Monday, February 23, 2009

'Mobilise creative efforts'

Manage Mentor
Managing Change, Creativity & Innovation
Constantine Andriopoulos and Patrick Dawson
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Creativity management

Leaders can considerably enhance or inhibit creativity within the working environment, write Constantine Andriopoulos and Patrick Dawson in Managing Change, Creativity & Innovation.

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To show up as a ‘real’ leader

Manage Mentor
Big Ideas to Big Results
Michael T. Kanazawa and Robert H. Miles
( http://www.ftpress.com/)

Leaders need to have vision, rather than all answers

Those around you are not dumb. They know when you are playing full-out in an authentic way, and they know when you’re holding something back, calculating your moves, and manipulating the situation. Thus caution Michael T. Kanazawa and Robert H. Miles in Big Ideas to Big Results: Remake and recharge your company, fast.

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'Long-lived recession'

Books of Account
Contagion
John R. Talbott
(http://www.wiley.com/)

Trajectory of financial epidemic

The reason that the problems discussed today are so serious is because they are so long-lived, opens sombrely a chapter on demographics in Contagion: The financial epidemic that is sweeping the global economy and how to protect yourself from it by John R. Talbott.

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The value chain analysis

Books 2 Byte
Let us Share
Income-tax Department
( http://www.incometaxindiapr.gov.in/)

Camouflaged comparables

How does the taxman select comparables? Here is an example, from Let us Share: A compilation of best practices and orders. It speaks of XYZ P Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of a multinational corporation, engaged in development of software for embedded technology, reckoned by the company as ‘a low-end activity.’

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Computer Mind Maps

Books 2 Byte
How to Mind Map
Tony Buzan
( http://www.thorsons.com/)

Brain bytes

Although it is still your brain that comes up with all the ideas, the latest software can allow you to draw a Mind Map on your screen, encourages Tony Buzan in How to Mind Map: The ultimate thinking tool that will change your life.

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Search engine inside the firewall

Books 2 Byte
Professional Microsoft Search
Tom Rizzo, Richard Riley and Shane Young
( http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Enterprise search

With the explosion of digitally-borne information in the workplace, and terabytes of data being normal now, ‘enterprise search’ has assumed greater importance than earlier, write Tom Rizzo, Richard Riley and Shane Young in Professional Microsoft Search: SharePoint 2007 and Search Server 2008.

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Owners of information

Books 2 Byte
Case Studies for Organizational Communication
Joann Keyton and Pamela Shockley-Zalabak
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Virtual communication

Sample these case descriptions: An American working in the Asia-Pacific branch of a large company is criticised openly on the company’s intranet, generating multiple conflicts. Senior managers in an organisation, who are resistant to using technology, find that a relatively new employee is given a mandate to substantially increase technology use. A different enterprise experiences serious problems in information dissemination because lack of intranet access for some managers has contributed to perceptions of inequities. These are some of the chapters in Case Studies for Organizational Communication: understanding communication processes, edited by Joann Keyton and Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, grouped in a section on virtual communication in organisations.

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'Set your expectations on a realistic level'

Books 2 Byte
Exploring Global Frontiers
KPMG
( http://www.kpmg.com/)

Emerging destinations

Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Nagpur are the three emerging destinations that KPMG’s recent IT Advisory titled Exploring Global Frontiers: The new emerging discusses in the ‘India’ chapter.

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'Planning the project'

Books 2 Byte
Human Resource Information Systems
Michael J. Kavanagh and Mohan Thite
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Why system implementation fails

Why do system failures occur? Here is an answer to this question from Michael J. Kavanagh and Mohan Thite: “Increasingly, the failure to successfully implement information systems has less to do with the hardware or software aspects of the new system and more to do with the skills of the change leader and the people and organisational issues related to the change,” they write in Human Resource Information Systems: Basics, applications, and future directions.

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'The (e)merging banks'

BookValue
Banks in the South
Dr N. K. Thingalaya
( http://www.jkshim.ac.in/ )

Banks in a blue ocean

Instead of merging all the associate banks with itself, SBI should explore the feasibility of merging a few of them as a separate entity, recommends Dr N. K. Thingalaya in Banks in the South: Past, Present and Their Future.

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'When making presentations ...'

