Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Magic happens with real inclusion
Business leadership is a lot like parenting, says Lee Cockerell in Creating Magic. “Just as great parents pay attention to everyone in their family, so great leaders pay attention to everyone in their organisations, bolstering his or her self-esteem and self-confidence at every step,” he explains.
Unix System: Administration Handbook
Evi Nemeth et al.
Do you have a written security policy?
Log files may prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that person X did bad thing Y, but to a court it is all just hearsay evidence, say Evi Nemeth et al. in Unix System: Administration Handbook, third edition. Protect yourself with written policies, the authors urge.
Knowledge and Practice: Representations and Identities
Patricia Murphy and Robert McCormick
ICT in pedagogy
While notions of information processing or constructivism are well known, the ICT (information and communications technology) community has not kept up to date with those views that emphasise the social dimension of learning, bemoans an essay included in Knowledge and Practice: Representations and Identities edited by Patricia Murphy and Robert McCormick.
Implementing SAP ERP Sales & Distribution
Glynn C. Williams
SAP notes and tricks
With over 30 years of experience and being utilised in over 25 industries and approximately 35,000 companies, it is estimated that SAP has about 12 crore users in more than a hundred countries, informs Glynn C. Williams in Implementing SAP ERP Sales & Distribution. “SAP was founded in 1972 in Walldorf, Germany.
European Business: Customs & Manners
Mary Murray Bosrock
Never base your opinions of your colleagues’ intelligence on their English-language skills, says Mary Murray Bosrock in European Business: Customs & Manners. Remember, English may be their second or third language, she adds. Another tip in the country-by-country guide is to try using the colleagues’ language in salutations and closings. A personal closing can also help.
The White Tiger
It is in ‘the seventh night’ that you meet Balram Halwai, busy exploring Bangalore. “The city was full of outsiders. No one would notice one more,” he narrates, as the protagonist in The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008.
The 60 Second Organizer: Sixty solid techniques for beating chaos at home and at work
Put your e-mails in three boxes
Practise triage for all e-mail messages all the time, advises Jeff Davidson in The 60 Second Organizer: Sixty solid techniques for beating chaos at home and at work. Triage is the method of quickly poring over a variety of items and allocating them based on what needs to be handled immediately, what can be handled later, and what can be ignored altogether, he explains.
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Managing Growth and Handling Crises
Theo J. van Dijk
( http://www.macmillanindia.com/ )
These are tumultuous times, when as a budding entrepreneur you may just be in the middle of SENIC business, one that is ‘still evolving, now in crisis.’ Some SENIC businesses will continue to be very successful despite the problems; and there may be those that are badly bruised by the SENIC experience, writes Theo J. van Dijk in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Managing Growth and Handling Crises.
Wes Cantrell and James R. Lucas
Spread the wealth
The eighth on the list of ‘10 timeless principles for next-generation leadership’ that Wes Cantrell and James R. Lucas discuss in High-Performance Ethics is ‘spread the wealth.’ Because, there are no luggage racks on hearses, the authors reason. “There are no pockets in shrouds, and we can’t take anything with us. We come into life with nothing and go out the same way. It’s easy to forget these simple truths in the swirl of business life.”
Commercial Banks and Monetary Policy in India
( http://www.academicfoundation.com/ )
Response to monetary policy
After the series of fire-fighting measures taken by the RBI during the past few weeks, it was predictable that the credit policy announcements on Friday would lack any surprise element. But if you ever wondered how commercial banks react in response to the central bank’s monetary policy actions, Partha Ray has some answers in Commercial Banks and Monetary Policy in India.
Harvard Business Press
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ )
Don’t lapse into toxic stress responses
Disaster, catastrophe, emergency, calamity and predicament are all synonyms that Microsoft Word presents for crisis. And what can be a better time to remember these words than now, when the markets are plunging to newer depths. “By definition, a crisis requires fast, confident decision making. But how do you make good decisions when events are moving quickly, when things are confusing, and when it’s hard to sort out what’s important? How can you stay on track?” asks a ‘Pocket Mentor’ publication from Harvard Business Press titled Managing Crises.
