Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Update of posts - April 24

Bill of Health

Fighting Body Pollution
Paul Kramer
Manjul Books (www.manjulindia.com)

Free radicals are rebel molecules

Free radicals are one of the most destructive by-products of body pollution, informs the author. "Think of free radicals as your body's rebel molecules — they're highly reactive and have only one electron instead of the usual pair. In a battle for survival, they search out healthy cells in your body and steal the extra electron they need. These little thieves end up permanently damaging healthy cells... Just as a car rusts from oxidation, your body `rusts' from the oxidising effects of free radicals."

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Bill of Health

Rasha's Road to Nutrition
Shalini Sharma and Shehnaz David
Euro Books (www.eurobooksindia.com)

Nutrition pyramid
The chapter on fruity friends begins with this: `Dressed in a yellow peel, I am a complete meal. I have a long and curvy smile, pick me for your salad, and you could run a mile.' Well, you can't say no to `tan-nan-tanana... nutritious banana'.
The book concludes by suggesting a 6-5-3-3-2 pyramid combination. This stands for a daily dose of: six servings of grains such as beans and corn flake cereals, five of veggies, three of fruits, three of milk, and two of meat. On the last, there is an alternative for vegetarians: `peanut butter, nuts and soya beans'.
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Book Mark

Advertising Now. Online
Julius Wiedemann
Taschen (www.taschen.com)

Consumers are the new creative department
Brands need to learn to behave differently, demands Freeman. "The leap from brand communication to brand interaction requires three-dimension, behavioural character that is not required of brands in broadcast-only media." Digital media allow the consumer to be part of campaign, he notes. "The most powerful new medium we have discovered is not digital, but rather, consumers themselves." Consumers are the new creative department, declares Freeman. A tectonic shift is on, he says: `from a media mogul-determined dictatorship into a consumer-determined meritocracy'.
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Book Mark
BusinessWeek's Marketing Power Plays
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Ideas for your playbook

"The mining sector will top out in 2009 if not sooner ... with an outright recession possible as soon as 2011," he fears. "To offset the slowdown, Owens wants to make more acquisitions ... And for as long as demand holds up, he's hiking prices." The next chapter is about Steven Freiberg of Citigroup, whose strategy is simple: `Focusing on the consumer'. Citibank has some 34 million customers, but Freiberg is worried that the customers aren't buying enough bank products. So, he is `targeting the bank's big spenders - professionals with $100,000 or more in assets - using technology to track them and offering discounts and other incentives to spend more'.

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Book Mark

Wraparound
Jayanta Sengupta
Rupa & Co

Respect the context, but deliver the core

A corollary to this rule is that you must remember to plan for `consistency and complementarity of experiences across the various points of interaction'. The book cites from Bob Thompson's article `Avoiding the multi-channel death spiral' thus: "Customers want companies to know them and work with them seamlessly across channels. It's one relationship, not one customer via the phone, another online, and third through a dealer." To achieve seamlessness, `train, monitor, and retrain' your staff, says Sengupta's rule eight, because "all members of the value delivery chain are your brand ambassadors."

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Book Mark

9 Secrets of Advertising
Ram Sehgal
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Agencies run on emotions
Such as `managing yourself' that the book opens with, because advertising professionals are `so occupied with managing other people that it is time-out' when it comes to analysing themselves! "It will be rewarding if you can find time to introspect and discover your true self," promises the author, who is currently Chairman of Sreema Institute of Advertising, Pondicherry.
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Book Mark
The Customer Satisfaction Audit
Abram I. Bluestein, Michael Moriarty and Ronald J. Sanderson
Book Land (www.bookland.co.in/audits)

99% performance begs to be beaten

Service involves much more than the delivery of a product to the customer, notes the intro. "A product is the sum of many services that go into making and selling it." Customers are the ultimate judge of what their requirements are, and also of the acceptable level of service and quality. "They judge their satisfaction not only by the product itself, but also by the totality of experience that comes with it."

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Book Value
An Introduction to Islamic Finance: Theory and Practice
Zamir Iqbal and Abbas Mirakhor
Wiley (www.wiley.com)

Towards an ethical form of investing

The authors chronicle the growth of other institutions too, such as: Islamic Development Bank, Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, Islamic Financial Services Board, and Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions. The 1990s saw the introduction of Islamic insurance (Takaful), Islamic equity funds, and the development of Dow Jones Islamic Index and FTSE Index of Shariah-compatible stocks. "The global demand for an ethical form of investing has led to a major boom in Islamic banking and finance. Banks such as HSBC and Citibank have announced their ambition to become major players in the market."

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Book Value
Select Winning Stocks Using Technical Analysis
Clifford Pistolese
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Stock market is like the Rorschach inkblot test
And, to help you take control in your hands, he discusses techniques for selecting stocks that can make large capital gains. Begin from the basics, therefore, and know that `the stock market is like the Rorschach inkblot test in which people see what they are inclined to see'. Rather than engage in such subjective exercises, review the market status using technical analysis, guides Pistolese.
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Book Value
Reverse Mergers
David N. Feldman and Steven Dresner
Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com)

Going `reverse' forward
Reverse mergers have a chequered past, note the authors. "In the early days of the practice — the 1970s and 1980s — a number of unsavoury players used the technique fraudulently... Some shady dealers would form new public shells, raise money from investors, and then take that money in the form of `fees', salaries, and perks in exchange for `running' the shell. In many cases, these shells were simply milked for the cash they had until it was gone." Another malpractice was to manipulate stock prices by leaking false information into the marketplace.
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Book Value
Lessons from the Greatest Stock Traders of All Time
John Boik
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Sell stocks that keep you awake at night
The tale of Livermore, the first among the five standout achievers discussed in the book, begins in the 19th century. In the early 1890s he began as a chalkboard boy, at $6 per week. His job was `to post the stock quotes on big chalkboards covering the length of the brokerage house as prices were called out by tape watchers sitting in the gallery as fast as they could yell them out from the ticker tape machines.' By the age of 20, Livermore was known as `The Boy Plunger' because of the runaway success he had in bucket shops, where one bet on the next move of the stock.
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Books 2 Byte
Nano: The Essentials
T. Pradeep
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

The future is nano

Brace up for a lot of technical reading. Such as: "When an X-ray photon falls on an intrinsic semiconductor (having no charge carriers), due to photoabsorption, charge carriers (electrons and holes) are created. These are swept by an applied bias forming a charge pulse. This charge pulse is then converted into a voltage signal. Intrinsic condition is hard to achieve and detector crystals are made to behave like intrinsic silicon. This is made by applying Li on p-type Si, thereby forming a p-n junction... "

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Books 2 Byte
India Infrastructure Report 2007
Oxford (www.oup.com)

