you like maths ! 
And even if you don't like maths, at least browse through some sections of this book. It may change the way you look at maths.

 Read an Excerpt from the book. 


Also published under the title : Alex's Adventures in Numberland
Buy Alex's Adventures in Numberland from Flipkart

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interpreting the CMMI - A Process Improvement Approach

 It is very heartening to see that the authors of this book primarily take a process improvement approach towards interpreting CMMI to derive real business benefits as against writing a cookbook on how to pass a CMMI appraisal.
One limitation of this book is while trying to "write this book for the widest audience possible—that is, for the experienced process improvement practitioner, the inexperienced practitioner, the CMMI expert, and the CMMI novice" the authors have not gone deep into most of the topics they have discussed. Hence the book does not rise much above an overview book. 
Nevertheless this is one book which everyone should read if before they tackle the CMMI elephant !
Read more details about this book in my business website.
Publication Details: Authors :Margaret K. Kulpa and Kent A. Johnson ; Publisher: CRC Press LLC. ; Hardcover: 426 pages.