Plant Biotechnology: Methods in Tissue Culture and Gene Transfer
R. Keshavachandran and K. V. Peter
Vitamin A deficiency causes half a million children to become partially or totally blind each year, yet traditional breeding methods have been unsuccessful in producing crops containing a high vitamin A concentration, rues Renu Swarup in one of the essays included in Plant Biotechnology: Methods in Tissue Culture and Gene Transfer, edited by R. Keshavachandran and K. V. Peter (Universities Press).
Age-proof Your Brain: Sharpen your memory in 7 days
( http://www.thorsonselement.com/ )
Make the most of spatial memory
By far the most powerful and adaptable way of developing your memory through using association is the method of loci, says Tony Buzan in Age-proof Your Brain: Sharpen your memory in 7 days. “This makes powerful links between and organises each of the items to be remembered, so that the order is remembered too.”
Friday, October 24, 2008
Branding Your Business
EPIC route to ‘halo’
What should you do to promote your business, attract customers and stand out in the marketplace? “You need to cut away all the parts that don’t look like your brand. And replace them with a ‘Brand Halo’ that not only looks lik e your brand but sounds like it, tastes and smells like it, and feels like it, too,” answers James Hammond in Branding Your Business. If you don’t want to drown in a commodity pit, influence is really all you have to build a brand, he urges.
Differentiate or Die
Don’t bury info in creativity
To those who put creativity on a pedestal it should be sobering to hear Jack Trout say that creativity is not a differentiating idea. “A large amount of today’s advertising has gotten so creative or entertaining that it’s sometimeshard to tell what companies are even advertising,” he observes in Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition, second edition (Westland).
Four myths that lead to business downfall
There is no such thing as a growth industry, declares Theodore Levitt in Marketing Myopia. There are only companies organised and operated to create and capitali se on growth opportunities, he adds. Levitt sees in the history of every dead and dying ‘growth’ industry a self-deceiving cycle of bountiful expansion and undetected decay, characterised by four conditions.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Acrobatics of Change
Moid Siddiqui and R.H. Khwaja
Don’t wait till your cheese smells horrible
Change management is a trapeze feat, write Moid Siddiqui and R.H. Khwaja in The Acrobatics of Change. They compare transition in change management to hovering in space without any support or anchor, “a situation where both morale and self-esteem are at their lowest ebb.”
Corporate and White-Collar Crime
John and Leonard Minkes
While the extension of IT (information technology) has undoubtedly reduced workers’ control in some jobs, it has increased it in others, writes Gerald Mars in one of the essays included in Corporate and White-Collar Crime, edited by John and Leonard Minkes. “Increase in the control over strong Grid/Donkey jobs — as in call centres and electronic assembly firms, for example — encourages deviance, particularly resentment fiddles,” adds Mars.
Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a global entrepreneur
What does Richard Branson always do? Scouring around a bargain, as he acknowledges in Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a global entrepreneur. And he “can usually track them down where someone has produced too much of something and isn’t selling enough even to cover their costs.” It was thus that Branson spotted a bargain all over the telecom industry.
How to do Everything with PHP & MySQL
Easy to learn and powerful to use
One of the most powerful combos in the open source arena today is the PHP/MySQL combination, declares Vikram Vaswani in How to do Everything with PHP & MySQL. He highlights how users can “benefit from the cost savings that accompany community-driven software, and also leverage off the immense number of freely available PHP/MySQL applications to reduce development and deployment time.”
Fax, Modem, and Text for IP Telephony
David Hanes and Gonzalo Salgueiro
For the hearing and speech impaired
Text telephony is a technology area that is unfamiliar to most people, write David Hanes and Gonzalo Salgueiro in Fax, Modem, and Text for IP Telephony.
“Used by the hearing and speech impaired to communicate over the PSTN (public switched telephone network), this technology is becoming more prominent in today’s IP (Internet Protocol) world.”
