Thursday, August 30, 2007

Perfect market


Boosting Sales
Bob Gorton


Getting the price right is one of the musts if you want to increase profits `without breaking the bank', as Bob Gorton would explain in Boosting Sales (http://www.acblack.com/). Among the many insightful examples in the book, here is one, about the author's experience in a Bali market, where the stallholders were proffering all manner of eastern delights.

"Many were offering similar articles and one could move freely amongst the stallholders and barter to get the best deal. The `perfect market', you may very well think. I left the market clutching my prizes in the plastic bags provided with each purchase. `Wow,' said our guide to me, `You did well.' What do you mean? `Well, you got three black-and-white striped bags, one black one, and a green one!'

The planned economy was a slave economy


The War of the World
Niall Ferguson


Breakneck industrialisation was always intended to break necks, rues Niall Ferguson in The War of the World (http://www.penguin.com/), when writing about how collectivisation wrecked Soviet agriculture and how forced industrialisation misallocated resources as much as it mobilised them.

"Cities like Magnitogorsk cost far more to support than the planner acknowledged, since coal had to be transported there from Siberian mines more than a thousand miles away. Just heating the homes of miners in Arctic regions burned a huge proportion of the coal they dug up."

Domination of the foreign markets


The Anti-dumping Agreement and Developing Countries: An Introduction
Aradhna Aggarwal


Do you know that the first anti-dumping law, passed in Canada in 1904, was surrounded by anti-predation rhetoric? "In the US, the 1916 Anti-dumping Act was aimed at predatory pricing by foreign exporters but was superseded by the 1921 Anti-dumping Act, which closely resembled the Canada's anti-dumping law," writes Aradhna Aggarwal in The Anti-dumping Agreement and Developing Countries: An Introduction (http://www.oup.com/).

What do you know about the buyer?


Mergers & Acquisitions
Jonathan Reuvid


The first results are out after Tata's acquisition of Corus, and they seem to belie all the sceptical forecasts that were made at the time of the deal. And now, for those who would like to follow the Tata model, how about `a practical guide for private companies and their UK and overseas advisers'? Try Mergers & Acquisitions edited by Jonathan Reuvid (http://www.vivagroupindia.com/).

Accounting standards permit choice from alternatives


Financial Accounting for Management
Ambrish Gupta


A common belief is that when companies follow the GAAPs (generally accepted accounting principles) you can be assured of dependable disclosures. Not always true. Because "GAAPs provide leverage to the management in influencing the bottom line in two ways," writes Ambrish Gupta in Financial Accounting for Management, second edition (http://www.pearsoned.co.in/).

One, accounting standards permit choice from alternatives, as a result of which discretion is available in many areas, such as valuation of fixed assets, methods of depreciation, assets under finance lease, impairment of assets, and so on.

The rules guiding representation of gender are complex


Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Eoin Devereux


Why bother with gender in media studies? Thus asks Joke Hermes in an essay included in ‘Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates’ edited by Eoin Devereux ( http://www.sagepublications.com/). Why gender, because so much has changed in society since the Second World War, reasons Hermes.

“In the early 1960s, to be a woman meant that you lived in a fake world. A husband, a home and children were supposed to provide instant gratification but did not. It left women wondering whether that was all there was to live for.” The ‘fakeness’ of the world was mostly produced in and through the media, she argues.

Adopt 'a sophisticated approach to a difficult problem'


Making Marketing Happen
Brian D. Smith


Both ‘marketing’ and ‘strategy’ would rank highly in any list of the most abused words, laments Brian D. Smith in Making Marketing Happen ( http://www.elsevier.com/). “Worse still, the process of strategic marketing planning is easily lost under a pile of jargon and acronyms in which nothing has a single definition and each definition is vague and misleading.”

So, the author cuts through the maze of definitions and presents the core process of marketing-strategy-making as a blend of three things — understanding the market, choosing the strategy, and creating the action plan. A chapter on the first factor, ‘understanding the market’, begins with this quote from H.H. Williams: ‘Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.’

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Assets that give borrowers realistic hope


A Billion Bootstraps
Phil Smith and Eric Thurman


One way to end poverty can be microcredit, argue Phil Smith and Eric Thurman in A Billion Bootstraps ( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ ). Since traditional charity programmes can only provide short-term relief, we need to apply investment principles to philanthropy, they suggest.
Cases presented in the book show how microcredit helps in increasing personal income and also assets.

