Tuesday, May 25, 2010

'Scan' the emails

Books 2 Byte
The Simplicity Survival Handbook
Bill Jensen
(http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Don't get mauled by email

Email and the myriad other ways of connecting with anyone anywhere are both a blessing and a curse, cautions Bill Jensen in The Simplicity Survival Handbook . hile the upside of these amenities is to bring the world to you, they also bring ‘the noisy, unfiltered, unfocused, and undesired world to you,' so you need to get disciplined about closing your virtual door, he adds.


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Refreshing the values

Books 2 Byte
Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management
Sarah Lewis, Jonathan Passmore and Stefan Cantore
(http://www.kogan-page.co.uk/)

How Nokia revitalised its staff...

Tracing the long and diversified story of Nokia, one of the essays in Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management by Sarah Lewis, Jonathan Passmore and Stefan Cantore notes how the company hit rock bottom in the early 1990s; ‘even rivals Ericsson were not interested when Nokia's leading shareholder tried to sell them his stock.'

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Sharpen your compounding skills

BookValue
The Corruption Conundrum and Other Paradoxes and Dilemmas
V. Raghunathan
( http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/)

Learning from contradictions

How would you react if your bank wrote to you offering to let you borrow as much as you want for a period of one year and you only repay the interest with the principal being waived off? This is one of the many questions that V. Raghunathan poses in The Corruption Conundrum and Other Paradoxes and Dilemmas. The normal reaction may be to rush and borrow ‘a million bucks to build that dream house you have been planning all your life,' unless you were in Zimbabwe, where inflation peaked at 500 billion per cent in December 2008!

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Barriers to the success

Book Mark

The Little Blue Book of Marketing

Paul Kurnit and Steve Lance

(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Know who or what is in your way

You may know about your strengths and the mission. But it is also crucial that you know who or what is in your way, say Paul Kurnit and Steve Lance in The Little Blue Book of Marketing. Some of the key questions they ask you to consider are: What are the barriers to your success? How will you overcome the various obstacles? Who are your competitors?

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Monday, May 24, 2010

The 'unbridled' power

Books of Account
Restoring Values
E. Sreedharan, Bharat Wakhlu
(http://www.sagepublications.com/)

The dangers of power without accountability

What has changed in the last 60 years to make the average Indian of today believe that most politicians, bureaucrats, and other public authorities in positions of power are corrupt and self-serving? Posing this question, E. Sreedharan traces the answer to the unbridled power given to public administrators, a legacy of the British Raj when decisions were not questioned. For the most part, this is power without accountability, which is a sure-fire recipe for creating corruption, he notes in one of the essays included in Restoring Values.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Xcode, a suite of tools for developing software on Mac OS X

Books 2 Byte
Professional Xcode 3
James Bucanek
(http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Building your code cockpit

The size, complexity, and depth of Xcode are both a blessing and a curse, writes James Bucanek in ‘Professional Xcode 3'. “In your favour, you have a wealth of development tools, templates, and documentation, but all that comes at a cost; there's so much to learn and explore that it might take you months – even years – to fully exploit its capabilities,” he adds.

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Cost leadership strategy

Books 2 Byte
Strategic Management
Chris Jeffs
(http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Studying the value chain

How do you add value in a service organisation? A simple answer is to respond quickly and efficiently to customer's needs, says Chris Jeffs in Strategic Management. “In the case of an organisation which is following a cost leadership strategy, the value chain will be optimised for high efficiency, low waste or re-work. In the case of an organisation following a differentiation strategy, the emphasis is likely to be on research, development, and marketing.”

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Intel's sourcing strategies

Books 2 Byte
The Portable MBA, fifth edition
Kenneth M. Eades
(http://www.wiley.com/)

Wander over the face of the earth...

New managers in our increasingly ‘flat' world will inevitably face a global supply chain. A global reach adds complexity and multiplies the risk; importantly, “the bullwhip is more severe, total accumulated costs less transparent, potential problems less predictable, and communications more challenging,” cautions Kenneth M. Eades, the editor of The Portable MBA, fifth edition.


