April 3, 2018 2:26 pm

Book Review: When: Perfect timing for everything?


I must admit, This is the very first book I read within 5 days. I just couldn’t keep the book41z0sxekubl-_sx329_bo1204203200_ down. A great book to read and refresh some of the forgotten thoughts and lessons. Yes, several of the tips and concepts explained in this book made me recall what my dad used to tell me in my childhood. What is fascinating to me is, the studies years after have revealed some of these concepts.  This book is insightful, factual, and surprising at some areas when your understanding might be opposite compared to the research data among the masses.

If you don’t know of Author Daniel Pink – I would recommend you watch this Video about DRIVE – What motivates individuals –  https://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc. I have also read his book “DRIVE” before.

With this background of the Author’s work I had, I enjoyed reading “WHEN” cover-to-cover. “Timing is Everything!” was what I thought. As Author repeats at the summary towards the end, that I realized  – “Everything happens is Timing!”  True, it is. What helped me read this book within 5 days even out of busy schedule was part of 2 things. (A) Set myself a goal to read within a week (B) An external factor, that I had to return this book back to the Library within 2 weeks. At times, borrowing books helps you keep that self-accountability and motivation to read instead of procrastinating for years. Again – “Timing” ! Now that I have read this book, I will add a copy for my home library.

This book is structured in 3 parts, in a way.  Beginnings, Mid points and Endings, Plus the Intro and summary on either end. I tried to implement the concept along the way around the areas of Beginnings, Midpoints and the Endings.

If you don’t have time to read the entire book, I would recommend to read at least the “Hacker’s Handbook” sections at the end of each chapter. They have good takeaways you wouldn’t want to miss.

If you are a research and analytical kind of person, you will enjoy seeing the comparisons and numbers of the culmination of umpteen number of surveys and analysis.  Some examples include – Average time that people wake up or/and sleep, average age people feel the peak and drop of their career, Times the schools must start, average age kids that like being early risers or the night owls, Time of the day that works best for Math and English tests at schools, the kind of students fair well depending on the time of the tests, and so on and so forth.

I felt some disconnects or at least I got distracted when I saw some mix hypothesis made at several areas in this book. Yes, those were the survey results, but at the same time some concepts were shared again as counter observations. Both the evidences were placed leaving readers to make a choice instead of book providing a recommended approach. In a way, I think it was probably a good intent to let people to figure out what works best for us given this new set of observations of 2 extremes. So for those analytical thinkers, it is a good exercise to connect the dots between the studies and get the gist of those.

Such survey results are gathered into these categories listed above – Beginnings, Midpoints and Endings. The School context blew me away to take me back into my school days, relate these into my Kids’ routine, what liked the best and worst and so on.

Have you heard of Mumbai Dabbawaala story ? It has been depicted to an extent highlighting the Leadership, flawless execution, Project management, and emotional touch points, Synchronization, Customer Service in the busy hours of Mumbai communities.  This service has been on for over 120 years. They deliver over 200,000 lunch boxes every morning and deliver them back to their respective households. They commute on Trains and Bicycles for this daily routine.  If you would like to take a quick glance of Mumbai Dabbawala story – see here: https://youtu.be/yjqZhJfKses


This TEDx talk gives some testimonials of this service. https://youtu.be/N25inoCea24


Overall, I immensely recommend reading this book “WHEN” for 2 reasons:

  1. Understand some basic concepts , forgotten concepts and refresh to regain your productivity with a better perspective.
  2. Share what you have learned with others for having the community (work place, team work, family life, etc) in synchronization of thought process.

Happy Reading,


May 27, 2016 3:08 pm

Book review: Mindset – Psychology of Success

MindsetI am currently reading this beautiful book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, a psychology professor from Stanford University.  It is one of the great books I have read so far, from interpersonal awareness point of view. Being aware of “Fixed” and “Growth” mindset characteristics and the thought process that we cultivate are much imperative for building better relationship, better businesses and better teacher/student relationship overall. Author gives plenty of examples to get better understanding of what “Fixed” mindset is and what “Growth” mindset is. In an essence we all have both the traits in us, and we may use them to the context. We may also crossover these mindsets at times , in our circumstances.


It is great to see numerous examples in several categories from Kids/parents to School/Teachers to corporate culture, businesses and Leadership, sports – essentially all walks of life and roles. Essentially my understanding and key takeaways reading this book, goes towards two aspects –
(a) the thought process or the mindsets that we inherently come with or put an effort to change our behavior and thought process over a period of time and over different circumstances,
(b) Communication, being a bottom line, is a root cause and remedy for every kind of relationship hassles – be it with any type of relationships – kids, schools, businesses, home, sports, work teams, etc.

