Monday, December 21, 2009

Serving leaders

Manage Mentor
The Secret
Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller
(http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

The SERVE mantra

Most of our corporate leaders and political netas may fail at one of the first questions that Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller pose in The Secret: What great leaders know and do, second edition: “Am I a self-serving leader or a serving leader?”

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Organisational hierarchy

Manage Mentor
The Accountable Leader
Brian Dive
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Managing the Chinese hat

Traditionally, organisational hierarchy is depicted as a pyramid, but the real picture, in most cases, is like a Chinese peasant hat, observes Brian Dive in The Accountable Leader. The top is a sharp point, with strategic responsibilities vested with a very few people, while many more people are at the brim of the hat, at work level 1, he explains.

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Change for the better

Books of Account
The Surprising Solution
Bruce Piasecki
( http://www.sourcebooks.com/)

Leverage the mechanics of money

Over the last century, the global consequence of our publicly-held corporate sector has surpassed the expectations and comprehensions of public policymakers and corporate executives alike, observes Bruce Piasecki in The Surprising Solution: Creating possibility in a swift and severe world.

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The classic innovation wisdom

Books of Account
SuperCorp
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Reap the values dividend

‘When the climate is right, a thousand flowers can bloom.' With this adage begins a section titled ‘Investing the values dividend,' in SuperCorp, by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

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The best 'e-communication'

Books 2 Byte
Txtng: The Gr8 Db8
David Crystal
(http://www.oup.com/)

Texting, a language in very rapid evolution

Why did texting become so popular so quickly? Partly because texting was less expensive than voice on mobiles, reasons David Crystal in Txtng: The Gr8 Db8. Apart from the economic factors, it was the nature of the communicating medium itself that proved appealing, he continues.

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Publicness is a community asset

Books 2 Byte
What Would Google Do?
Jeff Jarvis
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

In Googley terms, life is a beta

Google is not merely changing our societies, lives, relationships, and worldviews; it is probably changing even our brains in ways we can only begin to calculate, writes Jeff Jarvis in What Would Google Do?

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Six drivers of bank valuation

Books of Account
Bank Valuation & Value-Based Management
Jean Dermine
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Bank valuation

The first of the six drivers of bank valuation is economic growth, writes Jean Dermine in Bank Valuation & Value-Based Management. Around the world, the nominal growth of the balance sheets of banks is closely linked to the nominal growth of gross domestic product (GDP), he adds. “Nominal growth includes real growth plus inflation.

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High-frequency data

BookValue
Market Models
Carol Alexander
( http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Data forecasting

One of the chapters in Carol Alexander's Market Models: A Guide to Financial Data Analysis is about forecasting high-frequency data. It begins by citing studies suggesting that market prices are not completely random, and that there are non-linear dependencies in financial returns.

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Calibrate your victories

Book Mark
At the Helm
Peter Isler
(http://www.macmillanpublishersindia.com/)

Innovate, be creative, says Peter Isler in

`Rule six - push the limits,' a chapter in At the Helm: Business lessons for navigating rough waters. He avers that every product can be improved; every service can be provided to customers and clients better, more efficiently, and more effectively; every customer can experience an even better relationship with your firm and its employees.

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Change, a simple fact of life

Book Mark
Change Is Your Competitive Advantage
Karl G. Schoemer
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Four guarantees about change

Four inevitable attributes of change have created the new business reality, says Karl G. Schoemer in Four guarantees,' a chapter in Change Is Your Competitive Advantage.

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The consequences of a merger

Books of Account
Valuation for Mergers, Buyouts, and Restructuring
Enrique R. Arzac
( http://www.wileyindia.com/)

A dive into deal-making

To evaluate the consequences of a merger, it is best to build a financial model of the merged firm starting from its balance sheet at the planned closing date, advises Enrique R. Arzac in Valuation for Mergers, Buyouts, and Restructuring, second edition.

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Financial stability

Books of Account
India's Financial Sector
Vyuptakesh Sharan
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

The financial stability imperative

When the structural adjustment or macroeconomic reforms were designed originally during the early 1980s, the aspect of financial stability was not assigned too much of significance, reminisces Vyuptakesh Sharan in India's Financial Sector: An era of reforms.