To conspire means to collude


Suiting Themselves
Sharon Beder


To conspire means to collude, and that’s what big corporates are doing, says Sharon Beder in Suiting Themselves ( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/ ). “Business coalitions such as the WEF, the European Business Roundtable and a range of US groups have ensured that through the WTO, the corporate goal of free trade will always have precedence over citizens’ goals such as environmental protection, improved working conditions and health and safety considerations,” she writes.

The twenty-first century world


The Bottom Billion
Paul Collier


Why are the poorest countries failing? Paul Collier explores the question in The Bottom Billion ( http://www.oup.com/ ).
“The book is about the Malawis and the Ethiopias of this world, the minority of developing countries that are now at the bottom of the global economic system,” he writes in the preface. “The decline of the countries now at the bottom is not just relative; often it is absolute. Many of these countries are not just falling behind, they are falling apart.”

Too hard, at least to stick with for good


A Year Without ‘Made in China’
Sara Bongiorni


China is present almost everywhere, with its products saturating supermarket shelves and assembly lines. In protest, Sara Bongiorni and her family decided to stay away from Chinese products for the whole of 2005. A Year Without ‘Made in China’ ( http://www.wiley.com/ ) is her tale of the boycott.

“We had no idea what we were up against. China is the world’s largest producer of televisions, DVD players, cell phones, shoes, clothing, lamps, and sports equipment. It makes roughly 95 per cent of all the video games and holiday decorations imported into the US and nearly 100 per cent of the dolls and stuffed animals sold here — an inconvenient fact for a family like ours with small children,” reads the intro.

Death march of the state-owned companies


China, Inc.
Ted C. Fishman


While the rest of the world worries about the power of China’s best factories to kill off jobs, the Chinese themselves must worry about how competition in their own country is spiking unemployment, writes Ted C. Fishman in China, I nc. ( http://www.crosswordbookstores.com/ ). For, the scene now belongs, not to government-backed juggernauts, but lean and mean enterprises, ‘planned and financed by investors who want to make money quickly.’ Since 1978, nearly 40,000 state-owned enterprises have been shut down, the author informs. “From 1996 to 2001, 53 million people working in China’s state sector lost their jobs. That is 7 million more people than the total employment rolls of 46 million at the 500 largest corporations in the world.”

Learn, improve, disrupt


The Dragons At Your Door
Ming Zeng and Peter J. Williamson


Too busy with your own problems? If yes, it is quite likely that you have not have seen the Dragons At Your Door. And, for those who have just started noticing the fire-breath from below the door, Ming Zeng and Peter J. Williamson can offer a strategy: ‘forge a global alliance with a Chinese company — and use it to bolster your chances of success not just in China but in global markets’. The book from Harvard ( http://www.hbspress.org/ ), which is about ‘how Chinese cost innovation is disrupting global competition’, explains how the challenge from the Dragon Land strikes ‘at the heart of what makes many businesses in high-cost countries profitable today’.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Five rules of communication


The Jelly Effect
Andy Bounds


Business people say too much irrelevant stuff: all the time, every day, to every type of person. “When you speak like this, it’s very much like filling a bucket with jelly, and flinging it at the other person, hoping some of it will stick,” writes Andy Bounds in The Jelly Effect ( http://www.wiley.com/).

Such an approach is wasteful of effort and time, of yours and others, but there’s an even bigger problem with ‘jellying’ when you’re on the listening end: “You feel like you’re on the receiving end of a big wet, useless barrage. A needless barrage. You feel like a target, not a person.”


Sakchi would later become Jamshedpur


The Romance of Tata Steel
R. M. Lala


On August 26, 1907, was registered Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd, later referred to as TISCO. “There was a certain debate over the name of the company,” writes R. M. Lala in The Romance of Tata Steel ( http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/ ). “Some of the family were of the opinion that Bapuji (Jamsetji) did not like the association of his name with his enterprises. Neither for his mills nor for the Indian Institute of Science had he allowed the use of his surname.”

A transformation in the workforce

Reading Room
Production and Operations Management
Kanishka Bedi


Time: 7 a.m. "The siren sounds high in Kandivli (a suburb of North Mumbai) plant of Mahindra & Mahindra's Tractor division, signalling the starting time of the morning shift. Hardly any workers have turned up."