Villages `out of reach'
The second barrier is of backbone infrastructure. "Currently around 6.7 lakh route km of optical fibre is laid across India." Of the 35,000 exchanges in the country, 30,000 exchanges (including 27,000 exchanges in rural areas) have OFC (optical fibre cable) connectivity. Also, we have satellite systems offering high bandwidth connectivity all over India through VSAT.
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Books 2 Byte
Transforming Schools Empowering Children
Arun Kapur
Sage (www.sagepub.in)

Get away from the mindset of `teaching computers'
Apt, therefore, in the book is the chapter on `technology', where Kapur notes that at no other time in the entire history of the human race has change happened as fast as it is happening today. "A great school keeps pace with technological changes in order to use this knowledge effectively in the teaching-learning process. It constantly incorporates new technologies into the curriculum."
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Books 2 Byte
The Computer & IT Quiz Book
Bijay Bhujabal and Saranga Mahatwo
Vision Books (www.visionbooksindia.com)

Bridging the information gap
After that possible dressing down, move seventy questions ahead to `the soft part' and meet the `special user' in Unix environment who is given `the authority to access all file directories and files under the root directory'. Only, you need to identify the right one from: Avatar, Master, Administrator, and Raftar. Next, find out `which was the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor' from among: Clipper, Bravo, Flagship, and PageMaker.
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Books 2 Byte
Blog Marketing
Jeremy Wright
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Blogs may replace typical corporate Web sites

The most powerful thing about blogging isn't the technology, but the massive community that drives the blogosphere, says the author. "With millions of bloggers expressing their thoughts, experiences, and information they've learned in their fields of interest, this medium has become a worldwide forum."

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Books 2 Byte
Karnataka Development Report
The Planning Commission
Academic Foundation (www.academicfoundation.com)

Bangalore, a victim of its own success
Another project, named Kaveri, facilitates `speedy registration without intermediaries and speed money'. Khajane is yet another project that connects more than 200 treasuries in the State through a computer network. These treasuries, in turn connected to around 4,500 rural local governments (panchayats at the zilla, taluka and gram levels), handle over Rs 20,000 crore annually and service nearly 5 lakh clients. Computerisation of admissions in professional colleges by making CET or Common Entrance Test transparent is one more success story in the State.
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Books 2 Byte
Sand to Silicon
Shivanand Kanavi
Rupa (www.rupapublications.com)

Taking a trip into the past
Also, to the avid, who are looking for answers to questions such as: "Who were the key players and what were their key contributions? What were the underlying concepts in this complex set of technologies? What is the digital technology that is leading to the convergence of computers, communication, media, movies, music and education? Who have been the Indian scientists and technologists who played a significant role in this global saga... ?"
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Books 2 Byte
The Resilient Enterprise
Yossi Sheffi
Pearson (www.pearsoned.co.in)

After high-impact/low-probability disruptions
When the firefighters arrived, they had nothing to do, except `walk in and check it out'. Though the incident did not even appear in Albuquerque newspapers, it was to affect two Scandinavian companies, Nokia and Ericsson, which accounted for 40 per cent of the affected orders at the plant.
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Books of Account
Company Meetings: Law, Practice & Precedents
T. K. A. Padmanabhan
Company Law Institute of India Pvt Ltd (www.cliofindia.com)

Meetings are indispensable
An interesting interlude in the chapter on board meeting is the one about frequency. The context is Section 285 of the Companies Act, 1956, which says that board meeting should be held at least once in every three months and at least four such meetings should be held every year. "There is a clear distinction between `every' and `each'," explains a letter of the Department of Company Affairs.
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Books of Account
Competition Law Today
Vinod Dhall
Oxford (www.oup.com)

Efficiency is associated with competition

There are more than a hundred different systems of competition law in the five continents, informs Fali S. Nariman in his essay on law and economics. "Activities that were once regarded as state monopolies - telecommunications, energy, transport, broadcasting, postal services, and the like - have now become the subject of scrutiny and regulation under competition law." Competition law is the handmaiden of modern economics, describes Nariman. "Economics motivates laws which in turn drive the economy; the bundle of laws that reflect societal values is now known as `sociological jurisprudence'."

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Books of Account
Technical Guide on Internal Audit in Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing (Downstream) Enterprises
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (www.icai.org)

Technical dips
It may be interesting to know that `interception' happens, for example, when the product tank wagon, mostly with HSD (high-speed diesel), is intercepted by loco foremen of the Railways for Railways' consumption at any of the stations en route to the destination station! "Although the Railways have the consumer supply arrangement with oil companies, yet at times, some of their locations are likely to become dry due to delay in receipt of wagons despatched on Railways' account and the loco foremen may decide to pull out a few wagons from the rack of wagons moving on the line and decant into their storage tanks."
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Books of Account
Making Referral Relationships Pay
Thomas Grady
Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com)

From `all-talk' to `a business model'
We are treading an area that is US-specific, please note. If an individual wants to receive `commission from sales activity in the investment world', he must join the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers). An individual cannot become a registered representative (RR) unless he first affiliates with one of the more than 5,000 brokerage firms and passes one or more of various securities tests crafted by the NASD.
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E-Dimension
China Now
N. Mark Lam and John L. Graham
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

The Tao of negotiating the China bend
The authors trace `the roots of the Chinese style of business negotiation' to many factors such as the agrarian base, sages, and language. "Despite the burgeoning modern cities that represent the Westerner's views of modern China, some 70 per cent of the Chinese workforce is still involved in the production of food and live in rural areas. More than half the food produced in China today is rice." Rice has left `an indelible mark on the Chinese culture,' observe the authors. "Rice production requires community effort and cooperation... Loyalty and obedience to hierarchy are key elements that bind such groups together."
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E-Dimension
China's Banking and Financial Markets
Li Yang and Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Wiley (www.wiley.com)

`Blue Book' in English
`Optional monetary policy' is an operation by China's Central Bank to deal with `special situations in particular industries'. For instance, in 2005, home-mortgage loan rate was brought on a par with commercial-loan interest rates to arrest the overheating of real estate. Down-payment ratios were hiked from 20 per cent to 30 per cent in some areas `where prices were growing too quickly'.
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E-Dimension
Grass-roots Democracy in India and China
Manoranjan Mohanty, Richard Baum, Rong Ma and George Mathew
Sage (www.sagepub.in)

Kaxie, zhuoba, foxiepa and zhangli

The Kaxie system comprises `the kaxie, the zhuoba, the foxiepa and the zhangli, all of whom are elected by the villagers.' Kaxie administers the civil services of a village. The zhuoba acts as the village priest and engages in ceremonies. The foxiepa takes care of the temple facilities and public property. And the zhangli arranges the making and repairing of the villagers' farming tools.

