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K. Sampanthar "Inventor of ThinkCube" RSS Feed (Boston, MA)

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The Anti-Resume Revolution
The Anti-Resume Revolution
by Angela Lussier
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.48
18 used & new from $2.05

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timely 'How To' Guide for the Unemployed and Underemployed, April 3, 2010
Angela Lussier's new book - Anti-Resume Revolution - is a very timely book considering the state of the job market. With some of the highest unemployment rates in decades and the greatest recession since the `great depression' the employment prospects of many are dire. This recession brought upon by a collapse in the financial markets has lead to a pruning of some of the largest industries including such staples at the auto industry. Not only are blue collars jobs in jeopardy this time but knowledge workers are just as impacted. Angela's book comes at a time when many need help redefining how they approach and think about employment. No longer are we in a world where careers are for life, nevermind jobs. For those faced with the prospect of changing careers or just trying to differentiate themselves in a tsunami of resumes that every job opening seems to create, help is needed. Angela's book is just what the economy ordered.

Angela, an entrepreneur and consultant, practices what she preaches. She recently made the jump from a steady job/career into the world of start-ups and she has poured all the hard won lessons into this book. She is an fresh, authentic voice and through examples, stories and a practical framework for job search she has created the ultimate `how to' manual for the unemployed and underemployed. As someone that has not really relied on a resume in his life since graduating university during a recession in the early 90's, I can vouch for Angela's approach since she has collected lessons that I had to learn the hard way. I wish her book had been available when I graduated or when I endured the dot com bust; but there really isn't a better time for this book.'Anybody looking for a job, worried about their current job, looking for a more fulfilling career I would rush out and buy Angela's book; but I warn you, you need to put aside your preconceptions of what a traditional job search looks like. Angela lays out an audacious plan to make you stand out above the rest.'It is a fun, short and very practical book for anyone in the market for a new job.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
by Seth Godin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.57
229 used & new from $0.71

5.0 out of 5 stars There is No Map, January 26, 2010
Seth Godin's latest book, Linchpin, is a departure from his marketing canon; Permission Marketing, Idea Virus, Purple Cow, Meatball Sundae, All Marketers are Liars/Story Tellers. Linchpin is a response to the turmoil created by the latest recession; the turmoil felt by employees. Linchpin draws from some deep subjects to address the current crisis: economics history, neuroscience, paleoanthropology and industrial/business history. Seth uses ideas from these disparate subjects to develop a strong case for the need for employees to change from being cogs in the great industrial machine that we have come to rely upon.

This is one of Seth's most challenging books so far, not from a complexity perspective but because this is a wake up from the world we thought we lived in. Similar to how he has been shaking up the business world for over a decade, here he challenges not only the system, but focuses on the individuals in the system. He has written extensively deconstructing the archaic industrial complex and calling for companies to reform. With Linchpin Seth takes a different tack, and a much harder tack; he challenges all of us to take some responsibility for our careers/lives. Seth is `the' master of provoking change and he understands change is hard. This is Seth's art, his genius. Linchpin is a carefully laid out change manifesto. Not a `framework', not a `map' since this is one of the most pernicious symptoms of being a cog; we are always looking for someone to give us a map; a set of instructions, a guide. Linchpin's message is clear, there is no map. If there was a map then you become dispensable, easily replaced by the next in line that can follow the map.

This book will challenge, provoke and even cajole you to become a Linchpin, someone that is indispensable to an organization. Using the analogy of a Linchpin. A small part that has a critical role, it attaches the wheel to the wagon. He challenges us all to become linchpins. Instead of waiting for others (management, bosses, companies) to tell you what to do, you should do what is 'critical' and make yourself indispensable.

The first part of the book lays out a compelling case of how we came to this point in history. It draws from economics, sociology, anthropology to explain how and why we find ourselves in a world where employees are considered to be interchangeable parts in a larger machine. How we came from being hunter/gatherers that worked in small groups for 3 hours per day to faceless workers on a 9-5 schedule that can be interchanged at will. Also, this isn't something happening to other people. No longer is it just blue-collar workers or low level white-collar works, it is happening to all of us and we need to take note.

Seth doesn't take the easy road and just complain at the misfortune or blame the `greedy' Wall Street tycoons; he understands the complex economy that we have created. He also understands that trying to scale human beings is not an infinite exercise and we have come to the end. When everyone is racing to the bottom to get cheaper there is only one winner. In a world where the race to top is much harder but also leaves room for infinite winners there is far more opportunity for us all.

