Monday, January 28, 2008

The I*Dimension

The Soul of the Corporation
Hamid Bouchikhi and John R. Kimberly

This is ‘the Age of Identity’ proclaim Hamid Bouchikhi and John R. Kimberly in The Soul of the Corporation ( They find that identity is increasingly problematic across all levels of human organisation, owing to globalisation, M&As (mergers and acquisitions), disruptive innovation, accountability and more.

To respond effectively to these challenges, leaders have to see if they can leverage their identity as an asset. The I*Dimension, as the authors explain, is the set of shared beliefs, both implicit and explicit, that gives the visible elements of the firm coherence and ‘puts boundaries around how much change is possible without altering its essence.’

A systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste

Lean for Service Organizations and Offices
Debashis Sarkar

Pitch creativity before capital. This is the first ‘lean’ lesson for service sector, in Debashis Sarkar’s Lean for Service Organizations and Offices ( He says that before making capital investments you can use your team’s capability to come up with creative low-cost solutions and remove waste in the processes.

Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction

Only the Paranoid Survive
Andrew Grove

The early 1980s was when the Japanese memory producers appeared on the scene in overwhelming force, recounts Andrew Grove in Only the Paranoid Survive (

“People who came back from visits to Japan told scary stories. At one big Japanese company, for instance, it was said that memory development activities occupied a whole huge building. Each floor housed designers working on a different memory generation…” reads a graphic account.

The fundamental security conundrum

Networking with Microsoft Windows Vista
Paul McFedries

Securing a network is often a complex bit of business because it always requires a multi-pronged approach, writes Paul McFedries in Networking with Microsoft Windows Vista (

“First, you need to secure network objects such as shared folders and make adjustments to Windows Firewall to allow (or block) certain networking services, programs, and ports,” the author begins.

Mistakes are usually the difference between base camp and the peak

Will Your Next Mistake be Fatal?
Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr.

The problem with mistakes is that they creep up on you, observes the sombre opening of ‘Will Your Next Mistake be Fatal?’ by Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr. ( ). “Individuals do not get up in the morning and say, ‘Boy, this would be a great day to make some mistakes.’ They just find themselves in a place they do not want to be, fighting to survive a crisis and, if they do not survive the crisis, wondering how it all happened.”

The Law of Large Numbers

The Curious World of Probabilities
Jeffrey S. Rosenthal

When it comes to randomness, you can run but you can’t hide, says Jeffrey S. Rosenthal in ‘The Curious World of Probabilities’ ( ). So many aspects of our lives are governed by events not completely in our control and uncertainty is here to stay, he adds. What do we do, therefore? We have two options, says the author. “We can let uncertainty get the better of us or we can learn to understand randomness. If we do the latter, we will make better choices and learn to harness uncertainty for our own purposes.”

Make large capital gains

Lifespan Investing
Clifford Pistolese

Investing with a lifetime perspective is the logical and the most effective way to prepare for a financially sound retirement, says Clifford Pistolese in ‘Lifespan Investing’ (

“Individuals who practise the habits of saving and investing have the best prospects for achieving wealth by the time they retire. People who delay starting an investment plan will likely have a low-budget retirement.”

The nine dangerous areas in Indian malls

Malls in India: Shopping Centre Developers & Developments
Amit Bagaria and Susmita Dasgupta

It can be gratifying to know that before the end of the current decade nearly 600 malls are likely to be up and running in India. Not so flattering, however, is the thought that more than 90 per cent of the current and planned malls fall way short of international standards, especially in terms of design and security, as Malls in India: Shopping Centre Developers & Developments ( highlights in one of the essays included in the book.

Look inside yourself

Cutting Edge Advertising
Jim Aitchison

How to get better ideas? The best creative people have their own personal methodologies, writes Jim Aitchison in Cutting Edge Advertising, third edition (

“One of the ways of getting going is to walk away from it, to go and think about something else,” reads a quote of David Abbott on how to handle creativity jams. “Over the years, you learn not to panic.”

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nano, the ‘dwarf'

Say Cheek

To those who don’t say ‘na-na’ to Nano

Seriously, apart from see-yes-eee’s Sunita, we have heard few voices saying ‘no’ or ‘na’ to Nano. There are many sighs, though, of the eagerly waiting, with cards and cash in hand to swipe or swap for the little wonder that Tata will anyway be rolling out on roads in due course. Meanwhile, how about a quick research into ‘nano’?

