Posts

Showing posts from 2017

GIVE and TAKE: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success By Adam Grant >> Book review and free preview

Image
Title GIVE and TAKE: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success 
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Psychology, Altruism, Business, Self-help
Author Adam Grant
Publisher Orion Publishing Group

PRE-SUASION: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert B. Cialdini >> Book review and free preview

Image
Title PRE-SUASION: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Psychology, Marketing, Business Communication, Leadership, Influence
Author Robert B. Cialdini
Publisher Random House Books

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation By Lynne Truss >> Book review and Free preview

Image
Rating Green

Genre Language, English, Grammar

Publisher Fourth Estate
The Book The book, as the subtitle suggests, is about the nuances of punctuation. What differentiates it from the average grammar book though is that it is not one - it does not cover grammar comprehensively, it focuses on the finer nuances of using punctuation marks that are typically missed/or get lost somewhere in all the content in the grammar books, and it is full of (attempted) humour.

The punctuation marks it focuses on include the Apostrophe, the Period, the Comma, the Colon and the Semi-Colon, the Brackets, the Dash, the Hyphen. And, a few others in guest appearances.

Comments This book is written for an average English-speaking person - the author has written in colloquial conversational English, not boring technical language. I see it as no more than an extended chapter on punctuation. However, a very useful one at that.

If you've been confused by the finer nuances of sentence construction involving the u…

Flow - The classic work on how to achieve happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi >> Book review and Free preview

Image
Rating Green

Genre Psychology, Self-Development

Publisher The Random House Group (Rider Books)
The Book The book, as the name suggests, is about Flow - the concept of optimal experience postulated by the author in the course of his career in the area of human psychology. The book starts with a discussion about happiness and consciousness which lays the foundation for the ensuing discussion on Enjoyment and Flow. After which it moves onto discussing the impact and application of flow in daily lives of different people, and, how you can achieve flow (and happiness) yourself.

Comments This book is written for lay beings and the author has made sure that it is written in colloquial English. The plethora of actual cases discussed in the text keep the book engaging (and add credibility - the book is based on actual research work, not random opinions). Though there are parts where you might feel that the book could be a bit 'crisper'.

The content is relevant for all human beings. If bein…

Kalarippayattu - The Complete Guide To Kerala's Ancient Martial Art by Chirakkal T. Sreedharan Nair >> Book review

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Martial Arts, Kalarippayattu
Publisher Westland Books
The Book Kalarippayattu is amongst the most ancient martial arts in the world. It is believed to be the mother of most martial art systems that exist globally, especially the ones in Asia. The book is a detailed guide-book on Kalarippayattu.

The book starts with an introduction of Kalaripayyattu, before moving into an overview of the styles, commands and practice of the art. The next section covers the body exercises to help reach the level of physical fitness required.

After this we get straight into the martial arts training, with chapters on:

Kolethaarippayattu: Exercises with wooden weaponsKettukaarippayattu: Exercises with the long staffMuchaan Payattu: Exercises with the short staffOtta Payattu: Exercises with the Otta batonAngathaari: Exercises with sharp weaponsValppayattu: Exercises with the sword and the shieldMara Pitichu Kuntha Payattu: Exercises with sword-shield and spearVerumkai: Technique…

The McKinsey Engagement: A Powerful Toolkit For More Efficient & Effective Team Problem Solving by Paul N. Friga >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Business, Management Consulting, Company Profile
Publisher Tata McGraw-Hill
The Book This is the third book in the McKinsey trilogy by McGraw-Hill after The McKinsey Way and The McKinsey Mind. It is written by Paul N. Friga, a former McKinsey consultant, and co-author of The McKinsey Mind. As in the previous two books, this book is also an attempt to document the learnings from his period at The Firm to share it with the world. He also reached out to several other alumni of the Firm to get their inputs and also included the inputs from a real-life 'engagement' by his students.
This book is purported to be a field guide which takes the insights shared in the earlier books to an operational level. The book is structured around Paul's own framework TEAM FOCUS:
TEAM: This stands for Talk, Evaluate, Assist and MotivateFOCUS: This stands for Frame, Organise, Collect, Understand, and Synthesise In the end, he also shares the application of the model in…

The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firm by Ethan M. Rasiel and Paul N. Friga >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Business, Management Consulting, Company Profile
Publisher McGraw Hill Professional
The Book The book is written by two former McKinsey consultants who attempt to document the learnings from their period at 'The Firm' to share it with the world. They also reached out to several other alumni of the Firm to get their inputs as well.
They share how 'the McKinsey Mind' works (as the name suggests) pivoted around a 'Strategic Problem Solving' model. In this book, they focus on the following elements of the model.:

Analysing: This includes Framing, Designing, Gathering and InterpretingPresenting: This includes Structure and Buy-InManaging: This includes Team, Client and SelfComments Just like its predecessor 'The McKinsey Way' this book is short (around 200 pages) and easy to read (well-structured and simple English). If you are part of the corporate world or are planning to join it some day - you'll find this book very useful …

The Minto Pyramid Principle - Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving by Barbara Minto >> Book review

Image
Rating Green

Genre Business, Communication, Logic, Thinking, Problem Solving, Presentation

Publisher Minto International Inc.
The Book This book presents Barbara Minto's theory on efficient and effective communication based on the simple to understand pyramid principle. She starts with establishing a connection to the psychological theories of Miller around Span of Attention. After which she explains the pyramid structure and how to use it.