The second part of the book moves from how we got here, switching gears to not only what we need to be; linchpins, but also what is stopping us. It delves in to neuroscience to explain how our triune brains are our worst enemies in moving from being cogs to being linchpins. The lizard brain, the oldest part of our 3-part brain (aka the limbic system), is at the root of all autonomic responses, one of which is fear and our response to it. The fight between the older limbic system and the more complex and sophisticated neocortex is what causes most of the `resistance' when it comes to doing great work.

The last part of this compelling manifesto is an explanation of what it means to be a linchpin and the abilities that can make you one. Again, Seth steers clear from providing a map or guide; there is no map, but there are some great examples and principles.

Even though this is a complex and multi layered book it is so well written that you won't notice that Seth is explaining some very deep concepts. It is actually more complex to review than read. The ideas are well explained and the arc of the manifesto is clearly articulated, but it's hard to capture the many nuances, stories, examples, sidebar rants and all the gentle and not so gentle nudging. This book is jam-packed with ideas and provoking thoughts. This is a book that is designed to change, and that is probably the characteristic that makes it the hardest to `just' read. This is a book clearly designed to push people to action. Seth is a master of this kind of book and he doesn't disappoint. Even though the ideas in this book will have you thinking for a long time, the momentum created from this book will propel you to take action not just pontificate.

Bottom Line
This is a timely book for our troubled times. Seth is the right person to have written this change manifesto. This is going to be hard for people to hear and even harder for people to do, but for the sake of our future this is a book that should be read and acted upon. The unfortunate part of books like this is it is most appealing to the people that need it the least. The hope is that now the linchpins in society have a book to give to their friends, colleagues and family to explain why it's important to stop being a cog and blaming the latest populist scapegoat for the mess we are in. We are all implicitly or explicitly part of this problem and we should do something to change it. Seth has done his part, the gauntlet is thrown, and it is for us to take the challenge.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube

Britax Chaperone Stroller, Cowmooflage
Britax Chaperone Stroller, Cowmooflage

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Stylish and Very Usable Stroller, January 21, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Britax Chaperone Stroller (with cowmooflage) is a great little one seater stroller. I am the father of twins, but every now and again we need to have a single stroller for Dr's appointments or shopping trips. This a perfect addition to our twin strollers (Snap&Go and Bob's jogger). First off, it is very eye catching but actually not as gaudy as I first thought it would be from the photos. It was easy to put together and I love the one-handed folding mechanism. It light and easily maneuverable. It is not ideal for jogging since the ergonomics lead to hitting your shins, but it is perfect for shopping and Drs trips. The shade comes down enough (unlike others we have tried) and it has a great storage area at the bottom that is easily accessible. The 2 cup holders and compartment on the handle is easy to clip on and perfect for drinks and keys etc.

- Eye catching without being gaudy
- Easy to put together
- Easy to push and has a great turning mechanism
- Light and has a great one handed fold away mechanism
- Conveniently accessible storage area under the chair

- Needs some padding for the seats
- A little plastic feeling (but it does make it light)

Overall we are very happy with the Chaperone Stroller and think it is a great addition to our family of stroller.

Freedom (TM)
Freedom (TM)
by Daniel Suarez
Edition: Hardcover
78 used & new from $0.01

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, intellectually stimulating joy ride through the near future or augmented reality gets real, January 12, 2010
This review is from: Freedom (TM) (Hardcover)
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Freedom is Daniel Suarez's follow up to his 2008/2009 surprise best seller, Daemon. Last year I was blown away by Daemon. Suarez managed to write a compelling thriller around some big ideas. I have been a huge fan of Michael Crichton for years but I always felt his characterizations were weak and the big ideas were shoe horned into a thriller plot. Suarez stays true to the big idea and manages to weave a realistic plot with fully fleshed out characters and situations. This isn't some made-for-movie screenplay, this is a fully realized thriller with deep ideas and a compelling story. I was sucked in from the first page and devoured the first book and left gasping at the end for the follow up. Freedom, just released, doesn't disappoint (except maybe I was hoping for a trilogy). Freedom is a different kind of book to Daemon, the plot continuation is smooth, but the atmosphere of Freedom is very different. While Daemon was a techno thriller, Freedom morphs into a hero's quest/mythological story. The technological ideas are still there and actually they are fully realized in Freedom. Suarez manages to flesh out the technological vision he alluded to Daemon. The convergence of life and augmented reality are smoothly juxtaposed to provide a glimpse of a near future. Suarez is a technologist and it shows. His use of current technology to create his vision is accurate and realistic. He explores the implications of social network theory, augmented reality, game design and ad-hoc network topologies to form a backdrop for a dystopian future. Even his underlying message of governments gone amuck are well researched and realistic; if a little paranoid.