The word, a prefix, means ‘extremely small,’ says Encarta. Which explains the name for the popular model of Apple’s entertainer. Mathematically, nano is one billionth or 10 to the power minus 9. Nanosecond (ns or nsec) is a common measurement of read or write access time to random access memory (RAM), explains


Both positive and negative minds are the result of interpretations

Bill of Health
Power Freedom and Grace
Deepak Chopra
( )

Use the little gap of silence between thoughts

We all have ‘an inner pharmacy’ that is absolutely exquisite, says Deepak Chopra in Power Freedom and Grace ( ). “When we’re feeling tranquil, our body is making a tranquilliser similar to the one drug companies make, only it doesn’t make us feel like a zombie.”

Similarly, when we are anxious, our body makes ‘jittery molecules, and they’re not just made in the adrenal glands’; and when we are exhilarated, our body makes ‘immuno-modulators that act as powerful anticancer drugs.’


The five genres of perceived authenticity

James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II

Are you offering ‘experiences’ to your customers? Or, do you simply ‘stage’ experiences?
The difference is what James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II discuss in Authenticity ( They aver that now, more than ever, the authentic is what consumers really want.

“Fake, contrived, disingenuous, phoney, inauthentic. Do your customers use any of these words to describe what you sell or how you sell it?” demand Gilmore and Pine. “People increasingly see the world in terms of real and fake, and want to buy something real from someone genuine, not a fake from some phoney.”

‘Buy’ more free time

Strategic Reward: Making it happen
Michael Armstrong and Duncan Brown

It is generally accepted that the competitive edge for businesses lies in learning and applying knowledge. But there is considerable debate on the reward packages required to recruit, retain and motivate knowledge workers, write Michael Armstrong and Duncan Brown in Strategic Reward: Making it happen (

On the one side are theories that stress the role of financial rewards in attracting the best young brains. And, on the other, are those who say it is not just a question of money. For instance, Peter Reilly of the Institute of Employment Studies says, “Do not rely on pay, a different set of rewards needs to be available.”

IT (information technology) industry in Pakistan

Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2007-2008
Orbicom and the International Development Research Centre

Online processing of Hajj applications is one of the e-government projects in Pakistan. “Each year about 1,50,000 Pakistanis undertake a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj,” informs Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2007-2008 from Orbicom and the International Development Research Centre (

“To facilitate the process for pilgrims, a suite of applications has been deployed with the following features: online Hajj application submission, balloting of Hajj applications, travel management, passport printing, pilgrim tracking (in Pakistan as well as in Saudi Arabia), and a private tour operator management system.”

New leadership skills

How to Manage in a Flat World
Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley

When our Internet connection or LAN (local area network) is running slowly or malfunctioning, we immediately call the IT (information technology) staff and ask for attention. Similarly, if the human connections are faltering, we must take up the issue just as seriously, indeed more so, argue Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley in How to Manage in a Flat World (

“The electronic and human internets demand equal attention,” they declare. Viewed thus, the time spent socialising or gossiping with the team, or phoning up a colleague simply to ask, ‘How are you?’, and so on “form a key part of making business work”, reason the authors.

Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life

Be All You Can Be
John C. Maxwell

Stretching never stops, says John C. Maxwell in ‘Be All You Can Be’ ( “Most people stretch a little and rest a lot,” he rues. “Pretty soon they have a vacation mentality, a retirement mind-set.”

When you stop stretching, you become boring, says Maxwell. But why do people stop stretching? Because they have “surrounded themselves with people who are both bored and boring. Stay around people who are vitally alive if you want your own blood to continue to flow.”

'The four Ps'

Finding the Next Starbucks
Michael Moe

How to find and invest in the stars of tomorrow – ‘the fastest-growing, most innovative companies in the world’? Michael Moe, the founder and CEO of ThinkEquity Partners offers the answer in ‘Finding the Next Starbucks’ ( ). “In sports, gambling, investing, and life, there is little value in knowing what happened yesterday,” says Moe. He quotes Warren Buffett, thus: “If history books were the key to riches, the Forbes 400 would consist of librarians.”

Fundamental investment process

Equity Research and Valuation
Dun & Bradstreet

Equity research is fundamental to the investment process as it helps in identifying attractive businesses, says ‘Equity Research and Valuation’ from Dun & Bradstreet ( ). For starters, ‘equity research’ entails analysis of both quantitative and qualitative information. “Quantitative information including financial aspects start with financial statements such as profit and loss statements, balance sheet, cash flow statements, schedules to accounts, etc. Qualitative information involves gaining an insight on business and industry dynamics.”