She covers how logic flows into pyramid and how 'pyramid thinking' can make you more effective. She also covers the application of pyramid principle to problem solving before ending with the most important of it all how to use pyramid principle in presenting.

Comments For a book that is technical, this is very easy to read (no surprise considering this is a book on effective communication!). It is replete with examples - in fact, almost all the content is explained with their help. The content is extremely useful - applicable in day to day …

Sims' Symptoms in the Mind - An Introduction to Descriptive Psychopathology by Andrew Sims and Femi Oyebode >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green

Genre Medicine, Psychology, Psychiatry

Publisher Elsevier
The Book As the name suggests the book introduces the reader to the various concepts of descriptive psychopathology. The coverage is sufficiently comprehensive for a reader desirous of getting introduced to psychopathology.

Comments For a book that is 100% content, this is quite easy to read. The theories are explained so well that it is easy for the reader to understand the most arcane of concepts related to psychology presented in the book.

Free download Link/Preview >>

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Yellow

Genre Moral Allegory, Fiction

Publisher Wordsworth
The Book The book presents the story of a pilot who is left stranded after his plane crashed into the Sahara. He awakes to the sound of a little 'prince' who, he discovers in the course of his conversations, has done a lot of inter-planetary travel in the search of a solution to a problem on his planet.

In the book 'The Little Prince' recounts his meetings with various people and the learnings from them.

Comments The book is very short and very easy to read. However, it can be read at multiple levels of abstraction. So anyone from a 6 year old kid to his 60 year old grandfather would find this worth a read. It has some nice philosophical thoughts packed in great one-liners.

Yellow - because somehow I don't have the feeling that this is a  book I would recommend to many people.

Free download Link/Preview >>

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Media, Propaganda, Mass Communications, Politics, Social Psychology
Publisher Pantheon Books
The Book In the book, the authors put forward their 'Propaganda Theory' in which they outline the dangerous possibility of political parties controlling the mass media to move public opinions in their favor being a real scenario. In fact, not a scenario, but an everyday occurrence.

They present numerous data backed examples of how the effect of the media control is visible in the various attributes of communication used by the media. Of how the public opinion has been swayed to align with the goals of the state - to the extent of getting support for acts that no person would willingly, in his/her sane mind, approve of. They discuss how some of the events of the past may be interpreted very differently when looked at in an objective and neutral fact-based manner. (Did US really lose the Vietnam war?)

Comments The book is heavy with lots of facts and figures. …

The Mckinsey Way: Using The Techniques Of The World's Top Strategic Consultants To Help You and Your Business >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Business, Management Consulting, Company Profile
Publisher McGraw Hill Professional
The Book The book is written by a former McKinsey consultant, who attempts to document the learnings from his period at 'The Firm' to share it with the world. He shares the way McKinsey works (as the name suggests) covering:

The way McKinsey thinks about business problemsThe way McKinsey works to solve business problemsThe way McKinsey sells solutions After this he moves on to discussing how to survive at McKinsey and what the life after McKinsey is like.

Comments The book is short (less than 200 pages) and easy to read (well-structured and simple English). If you are part of the corporate world or are planning to join it some day - you'll find this book very useful (irrespective of industry preference).

Gets a Green for a super-high insights/pages ratio!
Free download Link/Preview >>

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi >> Book review and free preview

Image
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Psychology, Creativity, Self-Development
Publisher Harper Perennial
The Book The book is the 'report' of a study conducted on several high-achieving creative individuals. The important thing being that creative individuals here simply means people who create - so whether they are an artist or scientist, photographer or chemist, poet or businessman - they're all included in the definition.

These creative people were interviewed, using a semi-structured approach, to learn more about their career and life priorities, relationships, peers and colleagues, family, working habits/insights and attentional structures and dynamics. The results were then synthesized into a form that is easy to read for a layman.

Comments The best thing about the book is that the discussion is deep. The author spent sufficient effort on explaining the methodology of the research, the rationale behind it; and, then in clarifying the taxonomy wherever required.

The way creat…

The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business by Duff McDonald >> Book review and free preview

Image
Title The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business
Rating Green
Genre Non-Fiction, Business, Management Consulting, Company Profile
Author Duff McDonald
Publisher Simon & Schuster Paperbacks