World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

While almost every day on the calendar has a reason for celebration – today is special. Because if you do ‘celebrate reading’ on this day, even a little, it can open you to a whole new world. The world will never be the same again!

I love books. I am glad that I got so many of my students (over the past year) to read books. On this day, I wish and pray that they keep this habit going, so that they will be constantly exposed to so many more worlds that exist in this world.

Happy to be a book lover. I will buy one more book today. WiI will also gift one to another.

Celebrate Reading!

Books and Me: Disrupt Yourself

Title: Disrupt Yourself – Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

Author: Whitney Johnsondisrupt-yourself

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.

Happy Reading!

Books and Me: In Other Words

Book Title: In Other Wordsin-other-words-book-cover

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

I love reading biographies and autobiographies. It is one of those genres of non-fiction that I enjoy. When I came across this non-fiction book by the author of several award winning works of fiction, I was tempted to try. I even thought it might be bordering on her life – but I was in for some surprise!

The book is brilliant. It exposes our limitations as human beings and how we don’t even recognise them. The book was actually written by Jhumpa Lahiri in Italian and translated into English by Ann Goldstein. Hence it is actually not a book that showcases her English which is her strength.

The book is a brilliant example of how people should live their lives. Instead of continuing to write more books in English for which she is celebrated, Jhumpa Lahiri takes the entrepreneurial route to experimenting with something that struck a cord with her – Learning and Writing in Italian, a language that touched her on the inside.

Using the experience of learning and writing a new language Jhumpa Lahiri exposes how we are all limited to our little worlds. There are so many places in the book where I paused and was sent into a reflective mood – something that happens usually when you read philosophy. Some of those sentences in the book caught on to me so much that I have marked them for re-reflection. If you are one who loves philosophy, even tangentially, you will not miss these reflections in the book. The book clearly highlights the limitations of the human mind, how we stay stuck to comfort zones, the fear of getting out of comfort zones, and what one goes through to get over the fear of moving out of the comfort zone.

I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to re-reading it again.

Books and Me: The Blue Umbrella

Book Title: The Blue Umbrellablue-umbrella-book-cover

Author: Ruskin Bond

I am carrying a ‘blue umbrella’ with me this monsoon. Someone passed a comment on it. It made me remember this book. So, I picked it up again. This little gem got delivered by Amazon earlier this week and I ended up reading it that very night. I felt I was reading it for the first time. This little girl, her brother, the cows, the hillside, and everything almost visually coming to life in front of my eyes. I was literally seeing the story unfold in front of my eyes. It shows the power of simple writing. It shows the emotions of village folk. It displays village life and values.

As I was telling a professor of mine during lunch the next day, ‘The most difficult word I saw in that book was – petulant’. Isn’t that amazing?

I love Ruskin Bond’s writing. His books are for children. But I have come to believe that his books are for the child within every one of us. Hence I will continue to regularly pick up his titles, especially these little stories for children and read them over and over again. I am extremely hopeful that this will impact my writing too.

At times during the reading, I was consciously slowing myself down, keeping the book on my chest and looking into my white ceiling visualising what some character would be doing or feeling then. I enjoyed every bit of it, as I have always in the past with Bond’s books.

So, if you are looking for some really high quality writing, pick this book up. If you have young children, expose them to Ruskin’s writing as early as you can. While I go finding the next title to read, pick up ‘The Blue Umbrella’ and,

Happy Reading!

Books and Me: Don’t Buy this Book Now! The Art of Procrastination

Book Title: Don’t Buy this Book Now! The Art of Procrastination

Author: John PerryDont buy this book now_Book Cover

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, with an entire case to be edited before night, I was reading this book. The very fact that I was not at my table editing the case, but browsing the racks (with guilt) of my library is reason enough to have stumbled onto this little gem.

The well-made, hardbound, nicely created book is a quick read. One can finish the book in an hour or two. Once you finish the book, you will first and foremost be guilt-free from ‘procrastination’. You will also come away learning a few tools to fool yourself into a more productive day. Every time I read a book by a philosopher, I wonder about the equipment called ‘the mind’ sitting inside each of us. Whoever said – ‘the enemy is within’, was totally right.