Bottom line: Freedom is a solid sequel to Deamon and together they form a compelling thriller. For those that like big ideas and technological innovations you are in for a treat. No longer are big ideas and fully realized stories mutually exclusive. This is Michael Crichton meets Michael Chabon meets Joseph Campbell - ideas meets characters meets mythology. You do have to read Daemon first, but together they are a fun, intellectually stimulating joy ride through the near future.

Note: If you like the big ideas and technology behind the book, definitely check out Suarez's talk at the Long Now Foundation - Daniel Suarez: Daemon: Bot-mediated Reality.

Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others
Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others
by David Kord Murray
Edition: Hardcover
66 used & new from $0.01

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal, September 5, 2009
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David Kord Murray; aerospace engineer, entrepreneur, innovator, fortune 500 executive; has managed to write one of the most personal, practical and insightful books on the innovation process. It is well written and a joy to read.

If you want to learn how to innovate; whether you an aspiring or current entrepreneur, working in a large/small corporation or self employed; whether you are working in the corporate world, or entertainment, media or academia; you will find within these pages a process that will lead to higher quantity and quality of ideas. Murray shares with you not only his personal story that illuminates and illustrates the process of innovation, but also gives you a unrivaled view into the journey of an innovator; a hero's journey. This is not for someone that just wants to manage the innovation process; this is for someone that wants to innovate; individually, as a team or company; someone who wants to generate ideas and implement them.

Detailed Review
I have been researching creativity and innovation for 2 decades and I have read far and wide on the subject and even developed my own innovation system based on my research; this is the first time I have read a book that covers the same breath and depth of my research and that came to the same conclusions. Murray's research and journey is very reminiscent from engineer to entrepreneur to innovator. His reading list (some listed at the back of the book and some that I can tell from his writing) mirrors my own from scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs. He draws from the lives and ideas of people like Einstein, Darwin, Edison, Disney, Jobs, Gates, Nash, Lucas, Page and Brin and draws from research in neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, cinematography, economics, biology, evolution and business to develop a process that is one of the best encapsulations of true innovation.

I am not sure I have ever read a business book like this. Murray shares his own personal journey that led to him developing this innovation process. The story is very personal and probably one of the most insightful books on the joys and agonies of innovation and entrepreneurship. His story not only describes the ideas he developed for his companies; a ground breaking financial services firm, one of the most successful direct mail campaigns and successful online tax software; but also shows the messy, warts and all innovation process. Most authors stick to explaining their successes and gloss over their failures. Murray courageously shares the ups and downs, and I feel this makes the book even more powerful. Innovation is messy and most people focus on the end result too much, when the real magic of innovation is in this messy, iterative, recursive and fractal process.

I have to admit when I saw this book and it's subtitle - `The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others' I was expecting yet another lightweight, fluffy book on how to innovate. I was pleasantly surprised, no amazed, to find one of the most thorough articulations of the innovation process. I have been teaching innovation for years and I find myself in awe at how much Murray has managed to fit into this book while making it practical and down to earth. Anyone can pick up this book and if they really read and follow his advice can develop their own ideas. My own personal mission has been to teach innovation to people and finally I have found a book that explains the real process.

The book is well written and the stories bring the deep ideas behind innovation to life. For many years now I have been recommending a series of books to people who want to learn about innovation: The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm, How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate, Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation and A Technique for Producing Ideas (Advertising Age Classics Library). Murray has managed to write a book that encapsulates all these books and makes them obsolete!

Let me repeat; anyone can pick up this book and if they really read and follow his advice can develop their own ideas/innovations. I can't give any higher praise.

