Category Archives: Management

Anywhere But Home by Anu Vaidyanathan – a book review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • ISBN: 9789351775249, 9351775240
  • Edition: 2016

This is one book for anyone who is into running the Marathon as a hobby and then there is some serious stuff if you ask me beyond that. The basic premise about the Marathon and the attitude and the practice that makes it perfect is all there with wit and a narrative that will be so light on you as you read the book.

As for me the book is a narrative in inspiration of can do and must do and how you overcome the odds that present itself when you want to do it. It’s an inspirational first person account of how you should go about things in your pursuit of your goal, not necessarily the one – the marathon or the Ultra Marathon that the author does it as the first Asian woman to finish the race.

When you do things you love, everything gets relegated and especially your weaknesses and then there you are running and fighting it out. The result will make you wonder how did you do it and that’s the best part of the whole training and marching all the way to the goal.

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to complete Ultraman Canada: a punishing 10-kilometre swim, a 420-kilometre bike ride and an 84.4-kilometre run. She placed sixth. Which is breath-taking. But what is your typical good Indian girl, super-nerd doing at the Ultraman?

This book is also a go to guide for the best Marathon that you may want to run the world over. There are experiences from Canada to New Zealand to US of A. Infact there are stories that will teach you to be a good negotiator, be spend thrift and also gives you ample access to what you can expect at these marathon races.

This first person account will help you get off your seat and try some real active life and can work wonders that way. May be its not the Ultraman but yes go kick yourself to be a part of the Marathon or a Half Marathon happening across the country. Make it a habit and I am sure it can be addictive as the author says.

Pick your copies here at Flipkart / Amazon 

India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan Book Review

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Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications India (14 February 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8129145219
ISBN-13: 978-8129145215
Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm

From the blurb

Sreedharan’s expertise and foresight on behalf of those not as richly blessed as he ensured that political will was converted into a multipurpose railway project. The Chithoni railway link bridge was completed eleven weeks ahead of schedule and proved to be helpful to one and all.

Two key railway projects changed the way India travels by train the 760-km stretch of Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro. Both the projects were up and running in seven years flat and the man in charge was Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as the Railway Man. He has been hailed as the messiah of new-age infrastructure projects and his success stories have become railway engineering benchmark

Respected, loved and equally hated, this book covers the amazing story of one man – his perseverance, beliefs and public and private battles. India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan is a tribute to this extraordinary man.

My Review!

I was doubly delighted when Team Rupa sent me this book, on a personal level he is an icon par excellence especially when I learnt all the stupendous and excellent work he did was after his retirement

Indian Railways owes as much to this man as much as to the British for the first rail network. The first of its kind from the horses mouth and the diligently narrated biography is a breeze to read and its a journey in itself. I took upon myself to make sure I read this book only during train travel. The Coimbatore to Shoranur and back become a habit after my marriage and it has indeed opened up a new perspective to see Indian Railways in a new light

So the other day I took the Sabari Express back to Coimbatore and I had a few of retired and working railway staff to discuss Dr. Shridharan. They were in awe and held him in a pedestal equivalent of God. Someone said he had seen him working close during a visit and his engineering talent was exceptional

The best part is that he is still that down to earth person who goes to the Kochi Metro camp office and still commands the aura that only Dr Shreedharan is worthy of

Right from the Rameshwaram Bridge to the Konkan Railway to the Delhi Metro, he had left an indelible mark in the history and geography of the country. It was awesome to read how he rallied the teammates and how he is one of the most responsible man ever

The classic act of resignation for the Delhi Metro accident and his resignation ( which was not accepted) makes him a Karma Yogi of all times. You need to read these the Guru Shishya relationship and the way he negotiated for Railways and for the future to be the best, Dr Shreedharan will be a case study in all these aspects of management especially when it comes to project management and execution

Its a wonderful read and the author has taken pains to list out some of the bibliography and its vast, I was astonished to see his daily routine and was feeling so bad that at my age I wasn’t even doing 10% of what Dr Shreedharan is doing now

An inspirational study of the man and his strengths and weakness (that I don’t see them as one) will make you get up and go work and get things done

And as he celebrated his birthday yesterday 12th June, I am dedicating this to his feet, with love and salutations

Do pick up a copy here : https://www.amazon.in/Indias-Railway-Man-Biography-Sreedharan-ebook/dp/B01N5SASVW

Senthilkumar R

The Rich Labourer – Parthajeet Sarma & Sibani Sarma – a book review

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At the outset let me thank the personalised message from the authors with the copy of the book. Except that I have not been able to rewrite this review, unfortunately because I lost out a folder of files.

