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6 Books on AI, Power, History, Excellence and Finance

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This year in the first four months I have read more than any other year and it is inspiring. The following are the books I dived deep into recently.
Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark – The premise of the book is simple AI is here to stay. The book offers a primer on AGI and different ways AI will rule the world. This is very important knowledge if we want to help our kid’s future as well.
New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms – Well-written book overall the new power structure is explained in detail. The old power structure was based on centralization and hierarchy. The new power structure is based on community, crowds, decentralization and self-organized teams. Examples are plenty here and the point is there are more avenues for us to stand out in this new media frenzied world.
Darkest hour by Anthony McCarten – I thoroughly enjoyed this book which read more like a novel only thing this is real. Churchill’s bull dog tenacity and courage is very much evident. His 3 major speeches during t…

12 Keys to Build Brand You - Tom Peters

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In the last 4 months I have got into a lot of Tom Peters books. Even in the bygone eras Tom was surely ahead of his time. He does make his books exciting to read. His latest offering is “The Excellence Dividend.” If you have not read anything from Tom Peters this would be a great place to start. He started the Brand you philosophy well before the social media revolution. He spoke about this in 1999 and released a book with the same title. He advises the following 12 things to keep yourself at the top of your game in an age of turbulence and uncertainty. Here they are with my take on each
Mastery – Be absolutely specialized and great in something. With the amount of information at our disposal we have an enormous responsibility to use this information to our advantage. Most of the information in the form of blogs, podcasts, books are free. My formula is simple connect with the experts in your field, read their books, listen to their podcasts, read their blogs, document what you learned…

9 Podcasts that are informative and enjoyable

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Podcasts are great ways to learn and relax at the same time. Here are my favorite podcasts and yes, I listen to them at 2X speed. You can subscribe to them in iTunes.
How I Built this by Guy Raz – This is one of the best podcasts on entrepreneurship. It is so well done and I loved the interview with Michael Dell. It is inspirational and short enough not to lose interest.
Ted Radio Hour by Guy Raz -  I love this one really the best information from more than 5 Ted talks condensed into 50 min episodes. It is very informational and actionable.
The Tim Ferris Show - This is the holy grail of all podcasts. Of course, they are longer in length and some of the ones I do skip. Overall it is a great viewpoint and has some great advice across various domains. I liked the one with Naval Ravikant.
Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman – This is one of the best podcasts on business. It has so much good information. I am happy with the amount of information on this podcast.
Bregman Leadership Podcast – Th…

The Four Behaviors of World Class Leaders

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The CEO next door by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell is a wonderful book for anyone in a leadership position. The basic premise is that whatever assumptions we have about where CEO’s come from are mistaken. Some of them have been very educated and not all of them have an IVY league education. It is also interesting that not all of them have too much talent. Here are the four best practices mentioned that make great CEO’s with my take on each.
Decisiveness – Being decisive is one of the key traits of strong leaders. Even if you make a wrong decision it is better than being indecisive. For example, Henry Ford was known to decide quickly but he was very slow in changing a decision once it is made. Decisiveness is a trait that can be developed. One great book on making better decisions is Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The recommendation from the authors is to make decisions faster, make fewer decisions and get better every time.
Engage for impact: This is basically about managin…

3 Keys to Build a Winning Culture

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Culture is one of the keys to sustaining an organization. It is also one of the keys to get the organization to the next level. Culture is the secret sauce of all winning organizations. I had earlier written on 8 ways to build a winning culture you can check it here. 8 Ways to Build a Winning Culture One book I liked recently on this topic is “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle. He had earlier written The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent which are both great in their own way. He has done extensive research citing examples right from Navy Seals to Pixar among others. Here are the three keys to build a world class culture and put your organization into the stratosphere. Safety – This has been mentioned in all books around team building. This is based on the Google project Aristotle which basically mentioned that the number one requirement for any employee is a feeling of safety. This means they should be able to come to work and speak candidly on issues. They should be able to sp…

7 Practices to be Great at Work

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We all want to be great at work. Great at work by Morten Hansen is a wonderful take on how we can get the most out of ourselves. The main thesis is it is not just about working 60 hours a week. In fact, the research confirms that you cannot work more than 50 hours without losing your edge. So, it pays to really ensure we are paying attention to burnout.
The book starts with the story of Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott when they were trying to reach the South Pole. This story has been documented in multiple books. Obviously, Roald Amundsen won the race and it was not because he had bigger resources. In fact, Scott had the bigger budget and a bigger team. However, Roald Amundsen focused on only one mode of transport which is using dog sleds. He also ensured he got Greenlander dogs instead of Siberian huskies because they were stronger. He also ensured he got the best dog handler in his team. This shows his meticulous preparation. This was in stark contrast to Scott who had ever…

