Showing posts from May, 2015


ZERO to ONE is a provocative business book with a completely unique take on our world. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb author of The Black Swan says “When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. This is a classic.” I like the way the book starts with  "Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates is not building an operating system. And the next Mark Zuckerberg wont build a social network. If you are copying these guys you aren’t learning from them." Doing something we already know takes the world from 1 to n but doing something new takes us from Zero to One. Here are some of the highlights from the book which I liked The Challenge of the Future :  Peter says whenever he interviews someone he asks “ What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” Peter’s own answer is that most people think the future of the world will be globalization, but the truth is technology matters more. Party Like its 1999:  The

Billionaire Thinking Strategies

I came across the book BOLD How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World. It provides an absolutely great view of the world. The first part of the book talks about the “six Ds of exponentials:” digitalization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization. Excellent take on our world and how to create exponential growth. I am going to talk about some of the Billionaire thinking strategies mentioned. We all know what is required but a reminder does help  Billionaire Thinking Strategy 1: Have Passion and Purpose Peter Diamandis says passion can be ignited with two mechanisms If I gave you a billion dollars how would you make the world a better place? When you were a kid what did you want to be? Tap back to childhood purpose.  Example provided is Elon Musk and here are some quotes that I like from him “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” “If something is important enough, even if the od

Being Fully Engaged at Home and Work

Read the following quote from President Woodrow Wilson  "We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves."  He said this back in 1919 well before our technological revolution but is as applicable today as it was then. We are living in a digital age where we have technological distractions every hour every day. We have access to check our office email throughout the night if we want to. If we allow technology to rule us we will not be able to renew and recharge which is absolutely needed to live a healthy fulfilled life. This is where I think the work of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz help. They wrote a book


One of the important qualities of success identified by psychologists is will power. Willpower gives the power to persevere but if we deplete willpower then we lose self-control. The researchers have found that willpower is like a muscle and if overused it can be depleted but it can be strengthened over the long term through exercise. I recently read the book Willpower (by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney) and found it to be thoroughly interesting and here below are the highlights. Roy Baumeister coined the term ego depletion for describing people’s diminished capacity to regulate their thoughts, feelings and action. People can overcome mental fatigue, but if they had used up energy by exerting willpower they will eventually succumb. If you find yourself especially bothered by frustrating events or have negative thoughts then maybe it is because you have used a lot of your willpower. Researchers have found two things on ego depletion You have a finite amount of willpower that b

Gladwell does it again

Malcolm Gladwell is a masterful storyteller and has a knack of putting things in a totally different perspective. His Tipping point was a classic on how little things can make a huge difference, Blink explained the power of thinking without thinking and Outliers changed the way we view success. He has done it again with David and Goliath. It was a thoroughly interesting read and here are the highlights PART ONE: THE ADVANTAGES OF DISADVANTAGES (AND THE DISADVANTAGES OF ADVANTAGES) Here Gladwell explains that what we think is an advantage may not be so. For example he tells the story of Caroline Sacks who gets into a great university only to find out that she is totally at sea since everyone there is better than her which shattered her confidence. Caroline Sacks was experiencing what is called “relative deprivation” a term coined by the sociologist Samuel Stouffer. Bottom line is it is better to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond than a small fish in a very big pond. The less

Performing Under Pressure

We all face pressure moments in both our personal and professional lives. It is the ability to deal with pressure that ultimately determines the success of the individual. I recently read the book Performing Under Pressure (The Science of doing your best when it matters most) by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P.Pawliw-Fry and it was a thoroughly interesting read. Here I want to share some of the strategies mentioned which I found to be practical and easy to implement with my take on each. Befriend the moment:  It is how you view the pressure moment that ultimately matters. If you view it as a challenge you are bound to perform better. So view every moment as a challenge and prepare yourself accordingly. Multiple opportunities:  The main premise is you should never consider any situation as do or die. Let’s say you have a job interview make sure you don’t view it as final chance. There will always be other opportunities. Downsize the Importance:  This is a follow-up to the earlier str

9 Principles of Military Strategy

There are 9 principles of Military Strategy which apply to business and personal life as well. I came across this in the book “The Leader’s Bookshelf” which is an awesome book on leadership. The book contains the review of 50 books with leadership lessons summarized from each one. One of the books reviewed was “On War” which consists of nine principles of military. This is also in use currently by the U.S. military. Here they are with my take on each. Objective:  Clarity is the most important step in this principle. Pursue one  great  decisive aim  with force and determination. This is also applicable to our personal lives. We should have clear objectives for every area of our lives including business, career, personal, contribution and financial. This is the first step towards any form of success and we can define the objectives we want to achieve. Offensive: Seize, retain and exploit the initiative .  Here as a business you need to continuously innovate and be aggressive.

Getting to Yes with Yourself

Getting to yes with yourself by William Ury is a nice book on how to negotiate with yourself better eventually leading to more happiness and better decisions. His earlier classic (he coauthored that with Roger Fisher) was Getting to yes which helped people change the way they negotiate with others at work and home. He however found that the most important negotiation we ever conduct is with ourselves.  So he says this book is a prequel to his earlier one.  The following are the six key principles identified Put yourself in your shoes:  The author says our natural tendency is to judge ourselves critically and to ignore or reject parts of ourselves. He gives the following 3 actions which can help See yourself from the balcony : The balcony is a metaphor for a mental and emotional place of perspective, calm and self-control. To observe ourselves it is valuable to go to the balcony at all times and especially before, during and after any problematic conversation or negotiation

Greatness is a Choice

Greatness is not a function of circumstance rather it is a matter of choice. We cannot predict the future but we can create it. That is the principle outlined in the classic Great by Choice. The authors Jim Collins and Morten Hansen studied companies that thrived under immense uncertainty bordering on chaos. How these 10X companies (Microsoft, Biomet, Intel, Stryker, Southwest Airlines, Progressive Insurance, and Amgen) came through this extreme environment is the basis of this study. Keep in mind the study was how the companies performed till 2002 that was the cut off for the research. They studied dynastic performance which ended in 2002. Considering what had happened to the airline industry with deregulation, recession, hijackings, bankruptcy and the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks it was indeed amazing that in spite of all this Southwest Airlines returned a profit every single year and they were the only airline to do so. This stood in stark comparison to Pacific

We are all in Sales

According to Daniel Pink in his bestselling book “To Sell Is Human” we are all in sales. He makes his argument succinctly and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is unlike any of the other sales books you might have come across. Part 1 of the book talks about how we are all in sales now Sales has always had a negative connotation and words like Pushy are always associated with it. However if we understand that sales means the ability to move others then we are all in sales. According to the statistics 1 in 9 people are in sales (he says he now believes the other 8 are also in sales since everyone is trying to influence everyone else).  From the time we wake up to the time we retire for the day we are constantly trying to move others to part with their resources. So we need to have the tools to sell well in this new economy.  The earlier ABC’s of selling were Always be Closing. The new ABC’s of selling are Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. In a bygone era it was Caveat Empt