The ‘moon boys'!

Dhirubhai Ambani: A business legend
N. Chokkan

Sun and moon. These were the two categories that Dhirubhai Ambani is said to have used for classifying people. “The moon does not shine on its own, but reflects the light from the sun,” explains N. Chokkan in ‘Dhirubhai Ambani: A business legend’, translated from Tamil by R. Krishnan ( ). The ‘moon boys,’ according to the elder Ambani were ‘the heirs of industrialists who were leading a cushy life.’ They could not afford to be so forever, he’d argue. “Sooner than later they would have to learn the ropes of business.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Two ways to increase cash flow and happiness

Be a Winner Everytime
Pramod Batra

Learn to love what you do for a living. This is the title of one of the chapters in Pramod Batra’s ‘Be a Winner Everytime’ ( “Some of us are foolish enough not to love what we do for a living,” he laments. “We go on dreaming of something else that we may get at a later date. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or like the Surf ad: “Uski saree meri saree se safed kaise?”

The ‘trained’ servers

Wine for Dummies
Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan

“A few profit-minded restaurants train their servers to maximise wine sales in every way possible — even at the customers’ expense.” Thus fret Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan in Wine for Dummies, third edition ( ).

They find, for example, that these ‘trained’ servers refill wine glasses “liberally so that the bottle is emptied before the main course arrives. (This can happen all the more easily when the glasses are large.)” Don’t be surprised if, after emptying the bottle, the server asks, “Shall I bring another bottle of the same wine?” Your tendency will be to say yes to avoid looking stingy, the authors empathetically add.

'The ten commandments'

I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari
Robin Sharma

The question is not of being a monk or a materialist, it is about self-realisation, discovers Ravi Subramanian, after reading Robin Sharma’s bestseller.

“Material success is only one of the several strata of life that needs to be transcended for the fulfilment of the being. But to expand beyond success, to have the guts to discard it for greater realities of life, you must experience success fir st,” says a realised Ravi in I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari ( ).

The simplest and the least expensive technique is unobtrusive observation

Service Quality Management in Hospitality and Tourism
Jay Kandampully, Connie Mok and Beverley Sparks

A hotel may proclaim that it gives the best service. A resort’s ad message may trumpet its supremacy in quality. But, in the ultimate analysis, service quality is a customer issue, says Service Quality Management in Hospitality an d Tourism, edited by Jay Kandampully, Connie Mok and Beverley Sparks (

“As harsh as it may sound, it does not matter what the service provider thinks; if the customer is not satisfied then the service has failed.” Organisations can be successful when they can diagnose their customer expectations fully and satisfy them completely, the authors suggest.

Creative people are driven by factors of validation and a sense of acknowledgement

Book Mark
Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom from 20 Accomplished Minds
Herb Meyers and Richard Gerstman

You can’t centralise ideas

To Nandan Nilekani business creativity is in understanding different trends and different incidents that are completely unconnected in some ways and saying, “Hey, maybe if we take these two or three things together, this is the likely way thing s will go. If we do the right thing, we can take advantage of that.”

A lot of business creativity has to do with visualising a future that others don’t see, explains Nilekani, co-Chairman of Infosys, in one of the essays included in Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom from 20 Accomplished Minds edited by Herb Meyers and Richard Gerstman (


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prepare your speech

Soft Skills
The 5 Rules of Thought
Mary T. Browne

Wasted words throw away power

When someone at work is obviously depressed or upset, do you simply pass by? Please don’t, says Mary T. Browne in ‘The 5 Rules of Thought’ ( ). “Say something,” she advises.

“You don’t have to interfere in something that may not be any of your business. Just send a good thought and say, ‘Hello’ or ‘Can I help you?’” Reason: These words of encouragement or help ‘vibrate with positive force.’ Unkind words can devastate people or cause them to be disheartened or offended, cautions Browne.


Terminator Management

Human Sigma
John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund
(Gallup Press)

You may have the most perfectly designed and built process or system, but it is only as good as the human being who uses it, remind John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund in Human Sigma (Gallup Press). Yet, the sad truth, as the authors observe, is that people are ‘out of the equation altogether’ because, to many executives, ‘controlling quality in processes and systems is infinitely easier than similar activities with people.’