So here we have a set of management objectives and how that is being implemented to suit the person who is handling it. This is very much a new kind of project management with an insight into how people and process will make things happen.

Its a very open discussion rather than a book according to me. The authors have taken themselves to identify an approach to understand issues and get solutions across with people  and organisations issues. You can easily relate to your workplace the kind of setting the kind of people and the kind of process that we come across.

I feel this is a learn and do book and you will experience that if you start putting those theories into practice in every walk of life. Use the 3P method, Probe, Ponder and Prove!

The best is it has been designed with design thinking process and that means a lot of work has gone into the book on ground and thus a manifestation of those insights  is now in the pages of this book.

One feedback perhaps would be to have an activity page under each of those workable chapter that can be for self assessment making it a very practicable book.

A very easy to read and assimilate format, language that is simple makes this a great buy and that makes it easy for everyone to implement those things that are discussed in the book.

Look forward to many more titles from the author duo and wishing them all the very best in the writing of the next title.

You can buy a copy here at Amazon

This book review is a part of “The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program”. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com. Thanks to Nimi Vashi for the opportunity to review such a nice book! Also apologies on the delay of the review.

Senthil

The Calling – Unleash Your True Self By Priya Kumar a book review

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  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Books That Inspire; 1St Edition edition (2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 935258970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9352589708

At the outset let me thank the author and her team for a very personal way that they sent the book. Yeah that beautiful mug too.

Ever since that I have been following her on twitter and other social media, its has been a great way of looking at her work.

Here let’s look at the book The Calling – Unleash Your True Self, her latest one in print, I am sure she is working on the next, the cover design was a give-away on that.

In everyone’s life there is a purpose and we live half our life not knowing if we are working towards that or if we even think about it. This book will reveal that there is a calling everyone needs to heed. The one calling that will make all the difference and gives you meaning in life. The story of Arjun a corporate honcho who comes across some surprises and ends up doing a trek to Hemakund.

Along the way he gets answers to some of the most perenially thought of pretenses that we have acquired for ourselves. Confusions that we were thinking as clear answers simply because we want to assure ourselves that everything is fine.

Even the so called meditation that we know has a different connotation at that height, if I may put it that way. The heights of the mountains are in a way an ideal to suggest that meaning might differ and you might get to know something that you always thought you know.

The best part is we want to escape from this mundane existance of family for some, career for some and literally run away from all this and expect answers to be what we are and find out the real us.

Quite often till the time we come across those moments of calling all those activities that are tagged spiritual have a totally different meaning and perspectives. Those moments come unasked and unexpected and thats the beauty of this.

The characterisation of Arjun, then Chandu and the sadhu all make for a nice reading and well to get the most of the book I think it should be read and digested and made notes of.

The author has a way with words and its quite straight to the reader and that makes this book easy and relatable to everyone at first instance. We probably don’t know what & how things will be, but if we know the true calling I am sure that will have a bearing on the way we look at this world, the way we interact and they way we live our lives.

We are all Arjuns except that we are in a different role professionally / personally but then the Calling is there for everyone of us.

A great read! You can buy the book here at Amazon or Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

PS: Thanks to the author Priya Kumar for this opportunity and for that wonderful personal message of yours in the book. Feeling happy and that mug will sure serve the message time and again.

One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat #bookreview

One Indian Girl

You got to give it to Chetan, for once there is a semblance of the characters and not much melodrama which we found in his earlier works or atleast thats what I thought so. To be fair I have read all his works even the non fiction he wrote. His work as a screenplay writer is very much in display as much as he has worked on the characters.

The story is that of Radhika who is working in a financial MNC and is rising up the ladder and ofcourse in those times of her life going from the Indianess to being the global woman that she becomes, this is a story which is narrated in the first person.

I loved the character and its doesnt seem like Radhika is a girl in the way she approaches life and also makes it liek she is living her life on her own terms. I am sure there are many Radhikas in here and probably you do know some.

The story is a well knit one, you dont have to keep tab. It opens in Goa and ends in Goa in a matter of some 48 hours and the past sprikled in measures and doesnt take much time to finish it. I finished it in one go over six hours. You don’t have to probably think about what is ahead sometimes its so predictable.

One thing which is presented well is the feminist approach and the author takes a middle path when the character in Brijesh who is supposed to marry Radhika says its more good to be human first.