Handbook of Effective Management
Donald W. Huffmire
Alternatives to downsizing
Downsizing does not solve an organisation’s problems, says Donald W. Huffmire in Handbook of Effective Management. He advises organisations to, instead, adapt to a changing environment with intelligent strategic planning that involves everyone in the organisation. “An organisation must continually reinvent itself by getting ideas from its employees,” insists Huffmire.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
( http://www.bloomsbury.com/ )
Warren Buffett inside out
If you are as baffled by the markets and as wounded by the financial crisis as most of us around, the best prescription could be to grab a copy of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. Though the index of the nearly 1000-page book doesn’t show ‘sub-prime’ or ‘ninja,’ ‘credit crunch’ or ‘liquidity,’ you’d find lot of valuable insights about the markets and stocks, painstakingly compiled by the author, a former Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and a CPA with Ernst & Young.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
How to Market Books
Get customers to buy
A copywriter’s key objective is not to display a noteworthy style that perhaps drew particular praise from his/her English teacher at school, but to get customers to buy the product, says Alison Baverstock in How to Market Books:The essential guide to maximising profit and exploiting all channels to market, fourth edition.
Moving out of the Box: Tools for Team Decision Making
Jana M. Kemp
Technologies versus teamwork
Over the last decade, our technologies have contributed to a loss of people and interaction skills, making teamwork more difficult, bemoans Jana M. Kemp in Moving out of the Box: Tools for Team Decision Making. To prove the point, she narrates her experience at a department store’s customer service return counter, thus: “A woman in front of me talked on her cell phone the entire time she was trying to return half-a-dozen items. ”
China’s Creative Imperative
Creative resurgence in China
A common notion about the Chinese is that they interpret messages and products quite literally, evaluating them in a rational manner, rather than relating to the emotions and symbolism in the communication, says a new book that studies the psyche ofthe most populous country. Alas, that is just one of the eight myths, says Kunal Sinha in China’s Creative Imperative: How Creativity is Transforming Society and Business in China.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The Secrets of CEOs
Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave
CEO has to be like a top athlete
Being a CEO is one of the toughest jobs in the world, write Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave in The Secrets of CEOs. They caution that the CEO’s job is not a healthy ambition for many successful businesspeople because it requires exceptional levels of determination and resilience, as well as the ability to cope with stress and not let the role totally dominate your life.
iExec Enterprise Essentials Companion Guide
Martha Young and Michael Jude
Growing force multiplier
How does IT help in productivity? By enabling employees to acquire and retain satisfied customers, and also by enabling an increase in the production of goods and services for better revenues at improved margins, say Martha Young and Michael Jude in iExec Enterprise Essentials Companion Guide.
Internet Inquiry: Conversations about method
Nancy K. Baym and Annette N. Markham ( http://www.sagepublications.com/)
Since the Internet is new, do old theory and methods about research have anything to offer? Exploring this question, Nancy K. Baym finds the need to be grounded in existing literatures, theories and methods, even when a research topic involves the Internet.
“Analysts learn the most and are most persuasive when they are able to make their contribution clear by articulating the connections between what they have found and what we already know,” she avers, in one of the essays included in Internet Inquiry: Conversations about method co-edited with Annette N. Markham.
Business @ the Speed of Thought
Let bad news reach the CEO fast
A book that evoked much interest when launched almost a decade ago was Business @ the Speed of Thought by Bill Gates. And it continues to retain value in its newer presentations, for the many keen insights woven into the narrative on how to succeed in the digital economy.
Performance Management: Key strategies and practical guidelines
Learning from doing
There is a great scope for learning from experience — the problems, challenges, and successes inherent in day-to-day activities — and such learning can be enhanced, says Michael Armstrong in Performance Management: Key strategies and practical guidelines, third edition.
