Friday, December 24, 2010

Book review: Delivering Happiness - A path to profits, passion and purpose

This is an incredible book. Not because it is glamorous or an easy read. Well, that is a plus of course. But the part that stands out is the honest tone in the book alongside the personal stories that are very engaging. This book is written by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos in three simple chapters - Profits, Passion and Purpose. Although bulk of it is about how Zappos was built and the culture at Zappos, it also touches upon core values that can be applied universally to life. At the crux of it, the book does a good job of showcasing how customer service formed the core of Zappos and made it a brand to reckon with.

What I liked about the book:

- Tony's honest narrative including transparency to the actual emails that were exchanged between him and Zappos employees.
- Personal stories, some hilarious and some eye-opening
- Fast pace. The book didnt feel dragging except at one place where he mentions a lot
abt rave/techno music. I might have to experience it actually gauge his passion when he talks about it.
- Pages where he draws parallel between poker and business, good one there!
- You gotta like someone who names his warehouse WHISKY (WareHouse Inventory and Supply in Kentucky) while all you or I got is LOL ;)
- It's the story of a passionate entrepreneur but what makes it so real is he sounds like any other person, could be you or me, and that's why it inspires many to be resolute and hustle like him and the rest of Zappos. In short, the book is inspiring in not the usual sort of straightforward way, but through Tony's unique experiences...which again could be one of our experiences. The only difference is he got inspired from every experience in his life, related or unrelated to business.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book review: Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

I am a sucker for book reviews. Part of the pleasure is to sift through loads of books to find the one that you know you were looking for. In my previous life it was physical bookstores, now it is, Twitter feeds, yada yada yada..basically Internet.

Anyway, so the author of this book, Hugh MacLeod has this hugely popular website and an even quirkier hobby/profession - drawing cartoons on the back of business cards. This book is a collection of his blog articles. Sweet deal. Of course, I wouldn't exactly care to write a review if it was BS. So you can be rest assured that it's definitely a good read (read as - the book's got something for everyone).

As always, I love good fast reads. It is a 175+ pages book on eating, sleeping and living your creativity in plain, no-nonsense, crystal clear chapters in English that does not mandate a dictionary. (I really do not understand the premise behind all those prize seeking authors who jot epics in words that are merely page fillers)

Alright, so coming to the book, what I like about it:

1) Simple stuff, littered with funny doodles/comics in each chapter.
2) Makes sense (it is annoying how many books are out there that make NO sense and are touted as bestsellers). It talks what it's title suggests.
3) A bit of New York art scene/lifestyle/experiences put in perspective. I would love to shove this book to people who think NY is only abt nightlife and elite lifestyle.
4) Amazingly, this can also be touted as a business/leadership book. Really. Of course, then Hugh MacLeod might have to tone down those racy doodles..hmm, on second thoughts, racy or not, read it and house a copy in your corporate or school library.
5) I am a sucker for anything humor, short, and fun to read compared to those bulky, gathering dust on the shelf, sleep inducing, hard to read businessy books. Both make the same point. Only one is endearing than the other.
6) Although I find it ridiculously priced for its Kindle version (19$ compared to 24$ hardcover, really Amazon?). So I simply looked up to the public library. NYPL, you are god sent. Of course, those who don't have this privilege, just get an ebook or buy a used copy.
7) Let me warn you, the stuff you find in this book aren't particularly eye opening (nothing is, these days if you ask me). It is just repackaged stuff, only its fantastically repackaged and to top it off, it is motivating.

Now how do I say Bon Appetit but mean 'Enjoy a good read'?:)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

End of year resolutions

Ha ha, isn't that weird? End of year resolutions, that's right. I mean, it is rather predictable that a ton of people go MIA from the gym around thanksgiving/Christmas and then hustle to the gym come January...and then you notice the crowd thinning down around March/April. So much for New Year Resolutions, ha!

I am not going to look back at this year and analyze and waste time over something that has gone by. I am simply going to think a month ahead. Yes. Inspired by Matt Cutts 30 day challenges, I am going to set my monthly goal from now on. So the first thing that came to my mind was..PUSH UPS! lol. I have never been able to go past 10 push ups without losing form. So my aim will be to go to a perfect 15 (although 20 would be sweet..but knowing me, that's probably stretching it a bit for a 30 day challenge). On second thoughts I can do a perfect 8 push ups. Yes, so aiming for a perfect 15 sounds reasonably achievable in the next 30 days. OMG, that means by end of the year I can do a 15!:) How exciting is that?! Oh BTW, since you are not me, push ups might not sound oh-so-appealing I am sure. You might want to begin learning a sport or finish that book or do whatever. Just make sure your challenge is fun and something that you always wished for! Who knows it might just end up liking your 30 day activity and make it a habit. Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me:)

And now I go back to counting down my Sunday, sigh. On a livelier note, I will have finished 2 great books this week! Reviews to follow soon:)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Why I dislike "networking" events

Yes, I said it. I don't like the so-called networking events. More so, the business networking events where you are supposed to introduce yourself to a random person, flash a fake smile (while your jaws are wearing out) and nod to boring conversation just because you intend to exchange business card with the opposite party. Great! Is that how relationships are built? I usually try to avoid these type of events, but that's just me..I reserve the right to have my own opinion anyway. So if you like it, go ahead please.

However, statistics prove that building relationships is a whole different ball game. It's abt being genuinely interested in the new person you meet. That means you are really not worrying abt a business opportunity with this person. You are just open minded and ready to learn something new from this person. Yes, you always have something new to learn from people. It might be as random as advice on how to shop for kitchen stuff online for cheap or how so and so book is amazing if you are learning a programming language. So really, dont network in the traditional sense of the word. It clearly does not work. Memories are short-lived, but relationships and mutual sharing/interest last longer than you think. Opportunities will follow. If they don't, hey, you atleast found great company! Its a win-win if you ask me.