BookValue
Presenting with Power
Shay McConnon
( http://www.macmillanindia.com/ )

Break self-doubt cycle

Practise, practise, and practise. This is the first tip for reducing anxiety when making presentations, which Shay McConnon offers in Presenting with Power: Captivate, Motivate, Inspire and Persuade. “Rehearse on your own, in front of a mirror, in front of friends. Get so familiar with your material you can deliver it without having to think too much about it.”

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'The (ir)responsible auditors'

BookValue
The Essays of Warren Buffett
Lawrence A. Cunningham
( http://www.wiley.com/ )

Posers for auditors

Audit committees should ask four questions of auditors and report the answers to shareholders, says the Oracle of Omaha. “If the auditor were solely responsible for preparation of the company’s financial statements, would they have in any way been prepared differently from the manner selected by management?” reads the first question, as Lawrence A. Cunningham informs in The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers, t hird edition.

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Women in the boardrooms

BookValue
Women on Corporate Boards of Directors
Siri Terjesen, Val Singh and Susan Vinnicombe
Edward Elgar Publishing ( http://www.e-elgar.com/ )

Women corporate heads

Do women lack the ‘right’ kind of human capital for directorships? This is the question that Siri Terjesen, Val Singh and Susan Vinnicombe try to answer in one of the essays included in a recent book from Edward Elgar Publishing: Women on Corporate Boards of Directors: International Research and Practice.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Celebrity culture

Book Mark
Seeing Stars
Pramod K. Nayar
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Who is a celebrity?

Celebrity culture is a very visible, significant and commercially viable component of a society’s public culture today, says Pramod K. Nayar in Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and Celebrity Culture.

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Social censorship, repulsive and worrying

Book Mark
Censorship in India
Girja Kumar
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Questioning censorship

Liberal trends abroad have begun to reach the Indian soil, and as a result the debate over obscenity and pornography has intensified, writes Girja Kumar in Censorship in India: Studies in Fundamentalism, Obscenity and Law.

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Customer data collection

Book Mark
Customer Lifetime Value – The Path to Profitability
V. Kumar
( http://www.nowpublishers.com/)

A 360-degree view of customer

Despite the decrease in data storage costs over the years, many firms face challenges while identifying the right informational needs, integrating the data, and utilising the available information, observes V. Kumar in Customer Lifetime Value – The Path to Profitability.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

‘One good turn deserves another’

Say Cheek
Payback
Margaret Atwood
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Snake-oil debt in cardboard boxes with impressive labels

The US Congress has given its nod to the $787-billion stimulus package, which Barack Obama sees as a ‘major milestone’ in rescuing the country from the sub-prime crisis and its aftermath. If, like the majority, you have difficulty in understanding what the crisis is all about, Margaret Atwood offers a sympathetic description in ‘Payback: Debt and the shadow side of wealth’.

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Challenges facing a leader

Manage Mentor
Introduction to Leadership
Peter G. Northouse
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Listen to out-group members

One of the most difficult challenges facing a leader is to listen and respond to ‘out-group members,’ says Peter G. Northouse in Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and practice. Out-group members are those individuals in a group or organisation who do not identify with the larger group, the author explains.

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Achieve a ‘balcony perspective’

Manage Mentor
Leadership on the Line
Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Leadership an improvisational art

As a leader, you may find your day’s activities as excitingly busy as on a dance floor, but it may help if you occasionally go up to ‘the balcony,’ advises a recent book from Harvard Business School Press. Achieving a ‘balcony perspective’ means taking yourself out of the dance, in your mind, even if only for a moment, explain Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky in Leadership on the Line: Staying alive through the dangers of leading.

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The 'uneven' world

Books 2 Byte
What Next?
Chris Patten
( http://www.penguin.com/)

When ‘flat’ fell flat

To check if the world is really flat, as Thomas Friedman portrayed in The World Is Flat, Chris Patten visits the Infosys campus just outside Bangalore. “It is extremely impressive: brand-new buildings like an Ivy League campus and (when I was there) 14,000 young Indian software engineers,” describes Patten in ‘What Next? Surviving the twenty-first century’ .

