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The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First
The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $12.74

5.0 out of 5 stars The talent mandate starts at the top!, October 21, 2013
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The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First is an excellent book composed of two main sections:
- A Transformed Business Environment, which explains the need to start a Conversation on Talent.
- Six Essential Strategies for Success: When people are the actual assets of most companies, hiring and nurturing top talent is the way to build up and sustain competitive advantage.

Look for "talent," and not simply for "workers"
The change in terminology mirrors a significant change in the business environment. Silicon Valley can be deemed to have a significant place in the "Talent Revolution." However business and sociological changes have compelled lots of organizations, regardless of their size and activity, to place a premium on "T-shaped employees," expression coined in 1991 by David Guest in 1991 to define employees who combine vertical expertise with the experience and ability to work across functions, as well as on millennials who will account for three out of every four workers globally by 2025.

The semantic difference between workers and talent is critical: "workers" are supposed to do things the way they were always done. Talent makes things happen in "The Rise of the ideas economy," where it's not enough to fill a position, and where creativity and agility matter.

The mandate is to ultimately "turn your company as a talent magnet" and address new expectations, ranging from a new emphasis on paychecks with a purpose, to the desire of a more sustainable work-life integration, an uninterrupted digital life as well as more eclectic career paths: "Top recruits are unwilling to sacrifice their own brands to prop up companies that are unlikely to take them where they want to go."

The six essential strategies to success
This is the heart of the book in six recommendations: 1) Cultivate Your Culture, 2) Attend to Your DNA, 3) Live What's Next, 4) Create a Sense of Dynamism, 5) Be People-Centric, 6) Make It Mean Something.

These six essential strategies are illustrated through multiple studies of "talent centric" organizations such as Zappos, DreamWorks, Hall Capital Partners, Whirlpool, Unilever, Nestle or Dow Chemical to name a few. Mike Bailen summarizes quite eloquently what Zappos is looking for: "We need our employees to be versatile and adaptable because Zappos embraces and drives change (this is a core value, after all). If employees are too specialized and compartmentalized, it limits our ability to evolve. However, we do need our new hires to fully understand and deliver on the job they are brought in for."

The days of "the 1955 novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and a stifling kind of hyper-conformity," are gone, and an astonishing 84% of senior business leaders surveyed agree with this statement: "I am most interested in hiring people who are smart and passionate, even if they do not yet possess the skills we need," again validating the findings and advice of George Anders.

The talent mandate starts at the top. Talent is not just the focus of HR and the recruiting departments. It's the business of every single stakeholder, starting with executives capable of commissioning new best practices and entrusting business leaders to follow suit. Now how can the mandate actually be carried out? "To create a company that is relentlessly creative and entrepreneurial, you have to start at the beginning-- with hiring," Andrew Benett rightfully notes.

Yet, what about the "how" of the implementation? It's clear that the mandate entails rethinking the entire talent acquisition function and requires a whole new generation of technology capable of engaging with talent and supporting novel HR content marketing strategies -- an additional dimension to the what Andrew Benett call the "we space.". You can't reach the moon without a spacecraft!

Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
by Robert Scoble
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.01
36 used & new from $5.61

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, September 13, 2013
The common definition of a context is "the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens." We evoke the "context" when we want to explain events or behaviors. The implicit assumption is that what happens results from a collection of causes that we do not control. A context is more or less what we have to be subjected to.

The Age of Context analyzes how technology is reversing the context equation. We have entered an "interactionist" age and have the ability to weave together (the etymological meaning of the word "context") the various components of our own environment, proactively build "contexts" that matter to us, take new perspectives on what surrounds us, capture the moment, and ultimately better control our world. The Age of Context is the Age of Relevance as devices and technologies allow us to extract what matters to us at any point in time in any given location. It's the Age of Involvement as sensors provide us with the ability to better comprehend our surroundings, open our eyes and see more, expand the scope and accuracy of our experiences while assisting us in anticipating situations. It's ultimately the Age of Encapsulated Control through continuous and pervasive information capable of assisting our choices or our health.

Yes, it's also the Age of Big Data and the book consistency addresses the Orwellian specter. Sure, but isn't it also true that too little data is ultimately just as dangerous for individuals? History shows that abuse and tyranny are pretty much data agnostic and that ignorance feeds despots just as much as knowledge anyway. The book is not designed to solve this philosophical issue, but definitely shows that it's ultimately thanks to big data that each of us can find the meaningful or the very small details that make a difference in our lives, and feed our respective personal microcosms. The Age of Context opens a new era of humanism too.