Focus on the quality

Best Practice in Performance Coaching
Carol Wilson

It is possible to start a coaching business with nothing more than a business card and a telephone, but Web sites and newsletters can be two effective ways of expanding your operations, says Carol Wilson in Best Practice in Performance Coaching (

Search engine optimisation is another way of picking up business, she adds. “Search engine optimisation is a way of ensuring that when people put a world like ‘coaching’ into an engine such as Google or Yahoo, it is your coaching Web site that comes up on the first page.”

Competency-based selection system - the benefits

Books 2 Byte
The Handbook of Competency Mapping
Seema Sanghi

Skill models

Competence is not performance but is a qualification to perform, defines Seema Sanghi in The Handbook of Competency Mapping second edition ( “It is, in relation to performance, a necessary but not sufficient condition.”

Sometimes, extremely competent workers may fail on the job due to a variety of personal or environmental factors, Sanghi reasons. In the opposite, “those lacking competencies can make up for a lot of shortcomings with exceptionally hard work.”


Hashed passwords

Oracle Database 11g New Features
Robert G. Freeman

Security has become a prominent theme in many a database these days, and it’s no wonder, says Robert G. Freeman in Oracle Database 11g New Features ( “With hackers, terrorists, corporate data theft, and loss of backup tapes on their way to storage facilities, DBAs (database administrators) need to watch out for the security of the data in their charge.”

Assist the expatriate to develop networks

International Business and Culture
Kip Becker

The opportunities of globalisation are accompanied by challenges, not the least of which is the effective adaptation and performance of the expatriate in a foreign assignment, write Madeline Crocitto and Maali Ashamalla in an essay included in International Business and Culture edited by Kip Becker (

“Expatriate success and failure can be attributed to performance based on ability and adjustment measured as the ‘fit’ of an individual to the new cultural environment.”

Supply chain activities

Indian Supply Chain Architecture
B.S. Sahay and Ramneesh Mohan

Position SCM (supply chain management) as a competitive differentiator, advise B.S. Sahay and Ramneesh Mohan in Indian Supply Chain Architecture ( In the past, business success was based on strong brands and innovative technologies, but these are not enough today, the authors observe.

“There is a growing realisation that it is no longer a nation competing against another nation or a company competing against another company but rather a supply chain competing against another supply chain.”

Offer something unique

Different Thinking
Anja Foerster and Peter Kreuz

Do something new, something that is different from what your competitors are already doing, say Anja Foerster and Peter Kreuz in ‘Different Thinking’ ( “You need innovation that, at least for a short time, will give you the competitive edge that comes from offering something unique,” they add.

Poverty - The ill-effects

Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill

The roads that lead to poverty and riches travel in opposite directions, says Napoleon Hill in ‘Think and Grow Rich’ ( Fear of poverty is a state of mind, but it can destroy one’s chances of achievement in any undertaking, he explains.

“Fear of poverty paralyses the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainty of purpose, encourages procrastination, wipes out enthusiasm, and makes self-control impossible.”

Think positive

Why not…! Racing ahead with mentors
Partha Sarathi Basu

Everyone need not have the professional qualification as an engineer or a chartered accountant, but what matters is the right interpretation of data and your ability to look beyond the same. Thus instructs Partha Sarathi Basu in ‘Why not…! Racing ahead with mentors’ ( ).

Written as a story, the book is about traits required for success in the corporate world. For instance, in a chapter titled ‘simple thinking’, the author emphasises the role of common sense; ‘mastering the right word’ is about accepting responsibility for what you say; and in a discussion of ‘bad times’ Basu shows why intelligent action is a must during difficult stretches in life.

Reading between the lines

Gene Epstein

Believe me, numbu in Tamil, which closely rhymes with ‘number,’ means ‘believe.’ Belief, though, can be hard to come by for numbers.

For, as someone regularly imbibing business and economic news, you’d agree that, when in excess, numbers could be numbing; more dangerous could be the effects when the numbers turn out to be wrong.
Which is why you need help from careful sceptics like Gene Epstein, the author of ‘Econospinning’ ( ). The book by the Barron’s Economics Editor is about ‘how to read between the lines when the media manipulate the numbers’.

Three hurdles in a host country

International Retailing: Plans and Strategies in Asia
John Dawson and Jung-Hee Lee

Foreign-affiliated retail companies face three hurdles in a host country, writes Yoshinobu Sato in one of the Japan-focussed essays included in International Retailing: Plans and Strategies in Asia (, edited by John Dawson and Jung-Hee Lee.

The first block is customer satisfaction, says Sato. “It is not easy to grasp that consumer needs in a host country are quite different from a home country’s consumer needs in terms of economic, social and cultural environment,” he explains. “J.C. Penney failed in adjusting their products to the physical size of Japanese people. In the case of Wal-Mart’s own-label products, they failed because of the differences in consumer tastes as well as the problem of product size.”