Thus begins a case study in Kanishka Bedi's Production and Operations Management, second edition (www.oup.com), narrating how in the 1980s reporting late was a norm. "Seldom does the morning shift start before 7:30 a.m. During the day shift, it was an ominous scene to find workers stretching out under the trees and relaxing during the working hours. The union leaders hung around the factory without doing any work at all."

Learning to innovate


Rethinking Development Realities
Jebamalai Vinanchiarachi


The only path for economic players these days is to compete through innovation, says Jebamalai Vinanchiarachi in Rethinking Development Realities (http://www.idcrdialogue.com/).

"To innovate means to improve and develop products and process technologies, enter into new functions (design or marketing) and to move into new industries." This, says the author, is possible through three Ls, viz., linkage with dynamic sources of growth; leverage with other people's money, technology, knowledge, and markets; and learning to innovate.

Onam is older than Dussehra and Deepavali


South India Heritage: An Introduction
Prema Kasturi and Chithra Madhavan
EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd


Do you know that Onam is one of the oldest festivals of India? Or that it used to be celebrated almost throughout South India, from Venkadam (Tirupati) Hills down to Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin)?

Onam is older than Dussehra and even Deepavali, writes S. Suresh in one of the essays included in South India Heritage: An Introduction edited by Prema Kasturi and Chithra Madhavan, from EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. Maduraikkanchi, one of the earliest Tamil texts, written around the time of Christ, describes the festival in vivid detail. Those days, Madurai, the capital of the Pandya kings, was widely known for its Onam festivities

Leadership qualities


The Leadership Challenge
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner


Leadership opportunities are everywhere, declares The Leadership Challenge, fourth edition, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner ( http://www.josseybass.com/). “Leadership can happen anywhere, at any time. It can happen in a huge business or a small one… in any function… The call to lead can come at four o’clock in the morning, or it can come late at night.”

Whenever and wherever, leaders can seize the opportunities to bring out the best in others and guide them on the journey to accomplishing exceptionally challenging goals, explain the authors.

A course on supply chain management

Books 2 Byte
Supply Chain Management
Sunil Chopra, Peter Meindl and D. V. Kalra


How does Dell sell PCs using e-business? It sells directly to customers after receiving their order, thus eliminating distributor and retailer margins; and it collects payment within days of sale, while operating with phenomenally low levels of inventory and negative working capital. Negative because Dell receives payment for its PCs about 30 days before it pays its suppliers for their components, explains Supply Chain Management, third edition, by Sunil Chopra, Peter Meindl and D. V. Kalra ( http://www.pearsoned.co.in/).

India’s passport to success

Books 2 Byte
India: A Journey Through A Healing Civilization
Shashank Mani

By becoming an extension of industrial supply chain, China is fast turning out to be an adjunct to the rest of the world, even as India is morphing into ‘an intellectual supply chain’, writes Shashank Mani in India: A Journey Through A Healing Civilization ( http://www.harpercollins.com/). “The chances of China outdoing the industrial West in manufacturing are less likely. There is a greater chance of India emerging as a front-runner in the emerging knowledge and service-based industries,” he predicts.

ICT is a powerful tool


Books 2 Byte
Effective Teaching with Internet Technologies
Alan Pritchard


Charles Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ (1891) begins with this: “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” The speaker is Thomas Gradgrind, the schoolmaster, “A man of realities. A man of fact and calculations,” as Dickens would describe him.
In terms of pedagogy we have come a long way since the times of Gradgrind, writes Alan Pritchard in Effective Teaching with Internet Technologies ( http://www.sagepublications.com/).

Give the site a face-lift every six months or so

Books 2 Byte
Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees
Diane Arthur, fourth edition


What job hunters usually look for is a good fit, and the Net-savvy among them try learning a lot about a potential employer from the Web site. “I can tell a lot about how a company regards its employees from its Web presence, particularly the parts designed to attract applicants. But so many corporate recruiting sites don’t seem to understand that the applicant is the customer in the relationship,” reads a quote in Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees by Diane Arthur, fourth edition ( http://www.phindia.com/).