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E-Dimension
India: The Next Decade
Manmohan Malhoutra
Academic Foundation (www.academicfoundation.com)

Slow reforms, in the usual messy democratic way
The book opens with the text of Sonia Gandhi's speech at the Ninth Indira Gandhi Conference of November 2004, on the theme after which the current compilation has been named. "No government has a monopoly on wisdom," she concedes. "We will need the help of our best minds to identify obstacles and opportunities and to articulate a truly national agenda to take India forward."
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E-Dimension
Economics for Lawyers
Richard A. Ippolito
Princeton University Press

Creating surplus through trades
Key characters are Buddy and his underprivileged adult cousin Miss Sook Falk. They decide to make pecan fruitcakes. "After collecting their spare dimes, nickels, and pennies, they set out collect their supplies — some at the store, where real money is required, and some that require climbing over fences to collect pecans that have fallen from trees in a local orchard. But the critical input to the fruitcakes is more difficult to come by — legally anyhow."
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E-Dimension
The Culture of the New Capitalism
Richard Sennett
Orient Longman (www.orientlongman.com)

The spectre of uselessness

A chapter titled `Talent and the spectre of uselessness' speaks of interesting estimates of `upward mobility of children of unskilled labourers into the lower middle class' — around 20 per cent in the UK and the US, 15 per cent in Germany, and 30 per cent in China. Yet, the skills economy leaves behind the majority, says Sennett. "More finely, the education system turns out large numbers of unemployable educated young people, at least unemployable in the domains for which they have trained." A spectre, we are getting used to, already?

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Manage Mentor
Management Malpractice
Craig R. Hickman
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

Players who can damage organisations
"The key to managing knowledge workers lies in creating an environment where they can share their ideas, information, and knowledge without limitations or constraints... It allows organisations to become flatter and less dependent on hierarchy, which in turn promotes commitment, self-management, collaboration, and learning." Remember: "Ideas form the very basis of value creation."
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Manage Mentor
`From Servants to Masters?'
S.L. Rao
Global Business Press (www.atfullcircle.com)

The mercenary instinct is dominant
While the East India Company may be an example of corporate (mis) management, it may be naïve to overlook the many nuggets of management wisdom strewn all over in ancient Indian tomes.
For instance, Thiruvalluvar, a poet-saint who lived more than two thousand years ago, devoted a chapter in his 1,330-couplet work to `selection and employment'. Employ the one whose nature leads him to choose the good, after having weighed both the evil and the good in any undertaking, says Kural 511.
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Manage Mentor
Smarttalk
Lou Tice
EastWest Books (Madras) P Ltd

Switch from `have to' to `want to'
To transcend current reality, you should see the why and what, and not worry about `how', counsels the author. Another advice, to help cultivate `thought patterns for peak performance', is to break from linear thinking. Tice reminds you of the need for a lot of drive and energy to get from here to there. Most of that must come from within - `from intrinsic motivation that comes from well-defined values and motives'. Discover your values by asking yourself tough questions, exhorts the author. "It's not an easy task to sort out your priorities. It takes some time... When you get down the six or seven things that are most important to you in this life, you know what to hang your goals on."
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Manage Mentor
Was Your Boss Raised By Wolves?
Gerald M. Groe
Jaico (www.jaicobooks.com)

Surviving the organisational food chain
`Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?' you may ask, but that's what chapter 2 is all about. Groe offers `wolf wisdom' such as: "Like the wolf pack, and its predatory environment, the world of business is a hierarchy of interdependent power relationships. It is the larger, more financially powerful companies that wolf down smaller, less financially powerful organisations... "
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Say Cheek
Comma Sutra
Laurie Rozakis
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

A way with words
"The 100 most-often used words in English all come from the Anglo-Saxons - as do 83 of the next 100 words," writes Rozakis, in one of the `smarty pants' that punctuate the pages. Another `smarty' cites Ripley's Believe It or Not for the fact that only one person in a lakh can pronounce all of the following ten words correctly: data, gratis, culinary, nuclear, gondola, version, impious, chic, Caribbean, and Viking.
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Say Cheek
Genes are Gems: Reporting Agri-Biotechnology
Rex L. Navarro, S. Gopikrishna Warrier and Crispin C. Maslog
ICRISAT (the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) and ISAAA (the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications).

To understand science & scientists better
Don't be afraid to be child-like, urge the authors. "Curious. Interested. Frequently ask, why? Maintain eye contact all the time. Don't be shy to ask the dumb question, if you really do not understand what the scientist is saying." When the scientist says something complicated, or resorts to jargon, you can stop him and ask for an explanation, says the book. That doesn't mean, however, you can ask what GM food means, if you are interviewing a genetic scientist!
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Write Right
The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Misspelled and Easily Confused Words
David Downing and Deborah K. Williams
(www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Look up the wrong word
Yet another category of confusion is of words that are easy to mix up. "Such word pairs as infer and imply; disinterested and uninterested; and flounder and founder are often used incorrectly because they are similar in meaning and form yet have subtle differences in definition."
For instance, flounder means `to make awkward attempts to move or gain balance, to move clumsily or in confusion'. And `founder', apart from referring to `a person who founds or establishes something', means `to give way, collapse, or become disabled' and `to sink beneath the surface of water'.
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Write Right
Good Writing for Journalists
Angela Phillips
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

Good writing is never padded
Phillips reminds wannabe journalists, "Our readers don't want to be talked down to from a lofty height. They want us to talk in terms they understand. They are more likely to find out about a subject if we have caught their interest rather than gabbling away high above their heads."
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Book Mark
Trolley Wars
Judi Bevan
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

Out in the supermarket jungle
The UK, though, had to wait till after two world wars to adopt `the self-service revolution'. Just after the Second World War, Alan Sainsbury and Jack Cohen, Tesco's founder, visited the US, "as part of a government-sponsored initiative to educate British businessmen about the latest trends on the other side of the Atlantic." Returning, they put to practice their US lessons. For instance, Cohen turned his shop counters `back-to-the-front' and piled them with produce.
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Book Mark
Handbook of Niche Marketing
Tevfik Dalgic
Jaico (www.jaicobooks.com)

Find a hollow to fill
The book advises SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to identify their distinctive competencies and nourish the same constantly - `whether it is a unique process or product, quicker response time, or intimate knowledge of the customer'. Also, to take the complexity out of international business transactions, SMEs can think of `synergistic partnerships with carefully selected foreign business'.
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Book Value
Winning the Wealth Game
Sanjiv Mehta
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Winnowing the willow wisdom

While cricket uses the scorecard to organise information, you can use the four-square scorecard that Mehta prescribes, for recording incomes and expenses, assets and liabilities. The four squares are not standalone; they have deep connections. For example, an added liability can cause a spike in expenses and consequently erode savings, leading to deceleration in asset build-up.