It is no surprise that the author of this little book won the Ig Nobel Prize. Thanks to this book, I learned about these awards and their quirkiness too. I don’t want to share anything about the content of this book for two reasons: (i) book is too short and (ii) the crux of it is so simple, yet so profound.

If you are reading this post instead of making your days count you should read this book.

Why would I want my entrepreneur folk (students/colleagues/clients) to read this book? Answer: Because without their own knowledge they keep procrastinating their most important tasks. While they remain busy, they get frustrated that their key tasks remain pending. This book will provide some unconventional tips to get focus back on what matters. This suits entrepreneurs best.

Happy Reading! Happy Procrastination! Happy Productivity! Happy Living!

Secret: Tips in the book.

 

 

Books and Me: The Design of Business

Book Title: The Design of Business

Author: Roger L Martinbook cover-the-design-of-business

I am fan of Prof. Martin’s writings. Though I have read and reviewed his earlier book on strategy, this one eluded my consumption since sometime. During a recent discussion with one of my entrepreneur clients in the design space, I casually asked her to refer something to read on her subject. She told me since I was from the business strategy arena, I may like to see the work of one Roger Martin. I smiled and issued the book as soon as I came back to my base.

It is no surprise that ‘design thinking’ is taking the business world by storm. The examples quoted in the book showcases the benefit of using this approach to strategy making. While some aspects of it are intuitive and some may be using it too, Prof Martin has made it structured and repeatably usable.

Being an academic myself I enjoyed the philosophical underpinnings of design thinking. I was introduced to a philosopher I had only heard in the past – Charles Pierce. I actually consumed the book like how a child eats ‘ice cream’ – ate slowly so as to not get done with it; and felt bad when it actually got done.

But the nice part of a good book is the number of triggers it provides for furthering its thoughts. It also leads you to more reading. This book did both.

Thanks Prof Martin for providing an inspirational read on ‘design thinking’ and leading me to read more on this subject. I am so convinced that this approach to thinking will guide me in my scholarly life as well as in helping the thousands of entrepreneurs and students I interact with everyday.

Books and Me: Daily Rituals

Book Title: Daily Rituals: How Artists WorkDaily-Rituals Book Cover

Author: Mason Curry

I am big fan of writings about artists. How they create their work? Where did their inspiration come from? How did they find their domains? Who did they work under? Who moulded them? How did they get their breaks? How did they remain motivated without rewards? And so on. Anything that gets published on creative people, I generally tend to read. Because though I do a lot of my work in writing on strategy and entrepreneurship, I find there is a lot to learn from artists for business owners.

But this book I picked (rather downloaded) to read because it was intended at understanding the daily routines and rituals of artists. I am a big believer in routines. While I am not a big fan of rituals, I was reading the book to view the kind of routines that artists cultivated and sustained through their lives. As I am working towards building my own routines, I thought this book will give me a few perspectives. To be true to the author, I think it has brought together a whole of information about a whole lot of artists in one book. While the details provided for some authors is longer and more detailed than the others, a reading of the book gives us some general understanding on the importance routines for long term productivity. This is an important lesson for all who think they are running marathons rather than sprints, especially because the examples are from the realm of art.

If artists needed routines to ensure their creativity comes out in full throttle, how can routines not be important for all others. The book is simply a collection of facts about identified artists and their routines and rituals, the author does not make any suggestions or learning. The author is clear that this is not a book of scientific research, but a book of inspiration. It is a good example of good curation. The reader can take away numerous lessons from this collection. The author has also cited references and further reading which will be very helpful, as each one of us (readers) can pick the artist who inspires us and read more about them.

The book is an inspiring read if you are interested in the realm of art in any way. I am sure a few sections of the book will inspire you more than the others, but even if one of them can, I think we should be grateful to the author for the work.

In my case I had more than one which inspired me and I am going to pick a few more referred books about those authors and read further.

Overall a light book which can serve as an inspiration to all who gain inspiration from artists of any kind. Since I work a lot with entrepreneurs, the message from such a book for entrepreneurs is that building routines is critical for unleashing their creativity sustainably while also setting the base for institution building.

Happy Reading and Routine Building!