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Online marketers

Books 2 Byte
International Business
S. Tamer Cavusgil, Gary Knight, and John R. Riesenberger
( http://www.pearsoned.co.in/)

Online intermediaries

Just when people thought disintermediation would be an important consequence of the Internet, another trend emerged: reintermediation. Thus write S. Tamer Cavusgil, Gary Knight, and John R. Riesenberger in International Business: Strategy, Management, and the New Realities.

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The ‘Chindia price'

Books 2 Byte
Hot, Flat, and Crowded
Thomas L. Friedman
( http://www.penguin.com/)

Raju’s insights

Thomas L. Friedman recounts in Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why the World Needs a Green Revolution – and How We Can Renew our Global Future his ‘long talk on the subject with Ramalinga Raju of Satyam, one of the most dynamic business leaders in India,’ and how Raju explained that no country had a better system for producing a transformational breakthrough around clean power and energy efficiency than the US.

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Oddity of global research collaboration

Books 2 Byte
Chindia
Pete Engardio
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Monkey call

What happened when a handful of engineers at Sarnoff Corp’s lab in Bangalore were sitting around a table in a meeting room, conference-calling with colleagues at the research-for-hire outfit’s headquarters in Princeton, US? “They heard loud banging from behind an air-conditioner cover on the wall. One of them lifted the cover, and a baby monkey leaped into the room and raced around underfoot,” narrates a snatch in Chindia: How China and India are Revolutionising Global Business, edited by Pete Engardio.

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Indian call centres

Books 2 Byte
The Next Available Operator
Mohan Thite and Bob Russell
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

HR issues in Indian BPO industry

Despite technological advancements, the attitude and commitment of the CSRs (customer service representatives) are the key to ‘customer delight,’ write Mohan Thite and Bob Russell in the introduction to The Next Available Operator: Managing Human Resources in Indian Business Process Outsourcing Industry.

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The fight against slavery

BookValue
From Poverty to Power
Duncan Green
( http://www.academicfoundation.com/ )

Human security

The fight against the scourges of poverty, inequality, and the threat of environmental collapse will define the twenty-first century, as the fight against slavery or for universal suffrage defined earlier eras, observes Duncan Green in From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World.

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Global finance administration

BookValue
International Business: Managing Globalization
John S. Hill
( http://www.sagepublications.com/ )

Money management

Multinational corporations may either choose to administer their global finances internally through national, regional, or global treasuries, or externally using international or local banks, writes John S. Hill in International Business: Managing Globalization.

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Accounting practices

BookValue
The Transparent Corporation: Managing Demands for Disclosure
David Uren
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/ )

Earnings game

As chairman of the SEC , Levitt had been ‘battling since the mid-1990s to strengthen the independence of the auditing profession that he believed was in the thrall of its clients,’ recounts David Uren in The Transparent Corporation: Managing Demands for Disclosure.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Economy vs inflation

Books of Account
Transitional Puzzles
Amlan Datta
(http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Restore wealth’s original meaning

Financial crises are usually symptoms of deeper disorder, so we have to look behind what the classical economists called the monetary veil, argues Amlan Datta in Transitional Puzzles: Reflections on social, economic and political issues.

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'Spend time at the scene of action'

Books of Account
Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Managers
Gerald A. Michaelson
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Gather invisible information

Even when accurate, statistics can never substitute for looking someone in the eye when you get the answer to your question, cautions Gerald A. Michaelson in Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Managers. The chapter titled ‘Terrain’ cites a lament of Dr W. Edwards Deming, the quality guru, that some managers look only at the visible numbers even when the visible numbers tell them so little. “

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An era of grey conformism

Book Mark
Consumer Culture and Postmodernism
Mike Featherstone
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Conformism to vivid choice

Those who seek to ‘educate the common people into better tastes’ find the popular tradition of carnivals, festivals and fairs disturbing. Such a tradition is derided as celebrating ‘symbolic inversions and transgressions of the offi cial culture as well as the excitement, untamed emotions and direct bodily pleasures of fattening food, intoxicating drink and sexual promiscuity,’ writes Mike Featherstone in Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, second edition.