Intellectual Property: Issues in the publishing industry
S. K. Ghai
Search engines as publishers
The conflict between making something ‘freely available’ and doing so in a way that makes it ‘free of cost’ to the user remains an issue, observes Richard Balkwill in one of the essays included by S. K. Ghai in Intellectual Property: Issues in the publishing industry.
Corporate Financial Risk Management: A Computer-based Guide for Nonspecialists
Roy L. Nersesian
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/ )
Risk is in the tail
Though risk is difficult to define, it is forever with us, writes Roy L. Nersesian in Corporate Financial Risk Management: A Computer-based Guide for Nonspecialists. “We run the risk of not being alive one second from now, of not marrying the right spouse, of not selecting the right career, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Teaching Smart People How to Learn
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ )
Learning to learn
If you are one of ‘the well-educated, high-powered, high-commitment professionals who occupy key leadership positions in the modern corporation,’ it may come as a rude shock to hear Chris Argyris fault your learning. “Most people define learning too narrowly as mere ‘problem solving,’ so they focus on identifying and correcting errors in the external environment,” he bemoans in Teaching Smart People How to Learn.
Corporate Disclosures: The Origin of Financial and Business Reporting 1553-2007 AD
Corporate reporting reduced to form-filling
Browsing through Indian annual reports, what comes as ‘the overpowering feel’ is of ‘form-filling and compliance fulfilment,’ rues Shankar Jaganathan in Corporate Disclosures: The Origin of Financial and Business Reporting 1553-2007 AD (Routledge). “The absence of three vital aspects of good communication – executive summary, exception reporting, and balanced communication – contribute to this feel,” he explains.
Your MBA Game Plan: Proven Strategies for getting into the top business schools
Omari Bouknight and Scott Shrum
Four components of a B-school application
The four dimensions of a perfect business school applicant are leadership, innovation, teamwork, and maturity, write Omari Bouknight and Scott Shrum in Your MBA Game Plan: Proven Strategies for getting into the top business schools, revised edition. The authors explain that, since business schools want to be known as institutions that produce leaders in their fields, admission committees look for applicants who display leadership ability in all facets of their lives.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Groovy Old Men
Cool and happy they didn’t die before getting old
Look around in ‘cinema queues, pubs, markets, airports, theatres, art galleries,’ and you may find them. Who? ‘Groovy Old Men,’ says Nick Baker in his ‘spotter’s guide’ to be launched on October 1, the International Day of Older Persons. “Denims, trainers or walking shoes, backpack, headphones, shades, a ponytail may be, a book – they’re slightly more visible than the standard old geezer we know and love to ignore, but self-effacing enough not to try to stand out in a crowd.”
The Age of Aging
Baby boomers turn ‘boomerangst’ generation
There are at least three issues that the ‘boomerangst generation’ will have to confront, writes George Magnus in The Age of Aging. The foremost issue is of rising personal debt, “incurred as a result of longer periods in, or higher costs of, education, ease of access to credit, and, possibly, the cost of buying a home”.
David F. D’Alessandro
The higher you go, the nimbler you have to be
When everybody is smart, hard-working, and able to show results, what sets you apart are the relationships you build with people of influence, says David F. D’Alessandro in Executive Warfare. The old rules are all right for success in the middle, but when you reach a certain level, the game is for grown-ups, the author explains.
Deploying Cisco Wide Area Application Services
Zach Seils and Joel Christner
Filling the long, fat pipe
One of the most significant challenges associated with TCP (transmission control protocol) is its inherent inability to fill a network link that is long in terms of distance (latency) and fat in terms of capacity (bandwidth), write Zach Seils and Joel Christner in Deploying Cisco Wide Area Application Services. “Hence, the term long fat network (LFN) came into existence,” they add.
The Legal Protection of Databases
Protection of computer-generated works was the subject of Express Newspapers vs Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, a case discussed in The Legal Protection of Databases by Simon Chalton. “Express Newspapers published a daily random word puzzle, the answers to which appeared in a subsequent issue of the same newspaper,” he begins.