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Books 2 Byte
ERP in Practice
Jagan Nathan Vaman
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

A practitioner's manual

Another case study in the book is about MBF Australia, a health insurer, which moved from COBOL to Oracle Financials, and reaped the benefits of E-Business Intelligence and Oracle Balanced Scorecard. "Managers were able to drill down through the data and analyse problems by divisions, by state, and by product. They no longer needed to call up the CFO to ask what is going on."

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Books 2 Byte
Handbook of Market Segmentation
Art Weinstein
Jaico (www.jaicobooks.com)

Cyber-snobs, fast-forwards and mouse potatoes
"This niche marketing strategy has netted them about 7 million customers."
Tap census data for insights on demography and geography, advises the author. For example, TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) that the US Census Bureau offers is a computer-readable mapping and geographic database.
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Books 2 Byte
Ego Check
Mathew Hayward
Kaplan Publishing (www.kaplanpublishing.com)

A cardinal sin called overconfidence
"The entire history of the IT industry has been one of overpromising and underdelivering," reads a quote of Larry Ellison of Oracle, cited in the opening chapter. "Software executives routinely say that a product is going to be ready on a certain date, and then it turns out to be literally years late. It's happened at Microsoft. It's happened at Oracle."
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Books 2 Byte
Winning @ Call Centre
Madhukar Yadav
Wisdom Tree (www.wisdomtreeindia.com)

India is fast losing the BPO edge
The second piece of advice is about grammar. "When you speak in English which is full of grammatical errors, the other person is bound to slam the phone on your face." Third, voice quality. Count yourself lucky if your voice is like that of Sean Connery or Amitabh Bachchan! "But others need to work on their intonations. They ought to know when to raise their pitch and when to soften." Commitment and prior experience rank fourth and fifth in the list of desirables in prospective candidates.
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Books of Account
Treatise on Special Economic Zones
Kanu Doshi and Yogesh Ashar
Snow White Publications Pvt Ltd (www.swpindia.com)

SEZs in a flux

The preface notes that concessions and tax exemptions for SEZs `have lured businessmen in India and even from across the world to set up manufacturing hubs in India involving massive investments'. The authors advise Indian industry `to summon managerial skills of the highest standards for successful SEZ forays'.

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E-Dimension
Agricultural Diversification and Smallholders in South Asia
P. K. Joshi, Ashok Gulati, and Ralph Cummings Jr.
Academic Foundation (www.academicfoundation.com)

A food revolution is apace
The annual per capita consumption of cereals fell by almost 4 per cent in the final decade of the last century, and pulses dropped more than four times that much, in the region under study. Fish and fruits registered the maximum gains of more than 30 per cent during 1990-2000 compared to the decade earlier. Milk and eggs were up nearly 25 per cent. Consumption of edible oils rose by a fifth; vegetables and tubers grew by 12 per cent.
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E-Dimension
Handbook of Agriculture
Shovan Ray
Oxford (www.oup.com)

Contemporary agri-issues
An essay on `Agriculture and environment' mentions grim numbers: Current level of total land degradation in the country is nearly Rs 300 billion annually; that is, an economic loss of about Rs 1,500 per hectare. Soil erosion, the worst form of land degradation, robs us of more than 5,000 million tonnes of soil, or 16 tonnes per hectare, every year, "with about 29 per cent being permanently lost to sea and another 9 per cent deposited into major reservoirs reducing their capacity by 1-2 per cent annually".
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E-Dimension
Creative Management and Development (third edition)
Jane Henry
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

`Weed' in need
Shiva is of the view that the Green Revolution has displaced entire crops in the Third World. What are called `marginal crops' or `coarse grains' are nature's most productive crops in terms of nutrition, she points out. "That is why women in Garhwal continue to cultivate mandua and women in Karnataka cultivate ragi in spite of all attempts by state policy to shift to cash crops and commercial foodgrains, to which all financial incentives of agricultural `development' are tied... "
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E-Dimension
Pulse
Robert Frenay
Little, Brown (www.littlebrown.co.uk)

Computers with emotions, bikes with penguin contours
Pulse is sign of life, a beat that all living systems answer to, writes Frenay. "A pulse is also a seedhead, carrier of the design for a new generation." Technology to come will take up the pulse, that beat, ``and with it the energy cascades, feedback cycles, and other dynamics that drive evolution''. Declares Frenay: "The new biology is humanity's future."
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E-Dimension
Making Innovation Work
Tony Davila, Marc J. Epstein and Robert Shelton
Pearson (www.pearsoned.co.in)
Seven innovation rules
The book lays down ``seven innovation rules'', which include: Integration with basic business mentality, alignment with company's business, and neutralising organisational antibodies.
An important rule is that the basic unit, or the fundamental building block, of innovation is "a network that includes people and knowledge both inside and outside the organisation." A theme, you'd agree, which pulsates in Frenays' work too.
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E-Dimension
Research by Design
Shivanand Kanavi
Rupa & Co (www.rupapublications.com)

An application-oriented mindset
The filter uses RHA (rice husk ash), an abundantly available common waste, to remove microorganisms and metal ions. "Sujal costs roughly Rs 300. The cost of replacing the filter bed is about Rs 25. The bed has a shelf life of four to six months, depending on the quality of the input water. The filtration rate is approximately three litres per hour." Thousands of Sujal filters rushed into devastated areas, post-tsunami, as a unique contribution from the software giant...
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Manage Mentor
`Know-How'
Ram Charan
Random House (www.oxfordbookstore.com)

Eight skills for leaders
Ram defines know-how as `what you must both do and be to lead your business'. The first skill is to position your business `by finding the central idea that meets customer demands and makes money', and also to `appropriately reposition' when required. Next in his skill-list is the ability `to pinpoint external change by detecting patterns ahead of others and put your business on the offensive'. Connect the dots, urges the author. "Finding patterns is akin to solving a puzzle, so personality traits like tenacity and confidence are necessary to keep searching for the missing pieces," guides Ram. Qualities to avoid are `arrogance and insecurity', because these can cause you `to filter out unwanted news and other points of view'.
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Manage Mentor
Writers on Organizations
Derek S. Pugh and David J. Hickson
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

Connect with management masters

"Transactions are better brought within a hierarchy when much more must be known, much less is certain, and there may be quasi-moral elements, because the hierarchy brings the inadequately informed parties to a transaction together under some degree of control." For example, M&As (mergers and acquisitions) `bring into a single organisation contracting parties whose transactions will then be regulated by the internal rules of a hierarchy and not by the rules of a market'.

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Reading Room
General Guidelines on Internal Audit
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (www.icai.org)

Inside internal audit

"Companies going in for tapping the international capital market, especially those seeking listing in the US stock exchanges, NASDAQ, NYSE, etc., also need a strong internal audit function to meet the stringent corporate governance and internal control requirements of those stock exchanges," notes the book. Useful addition.

