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Ilya Grigorik "igrigorik" RSS Feed (San Francisco, CA, USA)

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Essays in Love
Essays in Love
by Alain de Botton
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $9.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, educational, and easily (sometimes scarily so) relatable book., June 14, 2015
This review is from: Essays in Love (Paperback)
"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates. If that rings true, then "Essays in Love" is a book with your name on it: part love story, part self-study, part philosophical examination of both. Alain De Botton is, as usual, witty, insightful, and thought-provoking, as he takes us on a tour of all the highs, lows, and paradoxes of falling in love. For example, why do we fall for and appreciate the flaws (we all have them) of the other, but then fight about minutia that we're happy to overlook in others? An honest, educational, and easily (sometimes scarily so) relatable book.


The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Money as (and is) a great teaching tool., June 14, 2015
In most households, money is a taboo subject around kids. For some reason, we feel that talking about it is either not appropriate, or worse, will somehow corrupt them. Except, is that really true, or are the parents simply avoiding the topic because they're afraid to face the valid and important questions being posed to them? How do you explain why their friends live in a smaller or bigger house, why can't they have that toy, and why are there homeless people?

In fact, as Ron Lieber points out, money is a perfect tool to teach kids about importance of delayed gratification, generosity, entrepreneurship, and other vital skills that we all aspire to -- i.e. opposite of spoiled. The trick is to know how to approach the common subjects and face them head on: allowance, chores, savings, holidays, bank accounts, and so on.

The book provides practical, useful, and much-needed advice. You may not agree with all of it, but that's not the point, the goal is to break the taboo around the subject of money, and this book offers a great guide for how to do so, and why.


Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
by Laszlo Bock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.71
62 used & new from $15.71

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adding science to HR: people operations!, June 14, 2015
Disclaimer: I work at Google; I enjoy it; I think they got many things right (more than most companies), but no one is perfect. The key difference is, as Laszlo demonstrates, that Google is driven by a strong learning culture that's enabled it to continually measure, debunk, revise, and iterate on every aspect of its operations. Hence "people operations" instead of "HR", and Laszlo is not shy about describing both the failures and the successes of his team at Google - e.g. the negative press about the hiring process and subsequent turnaround, and much more.

The book does not shy away from tackling contentious topics: the power curve of pay (and how to reward to performers); the relentless focus on hiring best practices; the importance (and science) of performance reviews, and the many ways they can go wrong; the art and science of measuring culture and habit change within the company; and much more.

The particular policies may not apply at every company, but the important part is not "how Google does something", but rather the process at which it arrived there and why. A great and educational read, even for someone who has an insider's perspective.


Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco
Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco
Price: $9.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone curious about this beautiful city., June 14, 2015
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Every once in a while you get lucky and get tour guide that may look a bit grumpy at first, but then turns out to be a gold-mine of stories and facts that can bring any subject to life. Of course, that's not to say that San Francisco lacks in sights or character, but Gary Kamiya is that very guide that you've been looking for this particular city. You're in for a treat... history, politics, geology, philosophy, and more, all rolled into one engaging read. A must read for anyone curious about this beautiful city.


Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!
Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!
by Nicholas Carlson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.40
64 used & new from $11.79

5.0 out of 5 stars History of Yahoo in a form of a business thriller, May 3, 2015
A history of Yahoo in a form of a business thriller. Carlson covers it all: the early days, the meteoric rise to the “homepage of the internet”, the near-decade slump into irrelevance, and the more recent “revival” with Marissa’s comeback. That said, despite the title, this book is not about Marissa. Yes, it covers her tenure at Yahoo, but it does so on equal terms with all of her predecessors, and Carlson offers an upfront and frank perspective into the inner politics and dynamics of Yahoo. It feels like you're in the boardroom, and I am both surprised and delighted to see that perspective and level of access. Fascinating read and perspective on one of the iconic internet brands.