What is cool over all of this book is the last chapter, as a workshop of how to change mindsets. Plenty of pointers and notes would help refresh and work on those areas.

Though I am still reading parts of this book – what I like is , as you read along the book , you would relate those scenarios to your own circumstances and apply these observations as appropriate.

Our School system and parenting is an epitome of  nurturing “Fixed” mindset in children. We praise kids for their grades (“what”) but seldom for their approach to achieving the grades (“How”). The action re-iterates over and over so they get bogged down with getting scores as their target, and most often than not, the lessons learned are short lived. However, if the kids were to keep their lessons for life, they should be kept focused on the “How” part than the intended outcome. In other words, we train children with “Fixed” mindset towards academics for the most, but seldom for their life (“Growth” mindset).

One of the powerful quotes from the book – “”We are not looking to crown a few princes, we need to work as a team” – Lou Gerstner, IBM”. Author has taken 3 key CEOs in the history coming from “Fixed” mindset taking the company to a newest height and declining at the same rate , and from “Growth” mindset steadily taking the companies to the greater heights at the same time empowering their employees, instilling the similar Growth mindset teamwork in them. There are plentiful references to Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” and “Build to Last”.

Here isMindset Book review1 a little part of my notes from this book for the extent I have read so far.




Hope you will take time to get hold of this book and read it for yourself, apply the concepts and share with others.


June 29, 2009 8:47 pm

Review: Th!nkTweet

Filed under: Books,Review — ramsblog @ 8:47 pm
Tags: ,

As I had commented on Rajesh’s blog before, Rajesh had probably started a similar concept even prior to Twitter came into existence in the form of mini-Sagas; however Rajesh clarifies that the frequency and speed of feedback is much faster in Twitter where twitters tweet the tw(f)eedback tw(qu)icker for 140 letter thwoughts.

First, Thank you Rajesh for forwarding a copy of Th!nkTweet. I started reading your writings ever since I was directed to your Change This! manifesto “25 ways to distinguish” and started following your blog – all those mini-sagas, quoughts, etc and including your interviews on itsdiff.com

As I started making notes while reading this book, my thoughts wandered towards writing only appreciations or only critique it. When I think about my purpose of reviewing a material, it is not that only look for positives or look for only negatives, but i think,
1. as a reader and potentially author material in future, it helps me see how my writing will be perceived so I can self learn now
2. my mind certainly goes to the appreciations on this book and all the positive notes mentioned below.
3. and that said, wear critique’s hat and see what I can derive and learn from it
4. or apply few pointers from the book and share about my personal experience? I think this would fantastic if I share my day-today experience applying the concepts from the book, eventually that should be my goal too.

Overall, this is a great twincredible material a Must read and realize or sharpen the values and principles they live with. While writing this, I wondered if i keep my observation to 140characters or to 140 words:) , anyways here it is.

1. Th!nkTweet is a tw(f)antastic one liners every page sooo (tw)easy  to read – with large fonts and two messages a page
2. A great reference book to keep it handy and share the thoughts
3. Several of Th!nkTweets here, as the title go, makes you th(w)ink more and some are like goldmine and eye openers if one tries to understand and apply them in their life scenarios;
4. I certainly see author’s thoughts on “book in your heart” and gives the confidence for any one to be an author and bring out their experiences and share with others, so they can relate to the stories and learn from the stores.
5. It reminds me of the concept of 4 quadrants of feedback mechanism, where 4th quadrant is about reading books to understanding ourselves.

Certain points, I would see could be different: (I know it is easy to pass on the critiques than doing it, but I would still want to mention for my own notes)
1. from the way the tweets printed, I would like it to be a smaller pocket book so it could be handy, and I see a lot of paper space wasted. I am not sure if it was because of the standard book size or if it was something else.
2. Showing “Book 1” on the cover page indicates there will be further updates to it. I think it would be great to provide author’s future ideas around Th!nkTweet as it is now ambiguous that
                 a) will there be another part with more thinkTweets?
                 b) will there be another form of thinkTweet after this book?
3. Agreed for the tweets and feedback, without relating to twitter/tweets, I am trying to understand how different is this from the books we find with “Quotes of <name your favorite individual here>” is it a different name (ie., branding?)
4. From pages (slides?) by tweets 9, 28, 81, 101 and 134, I thought they would probably resemble chapters, but not necessarily, I am not sure if I found the relevance in the tweets of respective sections.

having said these, here is what I personally thought and how I am going to use these tweets (as appropriate)
1. several tweets that made me think on my current situation
2. some of them were really helped me realize my shortcomings so I could back on track.
3. I will use some of them to build my speech topics at the Toastmasters club I am part of 🙂
4. I will share about this book with possibly everyone I come across. I know it is a must read and keep it handy for reference.