NOTE ABOUT THE REVIEW TITLE: Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal - to me is about how when a great artist understands the thought that went into a great idea or a piece of art, they don't just create a replica, they generate a piece of original art themselves that draws from the very essence of an idea. It's the difference between iPod and Zune; iPod reinvented the personal music experience (great artist), Zune just copied the iPod (good artist). Read this book and you will understand how to be a great artist.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube

The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance [Updated & Revised]
The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance [Updated & Revised]
by Adrian Robert Gostick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.55
272 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Carrot a Day Will Keep the Competition Away, August 27, 2009
Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton; recognition consultants; have written an updated version of their 2007 book - The Carrot Principle `How the best managers use recognition to engage their people, retain talent, and accelerate performance'. The subtitle says it all and even though it sounds clichéd or obvious, this is a message that more managers need to grasp. They share a statistic from a recent survey that 74% of leaders still don't practice recognition with their employees!
The Carrot Principle is a book in 2 parts; the first part (Part I) is to convince managers why recognition is important and the second part (which is actually Part II and Part III) is to lay out a framework of how to effectively recognize employees.

Gostick and Elton draw from many studies and most recently their own research that emphasizes the power of recognition and also tries to address the vexing question of why it isn't practiced more. The first part of book focuses on anecdotes, case studies and data from their research that outlines the case for `recognition'. Again there will be many that don't need convincing and feel that they are already practicing recognition, but I would recommend that everyone look closely at themselves and at the data shared to really understand what recognition means and to honestly assess whether they are truly practicing it.
The second part of the book focus on a `How To' of recognition. How to build a `Carrot Culture' and how to `Manage by Carrots'. There is a great framework that they lay out with suggestions and even a list of 125 recognition ideas that will help any manager practice `effective' recognition.

A few of the reviewers have pointed out that this is just a vain attempt to sell consulting services through the `Carrot' gimmick; but I think Gostick and Elton have achieved what I look for from business books:
- Conducted research and share their data and conclusions about an important subject areas - management recognition
- Indentified reasons why managers are currently reluctant to change
- Outlined a convincing case to address the `concerns' and `issues' that managers might have
- Laid out a practical framework and provided tools to help managers practice recognition

Managers and employees are busy and a book like this; well written, concise, convincing and practical; is exactly what is needed to help change people's behaviors. Changing human behavior is hard, especially in a competitive working environment. Some companies and managers will need more than a book, but for those that are prepared to invest the time, this book lays out everything you will need to start practicing `effective' recognition.

I highly recommend this book to managers, old and new. Recognition and employee productivity is too important to be overlooked and ignored in the rush for results. In an age where people and their ideas can make the difference between business success and failure, I feel it's important to make sure that you are using every tool at your disposal to make your working environments productive and your employees successful.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube

Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction
Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction
by Sramana Mitra
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.95
27 used & new from $5.80

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Economic Turnaround through Entrepreneurial Stimulus, May 12, 2009
Sramana Mitra's second book in her `Entrepreneur Journeys' series is focused on bootstrapping. Mitra's belief is that entrepreneurs are the real stimulus this economy needs, or as she refers to them `Weapons of Mass Reconstruction'.

Mitra is a seasoned entrepreneur and strategy consultant to Silicon Valley, which makes her great guide through the different entrepreneurial vignettes. She uses interviews to explain the behind the scenes mechanics of a startup and boostrapping. These interviews are focused on founders that bootstrapped their companies and forgo early stage VC funding; some did go onto get subsequent funding from VCs but this was after proving their business model.

Mitra's experience in silicon valley and her contacts give her an unique vantage point to view the changing landscape of start-ups. Due to growth of VC funds and their subsequent focus on large profits the entrepreneurs of today are finding alternate routes to get their businesses started; primarily angels. Mitra believes that angels provide the right balance of money and mentorship. Mentorship can make the difference between success and failure for these entrepreneurs and the large VC firms have got too big to provide the level of guidance and mentoring that a new entrepreneur needs.

The book is a collection of interviews from an eclectic range of entrepreneurs; from travel sites, to blogging to social networking. Mitra has decided to stay away from the big goliaths in these areas and focused more on successful companies that have built their businesses in the shadows of the dot com bust. This book reminds me another book about entrepreneurship - `Founders at Work'. Similar to FAW Mitra's interview questions illicit some important nuggets of hard earned wisdom from these entrepreneurs. By staying away from the usual suspects of hi-tech Mitra manages to shed light on some interesting business segments from vertical ad networks, to business TV providers, international social networks and blogging.