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Money, the potential capital

BookValue
Islamic Finance in a Nutshell
Brian Kettell
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Guide to Islamic finance

Since the inception of Islamic banking, about three decades ago, the number and reach of Islamic financial institutions worldwide has risen significantly, writes Brian Kettell in Islamic Finance in a Nutshell. Institutions offering Islamic financial services constitute a significant and growing share of the financial system in several countries, he adds.

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The Age of Cheap is a passing era

Book Mark
Cheap
Ellen Ruppel Shell
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Easier to get fooled when focus is on price

Our practice of scouring the world for cheap resources and cheap labour is not sustainable, writes Ellen Ruppel Shell in Cheap: The high cost of discount culture. `Everyday low prices' are built on the everyday lifestyles not only for Mexican cloth cutters and Thai shrimp farmers and Chinese toymakers but for all of us, she rues.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The two emotional extremes of an investor

Say Cheek
The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing
Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Knowing the nut behind the wheel

Two devils toss investors back and forth between their pitchforks: One is greed, and the other, fear. Thus write Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth in The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing. The authors explain that according to this model of investor psychology, the prudent investor is the one who chooses a moderate course, being neither inordinately greedy nor disproportionately fearful.

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British cemeteries in India

Say Cheek
After the Raj
Hugh Purcell
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Glimpses of melancholy places

Many tourists visit British cemeteries in India, but the reason for so doing surely go beyond the search for family or general history, writes Hugh Purcell in ‘After the Raj'. “What exactly is the appeal of these melancholy places?” These are now the most ubiquitous British architecture in India, feels Purcell.

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Self-talk

Manage Mentor
Fifteen Mantras for the Empowered Woman
Abha Sharma Rodrigues
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Power of the inner voice

The ‘spoken word' is the focus of one of the chapters in Fifteen Mantras for the Empowered Woman by Abha Sharma Rodrigues. It is about ‘an invisible friend, who goes around with you every day of your life, constantly whispering comments in your ear,' as the author begins. This invisible friend is no alien to us; and the ‘spoken word' is our own inner voice, the self-talk, she adds.

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Business blunders

Books of Account
The World of Business
The Economist
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

Raw deals

Among the ‘business blunders' that The World of Business of The Economist lists is ‘fat-finger syndrome.' It is a terrible affliction that affects those working in financial markets, the book states. In 2005, one learns that the problem, whereby hapless traders input incorrect information, hit Mizuho Securities.

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Sanitation Programme

Books of Account
Squatting with Dignity
Kumar Alok
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Cost of cleanliness

Subsidy for household toilets has been one of the most sensitive and widely debated issues, notes Kumar Alok in Squatting with Dignity: Lessons from India. He traces that the reduction in the subsidy amount to Rs 600 for BPL families was a major policy change in TSC (Total Sanitation Campaign) of 1999, as compared to CRSP (Central Rural Sanitation Programme) which provided Rs 2,000 per household.

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Bankers' books

Books of Account
The Banking Law
S. N. Gupta
( http://www.unilawbooks.com/)

Bankers' books in evidence

One of the sections in The Banking Law: In Theory & Practice, fifth edition, volume 3, by S. N. Gupta is devoted to ‘The Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891.' The intro explains that the Act became necessary because banking companies involved in litigation were required to produce their books in the courts in evidence of the transactions made by them.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fifth-generation languages

Books 2 Byte
Visual Basic 2010
Rod Stephens
(http://www.wileyindia.com/)

Five generations of programming language

The Visual Studio development environment is ‘an extremely powerful fifth-generation tool,' says Rod Stephens in Visual Basic 2010: Programmer's reference.

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'The seven mantras'

Books 2 Byte
Steering Project Success
Madhavan S. Rao
(http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Project mantras

Information seeding is the third of ‘the seven mantras' in Steering Project Success: Simple innovations in execution by Madhavan S. Rao. Consistently seed information in the customer's mind, proactively right from the beginning of a project, the author advises.