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Reading Room
Kalidasa: The Meghadootam
Rajendra Tandon
Rupa (www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Pearl markets, crystal roofs
Kalidasa extols the most magnificent homes in Alkapuri — "where the floors are set with sapphire tiles, and the roofs are transparent so residents could look at the sky and stars." It seems crystal roofs made stars `hang like canopies made of flowers'. The poet tells Megha: "Several clouds like you are blown by the winds into the top floors of the seven-storey palaces of the city."
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Reading Room
A Handbook of Service Tax: Law, Practice & Procedure
C. Parthasarathy and Sanjiv Agarwal
Snow White (www.swpindia.com)

Acts that intersperse
For instance, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA), 1956 defines `derivative' as `a contract which derives its value from the prices, or index of prices, of underlying securities'. In service tax law, SCRA is cited in the definition of `securities'. Cross-reference and index can add value to the publication. The book comes with a CD containing comprehensive reference material, and an accompanying volume on notifications and circulars.
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Reading Room
Service Tax Ready Reckoner
PL Subramanian
Snow White (www.swpindia.com)

Service tax reference
For example, in the chapter on telephone services, a poser relates to plastic roaming facility. And in the discussion on `advertising agency', a query is whether cinema theatres can be treated as advertisement agencies since they project ads.
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Reading Room
Cenvat Manual
T. Gunasekaran
Snow White (www.swpindia.com)

Bottled gyan

What about the credit attributable to the quantity of glass bottles broken on the shop floor? This is not to be reversed, says the author, because the bottles were put to use but were broken while using in relation to manufacture of dutiable goods.

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Reading Room
Excise Ready Reckoner
T. Gunasekaran
Snow White (www.swpindia.com)

Excise guidance

Significant changes in law that the preface mentions are: `secondary and higher education cess' at 1 per cent on all products, and `new Rule 10A in Central Excise Valuation Rules with regard to assessable value of the goods manufactured on job work basis'. A bunch of post-Budget publications to help you keep updated.

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Soft Skills
The Radical Edge
Steve Farber
(www.oxfordbookstore.com)


Accountability defined
What then is accountability? "It's about living, breathing, toiling, and playing way-the-hell out there on the Radical Edge where you simultaneously stoke your business to phenomenal success, amp your life to the loudest possible volume of joy and meaning, and change the world for all of us. Hit all three things at the same time and you've got The Radical Edge as a businessperson and as a human being."
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Soft Skills
Goal Mapping
Brian Mayne
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

Response-ability versus blame
"The real trouble with blame is that it's always `out there' — outside of yourself and always somebody else's fault — which means you have little influence over it. This results in you feeling as if someone is doing something to you, or making you feel a certain way, and that you are powerless to do anything about it. Blame turns you in to a victim."
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Book Mark
International Public Relations
Patricia A. Curtin and T. Kenn Gaither
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

Be perceptive of culture
The book cites the research of E. Fursich and M.B. Robins on `the self-representation of sub-Saharan African nations on the World Wide Web'. A key finding of the researchers was that the `reflected' identity created on the Web mirrored Western interests, to promote tourism and generate investment. "A West African country with a Web site, such as Burundi, ceases to exist as an actual country and instead becomes a creation in cyberspace ... Its Web site presents its point of view, unfettered by intermediaries such as media, gives the country a storefront in the global marketplace ... "
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Book Mark
Business-to-Business Marketing
Ross Brennan, Louise Canning and Raymond McDowell
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

Business with football
Another example is about how a consortium could leapfrog bureaucracy and get an okay within two days for "a $300-million project to set up a high-tech centre of excellence for automotive engineering," thus: "The consortium met with the town's deputy mayor on the afternoon of the football match. During the banquet four representatives from the mayor's office asked further questions and the following day a meeting was set up with the mayor himself.
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Book Mark
Allyson Lewis
The Seven Minute Difference
(www.oxfordbookstore.com)

Micro-actions can cause mega results
The book talks of `micro-actions' - that is, activities resulting in small changes. "Micro-actions are so simple they are often overlooked and underutilised," explains Lewis. Examples of micro-actions include "taking time to thank a co-worker for a job well done", "reading ten pages of a book", "getting up 15 minutes earlier", and "handwriting thank-you notes to two customers a day."
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Book Value
Guide to Investment Strategy
Peter Stanyer
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

Before you pet a rhino
Understand your behaviour, urges a chapter on `Behavioural Analysis'. Benefit from the insights of behavioural finance. Let that not, however, be an excuse to ignore "the fundamental principles of diversification, correlations between different investments, or the need to tailor policies to the time horizon of investment objectives," Stanyer cautions.
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Book Value
Indian Mutual Funds Handbook
Sundar Sankaran
Vision (www.visionbooksindia.com)

MF mysteries unravelled

"Stock market is not pure science and not like chess, where the superior position always wins," reads a line from Peter Lynch in a section on `Risks in equity investing'. Elsewhere, you'd find Lynch comparing bottom-fishing (investing in a falling market) to `trying to catch a falling knife'. It is normally a good idea to wait until the knife hits the ground and sticks, then vibrates for a while and then settles before you try to grab it, suggests Lynch. "Grabbing a rapidly falling stock results in painful surprises, because inevitably you grab it in the wrong places." Thus, in the popular investor pastime of bottom-fishing, `it's usually the fisherman who gets hooked'.

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Book Value
All Real Estate is Local
David Lereah
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

There's no `right' property
Expand your real estate investment beyond your own home, suggests the book, in the interest of diversification. "Don't put all your money into one real estate investment. If it turns sour, you could lose a great deal of money." Another useful tip is that you should be able to afford the property you are buying. "If you do not have enough funds for a sufficient down payment, wait until you do."
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Book Value
Streetsmart Guide to Managing Your Portfolio
Frank Yao, Bret Xu, Patrick Adams, and Kenneth Doucet
(www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Invest in style
A search for universally accepted definitions of growth and value may be elusive. "In general, a growth-oriented manager tends to buy stocks that are experiencing rapid growth in earnings. These stocks are usually associated with price/earnings (P/E) or price-to-book (P/B) ratios that are higher than those of the overall market."
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Book Value
The Complete Guide to Point and Figure Charting
Heinrich Weber and Kermit Zieg
Vision Books (www.visionbooksindia.com)

P&F: Profits and fun

The basic premise of this technique is that the laws of supply and demand govern the price of a security or commodity, explain the authors. In sum, the laws are: when supply exceeds demand, price falls, denoted by `long column of Os'; when demand exceeds supply, price rises, and this is shown by a long column of Xs; `when supply and demand are contesting for supremacy, the price moves sideways', and this is evident from `short alternating columns of Xs and Os'. P&F chart `extracts the essence of the battle for equilibrium between supply and demand'.