I loved the tone of this book and the communicative excitement of both Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Their passion is contagious -- yet they do alleviate fears by also showing that we have the power to monitor the scope and the usage of same tools we leverage to guide and assist us.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone who wants to write a book and self-publish, December 10, 2012
An absolute must-read for anyone who wants to write a book and self-publish. It's packed with information, advice, tips and resources. Even if you still dream of finding the ideal agent and the most prestigious publisher on the planet, chances are that you will be ignored. So don't waste your time: take your fate into your own hands and go for self-publishing. This book tells you how to make it right.

Self-publishing is not easy -- but certainly easier than waiting for miracles. Guy warns you: "I thought self-publishing would be easy: write in Microsoft Word, upload to Amazon, and cash checks." Now, his book tells you what it actually takes, and what you need to do. It's hard work, but you will make it if you are equipped. First, make sure that:

1) You want to become an author for the right reason -- be of interest to real readers out in the wild (and not just to please yourself or your friends).

2) You understand that the self-publishing revolution is only starting: "only about 10% of publishing revenue comes from ebooks." But that shouldn't detract you, especially if you don't stand a chance contributing to the 90% of the print books of the US publishing industry. Think of the opportunity: you are part of a new movement.

So start... Use the right tools. Read this book starting from page 1. Get Word. Create your template or leverage the work of others, such as Guy's APE or Adam Shepherd's Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word. Don't waste time doubting yourself and turn into a daring entrepreneur.

Is it possible? Yes. Start now!

Finance your book. You are not paid to write your book and it's going to cost you some money. Not a fortune, but as in any business, check what you are ready to spend based on how many books you might be able to sell. Leverage existing organizations such as the Independent Book Publishers Association or crowdfund your efforts using Indiegogo, Unbound, Pubslush, or Kickstarter. Self-publishing is business with real upside potential. Yet, do not underestimate your costs and price your book accordingly -- albeit reasonably.

Offer a clean product: Self-publishing requires a DIY mindset. This doesn't mean that you will get away with an amateurish product: "Your goal is a book that looks and feels as good as any book from a big-time, traditional publisher [...] The whole point of self-publishing is to produce a book faster, better, and cheaper than a traditional publisher." So take the time to understand the authors' recommendations, from "how to convert a file" to leveraging a new trend of "Author Services."

Think "Distribution:" The self-publishing ecosystem is fragmented and messy. Just as any entrepreneur, analyze what it is about and choose your distribution channel (eBook resellers or direct) based on your goals. Take some time to learn from others. The simplest path is Kindle Direct Publishing, but also look into Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo; compare, and still consider selling directly to readers! Remember also that self-publishing doesn't prevent you from using Print-on- Demand companies for printed versions. An important detail: Every format of a book needs a unique ISBN (although all ebook platforms count as one format).

Be smart: Throughout the book, Guy and Shawn give you the tools and advice you need successfully to self-publish your book. Look at them as your mentors. Listen to them. Do not overlook any chapter, even though you can read this book in whatever order you want. It's part of your roadmap as an entrepreneur to keep your enthusiasm while remaining vigilant (and using common sense). In the end, success depends on you: market your book like crazy using any guerrilla tactics that come your way and build an enchanting brand: "the quality of your book and the quantity of your moxie are more important than the amount of money you've spent."

Like Guy's first book, The Macintosh Way, of which I had the privilege of being one of the very first readers, this book "celebrates passion, competition, excellence, and hard work." Become a self-published author the "Macintosh Way," which entails "doing the right thing and doing things right," and "competing on execution." Become part of the APEcommunity: join the movement on Google+.

Google+ for Small Businesses (Que Biz-Tech)
Google+ for Small Businesses (Que Biz-Tech)
Price: $7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key companion for your small business, December 9, 2012
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Excellent short book. The author's goal is to help you to realize that "Google + makes it easy for the small business owner with limited resources to be on an "even playing ground" with large corporations that have seemingly unlimited budgets." Google + is more than a social media network: it's the platform by the online search and advertising giant that owns the two most used search engines in the world, Google and YouTube. So visibility for your small company is at your fingertip.

