Category: Book Reviews

[16/52] The Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Double Down – by Jeff Kinney

[16/52] The Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Double Down – by Jeff Kinney

I saw a whole shelf filled with the series of The Diary of the Wimpy Kid. I picked up a book randomly, and it turned out to be Doble Down. I enjoyed the first few pages because of the imagination the kid showed.

When I read the first few pages, I realized the level of creativity we have during out childhood. If we acted on anyone of them with consistency, it would have boosted our confidence drastically. I forgot what it was like to be a kid and let your mind wonder to any direction you set it to be. Our thinking is unlimited.

I enjoyed every bit of the book and even gave me the confidence to express all the things that I am imagining.

I would not recommend this to you are an “adult” who does not read children books. If you are open to reading a children book, please read it!

You can find this book on Goodreads here.

[15/52] All Marketers Are Liars – By Seth Godin

[15/52] All Marketers Are Liars – By Seth Godin

When I started reading Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, I had no idea what I would learn from it. A few chapters later I realised the importance of making something remarkable – The Purple Cow. The Purple Cow will give you insights on how to make your product or service remarkable.

In the book, All Marketers Are Liars Seth Godin brings out the importance of telling stories. We all believe is stories and are most often take decisions on the worldviews we believe. Our worldview is the reason we trust brands, or we don’t. We may have different brands of mobile, but we pick one brand whose story is believable to us. We may think it’s the mobile features we base our decisions. But in reality, we only believe a story told by the brand.

Being authentic about the story you tell about your product or service is helps you makes profits. Don’t just tell a story because it sounds cool. You need live that story, and your customers must get the story with every interaction they have with you. You know you are doing it right when the spreads and people start telling it to others.

It makes sense, Storytelling is the oldest form of marketing, and it still works today. Although this book is about marketers, the content of the book works for a person who wants to stand out in this competitive world. We need to brand out selves and tell a story about ourselves while being authentic about it. If we all tried to behave in a similar way, we would just become mediocre.

I suggest you read this book get a good understanding of why stories are important and the need of it being authentic.

You can find this book on Goodreads here.

[Book 14/52] Managing Time by HBR

[Book 14/52] Managing Time by HBR

I have always been a master procrastinator. The reasons I procrastinated are:

  1. I don’t want to do it
  2. I am not good at doing it
  3. I find it too laborious

Managing Time me deconstruct my procrastinator mind and helped understand what I need to when I stuck in the reasons mentioned above.

It was suggested in this book, that I keep track of my time based on various categories for two weeks. Using this data, I could organise and create targets of where I want to spend my time most. I cut short my lunch times, which is by choice. I also planned for a 20-minute nap post lunch which kept me productive for the rest of the day.

I realised that just by tracking time I could be more focused at work and stay away from distractions. The moment I was distracted I felt guilty of noting down a wasted time. During the waiting period, I used to focus on some training material, and that wait could squeeze in learning during the work days.

Being a perfectionist, I always loose interest in something that I plan and things don’t turn out the way I planned. When this happened, which was always, I used to get demotivated. The managing time book made me understand that it’s ok to deviate from what you planned to do. The idea is to keep improving the system. Only when you stick to tracking your time efficiently, will you be able to set goals for tasks.

If you are a person, who if often tired of making a decision on what tasks to do when – this book is for you. You can read this book under 20 minutes but its essential you track your time religiously for three weeks to reap the maximum benefits of this book.

Save some time and go home early!

You can find this book on Goodreads here.

 

[Book 13/52] Managing Up by HBR

[Book 13/52] Managing Up by HBR

Navigating negotiations and handling disagreements has always been a difficult task for me. I guess its more to do with my personality type which has a lot of empathy.

Post reading Managing Up I realised that there are simpler ways to handle negotiations and express disagreements.

It all boils down to knowing your Boss and his priorities. Knowing you organisational goals while speaking to your Boss can always take discussions in a proper direction. Setting your expectations and having a detailed understanding of what you must deliver, helps you align with your Boss.