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Stifling of innovation

Book Mark
Case Studies for Organizational Communication
Joann Keyton and Pamela Shockley-Zalabak
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Communication dissection

A woman consultant who comes to deliver a leadership training programme at a plumbing company finds that the all-male group of managers in the class wave lingerie at her when it is time for questions. Editors Joann Keyton and Pamela Shockley-Zalabak present 33 such episodes in Case Studies for Organizational Communication, a book that can be of immense educational value.

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Marketing techniques

Book Mark
Habit
Neale Martin
( http://www.ftpress.com/)

Behavioural marketing

Context, training, reinforcement, and cue are the four steps to behavioural marketing, says Neale Martin in Habit: The 95% Behavior Marketers Ignore. Context holds the key to the why and where of behaviour. For instance, users can access music in many different ways, including listening to a radio, playing a CD, and using Internet radio, satellite, and MP3 players, the author explains.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Lots of breaks, good for presence of mind

Books 2 Byte
Strategic Intuition
William Duggan
( http://www.harpercollins.co.in/)

Is Google creative?

How did the Google guys, Page and Brin, come up with their creative ideas? “The origin of Google had nothing to do with having fun or expressing themselves. Page and Brin did not believe that there were no limits and that anything was possible,” writes William Duggan in Strategic Intuition: The creative spark in human achievement. The duo got the creative ideas from combining existing elements, he explains.

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Change is refreshing

Books 2 Byte
Your Job Survival Guide
Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther
( http://www.ftpress.com/)

Learn from professional athletes

In this connected age, you have to decide where to draw the line on technology when on a vacation, say Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther in Your Job Survival Guide: A manual for thriving in change. “If you keep reading e-mail, you might not actually have a vacation — you’ll just have taken your office with you,” the authors chide.

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Computer recycling

Books 2 Byte
Greening the Supply Chain
Purba Halady Rao
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Computer waste

With widespread use of computers and also the fast pace of obsolescence in technology products, a huge problem all over the world is of discarded computers. Most outdated computers are left around in storerooms, basements, warehouses, and so on, and these are increasingly becoming worthless the longer they are kept, writes Purba Halady Rao in Greening the Supply Chain: A guide for Asian managers.

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Implementing the structural change

Books 2 Byte
No Man’s Land
Doug Tatum
( http://www.penguin.com/)

Wrenching changes

Developing and implementing processes within a company is not always an easy task, observes Doug Tatum in No Man’s Land: A survival manual for growing midsize companies. “Firms must often make wrenching changes to their internal structures that employees cannot understand,” he adds, in a chapter titled ‘market misalignment.’

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'Extensions' of our senses

Books 2 Byte
The Race for Perfect
Steve Hamm
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Digital serpent swallowing its own tail

Think of the ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail and forming a circle, invites Steve Hamm in The Race for Perfect: Inside the quest to design the ultimate portable computer. “It’s interpreted as the symbol for consciousness by some people, and infinity by others. Today, thanks to portable computers and all of the technology that surrounds them , information and consciousness are flowing, like the serpent, in an infinite, self-fulfilling loop.”

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Capital gearing

BookValue
The Manager’s Handbook for Understanding Accounts
F. A. J. Couldery
( http://www.infinitybooks.org/)

Check your gearing

An important concept in corporate financing is that of capital gearing, or leverage, writes F. A. J. Couldery in The Manager’s Handbook for Understanding Accounts. Gearing, for starters, is the relationship between the borrowed funds on which interest is paid, and the proprietors’ capital on which dividends are paid.

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'The weaker groups'

BookValue
Fragments of Inequality
Sanjoy Chakravorty
( http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/ )

Inequality inquiry

Historical legacies of nations play a major role in their income inequality levels, finds Sanjoy Chakravorty in Fragments of Inequality: Social, Spatial, and Evolutionary Analyses of Income Distribution. Wherever there has been slavery, or colonisation, we can see that social inequality between races and ethnic groups is a serious issue, he adds.

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BookValue
CFO Survival Guide
Catherine and Joe Stenzel
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/ )

Good accountants

The stereotypical accountant may be shy, retiring, and slow to anger, but once aroused, there is no greater ally, say Catherine and Joe Stenzel in CFO Survival Guide: Plotting the Course to Financial Leadership. “Accountants are engineers at heart. They want to know how things work, and when things are not working, why they are not,” the authors add.

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'Where to put your money now?'

