Thursday, December 29, 2016

Traction by Gino Wickman

Get a Grip On Your Business
Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you?

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. 

Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. 
But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical.The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. 
More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. 

You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. 
Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.15 out of 5 (713 Ratings; 78 Reviews - As on December 29 2016)
My Rating 3.5 out of 5
My Comments: Sort of simplified version of Verne Harnish's book Scaling Up. Useful for startup companies.

Buying Options 
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

101 Design Ingredients to Solve Big Tech Problems by Eewei Chen

One page, one ingredient. 101 reasons to become more successful at solving those big technology problems. 
101 Design Ingredients will help your technology team identify problems, share responsibilities, and work better together.

In parts 1 through 4, you'll find 101 problem-solving ingredients grouped into project stages, to help you apply the right ingredient at the right time. 

Start at any point and page through the humorously illustrated ingredients until you find one that matches your needs best. 
The ingredients cover the spectrum your business needs to be successful, with tips on team-building, creating a business model, product launch, productivity, and much more. 
Each ingredient includes three practical suggestions to get you started right away.

In part 5, you'll see examples of how companies can blend some of the ingredients used in this book to solve specific business requirements for investment, innovation, leadership, and more. Each recipe shows how a company fine-tuned six of the ingredients to build their own unique solution. 

You'll learn how to mix and match ingredients to create your own recipes for success, tailored to your company's needs.

The ingredients and recipes in this book can be applied by beginners starting out on their first technology project, as well as seasoned professionals who have been tackling the same big problems for years and need a fresh new approach to problem solving.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.03 out of 5 (30 Ratings; 5 Reviews - As on December 25 2016)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: Has got nice cartoons and lots of links which may be of interest. Content wise just OK.

Buying Options 
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Finding Forgotten Cities - Nayanjot Lahiri

How the Indus Civilization was Discovered
Just a century ago, scholars believed that civilization in the Indus Valley began three thousand years ago during the Vedic Age. 
But in the autumn of 1924, John Marshall made an announcement that rocked the understanding of the ancient world and pushed back the boundaries of Indian history by two thousand years more: the discovery of the civilization at Harappa, located in present-day Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan. 
A sophisticated culture dating back to 2600 BCE, this ancient city was notable for its well-planned streets and for having the oldest known urban sanitation system.
Based on previously unknown archival materials, Finding Forgotten Cities not only details an archeological discovery on the same scale as Troy, but introduces us to the colorful cast of characters who made it possible and overcome the challenges and travails of this colossal excavation. 
Nayanjot Lahiri’s fascinating history includes tales of self-taught archaeologists like Charles Masson, the collector who first described an ancient Indus Valley culture, as well as Alexander Cunningham, the archaeological pioneer who first excavated Harappa with diggers Daya Ram Sahni, Rakhaldas Banerji, and Madho Sarup Vats in the 1850s.  
And, at the center of Lahiri’s story is John Marshall, a Cambridge classicist brought by Lord Curzon to India to lead the Archaeological Survey of India and the man who finally pieced together the truth about this long-forgotten civilization.
Spanning nearly a century, Finding Forgotten Cities presents a powerful narrative history of one of the key sites of the ancient world offers interesting insight into the origins of modern civilization.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.0 out of 5 (25 Ratings; 6 Reviews - As on December 23 2016)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments: A fascinating narrative of how Indus Valley civilization was discovered
Some digressions from the main story line though equally interesting breaks the flow. 
These details could have been provided as separate appendix chapters. 
Apart from this it is an excellent read!

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sri Ramakrishna on Himself - Mohit Ranjan Das (compiler)

Understanding that the life of a prophet is best told by himself, this book is an attempt to form an autobiography from Sri Ramakrishna's utterances about his life. 
These words taken mainly, but not exclusively, from the 'Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna', allow the reader to hear, as it were, the Master's story from his own lips.

Included are a Chronology of the Life of Sri Ramakrishna and a Glossary.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3 out of 5 (1 Rating; 0 Review - As on December 17 2016)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments: A commendable job in compiling autobiographical quotes from Sri Ramakrishna in one volume.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scrum Insights for Practitioners - Hiren Doshi

The Scrum Guide Companion 

Hiren Doshi, Professional Scrum Trainer & Coach in his book, Scrum Insights for Practitioners: The Scrum Guide Companion helps the practitioners master the Scrum framework by gaining in-depth practical insights and helps answer questions like: 
  • What are some common myths, mysteries, and misconceptions of Scrum?
  • The Scrum Guide recommends three to nine members in a Development Team, but we have fifteen members. Is this Scrum?
  • Can you share some tactics to do effective Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, and Product Backlog Refinement?
  • My designation is development manager. Does this mean I have no role in Scrum?
  • How is Scrum Empirical?
  • Can Scrum Master and Product Owner be the same person?
  • We don’t have a Scrum Master. Are we still practicing Scrum?
  • What does Self-Organization really mean?
  • How does Scrum embrace the four values and twelve principles of the Agile Manifesto?
  • Please share a case study on Scrum based product development?
[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4 out of 5 (1 Rating; 0 Reviews - As on December 10 2016)
My Rating 3.5 out of 5
My Comments: This book will help you understand the nuances of Scrum.
It takes a very practical approach towards implementing Scrum without compromising on its values and principles.
Perhaps the first book on Scrum that newbies should read after going through the official Scrum Guide.
A useful and handy reference for Scrum practitioners!

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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.

Buying Options 
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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.

Buying Options 
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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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