Managing Up gives you tips which can be used to communicate disagreements effectively. Also, making the conversations more “we” centric than “you” centric changes the way we communicate.

I liked the last chapter which is about monitoring the relationships. It has ten questions which can be used to review the state of your relationship with you Boss. It helps you take immediate corrective actions.

It also gives a scenario on what should you do if you are dealing with a toxic Boss.

You can read this book within 20 minutes.

Find this book on Goodreads here.

[Book 12/52]Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr.Seuss – Review

[Book 12/52]Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr.Seuss – Review

I found this book in the background of a Garyvee daily video. I immediately ordered it from Amazon.  I do not regret the decision of buying this book. Although a children’s book grown ups can also be inspired by this book.

Dr.Seuss talks about the challenges you will face in life and what you should do. Life may not always be a smooth ride. Like many wait for something to happen when they face a challenge, you should not be the same. Rather you should pick yourself up and go places. Once you are out of a challenge, you may face many others.

What should you do?

Pick yourself again and again for each of the challenges that slow you down.

You can find this book on Goodreads here.

[Book 11/52] Giving Effective Feedback by HBR

[Book 11/52] Giving Effective Feedback by HBR

A quick read and it gives concise actions which can be implemented immediately.

There is a real science on how we can provide a feedback and why should we differentiate it from Coaching, Mentoring and Performance Appraisals. Quite often we tend to mix them.

Top things that a worth mentioning from my perspective are:

  1.   I assumed that the other person cannot take feedback. If you are doing it right, even the most defensive person could handle it.
  2. Timing is critical for giving feedback. Best time is when the other person has cooled down. The cooling period gives you time to structure your feedback with valid points.
  3. We should not assume and provide feedback but rather questions and hear the person’s perspective.
  4. Giving a feedback or receiving one is behavioural change. It cannot happen without an environment created. If you want an environment that encourages feedback, start by accepting feedback openly.

Feedback is most effective when we focus on the behaviour that the recipient can change and its delivery is timed.

You can read this book within 20 minutes.

Find this book on Goodreads here.

[Book 10/12] The Decision Book – Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Mikael Krogerus

[Book 10/12] The Decision Book – Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Mikael Krogerus

The models discussed in the Decision Book have direct application in your life. The book has four parts.

  1. How to understand myself better
  2. How to improve myself better
  3. How to understand others better
  4. How to improve others

I like the first and second section. Post reading and “applying” these models you can undoubtedly discover some aspects of yourself which otherwise would have remained unknown to you. Within them, this is how I used the following models.

The Making-Of Model

It helped me identify the repetitive patterns which hinder my performance in given a task even today. Once you are aware of those hindering patterns, you can position yourself to avoid them. You cannot just apply this once and expect you will get all the answers. Regularly revisiting this model will help uncover many aspects of your life.

The Cognitive Dissonance Model

There is an enormous gap between what we think and what we do. For example, we read a self-help book and believe we are already applying the principles mentioned in the book. But there is a gap of how much we use in our life. Our actions do not align with the call to the measures mentioned in the book. We can closely relate this situation to a someone with wishful thinking.

The Crossroads Model

Not all of us have figured out what we want out of life. For many, it takes some time to figure out where they are and where they need to be in future and are recently working towards it. This model works best for those people who “want” to make a conscious effort to give this a serious thought. This model lists a series of questions which you need to answer and note down. The first time you won’t be able to come up with something substantial. With multiple iterations, you will get much accurate at where you are first. Once this is done, you will move on to thinking about where you want to go.

Of course, there are many models which I applied. Some of them need revisiting. Some went above my head. On applying these multiple times, you gain more clarity.

If you are one of those who wants to consciously make an effort to improve themselves, the Decision Book is must have near your bed book. Also, don’t read this book without a pen and paper.

You can find The Decision book on Goodreads.