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Increasing women's self-efficacy

Books of Account
Women's Health and Poverty Alleviation in India
K. S. Mohindra
( http://www.academicfoundation.com/)

Micro-credit and health

An interesting chapter in K. S. Mohindra's Women's Health and Poverty Alleviation in India is about the relationship between micro-credit and health. Greater income can support healthy food choices, making it possible to purchase non-staple foods, and reduce consumption of those unhealthy foods, high in fat and refined sugar, which are often cheap and fast meals, she writes.

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The basics of the financial products

Books of Account
Futures and Options
Sunil K. Parameswaran
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Understanding financial derivatives

A key factor in the development of derivatives exchanges has been the rapid growth of IT (information technology) and telecommunications, observes Sunil K. Parameswaran in Futures and Options: Concepts and applications. From streamlining backend operations in the exchanges and brokerage houses to facilitating stock index arbitrage, computers have played a pivotal role in the growth of these markets, he adds.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Effective auditing

Books 2 Byte
Applied Oracle Security
David C. Knox et al.
(http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Consolidated auditing system

The new era of GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) is firmly upon IT professionals, reminds Applied Oracle Security: Developing secure database and middleware environments, by David C. Knox et al.

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The security at the vault

Books 2 Byte
The Doomsday Key
James Rollins
(http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/)


It's 11:01 a.m., and the venue is Spitsbergen, Norway. The name of this island of the Svalbard archipelago translated from the Dutch meant ‘jagged mountain,' writes James Rollins in The Doomsday Key. Soon, he would lead us into the Doomsday Vault…

Approach team-building with caution

Books 2 Byte
Your Next Move
Michael D. Watkins
(http://www.harvardbusiness.org/)

Relationship reengineering

Just as global businesses often try to improve their odds of success by fundamentally reengineering processes to meet their changing needs, so can transitioning executives improve their chances of realising positive change by redefining their relationships in light of shifting roles, says Michael D. Watkins in Your Next Move.

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Avoid bad loans

BookValue
The 250 Questions You Should Ask to Get Out of Debt
David and Marcia Rye
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Get control over your spending habits

Avoiding bad loans is the focus of one of the chapters in The 250 Questions You Should Ask to Get Out of Debt, by David and Marcia Rye. A bad loan, as the authors explain, has interest rates that exceed the prevailing rates by 20 per cent or more and loan terms that include unreasonable late payment penalties, prepayment penalties, or loan costs.

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Pricing by the railways

BookValue
Indian Railways Turnaround
R. N. Misra
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Management lessons from the railways

Of every rupee spent by the railways on fuel such as HSD (high speed diesel) ‘only 48 paise is the real intrinsic value,' rues R. N. Misra in Indian Railways Turnaround: A Study in Management. In the remaining 52 paise are “taxes such as customs, cess, sales tax and other local taxes.

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Digital marketing

Book Mark
Six Pixels of Separation
Mitch Joel
(http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/)

Digital marketing is about being slow

Why does the online auction eBay work? Why do most people buy from someone they do not know, based on a bunch of positive peer reviews and ratings from people they do not know? The answer, as Mitch Joel writes in Six Pixels of Separation, is that we have an inherent trust in those who have taken the time to publish their personal feedback.

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Indian vs global markets

Book Mark
India by Design
Michael Boroian and Alix de Poix
(http://www.wiley.com/)

Addiction to luxury brands

To most Indians, luxury goods are those that cost a great deal and come from foreign markets, observe Michael Boroian and Alix de Poix in India by Design: The pursuit of luxury & fashion. With the exception of international brands implanted in the major cities, India is practically devoid of any Indian branded fashion and luxury goods today.

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The role of media organisation

Book Mark
Understanding Community Media
Kevin Howley
(http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Pervasive media environment

Together with blogs, global trends such as wikis and podcasting show that more and more people are changing from consumer passivity to producer activity, says Otto Leopold Tremetzberger in one of the essays included in Understanding Community Media,' edited by Kevin Howley.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

'What sort of people were we becoming?'

Say Cheek
Good Value
Stephen Green
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Correcting the disconnect in a connected world

Should we do anything for posterity? The answer is ‘no' if one's view of ethics is contractual, since there is ‘no apparent reason to do good to those who are incapable of returning the favour,' observes Stephen Green in Good Value: Reflections on money, morality and an uncertain world.