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Bangalore's meteoric rise

Books 2 Byte
Bengaluru, Bangalore, Bengaluru
Narendar Pani, Sindhu Radhakrishna and Kishor G. Bhat
(www.sagepublications.com)

History of a hi-tech city

To establish, maintain, conduct, provide, procure or make available services of every kind including commercial, statistical, financial, accountancy, medical, legal, management, educational, engineering, data processing, communication and other technological, social or other services.” Thus reads a portion of a section titled ‘the main objects of the company, as set out in the memorandum of association,' in The Birth of the Infosys Saga, a chapter included by Narendar Pani, Sindhu Radhakrishna and Kishor G. Bhat in Bengaluru, Bangalore, Bengaluru.

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Avoid costly mistakes

BookValue
Winning in Emerging Markets
Tarun Khanna and Krishna G. Palepu
( www.hbr.org)

Surviving ‘institutional voids' in markets

The most important feature of any market is the ease with which buyers and sellers can come together to do business, note Tarun Khanna and Krishna G. Palepu in Winning in Emerging Markets: A road map for strategy and execution. “In developed markets, a range of specialised intermediaries provide the requisite information and contract enforcement needed to consummate transactions. Most developing markets fall short on this count,” they add.

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Increasing your perspective

Book Mark
Hitting Your Stride
Nan S. Russell
(http://www.macmillanpublishersindia.com/)

Grow bigger team eyes

Do you find yourself making wrong assumptions from correct information? Or, pursuing directions with certainty, only to later discover that the map was wrong? Or, taking detours by holding on to misguided understandings? If the answer is `yes,' you are not alone. The malaise is so common that Nan S. Russell devotes a whole chapter to the antidote in Hitting Your Stride.


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Monday, May 03, 2010

Safe payout

Say Cheek
The Little Book of Big Dividends
Charles B. Carlson
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Inflation is investors' ‘public enemy No. 1'

Less is usually more when it comes to formulas, including those for investing, says Charles B. Carlson in The Little Book of Big Dividends. The fewer moving parts in an investing methodology, the easier it is to implement and monitor, he reasons, and advocates the BSD formula, short for ‘big, safe, dividend.'

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Walk the talk

Manage Mentor
Ten Much
A. G. Krishnamurthy
(http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Leaders need to be ‘felt and touched'

One of the problems when companies become really large is that the leadership often disappears into the clouds, rues A. G. Krishnamurthy in Ten Much. Employees way down below rarely catch a glimpse of the great name heading the organisation and pretty soon become disenchanted; and a frustrated few may even look to sell out the company at the first opportunity, he adds.

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An approach to trading

Books of Account
What the Dog Saw
Malcolm Gladwell
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Stocks and swans

Years ago, Nassim Taleb worked at the investment bank First Boston, and one of the things that puzzled him was what he saw as the mindless industry of the trading floor, narrates Malcolm Gladwell in What the Dog Saw. A trader was supposed to come in every morning and buy and sell things, and on the basis of how much money he made buying and selling he was given a bonus, Gladwell describes.


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Corporate governance

Books 2 Byte
Intelligence: Corporate success and vigilance
D.C. Pathak
(http://www.manaspublications.com/)

Corporate IT governance

A chapter on ‘information security' in D.C. Pathak's Intelligence: Corporate success and vigilance opens by acknowledging that in a world ruled by information, what enables one player in business to outsmart another is the knowledge of ideas, processes and technology.

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Tips for the call centre executive

Books 2 Byte
International English for Call Centres
Barry Tomalin and Suhashini Thomas
(www.macmillanpublishersindia.com)

Get rhythm, pitch and intonation right

Irritating intonation and terrifying speed are among the common complaints about call centres. The remedy lies in getting rhythm, pitch and intonation right, advise Barry Tomalin and Suhashini Thomas in International English for Call Centres. Rhythm describes the way words are grouped together to create a unit, the authors explain.

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Manage the mental forces

Book Mark
Bounce
Keith McFarland
(http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Any meaningful change requires a bounce

Life is full of challenges large and small, and each is an invitation to retire old ways of thinking and to stretch towards new and better solutions, says Keith McFarland in Bounce. Successful people harness the power of adversity much like sailors harness the force of a threatening wind, trimming their sails andleaning in hard, he analogises.

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