5 Books I liked Reading in February

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The following books have a lot of valuable information which can help our personal and professional lives. Here are 5 terrific books I liked reading in February.
Thinking in bets by Annie Duke – This was an informative read. If you have read Thinking Fast and Slow this might sound familiar. Basically, the thesis is the quality of your life comes down to the quality of your decisions and luck. Don’t assume that a bad outcome means it is a wrong decision. Involve others in decision making, create a decision matrix (for example never accept if someone says I am 100 percent certain), and finally say I am not sure. The basic point is uncertainty is the name of the game and you can never really know if your good decision will always lead to good outcomes. There are lots of examples like Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks coach making a decision for which the outcome didn't turn out as expected. However, the author successfully argues that the decision was correct even if the outcome didn…

10 Ways to Prevent and Beat Stress

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All of us have moments of stress. It is prevalent in all areas of our lives. Stress can be caused by anxiety and it may also lead to it. Stress is generally due to a perceived lack of control. It is also prevalent when we feel we don’t have any time. One of the things I have learned is when stress is about to show up just stop everything you are doing and really understand what you are trying to do. Here are some musings on how we can nip the bud of stress.
Do something physical – I have heard a lot people say when you are stressful do some exercise. When you are under stress it is very difficult to motivate yourself to exercise. That’s the reason you are under stress. I would rather try to prevent stress by making physical activity a daily habit. This way it is a habit and since it is daily your chances of staving of stress is far easier.
Get a good night’s sleep – If you sleep through 8 hours you are generally more relaxed. So again, prevention is better than cure. Make sure every we…

12 Ways to Develop the Attitude of Success

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What makes some people very successful? What are their thought patterns which make them super successful? This is an interesting area I would like to analyze and deep dive. Here are the 12 ways the super successful think and act. As the cliche holds successful people don't do different things they just do things differently.
They define what success means to them – This is truly the most important step for anyone to take. Without defining what success means to us it will be very difficult to be content or happy. One of the best definitions of success I have come across is by Earl Nightingale "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." This means that as long as you are moving forward towards something you want you are successful. It doesn't matter if others think that is success. Only thing that matters is if you are happy with this definition of success. Comparing with others usually doesn't work because we don't know what their definition of…

5 Books on Leadership, Culture, Productivity, Entrepreneurship and Happiness

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With 2018 in full swing we all have resolutions and goals we want to achieve. We also want to make sure this excitement doesn’t just last for two weeks but lasts for the entire year. So how do you keep this excitement going for a long time?
For me one of the ways to keep this motivation ongoing is to keep reading. Reading is one way to be positive about your future and it is also relaxing for me. It also provides a great relief from the negative news cycles. So here are 5 books I enjoyed reading on leadership, culture, happiness, productivity and entrepreneurship.
Lincoln and Churchill by Lewis E. Lehrman - I think we can learn more from real leaders than leadership theorists. This is a well-written book. The main thing I learned was both had an indomitable will. They also worked crazy hard. Churchill was great at writing but that was not due to innate talent it was due to relentless hard work. Lincoln was a great listener, was humble and at the same time had a desire to succeed for …

15 Keys to Building the 21st Century Organization

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Organizations are the life blood of humanity. Organizations provide all of us a reason to find meaning in our lives. They also impact the world in a positive way. So, it is pertinent that organizations survive and thrive in the future as well. We need both closely knit families and organizations to ensure solid lives for future generations. Here are my musings on what it takes to build the 21st Century organization.
Eliminate red tape – There is no room for red tape in a thriving organization. Bureaucracy no longer works and organizations that want to win should minimize this as much as possible.
Reduce friction – Reducing barriers to communication is the key to unleash the imagination of your workforce. Ensure everyone has access to all the information needed to succeed. The only way to overcome friction is to reduce barriers and ensure everyone has a voice.
Increase transparency – As they say beat the news home. It is better to be transparent about substantial changes than withholding…

Federer - 6 Keys to Champion Mindset

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Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic in a five set thriller to win the Australian Open 2018 which is his 20th grand slam. This is nothing short of sensational especially considering that Federer maybe at the twilight of his career. Well the twilight is something only tennis pundits speak about whereas Federer is taking the game to new levels which is unfathomable. He is getting better with age in a game where the young use to rule the roost.

Federer knows when to step up and he has a knack of overcoming failures quickly. I believe that is the Champion Mindset. Let’s face it all of us will lose or encounter failure but what separates the champions from the rest is the way they ultimately respond to the negative event. If like Federer we keep looking to the future with possibilities, then we can overcome any failure and this is the key to develop the mindset of a champion.

On the topic of mindset it was interesting to read what was written in the Power of Habit (a wonderful book) by Charles Duh…