Start with the end of the book: Your "One-Month Action Plan."
Browse through Lynette's "One-Month Action Plan" to realize that leveraging Google+ for your small business is not an insurmountable endeavor. "By taking 15- 30 minutes a day for one month, you can build a solid Google + presence and plan. At the end of one month, you will have circled 100 people and left comments on almost that many pieces of content. You can build a solid following and a library of content both available in Google + and via search on the Internet if you follow this plan. By focusing on a handful of tasks at a time and building on progress you've made the days before, you will come to the end of the Action Plan with a stronger understanding of Google + and the start of a community."
 Now, read the book...

One hour or so of good reading
Lynette doesn't drown you under tons of marketing hoops and loops, and instead walks you through the basics of Google+ in six chapters (plus the last one) that describe the platform's main features, provide ideas to promote and support your business, increase your leads, enhance your support, or organize events with your customers and leads. One of the key characteristics to be aware of as a small business leader is to take into account major differences between your personal Google+ account and Google+ Pages for your organization. Using Pages, you cannot circle someone that has not circled you first and you cannot convert your Google+ Profile into a Page (but you can and should have both!). This anti-spam mechanism has its benefits. In turn, you won't be spammed yourself and this forces you to develop a real attraction strategy and interact constructively with Googlers as a small business (instead of adopting a swarmy pitching style that exasperates everybody). Of course, hangouts and Hangout on Air can be initiated as a Page, which can be key for your marketing or lead generation initiatives. Take advantage of great tips scattered throughout the book, such as this one: "When you attach an image to a post, be sure the image has a descriptive name such as red-kids-sneakers.png rather than IMG0032002. Consider using part numbers or SKU numbers in the file name if that is a common way those products are searched and referenced. Google Search and Google Image Search can "read" the words in the name of the file and use them as keywords!"

Move into action...
On Google+, just as any social platform, you must be genuine, show that you care for others by sharing their content, and offer meaningful content of your own adapted to your various targets. For example, don't bombard your VIP circle with tips that only matter to your current customers. With minimal, but consistent efforts, your Google+ Page will operate as an important amplifier for your small business. So keep in mind that a social platform basically follows the same etiquette as the physical world. If you are nasty, your nastiness will come across as even more ridiculous than it is. If you are great, your greatness, too, will be magnified.

Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It
Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It
by Peter Cappelli
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.88
60 used & new from $5.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for leaders!, August 16, 2012
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A refreshing short book by Peter Cappelli, Director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources! This is a must read for any HR Professional, of course, but even more for anyone who is in a management position and has the power, or simply the will, to put an end the current "crippling employer-employee standoff." The purpose of Peter Cappelli's book is to get "America's job engine revved up again."

We are all familiar with the litany of complaints: Companies can't find skilled workers, schools are not providing the right kind of training, the government doesn't let in enough highly skilled immigrants, prospective employees don't want jobs at the wages that are offered, etc. If perception and scattered research might give some weight to such complaints, Cappelli demonstrates that they don't add up when looked at holistically, and that they come across as urban myths.

Are we a nation of un-qualified people? In a market with a lot of job applicants, companies tend to look for purple squirrels or unicorns. Are job seekers unqualified for not fitting a paranormal job description? Does it allow us to jump to the conclusion that "there is a skills gap" when the hardest-to-fill jobs appear to be those that often require the least skills? In reality, lots of job seekers are overqualified: "When applicants far outnumber job openings, the overqualified bump out those only adequately qualified... And the proportion of overqualified has more than doubled over the past generation." Cappelli sees very little evidence of an actual supply problem and asks a valid question: Isn't it a paradox that the US would rank seven among 39 countries (survey performed by Manpower in 2011) in terms of employers' complaints about an inability to fill jobs, while in China, the new global rising power, these complaints are half as frequent? Does China have a larger pull of "qualified" people? No -- simply millions learn on the job and do so very quickly, just as generations of Americans have. In the end, the analysis shows that skills aren't the issue, but market-determined wages are...

Are your kids less intelligent that you were at their age? Nobody wants to believe this, but businesses are quick to assume that today's workforce is more flawed than 20 years ago. There is no evidence to support this "good old days bias" either. Cappelli indicates that US student performance has actually improved over the past decades. In addition, studies by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OCDE) do not show any absolute decline in US scores. Emerging countries are simply catching up -- and they do not belittle their workforce nearly as much as we do. Another great point: the history of Russia "reminds us that an economy's success is not related to education in any simple fashion."