I like the way you have set up Tweets on your site.

ps: these are just my personal observation – and i haven’t reviewed this write up before posting it here.

October 27, 2008 7:23 am

Not keeping up finishing reading yet…

Filed under: Books,Hobby — ramsblog @ 7:23 am

Looks like I have started reading too many books at a time recently and not been able to complete any. I know there are many people around being able to start many books and complete them. I don’t know if they are speed readers or they are good at managing their time so they are able to finish their reading sooner. I also often hear from time management perspective that it is better to complete one book before starting reading another. Well, It has been hard for me to do, although I have tried that for sometime and I had liked it, then, since I had a satisfaction that I had completed reading at least one book.

I am currently reading the following books:

1. Whale Done
2. Debugging the Development Process
3. Millionaire Meditation
4. Code Complete 2 – by Steve McConnell
5. Raving Fans

I have liked the “Whale Done” very much. It talks about the relationship management, although takes an example of training a killer whale, but is very relevant to the people management at work or at home.

Debugging the Development Process” is very insightful in terms of learning what we do right and the things we do wrong as part of the software development process. this is mainly about debugging the process itself than debugging the code. Debugging in software development terminology is to find the defects and the process of troubleshooting and fixing the defects in a given application. However, the same is used in terms of the development process itself. It also depicts the examples of how a lead without crisp goal can push the team into chaos situation.

Millionaire Meditation” is a great book where author Paul Farrel goes on to explain about how anything you do can be a meditation depending on how you do it. Love and enjoy what you do and incorporate that as part of the meditation process. It doesn’t have to be a sit at one place for hours to perform meditation. I like this idea.

Code Complete” Just started reading this book, and not too far yet to say anything about this book yet.

Raving Fans” is all about customer service and the people relationship management.


Readers: How do you keep up with reading books.
       Do you block off some time every day/night?
       Do you complete one before moving on to another book?
      What is your style of reading?
      Are you a speed reader?

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February 10, 2008 12:42 am

Book Review: Speed Reading for Professionals

Filed under: Books,Personal Development,Professional skills — ramsblog @ 12:42 am

(image source: amazon.com)

I recently borrowed this book titled "Speed-Reading for Professionals"  from the local library.  Reading initial few pages of introduction, I realized I belonged to one of those sample categories described in the book. Reading is my hobby, but at times I used to feel bad because a small 200 pages book that I borrow from the library would not be completed within the time and had either renew or return half read. On the other hand, my wife would read a book in one or two sitting. Although I am half way with this book, I am trying to implement the techniques described in the book, to read other books I have in hand.

Key Chapters this book covers:
    Understanding why we read slowly, How to change
    Learn to Jog, Not Walk, Through your Reading
    Learn to Run, Not Jog, Through your Reading
    Learn to Sprint, Not Run, Through your Reading
    Understanding and Remembering What you Read

This book is organized into read,implement, practice sections.
             Gives the information first; test run what was described on a sample passage; and suggests to read at least about 10 pages in any book of your choice to implement what was just learned. 
             There are a set of questions following those set of sample passages, for readers to assess their understanding from their short reading. Authors also suggest to go back and read the passage again, if there were questions remain unanswered.

The key point authors make before starting any of those practice passage/exercise is to not to get discouraged even if we lean towards slow reading at any point of time. Just realize the fact and move on with new habit. I am currently reading 5th chapter (sprint). Triple chunking (Left, middle, Right), one of the techniques, appears to be working great for me. I am timing my reading in the past couple of days, and it turns out to be close to 2 minutes for an average page of the same size that I used to take around 5 minutes. Although I think it is still slower, but I think it will get better.

Other Pros I noticed just doing this speed reading:
    a. tend to focus on reading content or at least try to pull myself back to the track, as opposed to having my mind wander around. I realized, letting my mind think about other ToDo’s.
    b. not literally read the words as if I am speaking the words – that used to slow me down before.

It is just a beginning. Looking forward to enjoy more and more reading 🙂

January 11, 2008 1:28 am

Head First Labs

Filed under: Books,Project Management — ramsblog @ 1:28 am

I stumbled on this site “Head First Labs” site while looking for Project Management resources. There are several sample chapters posted up on this site. One of those I just glanced through was about Risk Management: http://www.headfirstlabs.com/books/hfpmp/headfirst_pmp_ch11.pdf 

Authors have described the Risk management topic in easy to understand manner with lots of examples and pictorial representations. There are bunch of Q&A and exercises available as well.

