These are a few of my favorite books

When the dog barks,
When the bee stings,
When I am feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then, I don’t feel so sad….
             — From “The sound of music”

 I love reading books. Though I do not read many and I am not a book worm like how my sister used to be. Reading has always been one of my favorite activities. I love reading Eric Segal and have read all his books and recommend everybody to read it. I have also read some philosophy and religion which has helped me face life in a better way. I feel everybody must read a bit of everything. But for now let me just talk about the management books.

There are many motivation books or management books which talk about how to do well in life or work. I do not recommend them much. They just sound good. I would recommend books written by successful people. Generally, such people say a lot about things they faced in life and how they reacted to those situtations. I guess such books help us get better as we get to have their experience for free… :-)

Let me start with “Business @ the speed of thought” by Bill Gates.  Yes, I am a linux guy from the core of my heart and never like to touch any of the MS products. But I love this book and I feel Gates really deserves compliments here. My mother had first gifted me his first book when I was in college. “The Road Ahead” was not a very good book. It spoke more about technologies which were already the past. One of the main reasons for me not to like it was that it lacked focus. There was no specific target group for which it was written. It was just a collection of thoughts that Bill Gates thought would be the future. The good thing about the book however was the simplicity with which it was written and the CD which had a preview of the Gates Home which is a real tech paradise.

Business @ the speed of thought on the other hand is a totally different book.   The book is very well written. Here is the summary taken from the site –

“The twenty-first century will be about velocity: the speed of business and the speed of change. To stay up with and anticipate change, businesses need radically better information flow. To get a better flow of information to develop the right processes and strategies, they need a digital nervous system. Most organizations don’t have enough data to understand key aspects of their business well enough. A digital nervous system will help you understand your business better and then act more effectively on that understanding. An infrastructure designed around information flow will be the “killer application” for the twenty-first century.

If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about reengineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity. About how quickly the nature of business will change. About how quickly business itself will be transacted. About how information access will alter the lifestyle of consumers and their expectations of business. Quality improvements and business process improvements will occur far faster.

The book talks about the digital nervous system which is an inter networked system of working. Here organizations have a very good and fast communication channel. He has described a lot of MS products and MS company working here. Reading it one realizes why MS is what it is today. :)

In his book Gates recommends reading two books, I got both of them and I must say they are really worth reading. The two books are
Straight from the Gut – Jack Welsh
Direct from Dell – Michael Dell

In Direct from Dell , Michael Dell talks about himself and his company Dell. Dell was the first company to start the direct model of selling and today Dell does over 40 billion dollars.  He talks in a very simple way on how he grew Dell. His ideas have always been very clear. He says things like
“If you are a million dollar group you must have managers who think like a million dollar group. When you are a billion dollar group, you managers must think like managers of a billion dollar group”.
There is another instant where is he talks about the profit pool. He is basically explaining why they got into servers. He says
“We all get one chance to go to the profit pool and take our profits…. If we sell servers we can get more profits… ”
Simple as it may sound, but these are things which most of us know about but do not implement in our life.
He also talks about the importance of good communication channels and how they use the internet for it in their company.

Straight from the Gut , is as the title suggests,Truely straight from the gut… Jack Welsh is a genius. For those who do not know who he is, Jack Welsh is the former Chairman of GE. He is in my opinion the best manager and the reason why GE is different from other companies. He is written the book so well that by the time you finish the book you’ll either want to work in GE or make changes to the company you work in so that it thinks the GE way , or rather the Jack Welsh way. I guess Premji from Wipro read this book. Wipro seems to me an exact replica of GE and it is doing them good too. They now over a billion dollars.
One of the few books where a manager says how to deal with people. He is very straight, no unwanted politics, everything is straight, transparent and honest.

The next book I recommend is “Customers.com” by Patricia Seybold. I have already written about it in an earlier article. Patty writes a lot like some of my customers. I am generally reminded of one of our bobcares customer, Lisa Henry, who has similar reasoning when things go wrong. Many of the things they say is very true and I always try to get it implemented in Poornam.

Another book I have mentioned earlier and I highly recommend is “Innovator’s Dilemma”  by Clayton Christensen. This book is all about disruptive innovation.

All these books which have certain things in common.

  • Be true to your customers and people. And most important be true to yourself.
  • Always make it easy to interact with your customers and never waste their time.
  • Constantly improve and innovate with time.
  • Focus on adding value.
  • Always be fair to all concerned. 
  • Always make access to information very easy and make the information flow very fast.
  • Be happy.

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