So what's wrong? Job seekers and employers talk at cross purposes. Is it reasonable to expect job seekers to have done the work before because companies don't want to train people? While it's certainly valid to fear that a newly trained employee might go to the competition, it's equally logical to wonder why a newly trained employee would leave... Maybe this was not the right hire in the first place... Maybe the very culture or a non-existent culture of the company is the problem. Is it reasonable to assume that filling a job vacancy is akin to replacing a part in a washing machine -- what Peter Cappelli calls the "Home Depot Syndrome" -- and assume that people are mere cogs in the industrial machine? This may not be the safest angle to increase a company's productivity or creativity, or to even motivate people to join a company.

Cappelli mentions two major problems: The first one is the automated software used to filter job seekers -- it allegedly complies with the mandate of equal treatment of all candidates, yet ends up generating pervasive unfairness: people can't find jobs even though there are millions of open positions. How long will the legal requirements be an excuse for using antiquated software? The second one is the loss of power of the HR function: "Not coincidentally, the United States has the weakest human resources in the industrialized world." The ultimate call is certainly to re-empower human resources, and re-empower recruiters --give them a strategic role. Brain drain is the death of companies, and so is brain blindness: "Millions of unfilled jobs are costing the economy billions of dollars in lost business," reminds Cappelli.

This short book is a powerful eye-opener. As I was reading through it, it seemed to me that what is initially presented as a sort of standoff between job seekers and employers may not be that willingly created by employers, and may raise a broader question about the ability for established companies to realize that economic survival in a global economy is more about building and nurturing talent and less about "filling" positions. The vast majority of the people who look for the perfect match today would not be hired in their own company. They benefited from a system when trust in people and intra-entrepreneurship mattered, which is the deep history of this country: the US started the modern industrial revolution thanks to millions of "unqualified" people -- and Cornelius Vanderbilt left school when he was 11.

What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us
What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us
Price: $2.51

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, entertaining, empowering, March 6, 2012
What the plus -- or what makes Google+ so special? It's what you like about Facebook and Twitter without their limitations. It's the ability to categorize your relationships and define your circles from the get-go. It's the ability to immediately identify people who share your passions or see the ripple effects of what you post. It's video-conferencing made easy, and so much more! Google+ offers both the personal social media experience and its communal dimension. So start today. And start with Guy Kawasaki. This book is more than a tutorial: Guy recounts his own experience candidly, helps you gain familiarity with Google+ and makes it work for you by contagion -- and he transforms "the rest of us" into power users: That's enchantment!

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
by Guy Kawasaki
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.62
243 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-enchanting the world!, March 9, 2011
Entrepreneurs and visionaries want to make a difference and share their visions of a better (or bettered) world. They want to withstand cynicism, skepticism, and resignation. A modern-day Dale Carnegie, Guy Kawasaki guides you on how to win the hearts of people, build up your influence in both the real and the digital worlds, and become an effective enchanter. In this book, Kawasaki analyzes the mechanisms behind the process of enchantment and guides you in honing your enchantment skills as well as construct your MAGIC, which consists in five key components:

' Mastery: If you have ever seen Steve Jobs on stage, you will agree that he is incredible. This is not necessarily because he has the charisma of an actor, but because he is prepared beyond anything you can imagine.
' Authority: An enchanter knows what he is talking about; he is competent and strong. He captures the attention of his audience and to instill confidence because of his credibility, knowledge, and moral competence.
' Generosity: An enchanter is able to convey a likeable image because his goal is above to give to his audience, and not to find self-validation or to force people to love and admire him/her. Instead, he transfers his own power to his public.
' Imagination: An enchanter sees and understands the environment of the people listening to him in order to overcome their reticence or skepticism, and to open their eyes to greater possibilities.
' Commitment: Enchantment entails a human relationship, either face to face, or by means of technology. Every enchanter dreams of making a lasting connection, or one whose echo is still present in the people he has reached, either because they still use the product he has showed them years ago, or because they still remember it fondly.

Reality Check was a sequel to The Art of the Start. Enchantment is simultaneously a third installment in the series and a sort of prequel. Honestly, if you have no desire to charm anyone, how are you ever going to successfully start a company? From where will you draw enthusiasm for the day-to-day realities of your corporation if you do not see that you must win over and connect with your employees, co-workers, and clients? If you do not let yourself be won over by them in order to renew your own energy and drive? (For it is as much work to create enchantment in oneself as it is to create it in others!).

Guy Kawasaki knows what he's talking about. He is not a university professor orating conceptually on the art of influence or a psychologist dissecting the behavior of human test subjects, although he does draw from such research. He is a practitioner in the art of enchantment. I first met him in 1986 when he was the Macintosh evangelist. Back then already, I noticed that he had made story-telling an art form, that he was not trying to impress for the sake of impressing. The focus, although on him, seemed to be guided toward all those who were listening. Real enchanters don't need to impose their power and renown; they own them and keep them through the elegance of their humility. This is this experience that he communicates in Enchantment.

Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself
Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself
by William C. Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.03
162 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership as the art of innovative curation, February 16, 2011
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You want to transform your company, shake up your industry, and challenge yourself. Now, where do you start? Not from a vacuum: the times for dreams of starting from a clean slate and building up utopias are long gone. So, be practical. Yet adopting a middle-of-the-road approach can only make you shrivel up into mediocrity. So, be radical, i.e. proceed from what the roots of your company are, from the raison-d'être of what your industry is, and find the wellspring of all information - others. Everything is here, around you, for you to reinvent yourself as an innovative executive, as a purpose-driven entrepreneur, as a movement leader. In a nutshell, be practically radical, i.e, find solutions. Taylor quite relevantly reminds us of one of the best Clintonian piece of advice: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."

While the notion of "disruption" remains a pervasive marketing catchword, what I like most in this book is the idea that innovation stems from what I would call "constructive subversion," which was also the underlying theme of Mavericks at Work that Taylor co-authored with Polly LaBarre. When the know-it-alls perceive the world from their allegedly expert standpoint, they show a strong propensity to downgrade novelty into a French expression, calling it "déja vu." Creative minds reverse perspectives and look at a familiar situation as if they had never seen it before. They experience the "Vujà dé," "a strange term" Taylor says, that may be attributed to various people (he mentions Tom Kelley, Bob Sutton and George Carlin). It refers to the old rhetorical device of re-arranging syllables of a word or words in a sentence (metathesis) that French people ultimately named verlan in 1950, and that became the language of the immigrants and the working class of the Parisian suburbs.
So, regardless of any former experience, become an immigrant within your own turf: what you will see will shape how you change, and where you will look will shape what you see. You will make Providence (RI) a safer place with Dean Esserman, rejuvenate the Swiss Swiss watch manufacturing industry as did Lebanese Nicolas Hayek who co-founded the Swatch Group - while resurrecting Omega - or redefine the standards of service for Internet retail (even those of you who believe you know everything about Tony Hsieh, read Taylor's visit to Zappos` headquarters as a ... cevino - verlan for novice). The language of innovation recombines known syllables to create new emotions: "the most enduring source of competitive advantage is for emotionally charged employees to capture the emotionally drained customers."

This book is remarkably well organized in three sections (transforming your company, shaking up your industry, and challenging yourself), each subdivided into three chapters, with each ending chapter reading as a collection of five takeaways: Five truths of corporate transformation, Five new rules for starting something new, Five habits of highly humbitious leaders. Each section can be read independently. Yet, albeit permitting an à la carte study, the entire book is compelling because of the underlying consistency of the message. Will you ever be able to transform your company or shake up an industry if you have all the answers? At best, you will just be a prefab manager in a prefab company in a prefab world speaking a prefab language in the midst of prefab people living their prefab lives... You will never even think of the hidden geniuses around you or around the world at large, and you will never have the "million-dollar idea to attract ideas" that enabled Reed Hastings of Netflix to improve the company's recommendation engine by an order of magnitude. "The real genius of leadership today is knowing how to move forward when you and your senior colleagues don't have all the answers -- devising ways to uncover the most powerful ideas in the most unexpected places, even if those ideas come from outside the organization."

So, be ambitious, yet remain humble, and become "humbitious," and look at your company as a community where "everyone is in charge." Tellingly enough, the penultimate chapter of the book ends with the Threadless phenomenon. Ultimately, modern leaders could be imaginative curators who make everybody shine.

India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
by Anand Giridharadas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.20
109 used & new from $0.01

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars India: The unknown at the heart of what you think you knew, February 8, 2011
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Read this book:
- If you are doing business with India. It will help you to scope out the realm of what you don't know, and make you start to listen to others in order to build meaningful relationships within a complex culture.
- Or, if you like literature, read this book as a collection of intertwined short stories!

Say you've worked and socialized with Indians for the last ten or fifteen years in America - does it help you to understand what India is about when you travel over there for a business trip? Maybe a little, but no more than that. India is a complex, multi-dimensional country with an intricately layered culture, where ancestral thinking models may seep into the most seemingly standard ways of doing business, often unbeknownst to the newcomer and even to his/her Indian host. That is, in a nutshell, what Anand Giridharadas's India Calling is about.