Technical Guide on E-Commerce Considerations for Audit of Financial Statements
SA 230, the Standard on Auditing on ‘Audit Documentation,’ from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), defines documentation as “the working papers prepared or obtained by the auditor and retained by him, in connection with the performance of his audit.”
How does an auditor go about documentation in an electronic environment? A recent publication of the ICAI, titled Technical Guide on E-Commerce Considerations for Audit of Financial Statements offers help in this regard.
SCWCD Exam Guide
No loose threads!
Designing and developing thread safe servlets is one of the chapters in Kunal Jaggi’s SCWCD Exam Guide, a book to help you with the Sun Certified Web Component Developer study. For a Web server, each client request is a thread, the author explains. “Threads are created as a result of executing even a simple standalone Java program… Thread safety mans that the integrity and consistency of an object’s fields are maintained.”
Strategic Issues and Challenges in Health Management
K.V. Ramani, Dileep Mavalankar, and Dipti Govil
A healthy feeling is a happy one, as we recently saw, closer home. A few top-level statements about ‘health’ lifted the otherwise gloomy financial markets. Wish something similar could happen to the health sector, which is constrained on many counts, including technology. “Nearly 50 per cent of the cost of setting up a new hospital goes into technology,” writes Joe Curian in one of the essays included in Strategic Issues and Challenges in Health Management edited by K.V. Ramani, Dileep Mavalankar, and Dipti Govil.
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Writing Business Plans and Proposals
K. Dennis Chambers
( http://www.macmillanindia.com/ )
Macro-view plus micro-tinkering
Editing is the hard part, says K. Dennis Chambers in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Writing Business Plans and Proposals. “Writing the first draft is like a sculptor pressing together giant slabs of clay…simply getting all of your material together,” he analogises. “When you know you have every critical idea on paper, you can relax and start shaping those ideas into something that others will want to read.”
How to Write a Great Business Plan
William A. Sahlman
Four components of good business plans
What’s wrong with most business plans? The answer is relatively straightforward, says William A. Sahlman in How to Write a Great Business Plan. He is aghast that most business plans waste too much ink on numbers and devote too little to the information that really matters to intelligent investors. “As every seasoned investor knows, financial projections for a new company — especially detailed, month-by-month projections that stretch out for more than a year — are an act of imagination.”
Liberalization and Development
Market economy vs political democracy
Buzz words across the world are market economy and political democracy, writes Deepak Nayyar in one of the essays included in Liberalization and Development. This is partly a consequence of the collapse of planned economies and excessive inappropriate State intervention in market economies, he explains.
The 60 Second Self-Starter
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/ )
How to beat procrastination
Being a self-starter, who displays an unusual amount of initiative, is desirable in today’s ultra-competitive environment, says Jeff Davidson in The 60 Second Self-Starter. A major hurdle, though, is procrastination, he adds. “Individuals who procrastinate may regard themselves as unproductive and lazy, and that’s just the printable version.
The Art of Asset Allocation
David M. Darst
Ten tactical principles for investors
Realism is the first of 10 tactical principles that David M. Darst lists in The Art of Asset Allocation, second edition. Be realistic enough to recognise that a significant proportion of all investment decisions may very well end up being wrong, the author advises. He calls for a detached, dispassionate, and sceptical view of every investment idea until results prove otherwise.
You Only Think Twice: The Definitive Guide to Better Thinking Skills for Indian Executives
K. R. Ravi
Let not thinking tank
In You Only Think Twice: The Definitive Guide to Better Thinking Skills for Indian Executives , K. R. Ravi narrates many anecdotes. Such as this one, in a chapter on numb ers, about an entrepreneur friend of his who had read a huge one-page advertisement issued by a State Government proudly announcing that 100 per cent of the villages in the State had been electrified.
The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen
Our channels of communication are overstuffed with most of the information being irrelevant or only marginally relevant. So, it helps to do some unclogging, advice John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen in The Heart of Change: Real-Life Storie s of How People Change Their Organizations.