December 25, 2007 1:46 am

Reinventing Project Management

Filed under: Books,Project Management — ramsblog @ 1:46 am

imagesource- bn.com

I am not sure why I had added this book on hold for me at my local library. However, just received and reading through the book. I noticed a review about this book on David’s Agile Management blog. Perhaps, I had added this on hold after reading David’s blog.

I have just started reading this book, I will write my summary when I get a chance after reading this book.


June 23, 2007 4:44 pm

one minute manager: Building teams

I am usually fascinated by One Minute Manager series – they are great books and thought provoking. I am also most influential to read the books authored by Ken Blanchard from my engineering school days. I am currently reading a book titled building high performance teams.

Characteristics of high performing teams: PERFORM –

  • Purpose
  • Empowerment
  • Relationaships and Communuication
  • Flexibility
  • Optimal Performance
  • Recognition and Appreciation
  • Morale

One other thing with reading One Minute manager books, is you would get into thinking and relate to your own situation as you read along the book. Now, that makes more interesting. Either makes you learn more or it helps you evaluate how you are doing in those situations or/and both to make more improvements.

I was just reading about Group Development Stages and I was thinking while evaluating the same – and figured our project team is somewhere closer to stage3. Now my thoughts are into how I can help make it to get to 3 first and then to 4 which I feel more empowered team.

4 stages of Group Development:

  1. Orientation
    1. follows one voice – and agree upon the goals –
    2. team gets the directions and leave with some accomplishment but there leaves an anxiety of what next and how to achieve
  2. Dissatisfaction
    1. some concerns and dissatisfactions;
    2. at times people be reserve and not speak up until asked for;
    3. leader encourages team to speak up and show dissatisfactions and concerns, to ensure people are on same page but still remain in the air;
    4. members are frustrated at times and feel confused. at least one individual being not comply with the rest of the team’s direction. etc.
  3. Resolution
    1. team lead is capable of resolving conflicts; team members are open for the conflict resolution;
    2. team members encourage one another 
    3. there is a warmth in the team on what their goals are and the execution plan;
    4. teams go out knowing what to do but gets into inidvidual effort and then try to combine the pieces of puzzle to make it a common goal
  4. Productive
    1. people take the leadership as and when appropriate;
    2. members take the responsibilities towards the common goal;
    3. generally not wait for someone to tell them what to do; team members are empowered to make decisions and take the solution alternatives to the table;homework being worked out fully thought about and discussed among teams and functional area resources. Team lead would jump in when there are any improvements or corrections required or if there was any direction necessary for the team; otherwise team members are empowered
    4. there is a lot of collaboration and respect each others’ values and perspectives.
    5. Team members are always excited.

 I am still half way reading through this book, and this seems be very informative…

<ram>corrected typo in title from “bulding” to “building” hehe…

November 16, 2006 9:09 am

Leaders are Givers…

Filed under: Books,leadership — ramsblog @ 9:09 am

I get excited when I come across people sharing about the books, or if I get to share about the books I read and I mostly read the books like perosnal development, leadership, finance and rarely science and no novels. As Rajesh puts it across, there are quite many books that take my undivided attention, and I hate to go away while reading the books I like. I like the model of Suggestica from my side, because, I mostly read the books that are recommended by the people I respect, by the people whom I would like to follow, etc.

Anyways, Rajesh has just shared about another leadership book on his blog recently.

October 28, 2006 4:53 am

SQ3R method

Filed under: Books,Personal Development,Uncategorized — ramsblog @ 4:53 am

I was reading one of the books recently and apparently started reading the introduction section. I usually don’t read the introduction or preface section, although I sometimes skim through the back page to see some comments written by others authors. I started doing this couple of years ago when I heard someone saying that we should be able to know what to expect from the book when we read other’s comments and how it helped them to make the comments they have made.

I think I am glad I started with an intro section this time. It was very crisp and concise on what to expect out of that book. Well, the author had also narrated the SQ3R reading method that got me excited for learning something more. I later on came across few more resources for SQ3R method [1][2][3].

SQ3R – Survey -Query – Read – Review – Recite.

Survey the document: scan the contents, introduction, chapter introductions and chapter summaries to pick up a shallow overview of the text. Form an opinion of whether it will be of any help. If it does not give you the information you want, discard it.

Query: Make a note of any questions on the subject that come to mind, or particularly interest you following your survey.

Read through useful sections in detail, taking care to understand all the points that are relevant. Mark or make notes while reading the material.  

Review: run through it in your mind several times.

Now Recite the material looking at the notes or try to answer your questions in your mind or on paper.

I think these 5 steps makes us better understand the material and read it to retain the information and not just for the sake of reading. I agree, i have some books but not really remember much of it at the same time there are few books I have read and can’t fort

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