Anand's book is a deep foray into the human, social, and business fabrics of modern India. Born in Cleveland, Ohio from Indian parents who came to the US in the 1970's, and a graduate from the University of Michigan, he felt like a stranger when he came back to work in his parents' homeland in the early 2000's, reversing his parents' path. His autobiographical story is the analysis of his disorientation, the dismemberment of what he thought he knew through his parents' stories and visits to relatives as a child, as well as the anatomy of the image he had subconsciously formed about this quickly changing country from an American standpoint.

As you move through the six simple words that title each chapter of this book (Dreams, Ambition, Pride, Anger, Love and Freedom), you find out that these words do not depict a simple reality, but are instead huge baskets of interwoven cultural threads. Having become a journalist, Anand landed himself into an unexpected challenge: "it was terrific to have gotten the job, but how was I supposed to explain to others a country that I had to explain to myself."

Within each chapter, the multiple protagonists that Anand meets either purposedly or haphazardly embody India's self-invention, the stepping-in of people onto the fast-moving train of progress that distances them from the past. Yet, you see the uncanny capability of that past to come back like an agile animal. Methodically and incrementally, for instance, Ravindra moves away from his initial fate on an entrepreneurial track, as he goes through each of the stations toward the project of his life, the "project of himself" that he has so thoroughly planned. But can you plan everything? No: "It had not occurred to him that a woman, unlike an exam is not conquered simply by willling that you get her," Anand notes. Ravindra leaves a telling message to the author: "Life sometimes becomes so selfish that it wants everything. And while trying 4 everything we miss something that is worth everything." His "dream home" stands in front of the Hindu temple, a sobering reminder that not everything is about growth and success, that human beings do not make their way through one single time-dimension, but live on an unsteady vista point at the intersection of multiple fault lines.

Regardless of who they are and what they do, Anand's encounters embody complexity. So hold off on any judgment. Depending on how you look at it, Mukesh Ambani and many others are moral, amoral, or even immoral. It's not simply because the context-based ethics of dharma continues to compete with the occidental view of fairness, it's also because the traditional caste system simultaneously morphs into new tribal values (where village-based allegiance may come across as influence peddling, for example). As dreams turn into ambition and ambition into pride, as "capitalism has transfixed the Indian imagination," and as Hyderabad and its forrest of billboards herald a promised land, anger is also looming. Anand meets with the Maoist insurgent Varavara Rao and, then, his nephew Venugopal: he too has a dream - the dream of purging Indians from their "bad elements," both the old and the new ones, yet, "his own story was one of the oldest patterns of all: the Brahmin sitting high on his perch, imagining how the peasants down below should live." History looks like a continuous cycle of reincarnations moving away from a past that is defined by either what you want to forget, as is Ravindra's case, or what you want to resurrect, as is Anand's quest.

The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change
The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change
by Matthew E. May
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.96
49 used & new from $4.94

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership internalization and elegance in success, December 29, 2010
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This excellent short book is both a parable and a lesson on the quiet aesthetic simplicity and transformative energy in Japanese culture. It all starts with Andy Harmon's sudden misfortune. One day, his company closes. A good husband and good father (very much the image of the perfect, hardworking American for a magazine cover of the 50's... only several decades later), he can't just go back home to tell his family that he is out of the job and lament.

He has a few hours to find a solution in a small town with virtually no job openings except, perhaps, at the town's only car dealership. After enjoying a corporate position in a customer service call center, Andy decides to try his luck as a salesman at Mainstreet Motors, something for which he doesn't initially have the right profile. The result is that he must basically reinvent himself - and he does. Through a Zen self-discovery process, and a fair amount of trial and error, he finds out how to be something else than the stereotypical car salesman, and meets with success by building a long-term referral business.

All's well that ends well. Albeit a little bit schmaltzy at times, this book is an interesting perspective on leadership. If you are tired of exhortative talks "(yes, think-hard-you-can do-it") and of in-your-face leaders who gab about business and their grand exploits just as passionately as car salesmen go on and on about their Toyotathon sales events, read this book. It is focused on internalizing leadership, rebuilding your own balance to look at your environment with fresh eyes, and transforming what's around you for the better. Leadership is about pulling, not about pushing, and "shibumi" is about effortless effectiveness. Incidentally, the author also refers to the Italian "sprezzatura," with the new meaning that Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) gave to the word in the The Book of the Courtier: a sort of nonchalance, "so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says seem effortless, and almost unpremeditated."

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