Use ‘intentional language’


Book Value
Riding the Blue Train
Bart Sayle and Surinder Kumar
(http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/ )

Know FEAR

It may help to know FEAR as an acronym: False Events Appearing Real. Fear is a belief, an extreme case of limiting belief, say Bart Sayle and Surinder Kumar in ‘Riding the Blue Train’ (http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/). “Limiting beliefs put people out of touch with the vast resources that exist within themselves. This happens because fears puts up a barrier to those resources.” Watch out: limiting beliefs can be ‘far more debilitating than the consequences one feared in the first place’. Instead, unleash your ‘personal power’, defined as ‘the ability to turn insight, inspiration, and intention into reality without controlling, manipulating, or dominating others.’

More

Capacity expansion


Book Value
Globalisation in China, India and Russia
Jean-Fran├žois Huchet et al
(http://www.academicfoundation.com/)

JV jeopardy

Joint ventures or JVs are oft heard about. JVs are a popular idea, but many JVs have broken down within a few years of their formation, note Sugata Marjit and Prabal Roy Chowdhury in one of the essays included in ‘Globalisation in China, India and Russia’ edited by Jean-Fran├žois Huchet et al ( http://www.academicfoundation.com/ ). It seems studies have found the average life span of a JV firm to be 3.5 years. “During the mid-1990s many of the Indian JVs had serious problems… A major area of dispute appears to be that of capacity expansion.”



More

Choosing methods to obtain desired information

Book Value
Choosing the Future
Stuart Wells


Often information gathering is a barely disguised way of avoiding thinking and action, writes Stuart Wells in ‘Choosing the Future’ ( http://www.elsevier.com/ ). “There is more information about the past and the present than we could ever gather and use. There is no information about the future, the terrain of strategy.” He concedes that thinking and deciding require a knowledge base comprising gathered information, but cautions that if you keep waiting to have ‘complete or perfect information, the time to act will long pass you by.’

There is no such thing as getting rich quick in the stock market

Book Value
Stock Exchanges, Investments and Derivatives
V. Raghunathan and Prabina Rajib


Is all price volatility due to speculation? How do the regulators control price volatility? Do circuit breakers have a flip side? What is the structural arrangement of a mutual fund (MF)? How is NAV (net asset value) calculated? If an index fund is indeed tracking an index, why should there be tracking errors? What is rupee cost averaging? What are participatory notes (PNs) and why should SEBI object to these? Once dematerialised, can one rematerialise one’s shares? If the bonus issue is merely a book entry, then why do companies issue bonus shares at all?

To these and 240 more ‘nagging questions’ find ‘straight answers’ in ‘Stock Exchanges, Investments and Derivatives’, third edition, by V. Raghunathan and Prabina Rajib ( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ ). Over the last about fifteen years, the book has grown from 100 questions to the present number, but continues to open with a disclaimer: that it is “not about getting rich quick”. Why so? Because there is no such thing as getting rich quick in the stock market, reason the authors. “You get poor about as quick as you get rich.”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Most perfumes contain several ingredients

Say Cheek
The Scent Trail
Celia Lyttelton


“When you breathe in the smell of a pine forest, or your mother’s skin, you are taking molecules right inside your body and that makes smell a very intimate sense,” writes Celia Lyttelton in The Scent Trail ( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/ ). Sight and sound are physical senses, but smell and taste are chemical, she explains.

“From birth to death our eyesight and other senses deteriorate, but our sense of smell never weakens because the cells regenerate every twenty-four days.”

Riskiest debt investments

Books of Account
Handbook of Debt Securities and Interest Rate Derivatives
A.V. Rajwade


With the sub-prime crisis continuing to wreak havoc in the financial world, lay readers have been pushed into learning many new words and terms. Such as, CDO (collateralised debt obligation). CDO transactions have become ‘increasingly complex’ in recent years, writes A.V. Rajwade in Handbook of Debt Securities and Interest Rate Derivatives (http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/).

“In their simplest version, the credit risk on a portfolio transaction is typically divided into at least three tranches, each carrying a different level of credit risk and hence coupon,” he explains.

To deal with disruptions

Books of Account
Business Logistics/ Supply Chain Management
Ronald H. Ballou and Samir K. Srivastava


Just in case you are leaping headlong into JIT (just-in-time), it may help to listen to Ronald H. Ballou and Samir K. Srivastava. “Quick response, ‘lean’ logistics, and just-in-time deliveries have been encouraged over the last 30 years as a way of reducing inventories, freeing capital, and improving quality,” they acknowledge in Business Logistics/ Supply Chain Management, fifth edition ( http://www.pearsoned.co.in/ ). However, “this logistics strategy heightens the risk and impact of disruptions,” they caution.