BookValue
$700 Billion Bailout
Paul Muolo
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Safe havens

In times of uncertainty and inflation, gold is the place to be, writes Paul Muolo in $700 Billion Bailout. “Back in 2001, the ancient metal of kings was selling for just over $300 an ounce. In October 2008, the price was a nifty $900 an ounce – thanks, in part, to the disintegrating stock market.”

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'The neural technique'

Mentor
Super Crunchers
Ian Ayres
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Neural networks vs regression analysis

Predictions using neural network equations are a newfangled competitor to the tried-and-true regression formula, writes Ian Ayres in Super Crunchers: How anything can be predicted. For starters, "neural networks are attempts to make computers process information like human neurons."

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Friday, February 06, 2009

'What can you do as a leader?'

Say Cheek
Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty
Ram Charan
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Six essential leadership traits for toxic times

“Hands on, head in,” urges Ram Charan in his newest book on how to do the right things in difficult times. “Adjust your mindset, gather your people, and tackle the problems squarely,” he goads, in Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty.

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Feedback should be based on fact not opinion

Manage Mentor
Performance Management and Development
Michael Armstrong and Angela Baron
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Base your feedback on evidence

Feedback is an important performance management process, Michael Armstrong and Angela Baron write in Performance Management and Development.

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'Work around weak spots'

Manage Mentor
Inside Drucker’s Brain
Jeffrey A. Krames
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

‘Mismanager’ focuses only on weaknesses

Despite propounding MBO (management by objectives), Peter F. Drucker felt that a manager who focuses only on weaknesses is a ‘mismanager,’ writes Jeffrey A. Krames in Inside Drucker’s Brain. Simply pinpointing problematic traits or identifying things that people do poorly is no way to enhance performance, Krames adds.

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Factors influencing market valuation of firms

Books of Account
Changing Policy Regimes and Corporate Performance
B. L. Pandit and N. S. Siddharthan
( http://www.oup.com/ )

Off-beat ratios

In a chapter on ‘MNEs (multinational enterprises) and market valuation of firms,’ included in Changing Policy Regimes and Corporate Performance, B. L. Pandit and N. S. Siddharthan discuss a few off-beat ratios. Such as ROY, ratio of royalty payments to sales turnover, and LP, lump-sum payments made for import of technology as a ratio to sales turnover; MK, the ratio of import of capital goods and sales, and MRAW, the ratio of import of raw materials and stores to sales.

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The stock market and real estate bubbles

Books of Account
Greenspan’s Bubbles
William A. Fleckenstein
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ )

Tale for the gullible in bubbledom

Greenspan bailed out the world’s largest equity bubble with the world’s largest real estate bubble, writes William A. Fleckenstein in Greenspan’s Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve. “That combination easily equates to the biggest orgy of speculation and debt creation the US (and the world) has ever seen,” he rues.

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Experiments with 'shoppers'

Books 2 Byte
The Numerati
Stephen Baker
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Whirring through combinations

You are one of those nameless shoppers. Is there something that researchers can learn about you? Plenty, says Stephen Baker in The Numerati: How they’ll get my number and yours. “By the patterns of your purchases, and the amount you spend week after week, they can see if you’re on a budget. They can calculate your spending limit. If they add some semantic tags to the data, they can draw other conclusions.”

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'The MIDlet'

Books 2 Byte
SCMAD Exam Guide: Exam CX-310-110
Ko Ko Naing, Sathya Srinivasan, Chad Davis, and Sivasundaram Umapathy
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Mobile developer stuff

Where does the true developer stuff start for an engineer aspiring to be a Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer? In ‘The MIDlet,’ say Ko Ko Naing, Sathya Srinivasan, Chad Davis, and Sivasundaram Umapathy in SCMAD Exam Guide: Exam CX-310-110.

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The science of fingerprints

Books 2 Byte
Forensic Science
Max M. Houck
( http://www.macmillanindia.com/)

Forensic challenge

The advent of computers heralded a new age for many forensic sciences and among the first to utilise the technology was the science of fingerprints, writes Max M. Houck in Forensic Science: Modern methods of solving crime. “Capturing, storing, searching, and retrieving fingerprints via computer is now a standard practice among police agencies and forensic science laboratories,” he adds.

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