Posted tagged ‘book’

Book review: Yes! 50 scientifically proven ways to be more persuasive

October 22, 2008

Robert B. Cialdini should be familiar to many of you thanks to his groundbreaking book “Influence: the science and practice” that has sold over a million copies. Although I was fascinated by the book when I read it, it was still a bit academic and dry, and I never got around taking the lessons into practice.

Now, there is no excuse. Robert’s (along with Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin) latest book Yes! 50 scientifically proven ways to be more persuasive is simply pure gold.

This book takes the science and showcases it thru practical field tests. Concise chapters (1-4 pages) on each of the “50 proven ways” are fast reads, alive with witty remarks and stockful of lessons for immediate real world use.

I was so taken by the book that I thought that a standard book review would do it justice. I thoroughly enjoyed Garr Reynold’s presentation-style review of Brain Rules, and decided I should try to do something similar. Little did I know that doing it that way would be a lot of work (over five hours to be exact) ;-), but the end result and the book were definitely worth it.

Watch the review on Slideshare and let’s see if I can persuade you to buy the book.

Did I succeed to persuade you to buy the book? Let’s hear it in the comments!

The Art of the Start

September 27, 2008

First, I’ll get this off my chest: The Art of the Start is probably the best book for a budding tech entrepreneur that I’ve read. So, you can head off to to buy it and dispense with my mini-review as your time is going to be better spent reading this book first hand than reading a review =). That said, if you need a bit of convincing before buying, here we go.

I must admit, I stumbled onto Guy Kawasaki by accident on the web. I was reading some blog sometime in the fall of year 2007 and it linked to his marvelous The Art of the Start live presentation. I was glued to the screen. If you haven’t seen his presentation yet, and you are in a technology startup, watch it now – and stay with it until the very end when they try to drag him off the stage.

I ordered the book minutes after watching the video (have you ordered it already? ok, good!), and then while waiting for the courier to arrive, I devoured his personal blog and the gold nuggets from Garage Technology Venturesresources section (open up these links in your browser’s tab and proceed there after reading this blog post). Finally, the book arrived.

Weighing at 220 pages, The Art of the Start is excellently focused, nothing but pure distilled startup genius, ranging from how to get started, to pitching, to networking and to being a mensch. It’s a fast read, but you’ll find yourself coming back to it several times (I’ve read the book at least four times cover to cover). It’s entertaining, the anecdotes are insightful and funny, the ideas are pratical, the list just goes on. You can put every single chapter of this book into practice somewhere along your startup’s life including such life defining situations like designing your product to participating in panel discussions ;-).

This must not have been easy book to write. It is so streamlined and good, that the editing must have been ruthless with huge amount of iterations. As a reader it’s godsend. No bs, no fluff, no filler pages. Just the good stuff.

Verdict: 5/5 – highly recommended.

Patton on Leadership

September 14, 2008

I’m planning to do mini-reviews on business books I read, and the first one to receive this treatment is Patton on Leadership: Strategic lessons for corporate warfare.

I picked up this book based on a recommendation from Scott Miller (of 3D Realms / Duke Nukem fame), who lists it on his recommend books list. Honestly I had just a vague idea who George Patton was (an American general from World War II), and I highly doubted I could learn anything from the book. I bought the book simply of curiosity and hoped to gain some insight into the US business mindset.

Not only did I learn who Patton was (a highly acclaimed, unconventional leader, whose military achievements are among the greatest in World War II), but I also found a lot of evergreen management insight that corresponded amazingly well with my own ideas about good leadership. Concepts like

  • Agile management (Patton calls it Speed, Simplicity and Boldness)
  • Setting example thru leadership from the front of the lines
  • Planning trumps plans. (General Dwight D Eisenhower:”In preparing for battle, I have found that plans are useless but planning is indispensible“)
  • Frank communication & belief on persevering (Stockdale paradox: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.“)
  • A commander will command (he has no other choice, or an entrepreneur pitches because otherwise he isn’t an entrepreneur)

As a book, it was an easy, light read, although the writer had a pressing need to get the page count over 200 pages. If Patton would have written this himself, it would have been less than half in size as he’d brutally have cut off all the duplication and unnecessary bits. ;-) Sometimes the analogies between war and business are a bit stretched, but more often than not those metaphors really make you think.

Verdict: 3/5