Simple idea that leads to success

Book Mark
Tactics: The Art and Science of Success
Edward de Bono


Probably the worst possible route to being a successful person is to sit around and wait for the brilliant creative idea that is going to make your fortune, says Edward de Bono in Tactics: The Art and Science of Success (http://www.profilebooks.com/).

"We all have an idea of what the term means but a precise definition is impossible," the author declares in the intro. "There is exactly the same trouble with the word `creativity'."

Inhuman exploitation

Book Mark
A Short History of the Future
Colin Mason


Multinationals: Good business or bad? This is the title of a chapter in A Short History of the Future by Colin Mason ( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/). The book is about surviving ‘the 2030 spike’ – a phrase to mean “the challenging and massive confluence of at least six influences, natural and manmade, which can either be controlled by the intelligent efforts of people, or which, if we elect to do nothing, will visit on the world a degree of catastrophe far beyond our present experience.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Treat anger as your baby

Soft Skills
Getting Control of Your Anger
Robert Allan


Good anger management does not mean veering from one extreme (yelling and screaming) to the other (lying down and docilely accepting abuse), says Robert Allan in Getting Control of Your Anger http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/.

Examples of the former abound. For the other extreme, the author narrates the swami-and-the-snake tale. As you may know, there was this cobra that lay on a village path leading to the temple and bit people passing by. A saint advised the snake that it was wrong to bite people, and the snake obeyed. Finding the snake passive, the village boys dragged it and stoned it.

Buffers against the negative effects of strain

Reading Room
Stress Management
Wolfgang Linden


It may be stressful to know that a widely used but poorly understood word is stress. "When concepts from basic science become popularised, there is potential for oversimplification or alteration of the term that may ultimately belie its origins and add to confusion," writes Wolfgang Linden in Stress Management (http://www.sagepublications.com/).

He defines stress as "a mediational process in which stressors (or demands) trigger an attempt at adaptation or resolution that results in individual distress if the organism is unsuccessful in satisfying the demand."

Build your self-confidence

Reading Room
An Open Window
Sri Madhava Ashish


Have you ever dreamt that you are "late for an appointment, missing trains and buses, unprepared for examinations, not fully dressed when guests arrive, or losing your way"? Perhaps, it is anxiety that is finding its way to dreams, postulates Sri Madhava Ashish in An Open Window (http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/).

The cure for anxiety does not lie in forcing yourself to work harder so as to be better prepared, he advises. Because, by so doing, you may "fall victim to the current glorification of competitiveness and success, which leads only to a self-confidence based on the unstable ground of personal achievement."

The seven building blocks of successful transition

Manage Mentor
The New Boss: How to Survive the First 100 Days
Peter Fischer


Expatriate managers need twice the amount of time for the transition phase as managers who take a new leadership role within their home countries, writes Peter Fischer in The New Boss: How to Survive the First 100 Days ( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/). “This difference is due not only to the fact that it takes considerably longer for expatriates to find their bearings in the foreign setting, but also to the expe ctations of the new setting.”

Such expectations can come in many forms. “The invitation to dinner in France, the welcome party in the US, and the first cordial conversations in Japan – they are all rituals of relationship building that are not to be blithely ignored,” counsels the author. “If the expatriate does not take these rituals seriously and instead gets straight down to business, local managers are likely to take offence and the business relationship will suffer as a result.”

About image-editing

Books 2 Byte
Photoshop Elements 5
Jeff Carlson and Craig Hoeschen


Digital cameras have revolutionised photography and are one of the main forces driving the need for products like Photoshop Elements, write Jeff Carlson and Craig Hoeschen in ‘Photoshop Elements 5’ ( http://www.pearsoned.co.in/).

“Typically, these cameras come with their own software to help you browse and manage photos – but don’t even bother breaking the seal on the disc’s envelope,” they advise. Welcome to Adobe’s powerful, easy-to-use, image-editing software, the authors invite.