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Books 2 Byte
Ongoing Crisis Communication
W. Timothy Coombs
(www.sagepublications.com)

Crisis is perceptual

CMT, for starters, is "a cross-functional group of people in the organisation who have been designated to handle any crises and is a core element of crisis preparation." Fine, but what is a crisis? It is perceptual, says the author. "A crisis is the perception of an unpredictable event that threatens important expectancies of stakeholders and can seriously impact an organisation's performance and generate negative outcomes."

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Books 2 Byte
CCNP Video Mentor
Kevin Wallace
(www.ciscopress.com)

Lab scenarios in a disc
Topics are about Multicast, VLANs, VTP, IP telephony support, site-to-site VPN, IOS firewall, and so on. An accompanying book serves as a support for the video. It has inputs such as: "When a web page is not loaded across the 128-kbps link, a tone is generated from extension 2222, and a solid uninterrupted tone is heard on extension R1. However, while the web page is loaded, the VoIP audio is completely starved by the data traffic... "
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Books 2 Byte
Gold Sift
Vikas Malhotra
(www.exchange4media.com)

When ads become math equations
The author anticipates that in an era of `paid search market, and richer, more interactive and creative advertising facilitated by increased broadband penetration around the globe' advertisers will be able to `routinely and inexpensively embark on ad campaigns that hit exactly the right prospects and hardly anyone else'. He sees a shift of traditional ad spending towards the Internet. With time spent online continuing to grow, `the Internet has replaced the TV as the most sought-after medium across different demographics'.
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Books 2 Byte
The Starfish and the Spider
Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
(www.penguinbooksindia.com)

Absence of leadership is not a weakness
Just as it was for a bunch of French investors whom Dave Garrison met in 1995, to raise funds for Netcom, an early ISP (Internet service provider). They wanted to know who was in charge of the Net. Dave told them, "There are thirty to forty thousand networks, and they all share in the burden of communication."
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Books 2 Byte
Open My Eyes, Open My Soul
Yolanda King and Elodia Tate
(www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

One is not only a number
Resuming `One', you would read how one point wins the game, one vote makes a difference, and `one wrong turn leaves us in states of confusion'. Sings Dahle: "One statement of truth that was never spoken, turns into a secret and an unused token, one untrue rumour spread with cruelty, one innocent victim foreseen as guilty, one misunderstanding that was never made clear... "
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Books 2 Byte
Communicating Globally: Intercultural Communication and International Business
Wallace V. Schmidt, Roger N. Conaway, Susan S. Easton, William J. Wardrope
(www.sagepublications.com)
When national boundaries blur
"For example, organisations like Sun, IBM, and Caterpillar have created `collaboratories' of scientists and engineers in separate locales, who work in real time together on product development and design via televiewers, video-conferencing, shared computer displays or whiteboards, networked electronic notebooks, and synchronised Web browsers." However, virtual communication is not an unmixed blessing, as research by Orasanu et al notes. Their study identified three distinct ways in which computer-mediated communication can go seriously wrong.

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Books 2 Byte
Men of Steel
Vir Sanghvi
(www.oxfordbookstore.com)

Connect with the captains
"My approach to life was too cerebral," confesses Nilekani. "I was told that I was too much of an observer. If I was going to lead an organisation, then I needed to show passion. I needed to allow people to connect with me." A business decision? No, a change of the person too! "I am more willing to engage," declares Nilekani. "I feel more passionately about things. And I'm able to be much more demonstrative than I ever thought was possible."
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Books 2 Byte
Secrets of Great Rainmakers
Jeffrey J. Fox

Presentations don't sell
Too many salespeople rely on PowerPoint presentations to make the sale, rues the author. "It is certain that in the near future some PowerPointers will be arrested on felony charges for trying to bore their customers to death." Most sales call presentations are dreadful, says Fox. One reason is that the presentations are often all about the presenters - `their credentials, their company history, their philosophy' - even as `no customer cares about such puffery'.
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Books 2 Byte
Tribal Knowledge
John Moore

Touchology trumps technology

"Be it loyalty cards to recognise and reward frequent customers, self-service kiosks to increase efficiency, or automated phone systems to facilitate servicing customers, these high-tech methods drive the human equation out of the business transaction."

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Books 2 Byte
Google Hacking: An ethical guide
Ankit Fadia and Diwakar Goel
Vikas (www.vikaspublishing.com)

Get `loaded' for the attack

The first three chapters are on what Google is really about; Googling; and advanced search operations. Then you are `loaded' for the attack. First, ensure anonymity, which comes easily. Identity in cyberspace is basically with your IP (Internet Protocol) address, explain the authors. "Whether you are on a dial-up connection or cable, you will be assigned a unique IP address each time you connect to the Internet."

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Books 2 Byte
Encryption: Protecting your data
Ankit Fadia and Jaya Bhattacharjee
Vikas (www.vikaspublishing.com)
Encryption can be defeated
First, what is encryption? "The process of encoding the contents of the plain text in such a way that its contents cannot be deciphered or read by outsiders is called encryption," define the authors. They explain encryption algorithms such as RC4, RC5, DES, RSA, elliptic curve and Rijndael. A chapter on encryption tools discusses Caesar, Karen's Hasher, Yodas Crypter, Truecrypt, Omziff and so forth.
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Books 2 Byte
Intrusion Alert: An ethical hacking guide to intrusion detection
Ankit Fadia and Manu Zacharia

No security, only opportunity
"Traditional firewalls are not able to assess the validity of such communications because they do not understand them."
You may want to snigger or snort that intrusions happen to others and not you; but it helps to know that Snort is `a very flexible network intrusion detection system'. Snort is a modern security application that can serve as a packet sniffer and logger too, explain the authors.
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Books of Account
From Competition at Home to Competing Abroad: A case study of India's Horticulture
Aaditya Mattoo, Deepak Mishra and Ashish Narain
Oxford (www.oup.com)

Grape gripe
As an illustrative exercise, the authors track the journey of a kg of grapes through the supply chain, and show how the farm-gate price of Rs 14 in Hyderabad builds up to a final price of Rs 120 at a supermarket in London. Inland transportation, storage and handling, commissions and taxes, packaging materials, plus margin add Rs 24 to the original price. `Air-freight and insurance charges' of Rs 54 are `the single largest component of the retail price'.
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Books of Account
Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries
Pranab Bardhan and Dilip Mookherjee
(www.oup.com)

Oversight in the jungle

A chapter titled `local government in the jungle' by Jean-Paul Faguet speaks of OC (oversight committee) `composed of representatives of grassroots organisations within each municipality'. The author says that the OC's power lies in its natural moral authority, as well as the ability to suspend disbursements from central to local government if it judges that funds are being misused. Investment planning is discussed in village-level assemblies; "these meetings were reported to be extremely open and participatory (`even animals can attend', in the words of one respondent)."

