Saturday, December 28, 2013

Medical Statistics from Scratch by David Bowers

Statistics plays a key role in medical research and investigations.

The field of Medical Statistics focuses statistical procedures well-suited to the analysis of healthcare related data.
David Bowers, the author of this book introduces the readers to medical statistics without resorting to complex mathematics. 
He  focuses more on the understanding of the key concepts behind the statistical procedures. The book provides useful advice on which procedure to  choose for data analysis and under what circumstances.
The author also explains how to interpret outputs from statistical programs like Minitab.
The topics covered in this book include - Data description, designing a statistical study, making statistical inferences about the population based on samples, confidence interval estimation, test of hypothesis, measuring associations and agreement between two variables, regression models, survival analysis, meta-analysis.
The theory discussed in the book is well-supported by lots of examples and exercises based on  the data  drawn from the latest medical research literature. 
On several occasions the discussions in the book in a particular chapter make references to the tables and graphs introduced in  earlier chapters. This is somewhat annoying since one has to search for them and keep juggling between pages. It would have been better if such tables and graphs  were repeated where they are discussed or been collated in form of an appendix. This is the only drawback of this well-written , interesting and reader-friendly book.

Highly recommend it as an introductory text on medical statistics. ! 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Disciplined Agile Delivery by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines

 Success of agile methods in small organizations with co-located teams is well known.
 But scaling Agile to an enterprise level is a different ball game. 
It requires a more rigorous approach than many of the popular agile methodologies . 
The rigor is needed especially in the areas like architectural planning, modeling , risk management and governance. The challenge here is how to bring about this rigor without compromising on Agile values and principles. 
Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) , is a process framework that meets this challenge.
 It takes a pragmatic approach that strikes a right balance between a lightweight, highly people dependent agile method and an overweight, highly documentation oriented traditional development. 
 DAD framework is fully described in this book by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, who are its creators.Highly recommended for anyone who needs a practical and pragmatic advice on first steps towards scaling Agile.
Read more about this book in my business blog

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

India Inside by Nirmalya Kumar and Phanish Puranam

Why doesn't Indian businesses come out with  products like Google, iPod, and Viagra  ? 
Is India a laggard in business innovation? 
No, say the authors of this book Prof. Nirmalya Kumar and Prof. Phanish Puranam of London Business School who are experts on business in India.
The point they make through this book is  - a considerable innovation does take place in India but it is invisible to end consumers around the world.

Such invisible innovations from India as discussed in this book are of  four types:
1. Globally segmented innovation led primarily by major multinational corporations that have set up "captive" innovation and R&D centers in India.
2. Outsourcing innovation to Indian firms where R&D  services are provided on contract to support new product development for consumers in the developed world.
3. Process innovation in Indian firms  as a result of low-paid yet highly skilled young Indians using their ambition to inject innovation into jobs that their Western counterparts would perceive as "dead ends"
4. Management innovation of the global delivery model to effectively bring global scale and cost efficiencies to previously locally clustered service processes.

In addition to the above invisible innovations, the authors also discuss visible innovations from India which manifest through "frugal engineering" of products and services. Frugal engineering is the uniquely Indian ability to develop using limited resources, consumer offerings that are low-cost, compact, efficient and robust.

The book also acknowledges and analyzes several constraints  to innovation in India. But based on their extensive research, the authors  believe  that despite these impediments, for the kind of innovations mentioned above, India's potential to become a significant force in the world can't be ignored. They provide several potential responses and recommendation for the MNCs and Western policy makers to deal with India's invisible-innovation and frugal engineering challenge and benefit  from it.

Well organized and well written book though slightly academic for a lay reader.
This book definitely offers an interesting perspectives on India's innovation capabilities.
A good read for professionals from any industry !

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