Marketing tactics

Book Mark
Rural Marketing
Sanal Kumar Velayudhan

Alternative uses

Be alert to the new and creative uses for the product you sell, advises Sanal Kumar Velayudhan in Rural Marketing, second edition ( As example, he narrates a snatch from an earlier work by Das Gupta and Menon, thus: “Pratap Roy of Godrej travelled to Islampur, a remote village in Maharashtra, by his company’s van. After the usual hoopla – music, announcement of fre e gifts – the van made its way to the few shops in the village. There was surprise in store for him…”


The next generation of leaders

Leadership Brand
Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood

Effective leadership is not just about what leaders know, do, and deliver, but about how that knowledge creates value to customers and investors outside the organisation, say Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood in ‘Leadership Brand’ (

“If you think of what happens inside a firm as one island and what happens outside with customers and investors as another, then the function of the leadership brand is to form the bridge between the two,” the authors explain.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wanted for a crack team!

Wanted for a crack team!
I am looking for people to join me in digging deep into news leads and get great stories for The Hindu Business Line after thorough research.

Location Chennai.

Travel Lots.

Qualification What’s preferable is a graduate with professional specialisation, say in management, accounting, finance etc. (That said, it may well turn out that the ideal candidate could be a dropout!)

Age Min 18. Max Alive and active!

Gender No bias.

Job life-cycle From project to probation… could turn permanent based on performance.

Nationality Any

Expectations Smart and hard work involved in pursuing the depths of news blips and leads that seem just like whiskers on the surface. Good communication skills. Engaging English writing.

Compensation Negotiable.

What to do next Connect! My email id:

Feel free to mail me your CV, samples of your writing and photo, plus references so that we can take the dialogue forward.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The right amount of ego is inherently positive

David Marcum and Steven Smith

Generally, ‘ego’ is a four-letter word that merits banishment in business and social contexts. Or, so we have been taught. Wait, ego can be your greatest asset too, say David Marcum and Steven Smith in ‘Egonomics’ (

“Despite the negative reputation of ego, it isn’t purely a loss,” they argue. “On the profit side, ego sparks the drive to invent and achieve, and nerve to try something new, and the tenacity to conquer setbacks that inevitably come.”

Dictionaries and glossaries are doorways to instant linguistic expertise

Entry from Backside Only: hazaar fundas of Indian-English
Binoo K. John

Binoo K. John sees India as ‘a cacophony of English from the farthest village to the mega malls.’ His explorations of English’s evolution closer home stumble upon bureaucracy’s letters, all of which begin with ‘whereas’, and job applications that invariably end with ‘the promise that if given the job I will enhance my performance to the best of my abilities and strengths, god willing.’ English has crept up unchallenged from the streets, where shopkeepers and hoarding painters send out messages to all humanity, writes a horrified John in Entry from Backside Only: hazaar fundas of Indian-English (

'Instant remedies to solve fundamental business problems are a waste'

Breakout Strategy
Sydney Finkelstein, Charles Harvey and Thomas Lawton

What is the essential ingredient of outstanding business success?
‘A forceful emergence from a restrictive form or position,’ says a new book, based on more than a decade of research.

The way to achieve market triumph that leaves ‘rivals floundering in your wake and struggling to respond’ is ‘an action-oriented framework… founded on the concept of strategic excellence from beginning to end,’ declares ‘Breakout Strategy’ (

The book, which is on ‘meeting the challenge of double-digit growth,’ is the result of the coming together from the US, Scotland and England, of the authors Sydney Finkelstein, Charles Harvey and Thomas Lawton, and a fusion of academic research and business application.

Software development life cycle

Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative
Anil Goel

Chapter 33 in Anil Goel’s Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative ( opens in Mauritius, May 2008. ‘Analyse, design, build, test and deploy.’

The coloured boxes depicting these stages of software development life cycle were on the plasma wall, ‘almost identical to the ones that featured on the opening page of the methodology for custom software development, which he taught to his students…’

Telecom is one of the largest contributors to growth of GDP

ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks
Rohan Samarajiva and Ayesha Zainudeen

Access to telecom is the foundation for ICT (information and communication technology) use, say Rohan Samarajiva and Ayesha Zainudeen in ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks ( Telecom, and perhaps radio and TV, constitute the total experience with ICTs in many developing countries and among the poor, they add.

