Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some from the Bookshelf

UMERTO ECO'S LIBRARY is supposed to be about books on the pending list waiting to be read - a rather twisted argument by Taleb at knowledge assimilation when he philosophises that the unknown is more important than acquired knowledge itself. Perhaps makes sense, if you are a nihilist as well.

Frank Zappa almost gave it up saying, "Too many books, too little time". And this post claims to be no improvisation either. In fact, following are a few from the pending list from my night-stand that give a rather sarcastic stare almost every time. Reviews and comments welcomed.

The Future of Technology (Economist)
by Tom Standage (try hereThe Future of Technology (Economist))

This book gathers together some of the best writings that has recently appeared in The Economist on the way technology and its use is developing, and is likely to develop and change in the future.

Taking a look at the index was a compulsion of sorts to pick this engaging read. And the opening para alludes towards how IT will have to be a utility, like electricity.

Other comments: From the industrial revolution to the railway age, through the era of electrification, the advent of mass production and finally to the information age, the same pattern keeps repeating itself. An exciting, vibrant phase of innovation and financial speculation is followed by a crash, after which begins a longer, more stately period during which the technology is actually deployed properly. This book examines the post-technology era, drawing on the best writing on technology that has appeared in The Economist...

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition
by Guy Kawasaki (try here)

Picked it up from the airport lounge last week -- the reviews are generally good -- some rather uncommon common-sense observations and ideas on business in hi-tech/IT industry from a Venture Capitalist pov promises this to be an interesting read.

Other comment: In Silicon Valley slang, a “bozo explosion” is what causes a lean, mean, fighting machine of a company to slide into mediocrity. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, “If the two most popular words in your company are partner and strategic, and partner has become a verb, and strategic is used to describe decisions and activities that don’t make sense” . . . it’s time for a reality check.

The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers
by Phil Rosenzweig (try here)

While discussing Taleb's ideas with an economist through his blog, he came back with this book recommendation, suggesting that The Halo Effect shall prove a worthy prequel to Taleb's work (later, Amazon book selling trends seconded this).

After acute analysis Phil Rosenzweig observers in this book, contrary to many other mega-selling memes, that success finally comes down to "shrewd strategy, superb execution and good luck"

Other comment: Much of our business thinking is shaped by delusions -- errors of logic and flawed judgements that distort our understanding of the real reasons for a company's performance. In a brilliant and unconventional book, Phil Rosenzweig unmasks the delusions that are commonly found in the corporate world.

Happy reading. More to follow.

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