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E-Dimension
Mumbai: an International Financial Centre
High Powered Expert Committee of the Ministry of Finance
(www.sagepublications.com)

India has a zero share in IFS
Fund raising is only one of the eleven activities the report lists as IFS (international financial services) capabilities. Other services which Mumbai, as an IFC, should be able to offer, include: Asset management and global portfolio diversification, PWM or personal wealth management (`overseas Indians are estimated to hold financial wealth of over $500 billion and total wealth of over $1 trillion'), global transfer pricing (`an activity that GOI, like most governments, looks askance at'), and global M&A activity (`a considerable amount of back-office BPO/KPO and due diligence research work is already being outsourced to India').
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E-Dimension
Financing Cities
George E. Peterson and Patricia Clarke Annez
Sage (www.sagepublications.com)

Land-value gains
"Municipally owned urban land is not a static asset. It can be `created' by expanding the urban area into rural zones at the urban fringe," writes Peterson. A recent example is of the second draft master plan for Chennai, which talk about the creation of three satellite townships. Peterson narrates the example of how Shenzhen aggressively expanded its urban boundaries for 15 years, leasing land to raise revenues. "By now, the potential for further expansion or new land leasing has almost been exhausted... "
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E-Dimension
Local Governance in India
Niraja Gopal Jayal, Amit Prakash and Pradeep K. Sharma
(www.oup.com)

People-centred development
One of the successful PCD examples that Pinto narrates is of the Kanjur Marg experiment at slum resettlement, which pooled in the resources of SPARC (Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centre), MM (Mahila Milan), NSDF (National Slum Dwellers Federation), RSDF (Railways Slum Dwellers Federation), SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority), and HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation). Many schemes have failed too, especially because of not being people-centred, says Pinto.
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E-Dimension
The Voluntary City
David T. Beito, Peter Gordon and Alexanderr Tabarrok (www.academicfoundation.com)

Underbelly of urban living

The book explores how `large-scale, private and voluntary, community-based provision of social services, urban infrastructure and community governance' can restore the vitality of city life. And how local public goods can be provided `through the dynamism of freely competitive, market-based entrepreneurship'.

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E-Dimension
Competing on Analytics
Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Analytical competition will be something of an arms race
Analytics are a subset of `business intelligence, a set of technologies and processes that use data to understand and analyse business performance,' say the authors. At the low end of `intelligence' is `access and reporting', which answers questions such as: `What happened; how many, how often, where; where exactly is the problem; and what actions are needed'. Analytics are at the high end, with a promise of greater competitive advantage, and the questions tackled at this level are: `Why is this happening; what if these trends continue; what will happen next; what's the best that can happen'.
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E-Dimension
Oracles of Science
Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas

Unforced connections
Wilson, a world authority on ants, proclaims that if religion, including the dogmatic secular ideologies, could be systematically analysed and explained as a product of the brain's evolution, its power as an external source of morality would be gone forever.
The final insight the book wraps with is that science is compatible with a broad cross-section of very different views on the deepest human problems.
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E-Dimension
Programming the Universe
Seth Lloyd

Atoms are easy to talk to
Atoms are tiny but strong, resilient but sensitive, entices Lloyd. "They are easy to talk to (just hit the table and you've talked to billions upon billions of them) but hard to listen to (I bet you can't tell me what the table had to say beyond `thump'). They don't care about you, and they go about their business doing what they have always done. But if you massage them in just the right way, you can charm them. They will compute for you... "
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E-Dimension
The Year of the Rooster
Guy Sorman
(www.atfullcircle.com)

Democracy makes all the difference to economies
In chapter 1, you'd meet `the dissenters' such as Wei Jingsheng, who claims `he can feel the pulse of the people better than any journalist or diplomat in Beijing'. Wei is of the view that for too long, `communist leaders have twisted tradition and Confucianism to suit their own ends'. The teachings of Confucius can be interpreted in any way one wants. They can be used to oppress the people or guarantee their rights, he explains. Another `dissenter' is Liu Di, a student in her twenties, whose cyber nom de plume is `stainless steel mouse'. Sorman narrates: "She translates into Chinese texts of dissident writers from the former communist Europe... The security department had deemed her to be dangerously subversive."
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E-Dimension
Rome & Jerusalem
Martin Goodman
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Law as a scholarly form
Life was far different in the land of the Jews. "Public spectacle was centred around the Temple, rather than entertainments in theatre or circus. Intellectual debate took place between religious enthusiasts rather than orators and philosophers. And the rhythms of the city followed the Temple calendar, the whole populace hushed at rest each Sunday... "
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E-Dimension
Ancient Greek Philosophy: Thales to Gorgias
Vijay Tankha
(www.pearsoned.co.in)

Rhetoric to persuade others of anything
"Socrates gets Gorgias to admit that the kind of persuasion that rhetoric deals with has little to do with teaching or instruction (and thereby with truth) but simply with getting people to believe in whatever it is the rhetor wants them to," writes Tankha. Gorgias considered rhetoric to be `a great power and therefore of immense benefit to the one who has such a skill, for he can persuade others of anything'. For: "There is no subject on which the rhetorician could not speak more persuasively than a member of any other profession whatsoever, before a multitude. So great, so strange, is the power of this art."
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Manage Mentor
Management with a Difference
Swami Anubhavananda and Arya Kumar
(www.anebooks.com)

Don't stop with empowerment
A `transforming' manager inspires his people. The fundamental principle of inspiring, according to the authors, is to treat people as if they were what they are capable of becoming. "People love to achieve more than they thought they were capable of. Going through this process of over-reaching himself (while in the presence of his manager) just once in his lifetime is very often sufficient to ensure that the staff member acquires the habit of driving himself to greater heights. This leads to self-motivation, removes dependence on the manager and feeds back into the cycle of excellent performance."
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Manage Mentor
Leadership for Results
Tom Barker
Pearson (www.pearsoned.co.in)

Leaders are like magicians
The third barrier is `arrogant complacency', common to organisations with a long history, which are paralysed by an entrenched resistance to change. An organisation firmly gripped by complacency will not see any risks on the horizon, not because they are not there, but because those in the organisation collectively `choose not to see' the risks.
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Manage Mentor
Leadership Power Plays
Tata McGraw-Hill (www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

A leaf from the leaders
The book introduces you to the `unsung hero' of United Technologies, George David. His counterintuitive business model is to `run a bunch of unrelated companies and give employees tons of money to play with'. One of his `controversial investments' is the `Employee Scholar Program' that costs $60 million a year. Workers don't have to tie their studies to the job. "Anything goes, from medieval poetry to medical training, with UTC picking up the tab, including the cost of books and time off."
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Manage Mentor
The Starbucks Experience
Joseph A. Michelli
(www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

