I always get asked why I read so many books!
I always get asked what I get by reviewing so many books!
Most people think I waste a lot of time writing book reviews for academic journals – since it does not really add up to my ‘academic currency’.
As with most other aspects of life, I felt I got an answer last week. A fellow doctoral student of mine walked up to me and said – ‘Thanks for your review of this title in The Journal of Entrepreneurship‘. It helped me with my questionnaire construction.’
Most people told me very few read reviews and most of them never get cited. So thats reason enough why one should not waste time writing them. But the above statement from a friend gave me some argument against all those voices who are against wasting time writing reviews. I am beginning to feel that this is a kind of commitment to the profession. I am sure ‘reviews’ themselves will be of different levels – some letting others know that a books exists to the other end of the spectrum where a review places the book in a continuum of existing knowledge.
Whatever be it, as a bibliophile, avid reader, and lover of everything books, I am delighted that my book reviewing efforts have borne fruit (tangibly). Though I have reduced the frenzy with which I was writing reviews, I still do a few every year. I now want to raise the level of the reviews I write. It will help me and my fellow explorers with some compasses to tread the ground.
Book Title: I’d Rather Read – Your favourite authors on their favourite books
It is a cute little book. Kudos to Rupa & Co (Rupa Publications) on making yet another lovely product, a book. As a bibliophile this book caught my attention for many reasons – its a well made book; its a book about books; its a collection of write-ups by various authors (who are all book lovers).
I kind of enjoyed every piece, soaking in the love for books that every writer possessed. It looks like there are many crazy ones (book lovers) around here. We may not meet them too often, simply because they would rather read than talk!
The book highlights the fact that people read books for many reasons. Reading without a purpose is probably the best way to read. Reading widely is another good trait to pick up. While we make our own little libraries (difficult to maintain these days); going to local libraries and breathing that ethereal air makes for great joy. The sheer variety in the approaches the authors of this volume have taken to loving books itself shows creativity and provides inspiration.
If you are a bibliophile and an avid reader – you should pick this book up. It will tell you that it is not the rich and the famous who collect and read books; it is those who collect and read that become rich and famous in their own ways.
Don’t think much about it, simply pick up the book, you may start enjoying the company of books too. Try it!
Title: Disrupt Yourself – Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work
Author: Whitney Johnson
Most of the book reviews I post here contain the cover image, but today’s image is special. This is because I am reviewing a book I received as a gift from the author for New Year 2017. Hence I post the signed page from the inside of the book instead of the cover!
Thanks Whitney Johnson for sending me this signed personal copy.
I have always found ‘Disruptive Innovation’ an interesting concept. But the phrase remains muddled in colloquial usage. And now that I research in the area of ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ I understand the grave misuse of the term by professionals and novices. This is one of those books which does not distort the meaning.
While many books relating to this topic are written with the firm / organisation in mind, this book is clearly intended for the individual. The principles of ‘Disruptive Innovation’ are powerful and can be applied to one’s individual life. The author uses number of cases as well as anecdotes from her personal life to show us how we can all lead a life full of disruption.
I made a lot of notes and also during the process shared much of this knowledge with my students. In fact reading the book so fascinated me that by the time I completed it, I had almost created two new courses for my students on entrepreneurship – but ones which hopefully, will disrupt the way I teach. I think I will enjoy teaching these new courses as much as I enjoyed reading this book.
The book’s principles are so simple and straight that if I summarise them here, you will feel that you know it all. That is after all the beauty of good writing. The challenge is to put these simple principles to practice. I hope many more will read the book, put its principles to practice, deliberately, and enjoy the fruits of a disruptive life.
Book Title: The Laptop Millionaire
Author: Mark Anastasi
I love reading about entrepreneurs. Since entrepreneurs constantly find new ways to create value for their potential audience and for themselves, I learn so much from their activities. I picked this book up as part of my reading especially to know more about entrepreneurs who make a living in the virtual world. While my idea of a laptop entrepreneur was someone who sits at a cafe and builds a cloud based product or service, Mark, the author of this book proposes a totally different model. While it seems like plausible, I would also like to lean more on the school of micro entrepreneurs who create enterprises without too many resources. Why am I then writing about this book? For more than one reason – read on!