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A great truth about 'money'

Books 2 Byte
Fight for Your Money
David Bach
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Grow your money by avoiding financial leakages

Be it buying a car or settling a hospital bill, booking an airline ticket or shopping online, you, as a customer, run a ripe chance of getting ripped off. A simple insurance against such risks can be David Bach's Fight for Your Money. The great truth about money is that in order to keep it and grow it, you have to fight for it, he says in the introduction.

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On the 'Harvard Connection'

Books 2 Byte
The Accidental Billionaires
Ben Mezrich
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Mashed faces in a Harvard truck

In Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires, you can catch up with not only ‘the founding of Facebook' but also ‘sex, money, betrayal.' For instance, in chapter 10, titled ‘November 25, 2003,' you'd read about ‘a vanlike bus that travelled between the Harvard campus and a half dozen of the nearby all-girl schools – as well as a few of the more liberal-minded coed party campuses – shuttling kids back and forth, most often on weekends.'

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Computers expand the range of our senses

Books 2 Byte
The Loom of God
Clifford A. Pickover
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Reasoning beyond intuition

Likening the universe to a mathematical carpet which is perceived by creatures looking at it through imperfect glasses, Clifford A. Pickover suggests that computers may yet allow humanity to perfect those glasses. The beauty and importance of computers lie mainly in their usefulness as a tool for reasoning, creating, and discovering, he writes in The Loom of God: Tapestries of mathematics and mysticism.

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Towards a framework of 'hard money'

BookValue
Gold
Nathan Lewis
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

A call for a new gold standard

It may take many more years, even decades, but the era of soft money is slowly coming to a close, predicts Nathan Lewis in Gold: The once and future money. The world really has no choice but to move back toward a framework of hard money, because the never-ending and completely unnecessary difficulties of floating currencies can be solved in no other way, he adds.

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On stock returns

BookValue
The Future for Investors
Jeremy J. Siegel
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Three investment directives

Dividends, international, and valuation: these three are ‘the D-I-V directives' prescribed by Jeremy J. Siegel in The Future for Investors: Why the tried and the true triumph over the bold and the new.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Make sense of the signs

Manage Mentor
Changeability
Michael Jarrett
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Blinkered leaders can be ignorant

As a leader, scanning the environment is necessary but insufficient; you should be able to make sense of the signs, says Michael Jarrett in Changeability: Why some companies are ready for change – and others aren’t.

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XBRL, an electronic language

Books 2 Byte
XBRL – A primer
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
(http://www.icai.org/)

‘Barcode' for business reporting

The movement towards XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) as a standard global framework to support effective production, consumption, and exchange of financial and business information is gaining acceptance throughout the world, says the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in XBRL – A primer.

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‘Don't become a slave to your e-mail'

Books 2 Byte
10 Clowns Don't Make a Circus
Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Your inbox is not your to-do list

If technology is the hare, then employees are the tortoise, reads one of the rules in 10 Clowns Don't Make a Circus, by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman. “Regardless of any new technology that you might be considering, keep in mind that the most important part of a successful business is a persuaded and prepared employee,” the authors add.

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For the success of a project

Books 2 Byte

A Manager's Guide to Data Warehousing

Laura L. Reeves

(www.wileyindia.com)

Success factors — more to do with people than technology

Two primary factors for the success of data warehouse are a strong partnership between the business and systems communities, and ensuring that the project is driven by true business requirements, says Laura L. Reeves in A Manager's Guide to Data Warehousing.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Uncertainty vs risk

BookValue
Quantitative Finance
T. W. Epps
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/ )

Understanding risk

What is common between choosing a portfolio of assets, and deciding whether to buy a lottery ticket? Or, between waiting for an oncoming car before making a turn, and studying an extra hour for a particular exam? All these are instances of decisions under uncertainty, where one must choose among actions whose consequences are to some extent unpredictable, says T. W. Epps in Quantitative Finance: Its development, mathematical foundations, and current scope.

