Index:

Flip – by Peter Sheahen

Maverick – Ricardo Semler

The seven day weekend – Ricardo Semler

Lee Iaccoca – An autobiography

The goal – Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klien

The undercover economist – Tim Hartford

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Flip – by Peter Sheahen

An excellent book that introduces you to business today; it provides tons of ideas to succeed in a marketplace that abounds with generation Ysters. There are profound insights into what types of activities are best offshored (non-customer facing), some thoughts debunking popular ideas of china and India taking over the developed world, some characteristics of what it takes to succeed today (cheap, faster, good, x – pick any four!), exercises to help stimulate senses on each of the ideas presented and excellent case studies.

Overall, an excellent read – both for its wisdom and its entertainment value. Pick the book for your flight and practice the lessons over the weekend – but with an open mind

Maverick – Ricardo Semler

Part fun, part motivation, part charisma and 100% business wisdom – this is a must read for anyone aiming to be a leader. It is one man’s story of how he democratized his workforce and reaped lots of economic success in return (not to mention the satisfaction). Ricardo has been leading a company that is now widely considered a human workforce success story in an uncertain market (Brazil).

While this kind of success would have been very impressive even in knowledge-based organization, it is doubly so given that Semco is in the manufacturing space with predominantly blue-color worker population.

A must read for anyone interested in understand human potential and how to unleash it in a very inspiring way.

The seven day weekend – Ricardo Semler

By now, you would know I am a fan of this guy. A follow-up to his immensely successful book “Maverick”, it is an insightful companion that enlightens us further on the intricacies of liberalized workplaces. There are plenty of gems in this book (for example he wonders why we often work on Sundays but feel guilty for taking time to watch a tennis match on Mondays) making it very thought provoking.

If you are a manager who is comfortable with giving up control and still making profits (perhaps more), grab this book. And as a bonus, you’ll see that you can watch Nadal on a Friday without feeling guilty!

Lee Iaccoca – An autobiography

A classic business autobiography – a must read for all managers. Written at a time when manufacturing was at its peak (Iaccoca is credited with the Chrysler turnaround – one of the most incredible recoveries of our times), there is still lots of stuff to be learned for the discerning manager. His thoughts about leaving weekends for rest, staffing his team, do-nots (don’t do a real time demo if you can help it) and negotiations are very relevant even today.

Ranks as one of may favorite no-nonsense autobiographies alongside “Made in Japan”. If you haven’t done so yet, pick it now!

The goal – Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt

A classic novel which illustrates application of the theory of constraints. Even if you are not interested in the theory, you will still enjoy the novel for its sheer pace. Of course, at the end you will be all the richer for the mine of information therein. A manager at the crossroads of his personal and his professional life comes in touch with a consultant who helps him succeed. Their journey is filled with insights into operations and as the narration is in the first-person, you identify easily with the author.

A very engaging experience – and a must read for all MBAs.

 

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klien

As a rule I avoid “politics” like no body’s business – but this one promised to help us interpret a lot of the political (and economical) events of our century in a new light. Her theory simply put is that countries make use of serious crisis – both manmade (like the Iraq invasion) and natural (like the tsunami) – to attempt to clear out people and the culture and replace it with multinational excesses and privatization. She attributes this thinking to be based on Chicago economics pioneered by the late Milton Freeman and goes onto show how the similar scenarios – crisis, corporate plundering circle – have been played out in the latin American countries, middle east, Russia, Iraq, Srilanka (where the government used the tsunami as a pretext to clear out the fishermen and bring in resorts) and recently New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina). Boy, does she make a point – and she makes it very convincing that on the whole inequality increases wherever this model is put into place with a few companies gaining from both the destruction and the reconstruction, and the common man’s life is often affected for the worse. Leading institutional agencies like the IMF and the Worldbank are hand-in-glove she argues – and irrespective of your stand – this is a book not to be missed. Guarenteed to bring out the cynic in you – but maybe it will also help understand the role of a nation in serving its people better.

 

The undercover economist – Tim Hartford

A delightful book on economics in daily life. Tim Hartford (an editor on the Economist magazine) takes us on a tour of the world, pointing out economics at work everywhere. He asks us why coffee – medium size costs so much as opposed to regular even though the marginal price to make a medium cup of coffee is very little, talks about the rents and their effect on products and a whole lot more. At the end of the book, you will surely walk away with a feeling of understanding the world a little bit more as well as a better appreciation of how social-awareness means better economics – are we really doing the world a lot of good by drinking coffee that supposedly helps a charity a little?

 

 

 

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