UPS is ‘a technology company that delivers packages'

Books 2 Byte
Driving Change
Mike Brewster and Frederick Dalzell


Mahwah is a township in Bergen County, New Jersey, US, with a population of about 25,000, and situated near the Ramapo Mountains. This is where the world technology headquarters are located of UPS, a 100-year-old company with close to $50 billion in revenues, and employing more than 4 lakh people.

“Mahwah’s nine IBM mainframes, and six more located in a data centre near Atlanta called Windward, process twenty-seven million instructions a second, track fifteen million packages each day, coordinate the operations of an entire airline, collect and distribute package delivery data from 96,000 DIADs, and connect 1,49,000 work stations through 8,700 servers,” narrate Mike Brewster and Frederick Dalzell in Driving Change ( ww w.HyperionBooks.com).

Offer special incentives to attract large manufacturers

Books 2 Byte
International Competitiveness & Knowledge-based Industries in India
Nagesh Kumar and K.J. Joseph


Since 1988, global high-technology exports have been growing at 13 per cent, which is nearly double of world merchandise exports. Yet, India’s export basket continues to be dominated by low-technology goods that are highly price-sensitive, low value-adding, and slow moving, rues International Competitiveness & Knowledge-based Industries in India edited by Nagesh Kumar and K.J. Joseph ( http://www.oup.com/).

The book, based on a study of 4,000 enterprises, has chapters on knowledge-based industries such as electronics, pharma, chemical, automotive and non-electrical machinery. While the software and IT (information technology) service sector has shown good growth in a sustained manner, “the hardware sector, both computer hardware and other electronics equipment and components, has shown a decelerating trend,” notes the chapter on electronics.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Track an item’s real life and its paper life

Books of Account
Essentials of Inventory Management
Max Muller


You should only have the minimum amount of inventory on hand required for either production or distribution, but be careful not to purchase small quantities over and over again, advises Max Muller in Essentials of Inventory Management ( http://www.jaicobooks.com/ ). “Buying small amounts frequently will lead to an excessive cost of replenishment, the R factor,” he reasons.

The book, aimed at the new stockroom/warehouse manager, non-financial inventory control individual, and the small business owner, presents ‘immediately usable information in the areas of forecasting, physical control and layout, problem recognition, and resolution’.

Accounting standards

Books of Account
The Complete Guide to International Financial Reporting Standards
Ralph Tiffin


Indian accounting is getting ready to blend with the global norms by 2011. To professionals preparing to cope with the shift, here is the second edition of The Complete Guide to International Financial Reporting Standards by Ralph Tiffin ( http://www.vivagroupindia.com).

“A prime aim of standards is to bring consistency of reporting within and between countries. Investors and others using financial statements (e.g. for investing or benchmarking purposes) can then make decisions based on consistently prepared data,” he explains. “As never before, professional advisers, directors and executive officers from functions other than finance are affected by the requirements of accounting standards.”

There is no simple formula for finding happiness

Book Mark
Stumbling on Happiness
Daniel Gilbert


Emotional happiness may resist our efforts to tame it by description, but when we feel it, we have no doubt about its reality and its importance, says Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness ( http://www.crosswordbookstores.com/).

“People are strongly, perhaps even primarily, perhaps even single-mindedly, motivated to feel happy,” he declares.

A great gift of nature that we use for seeking happiness is imagination. “Our brains have a unique structure that allows us to mentally transport ourselves into future circumstances and then ask ourselves how it feels to be there.” However, this ability to simulate future selves and future circumstances is by no means perfect, says Gilbert. “We fill in details that won’t really come to pass and leave out details that will.”

Marrying movies and brands can work both ways

Book Mark
Branded Entertainment
Jean-Marc Lehu


Rajdoot GTS bike in Raj Kapoor’s Bobby, a Ray Ban for Tom Cruise, and a Tata bus in Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. “Love them or hate them, product placements are nonetheless increasingly a part of our daily lives,” writes Jean-Marc Lehu in Branded Entertainment ( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/). This is a world in which a brand can get close to its target audience through films and television programmes, songs and video games, he adds.

One of the early examples of product placement in the cinema that the book cites is of an Air France plane in the opening of Henri Decoin’s Razzia sur la Chnouf. The name of the airline is also mentioned by one of the characters later on, and written on a telegram shown on camera, narrates Lehu.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A good deal of resentment

Say Cheek
An American Witness to India's Partition
Phillips Talbot


July 22, 1947. “In the last month I have been in Calcutta, Lahore, Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad State, the Northwest Frontier, Delhi again, and finally Bombay,” begins the despatch on that date in An American Witness to India's Partition by Phillips Talbot (http://www.sagepublications.com/).