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The charity

BookValue

The Life You Can Save

Peter Singer

( www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Do good, intelligently

How can you tell which charities function effectively? Exploring this question is a whole chapter in The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer. Dropping a coin into the alms bowl of a beggar, or tucking cash into boxes-for-causes can be easy; but the exercise of generosity can be difficult for those who want to make well-informed choices about the charities they wish to contribute to.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The `Mumbai model'

Book Mark
Culture, Society and Development in India
Manoj Kumar Sanyal and Arunabha Ghosh
(http://www.orientblackswan.com/)

Investor-star

Stars play the most significant role in the making and success of a film, in the Mumbai movie word, writes Parthasarathi Banerjee in `Film-making in Mumbai: Institutional solution to entrepreneurship in creativity,' an essay included in Culture, Society and Development in India,' edited by Manoj Kumar Sanyal and Arunabha Ghosh.

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Dharavi, disorganised but thriving

Book Mark
India Yatra
Neelesh Misra and Zara Murao
(http://www.harpercollins.co.in/)

The slum in the supply chain

Dharavi has its own local economy, disorganised but thriving, observes Sweta Ramanujan-Dixit in one of the essays included in India Yatra, edited by Neelesh Misra and Zara Murao. Walking through `the narrow, sunshine-deprived bylanes,' the author sees "tannery workers washing animal skins.

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To fit into the competitive environment

Book Mark
Discovering New Business Opportunities
John English and Babette Moate
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Four ways to enter the market

In the final chapter of Discovering New Business Opportunities, John English and Babette Moate offer guidance to start-ups on developing a strategy that determines the way in which the business will fit into the competitive environment. Every component of your business strategy should be driven by what your customers want, the authors instruct.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The 'Satyam' Saga

Books 2 Byte
The Double Life of Ramalinga Raju
Kingshuk Nag
(http://www.harpercollins.co.in/)

When the spin went out of hand

At the start of his career, Raju was a confused young man, as is the norm, writes Kingshuk Nag in The Double Life of Ramalinga Raju: The story of India's biggest corporate fraud.

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'Keep the sponsor in the loop'

Books 2 Byte
Project Manager Street Smarts
Linda Kretz Zaval and Terri Wagner
(http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Three types of communication with project sponsor

The success or failure of a project is directly proportional to the amount of time spent communicating to your sponsor and team as well as the quality of those communications, observe Linda Kretz Zaval and Terri Wagner in Project Manager Street Smarts: A real world guide to PMP skills.

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E-waste, 'a karmic nightmare'

Books 2 Byte
What would the Buddha Recycle?
Rosemary Roberts
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Much of technological donation is e-waste

Electronic waste is `a karmic nightmare,' says Rosemary Roberts in What would the Buddha Recycle? Ewaste includes cell-phones, computers, televisions, VCRs, copiers, and fax machines - anything with a battery or a plug. While some of this equipment can be recycled or donated to a charity, much of it is obsolete or broken," she explains.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Benchmarking the performance of investment

BookValue
Portfolio Performance Measurement and Benchmarking
Jon A. Christopherson, David R. Cariño, and Wayne E. Ferson.
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ )

Four principles of useful indexes

All lovers, says the Bard in Troilus and Cressida, swear more performance than they are able and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of 10 and discharging less than the tenth part of one. “They that have the voice of lions and the act of hares, are they not monsters?”...

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The four aspects of everyday life

Book Mark
Packaging Life
Pramod K. Nayar
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Life, in four editions

Pramod K. Nayar takes up four aspects of everyday life and unwraps them for us in Packaging Life. He lays out life in four editions – low-calorie, deluxe, bubble-wrapped, and high-speed – to correspond, respectively, to our cultures of health, comfort, risk and mobility.

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'Gods getting remade'

Book Mark
The God Market
Meera Nanda
( http://www.randomhouse.co.in/)

New ‘rush hour of the gods’

Contrary to classical theories of secularisation, there is no automatic decline of religiosity with scientific and economic development, says Meera Nanda in The God Market.

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'Love what you do'

Book Mark
Your Portable Empire
Pat O’ Bryan
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Happiness is the key to success

If you want to know ‘how to make money anywhere while doing what you love,’ Pat O’ Bryan has the answers in Your Portable Empire. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful,” reads a quote of Albert Schweitzer.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

'Importance of emotions cannot be discounted when studying international affairs'

Say Cheek

The Geopolitics of Emotion

Dominique Moïsi

(www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Can confidence be measured at a national level?