All about a third place
"Starbucks is more than a Wall Street Cinderella story," notes the author. "In a stunning contrast to most Fortune 500 companies, Starbucks consistently spends more on training than it does on advertising," discovers Michelli. Michelli's book is based on an 18-month exploration he did of the company, listening to its leaders and watching what they do, `as an outsider with no personal stake in Starbucks future'. What did he find? `Five key business principles' behind the `phenomenal success' of Starbucks: Make it your own, everything matters, surprise and delight, embrace resistance, and leave your mark. Each of these is explained in a chapter.
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Reading Room
The 21st Century Ambassador
Kishan S. Rana
Oxford (www.oup.com)

Intensive `immersion' for language edge
"Using intensive `immersion' methods, working knowledge of a language can be acquired in three or four months, if the individual is sufficiently motivated," assures Rana. "Major Western services and others like the Chinese and the Russians use this option, but most other diplomatic services do not offer language training, partly on the ground that senior personalities do not have time for full-time training."
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Reading Room
I feel bad about my neck Nora Ephron
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Live life, now
At the age of 55 you will get a saggy roll just above your waist even if you are painfully thin. Keep a journal. Take more pictures. You can order more than one dessert. If the shoe doesn't fit in the shoe store, it's never going to fit. When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you. Back up your fines. There are no secrets...
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Reading Room
Barack Obama In His Own Words
Lisa Rogak
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Bangalore and Beijing vs Boston

"No longer can we assume that a high-school education in Boston is enough to compete for a job that could easily go to a college-educated student in Bangalore or Beijing," is a snatch on education' from Obama's June 2006 address at the University of Massachusetts. On jobs, he says: "I would focus on improving funding for job-training programs and changing tax codes to give corporations incentives to stay in the country rather than go overseas."

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Reading Room
Transforming Personality
Swami Dr Parthasarthy

Alertness pays

"Alertness of the mind is a primary condition for intellectual development. Knowledge grows proportionally to our alertness, that is, the more attentive we are, the more we get to know, whatever be the subject." Therefore, whether you read or hear, see or talk, do it with attention. Alertness is only the first of four major aspects in developing the intellect.

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Reading Room
Bottled for Business
Karan Bilimoria
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Be constantly engaged in everything you are doing

Creativity is not an isolated activity done in some kind of silo, but a way of life, he explains. "It is about being constantly engaged in everything you are doing. All the time try to think of original and new and different ways of doing and approaching things, driven by the knowledge that if you tackle life in this way you can add value and make a difference."

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Reading Room
The Universe: A Biography
John Gribbin

Impacts from space!
"We have the scientific and technological knowledge to feed adequately an even greater human population than the Earth already carries, but people continue to starve in large numbers because of political decisions." The biggest threat to us may be `impacts from space' — `the same process that brought life to Earth in the first place'...
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Reading Room
Nani A. Palkhivala: A Life
M.V. Kamath.

Inimitable Nani

"If the amount of time, energy and public money which are employed in depressing our economy were to be utilised in developing it, we would experience an economic miracle. It takes a lot of doing to keep a singularly gifted and enterprising nation like India in the ranks of the poorest on earth."

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Reading Room
Words Without Borders
Bard College

Many a lingo

The book compiles `28 works of literature never before published in English', translated from many a language, including the Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Bengali, Persian, Arabic, Yoruba, Romanian, Italian, German, French and Spanish. The project, hosted by Bard College, aims to promote international communication.

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Reading Room
The Business of Tourism: Concepts and Strategies
A.K. Bhatia
(www.oxfordbookstore.com)

Tourist income multiplier
TIM or tourist income multiplier, this is, but there can be leakages when expenditure is incurred to import products such as food and drink. When, therefore, home-grown products are substituted for imported foodstuffs, a significant saving is effected, and TIM increases, explains the author.
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Reading Room
The Confidence Factor
Judith Briles
(www.pearsoned.co.in)

Face reality checks
"Consider doing jobs, chores, and things in a five-minute timeframe versus a block of the entire afternoon. Literally, one step at a time," Briles counsels.
"If you have one leg in tomorrow and one leg in yesterday, you're sabotaging today... Trusted others can give you appropriate feedback, encourage you to move on and make today the real thing versus fantasy."
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Reading Room
The Mercedes and the Missing Clock
Anuj Khare
(www.vivagroupindia.com)

Creative power of time
"Simply choosing to be truly passionate with a single-minded focus in whatever we do." Khare calls it the creative power of time, which is absent when one is in `a perpetual state of some other thought' or is `a victim of distractions'. Rule 1, therefore, is to make the best use of time now! "A simple solution to all who feel that they are unable to decide which activities to undertake in their limited time, it is best to ask: `What is the best use of my time, now?' The first answer that comes to your mind will be the right answer."
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Say Cheek
Words That Work
Dr Frank Luntz
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

The ten rules of effective communication
The third rule is credibility. "If your words lack sincerity, if they contradict accepted facts, circumstances, or perceptions, they will lack impact." Which explains why commercials that scream, `New and improved' or `the best just got better', fall flat on the ears of consumers. How to establish credibility? "Tell people who you are or what you do. Then be that person and do what you have said you would do. And finally, remind people that you are what in fact you say you are," advises Luntz.
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Say Cheek
101 Things You Didn't Know about Shakespeare
Janet Ware and Al Davis
Viva (www.vivagroupindia.com)

Did the Bard have a head for business?
In Shakespeare's day, the only way a writer could make money was to be prolific, notes the book at hand. "This was a work-for-hire world, and the going rate was £4 per play." Payment was not for every staging of the play. "The acting company that purchased his play could stage it over and over without paying the author a single pound more - unless the playwright owned a share of the company."
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Say Cheek
100 Great Poems of Love & Lust
Dannie Abse
(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Two people with one pulse
Confessions can be bold, such as of Edward Thomas (1878-1917): "My eyes scarce dare meet you lest they should prove I but respond to you and do not love. We look and understand, we cannot speak except in trifles and words most weak." Thomas lived a life of economic hardship, narrates the author in a short note. Alas, Thomas' first collection appeared after his death, and his "accessible, moving and pleasurable poetry was overlooked for many years."
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Soft Skills
Towards Personal Excellence
Seema Sanghi
(www.indiasage.com)

Check if you are skilled
The book has many self-tests. For instance, statements that you need to respond to, in a section on being innovative, include `I build contacts with experts outside my firm,' `I welcome uncertain and unusual circumstances related to my tasks,' `I find time to pursue my own ideas or projects,' and `I speak out at meetings.' Similarly, a section titled `are you a creative thinker?' lists the following lines to check possible descriptions of you: Voicing unconventional but thought-provoking opinions in a group, getting good ideas when doing nothing in particular, getting overly enthusiastic about things, feeling attracted to the mystery of life, tending to forget details such as names of people and places, and beginning to work on a problem that is not fully expressed.
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