To the government too, telecom is important as a revenue source. For instance, in Sri Lanka, telecom is one of the largest contributors to growth of GDP (gross domestic product), the authors observe.

GPS, a pearl beyond price

Skylarks and Scuttlebutts: A Treasure Trove of Nautical Knowledge
Lorenz Schröter

The GPS (global positioning system) satellite navigation system was declared fully operational in July 1995, informs Lorenz Schröter in Skylarks and Scuttlebutts: A Treasure Trove of Nautical Knowledge (
“It is a US military system, but has been made available free for worldwide civil use. It now provides users anywhere on land, sea or air with highly accurate position, speed and time data continuously, under all weather conditions.”

‘Time killer’ and ‘time saver’

Building People: Sunday emails from a CEO
Liew Mun Leong

Switch off ‘those annoying toys,’ instructs an infuriated Liew Mun Leong in Building People: Sunday emails from a CEO ( His anger is directed at ‘the wonderful technology of handphones and the BlackBerry,’ which can unwittingly become ‘a serious addiction among us.’

These gizmos, are “unconsciously, but obnoxiously, overused or misused while we are attending meetings or ostensibly engaged in a conversation,” he frets. An increasingly common delinquency, as he sees this, “especially among our senior colleagues who should know better, may be quite annoying and indeed unforgivable as it depicts a ‘couldn’t-care-less’ attitude and a lack of respect for others.”

Rich thinkers are those who will be rich regardless of the current size of their bank balance

I Can Make You Rich
Paul McKenna

Trying to live a rich life when you have a poor relationship with money is like trying to drive a car with one foot on the accelerator and the other one on the brakes, writes Paul McKenna in ‘I Can Make You Rich’ ( ). “You may occasionally make some progress, but in the end no matter how hard you try you never seem to really get anywhere.” Whatever meaning you are attaching to money is either drawing it closer or pushing it away, McKenna declares, in the recently published book.

The Chinese century

A Bull in China
Jim Rogers

Just as the nineteenth century belonged to England and the twentieth century to the US, so the twenty-first century will be China’s turn to set the agenda and rule the roost, writes Jim Rogers in ‘A Bull in China’ ( ).

“Teach your children or your grandchildren Chinese. It is going to be the most important language of their lifetimes,” he urges, dedicating the December 2007-published book to his Chinese-speaking daughter, Happy – ‘my very best investment ever.’

Friday, January 04, 2008

'Collusion too can foil controls'

Books of Account
Guide to Internal Controls over Financial Reporting
Committee on Internal Audit of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

Internal control, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance to management, concedes Guide to Internal Controls over Financial Reporting from the Committee on Internal Audit of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India ( ).

There are inherent limitations in any internal control systems, the publication reminds.
Examples of such limitations include faulty human judgment in decision-making, considerations of relative costs and benefits when establishing controls, and breakdowns because of human error or mistake.

De Beers ‘the richest, greatest, and most powerful Company'

Diamonds, Gold and War
Martin Meredith

When Frederick Boyle, an author, returned from diamond diggings in 1871, he wrote about the need for monopoly in the industry, thus: “You cannot drown the market with an article only appertaining to the highest luxury — without swift and sudden catastrophe…”

By royal monopoly alone, or by means of great and powerful companies, can jewel digging be made a thriving industry, he proposed. Citing this, Martin Meredith writes in Diamonds, Gold and War ( ) that several attempts at amalgamation had since been made.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A story within the story

Tales of Lord Buddha for the Young
Shilpa D’mello and Piya Chakravarty

It happened. There was a ruthless king, much hated by his subjects. “The people of the kingdom were badly oppressed. Their families were hungry and weak and fought over even small morsels of food… There was great suffering and hardship,” narrate Shilpa D’mello and Piya Chakravarty in Tales of Lord Buddha for the Young ( ).

One day Gautama Buddha visited the kingdom. “The arrogant king asked the Buddha to tell him a story that would entertain him. The Buddha decided to tell him the parable of the hungry dog.”

Evaluate with agility

EPIC Change
Timothy R. Clark

We know that successful change leadership is central to the present global age. But, worryingly, it seems doubtful whether our leaders know how to go about change management, as a new book on leadership observes.

Most leaders approach change initiatives with the classical tools they learned from the discipline of project management, says Timothy R. Clark in EPIC Change ( That appro ach doesn’t help, he laments. Because, change, as a rule, is ‘dynamic, messy, iterative, unpredictable, and fraught with ambiguities.’