A Short History of San Francisco
A Short History of San Francisco
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book on San Francisco, May 3, 2015
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San Francisco is like no other city. Up until 1849 it was a remote — and mostly decrepit — outpost that lived by its own rules. Then, the gold rush came in 1849, and the quiet missionary outpost quickly grew into one of the largest and rowdiest cities in North America: fortunes were made and lost, and accompanying debauchery ruled the land. From there, the natural and men made disasters, the discovery of the silver ore and the economic ups and downs, the associated politics, and much more, have shaped the city into what it is today — still a recognized outpost for its unique values and culture, but now on a global scale.

A short but highly rewarding read, both for residents and curious tourists. My only regret is that it took me so long to discover this book!


Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
by Douglas Stone
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.59
59 used & new from $8.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Delivery is important, but it won't go far if the other person is not listening..., May 3, 2015
A lot has been written about how to deliver feedback “effectively". However, regardless of how you deliver it, if the recipient is not open to it, you’re not going to get very far. Instead, what if we focused on the recipient - i.e. how do we receive feedback effectively, instead of delivering it? Instead of treating feedback as an attack on our identity, values, or rolling our eyes because the other person "did not understand our motives", what if we were able to cut through all that and take the others perspective, even if just for a few moments?

Stone and Heen provide a lot of common pitfalls and practical tips on how to become a better recipient: “switch lane conversations” where we talk past each other; identifying types of feedback (appreciation, coaching, evaluation) that is being delivered or asked for; identifying our knee-jerk reactions to receiving “constructive” feedback; and so on. This book will make you uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing, as it challenges our habits, beliefs, and reactions to receiving feedback… and assuming you’re willing to listen to it, it will go a long way towards improving both your personal and professional lives. Great insights, and a book worth sharing with your peers and loved ones.


Status Anxiety
Status Anxiety
by Alain de Botton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.85
119 used & new from $3.23

5.0 out of 5 stars So, what do you do?, May 3, 2015
This review is from: Status Anxiety (Paperback)
Today, we often associate “status” with material and commercial success, which is often distilled into a simple but loaded (and dreaded) question: “so, what do you do?”. As De Botton points out, our love and obsession with “meritocracy”, where we “make our own luck” and “anyone can get ahead if they work hard enough” (aka, the “American dream”), has two sides: yes, it is empowering, but failure to achieve “success” is then also a reflection of you, your priorities, and your habits - e.g. everyone is a failure compared to Bill Gates... no wonder we’re all feeling down! But, should we? How have other cultures measured “status” and success in the past, and what can we learn from them? Another great and though provoking read by Alain De Botton.


The Fujifilm X-T1: 111 X-Pert Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Camera
The Fujifilm X-T1: 111 X-Pert Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Camera
by Rico Pfirstinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.06
51 used & new from $14.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing (and much needed) X-T1 manual!, April 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book should come bundled with the camera. The X-T1 is packed with features, many of which I was yet to discover even after a year of active use, and this book did the trick: written in plain and readable English (that's a compliment) that explains the what, why and the how; provides the necessary context for how to use the various features together; has many really great tips for JPEG and die-hard RAW shooters alike; and much more.

If you picked up an X-T1, chances are, you're serious about getting the most out of your camera... and to get there fast, you should pick up this book.


The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments (Little Books. Big Profits)
The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments (Little Books. Big Profits)
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars What is the moat of your company, or your "personal brand" even?, April 3, 2015
Economic moat: a sustainable competitive advantage, with double emphasis on "sustainable" - e.g. a cost advantage, hard-to-dislodge market position, unique intangible assets, high switching costs. The book explores each of these, offering hands-on examples of why and how such factors translate into long-term market advantages (and good investments).

There is no formula here, but the overall way of thinking is sound and should certainly provide a good set of questions to evaluate for your next investment, be it financial, career, or any other... What is the moat of your company, or your "personal brand" even?


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