I am not too sure if I belong to the school of thought proposed in this book. But, I must accept the fact that I was bowled over by the writing style of the author. His storytelling ability keeps you gripped to the book. The better part of the writing is the strong push it gives the reader to get off the chair or cot and try something online. A well written book needs to be read and especially one that drives you into action. While I don’t intend to apply a lot of the principles in the book as they are suggested, I did learn more about how the online world works. I am sure some entrepreneurial minds who see the world as a global village will find some business ideas.
The tone of the writing and the numerous examples provided make the book an interesting read as well. The author provides short cases of people who have used his methods and made considerable sums of money. In fact more than once while reading the book, I thought I should go down the suggested route, but the principles of my school of thought remain too strong to allow me to use them. But nevertheless I am sure it would work for some who believe in them. So the best way to know about them is to read the book.
The other reason I liked the book is because the author bares all the tools he has used to make money online. He not only provides the secret sauce of how it has worked for him, but also the tools that he has used along the way. In fact he applies some of the suggestions as he writes the book because he asks you to subscribe / buy some of the tools for better results. I am sure he or his affiliates will make some money out of it. But isn’t that you also want when you trade your products and services – that people pay for the value that they receive! After all don’t we all know that there is no free lunch in the world?
I also learned a lot about the number of tools, services and approaches that people have used online to generate wealth for themselves. I was simply amazed at the way simple and freely available tools such as Facebook and YouTube can be leveraged for wealth generation. But behind all of these tools and techniques was the constant reiteration to find and solve a problem or challenge that someone in the world faces. Additionally the author also strives to focus on making profits through collaborations.
“Collaborating to create value for others is the way to make value for oneself.” This is my strong message from the book. I still will continue to work along my way based on the principles of my school of thinking. But the book will remain an interesting read and will also encourage some of its readers to make money as well.
Book Title: Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us
Author: Seth Godin
This is a book whose subject is so common that it is so easily missed. Ironical as it may seem, every human being inherently seeks connection. It is very difficult for a normal human to stay alone and avoid human interaction. The difference lies only in the quantity and quality of connections. So what gets people connected?
From time immemorial till recently people have always attempted to group, be it for hunting or for launching a rocket to the Mars. In each of these cases we can notice that the word “crowd” is conspicuously missing. Seth Godin in this little book attempts to codify this inherent need amongst people.
Every tribe seems to be a group of people with a shared interest and a way to communicate. Every tribe has a leader whose only job is to enable people who share similar interests to join, connect and communicate. With huge reductions in communication costs and the internet destroying geographical boundaries, we are now seeing the possibility of forming tribes who have no limits. Today we have tribes around people, around causes, around common interests, around products, around companies, around artists, around brands, and every possible way in which we can belong. Belonging is such a longing for every human being (social animal). The book also shares characteristics of a good tribe, what makes a good tribal leader, and how to make tribes thrive. It is very clear the tribes do not form around commercialization or personal benefits of the leaders or sponsors. Real tribes have a far greater shared interest, want to share their uniqueness, and are willing to let go of those who don’t belong. Tribes are becoming voluntary and they are getting easier to start, sustain and scale. Trust, honesty, transparency enable the creation of tribes and evangelists within them. Tribes grow by members bringing more members. The leader just strengthens the platform and amplifies the voices of the members.
Creation of tribes is an interesting activity especially for entrepreneurs. Every start-up essentially should be a tribe. It must be in Seth Godin’s terms a purple cow (remarkable) which intends to make change happen and hence difficult to ignore. Tribes are also a great way for start-ups to find fans and evangelists for their radical ideas. The book contains the usual dose of challenging questions, interesting quotations, numerous cases and examples and a bunch of further readings. Thanks Seth Godin for triggering in me to think deeper around tribes in my domain of work (Entrepreneurship and Small Business).