Humiliation in Ifrane, hope in Mumbai, fear in London. With these three vignettes opens The Geopolitics of Emotion by Dominique Moïsi. The first is about the author’s interaction in 2000 with students in the University of Al Akhawayn, a school of management set up jointly by the kings of Morocco and Saudi Arabia in the Atlas mountain city of Ifrane, 60 km west of Fez. Young women were walking hand in hand, when they were not casually lying next to each other on the immaculate grass, whose shining green stood out from the arid surroundings of the campus, he finds, but what struck him was their lack of self-confidence.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take action 'now'

Manage Mentor
9 Secrets, the Ultimate Success Strategies
Dipankar Biswas
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

`Thought x Knowledge x Action = Attitude'

Your attitude matters much more than your skills, says Dipankar Biswas in 9 Secrets, the Ultimate Success Strategies. It is attitude that shapes your style of connecting with others, your way of communicating, and your respect for others, Biswas adds.

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Urban infrastructure projects

Books of Account
Urban Renewal
M. Ramachandran
(http://www.academicfoundation.com/)

Cities need innovative financing

Massive investments are needed for improving the infrastructure facilities at the level of urban local bodies (ULBs); and the funds may have to come from the capital markets, public savings and foreign sources. But a key hurdle is in the form of restrictions placed by many Municipal Acts on the ULBs to borrow funds and access debt capital, says M. Ramachandran in Urban Renewal: Policy and response, edited by Sameer Kochhar.

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Grouping related variables

Books 2 Byte
SCJA: Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide
Robert J. Liguori and Edward G. Finegan
(http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Well-encapsulated class

The fundamental theory of an object-oriented language is that software is designed by creating discrete objects that interact to make up the functionality of the application, write Robert J. Liguori and Edward G. Finegan in SCJA: Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide.

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Cultural awareness

Books 2 Byte
PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Review Guide
Kim Heldman and Vanina Mangano
(http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Avoid culture shock

As project teams and organisations become increasingly more diverse, the need for a heightened awareness of cultural influences and customary practices becomes critical, write Kim Heldman and Vanina Mangano in PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Review Guide.

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Harassment via net

Books 2 Byte
Hate Crime
Neil Chakraborti and Jon Garland
(http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Cyberbullying

While much of the traditional discussion regarding `hate' and victim-perpetrator relationships is about situations where the two parties occupy the same geographical space, the recent phenomenon of `cyberbullying,' which occurs remotely, is becoming a significant form of bias-related harassment, especially for young people, say Neil Chakraborti and Jon Garland in Hate Crime: Impact, Causes and Responses.

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Space weapons

Books 2 Byte
Space Security
IDSA-Indian Pugwash Society Working Group
(http://www.academicfoundation.com/)

Space technologies in defence

Outer space is internationally accepted as the common heritage of mankind, but it is increasingly getting used for military purposes, cautions a recent report of the IDSA-Indian Pugwash Society Working Group titled Space Security: Need for a proactive approach.

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The sloshing money

BookValue
Market Indicators
Richard Sipley
( http://www.bloomberg.com/ )

Money moves in waves

Money doesn’t flow, it sloshes, says Richard Sipley in Market Indicators: The Best-Kept Secret to More Effective Trading and Investing. Like water in an overfull bathtub, money moves in waves, as investors process information and balance the competing desires to grow wealth and protect capital, he adds.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

'Look for fair trade'

Book Mark
50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming
Green Patriot Working Group
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Celebrate with ‘green’ balloons

Do you drive to the store, or have your groceries delivered? If your answer is the latter, you have reason to cheer, for implementing one of the eco-friendly measures outlined in 50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming compiled by the Green Patriot Working Group.

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Shoplifter

Book Mark
The Ethical Executive
Robert Hoyk and Paul Hersey
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Traps at work

One of the examples in The Ethical Executive by Robert Hoyk and Paul Hersey describes an experiment by Donna Gelfand at the University of Utah, which had, as its subjects, about 300 men and women, who were adult shoppers in two drugstores.

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