One of the ‘interesting factors’ he mentions is the ‘rapid flight of capital’ in Punjab. “Hindu-controlled banks and insurance companies are shifting their head offices from Lahore to Delhi which will remain within the Indian Dominion. Trains and planes are loaded, according to local stories, with gold bullion and currency. Bank accounts are being transferred in large numbers. Houses which sold six months ago for $60,000 are being offered for $20,000…”

Monday, August 13, 2007

Genuinely do care about getting at the truth

Write Right
Journalism: Right and Wrong
Ian Mayes


How would ‘a machine for the production of errors’ look like? A newspaper, probably, says Ian Mayes in Journalism: Right and Wrong ( http://www.crosswordbookstores.com/ ), the sixth book since he became the readers’ editor of the Guardian in 1997.

The position of readers’ editor is ‘placed most unusually in the no man’s land between journalist and reader,’ Alan Rusbridger writes in preface. “It’s a pretty good vantage point. He combines an outsider’s distance with an insider’s perspective. He explains us to them, and them to us. Sometimes he manages the even harder job of explaining us to us.”

Live a little more consciously

Bill of Health
Emotional Wellness
Osho


One of the most important scientific contributions to the world is non-judgmental observation, says Osho in Emotional Wellness ( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/).

“When a scientist is experimenting, he simply experiments without any judgment, without any conclusion.” Be a scientist in your inner world, advises the author. “Let your mind be your lab, and you observe — with no condemnation.”

When there is no conclusion, your eyes are clear, he guides. “Live a little more consciously. And when you find yourself getting into the old habit, just do the opposite immediately.”

Future is unpredictable

Manage Mentor
The Strategy Paradox
Michael E. Raynor


What are the prerequisites of success? “A compelling vision, bold leadership, and decisive action.” While the combo may seem ideal and invincible, it can well be the recipe for phenomenal failures too, cautions Michael E. Raynor in The Strategy Paradox (http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/).

“The most successful strategies are those based on commitments made today that are best aligned with tomorrow’s circumstances. But no one knows what those circumstances will be, because the future is unpredictable.”

The real work of Silicon Valley occurs in the mind

Books 2 Byte
The Nudist on the Late Shift
Po Bronson


For a stroll down the Silicon Valley, go with The Nudist on the Late Shift by Po Bronson ( http://www.crosswordbookstores.com/). “Every generation that came before us had to make a choi ce in life between pursuing a steady career and pursuing wild adventures. In Silicon Valley, that trade-off has been recircuited.” Young people have no longer to choose, says Bronson. “It’s a two-for-one deal: the career path has become an adventure into the unknown. More happens here and so quickly, satisfying anybody’s craving for newness. In six months you might get a job, be laid off, start a company, sell it, become a consultant, and then, who knows?”

A blog can be fun and exciting to start, but it demands attention

Books 2 Byte
Blog Schmog
Robert W. Bly
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

To blog or not to blog

Menachem Mendel (1787-1859) said, “Not everything that you think should be said. And not everything that you say should be written. And not everything that is written should be printed.” With this, among a few other quotes, begins Blog Schmog by Robert W. Bly ( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/).

He looks at the world of blogs as a sceptic and doubter. “Bloggers believe that blogs are all-encompassing, and that anything they say in their blog is somehow transmitted throughout the blogosphere and, by extension, throughout the entire world… even though the majority of people on the planet don’t even have Internet access,” writes Bly, wryly. There are some good blogs, he concedes, however. “But the medium as a whole suffers from a lower standard of quality than other media it competes with.”

More

IT has the potential to change the world

Books 2 Byte
Blind Men & the Elephant
Was Rahman and Priya Kurien

To those who find the IT (information technology) services industry a mystery, here is help from Was Rahman and Priya Kurien: Blind Men & the Elephant (http://www.sagepublications.com/).

IT services generally include: services such as ‘installing and maintaining hardware and software, customising and integrating packages, and developing and maintaining custom-built applications’; and also ‘a plethora of consulting and advisory services that either help businesses understand how to use IT to achieve business goals or are more technically focused on evaluating and selecting particular technologies and products’.