The book is well written and Mitra is a great interviewer and writer. Her insights and questions lead to frank and perceptive answers from these entrepreneurs. There is a lot to learn for would-be start-ups. She also peppers the book with her advice to Obama on how to help revive this economy through supporting entrepreneurs and innovators. It is fun and easy to read and you will walk away with a deeper understanding of why boostrapping is the best way to finance your start-up and hopefully turnaround our economy.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube

The Designful Company: How to build a culture of nonstop innovation
The Designful Company: How to build a culture of nonstop innovation
by Marty Neumeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.39
87 used & new from $1.38

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book infused with Design, Insight and Creativity; as will your company, March 19, 2009
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Marty Neumier's latest book is another in his series of `Whiteboard Overview' books; books that can be read on an airplane. He uses his design background and his ability to convey important ideas succinctly to provide you a short burst of creativity and knowledge. His Whiteboard overviews are fun, easily read and convey interesting and thought provoking ideas. I have been a fan of Neumier for a number of years now since I picked up his book `Zag' for a flight to London. His understanding of brands, marketing, design and innovation allow him to present fresh ideas in his innovative book format.
The Designful Company is his latest book and it doesn't disappoint. He tackles how to make your company's culture more innovative by leveraging `creative collaboration'. The first part of the book lays out very quickly the case for infusing `designful' thinking into your company and why it's important. The rest of the book is a practical methodology, a series of 16 levers, for how to actually achieve this.
It is a quick and fun read and you will come away from it with the tools of to how to implement a culture of design in your company.
Neumier's books remind me a lot of Tom Peters' books (i.e. Circle of Innovation); they are part motivation and part practical tools.
I highly recommend `The Designful Company' as someone that has been helping companies build innovative cultures for a number of years I can testify that he has laid out a practical framework for achieving this.

Kes Sampanthar
Director of Innovation MetaMemes
Inventor of ThinkCube

The Invention of Air
The Invention of Air
by Steven Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
117 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invention is in the Air, March 3, 2009
This review is from: The Invention of Air (Hardcover)
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Steven Johnson's latest book; The Invention of Air; is in a similar vein to his other books and is really a story of ideas; their inception, development and spread. The Invention of Air focuses on Joseph Priestley, a British scientist, theologian and political activist. He is probably unfamiliar to most in the US, but is well known in the UK. Johnson explores the intellectual landscape at the time of the `age of enlightenment' through the story of Joseph Priestley, who is intimately involved in the birth of science, the birth of America and tangentially but equally impactful, the religious upheavals of the times. These three fairly separate domains; religion, science and politics; collide in the 18th century and Priestley manages to be in the center of all the action.

Johnson has a eye for a great scientific/intellectual story; and the `Invention of Air'; similar to the `Ghost Map' about medicine, `Emergence' about self organizing systems and `Mind Wide Open ` about neuroscience; is a great story about an important period. Science, religion and politics all go through seismic paradigm shifts and through Joseph Priestly he has found a unique angle to tell the story.

Johnson is a great writer and his books are well-written, easy to read and page turning stories. Not an easy feat with the intellectual disciplines he explores. For fans of Steven Johnson, `The Invention of Air' will not disappoint. For those new to him, I would highly recommend this as a good place to start. If you like ideas and innovation you will love Steven Johnson's books, and I strongly suggest you go back and read all of them.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube

Healthy Infusions by Wahl Pro Straightener, 1 1/4"
Healthy Infusions by Wahl Pro Straightener, 1 1/4"

4.0 out of 5 stars A Straightener with New Features, December 18, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
[This review is written based on feedback from my wife that uses flat irons regularly]

Healthy Infusions - Wahl Pro Straightener is a nicely designed straightener with some interesting new features that aren't common.

- Conditioning Strip - seemed like a nice feature since it applies conditioner as you straighten your hair, but my wife preferred to remove the strip.
- Removable Comb - this was another attachment on the opposite side of the conditioning strip. This worked well and was useful
- LCD Display - the temperature display with the temperature setting was a really nice feature!
- 60 minute shut off was also a nice touch. Very useful safety measure for those in a rush.

Overall the Straightener is one of the better straighteners on the market and the additional features were very useful and give the Wahl Pro an edge of its competitors.

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