I think the author has taken pains to define the feminist in the protagonist which I think was unnecessary. So too are the explicit scenes of love making which ideally could have been avoided. It looked like it has been planted.

On the other side I also wonder how a male feels when he is ditched, thats for another day.

But like I said this is a nice presentation and going by Chetan’s way of teaching English in his conversational style this is a nice book to read.

A fast paced love story gone wrong in the corporate corridors and a great deal on woman’s perspective of how she thinks and feels. I would give it a 3.5 stars on 5.

The characterisation of all the players in this book are worthwhile and you can easily relate to some characters you have come across.

Senthilkumar

Faster, Smarter, Higher – Managing your career by Utkarsh Rai Book Review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129137500, 812913750X
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 199

A career crisis is a phase everyone goes through at some point in time of their life. The earlier one gets it, it makes you better to anticipate somethings for yourself. In this book the author Utkarsh Rai takes us through some of the most mind boggling times when we should have had the real experience of being faster, smarter and think higher.

The author has made the book into 8 parts and each one is a testament on how you can manage different sets of values and sometimes people.

  1. Managing Self
  2. Managing your Manager
  3. Managing your Team
  4. Managing your Peers
  5. Managing your Managers Boss
  6. Managing Managers Peers
  7. Managing Others
  8. Managing the Acrobatics of the future.

The book provides ample insights in giving us the solutions in the form of What can you do? Quite often it’s this question that needs to be answered and that’s how it is done.

The book quotes extensively from the experience and situations which we may come across and this holds very true in case of people to people interaction we may come across in the daily routine.

I think this is an encapsulation in a very fine format which young budding managers need to learn a bit especially about managing their managers and their peers, this I think is a very new way to look at the career prospects and the people influencing the same.

The quotes which accompany the chapters are very thought provoking and mostly application driven and has the ability to propel you to achieve what you want in your career. In hindsight when I look back I feel things could have been different if I had read something like this before early in my career and it could have really made a difference.

I think this book is a go to guide for you whenever you need to go back and check and how you need to work on the situations that you come across. It’s more about people and how we manage them to get the best out of them.

It’s a fast read in a sense but will hold your thoughts for a while and sometimes you might take time to digest and flip through to the next page.

Another aspect is the simple straight talking language that is akin to speaking straight to you, making you comfortable and talking to you in a way that makes it easy to understand and help ourselves.

Pick this book and this will be an immense help for yourself and will turn to be a go to guide for times to come.

This review is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review program. To pick up your copy of this book just click here

Senthilkumar

The search for Indias Most Loved CEO

CEO

CEOs are of different varieties and what better way to recognise them than with a apt title of the India’s Most Loved CEO! There is a sense of excitement and a sense of pride when you see him across the table. A role model refined in a way that you always try to emulate him. All that and more happens. But now it’s time to express those emotions and unleash your love/respect for the CEO in a way make it memorable for both of you. There’s a hunt now for India’s Most Loved CEO. And you just need to nominate your most loved CEO and with real reasons ofcourse why you consider him or why your organisation considers him as the Most Loved one!

But hey wait am clueless as much as you are who this is going to be. Again who is the one, who gets to be the Most loved CEO. Answers to these questions will be there at http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/

So it’s time to log in http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ and guess who is India’s most loved CEO. Lot of prizes await you, you could end up with a Moto G or Flipkart vouchers. Just not only that you could be featured on the website – your moment of fame beckons you.

That man in shining armour at the most important time in your life! That could be the best description of the most loved CEO. Now time to spread the word and participate in the process as they unveil them in a few days to go. You could share a bit on your CEO so the world joins in celebrating him.

On the other side am anxious, as much as you are to know how he is going to be selected and will that be a poll or nominations and more. It’s time to watch out and wait for the curtain to go up in 4 days and find out who is India’s Most Loved CEO.

Now what are you waiting go check out and see who is the one and only #IndiasmostlovedCEO…

As for nominations it’s not just the CEO that every company has, he is the CEO in real sense! Time now to go guess who that is!!!

Senthilkumar

Can there be India’s most loved CEO ????

indiasmostlovedceoThe word CEO evokes a myriad of emotions for me, and there is pretty good reasons for the same. And when there’s a contest for IndiasmostlovedCEO, it makes for some real action both online and offline, to get the drift continue reading.

CEO make or break things for an organisation, he is more than a leader, manager and sometimes a friend rolled into one. I know you must have felt that right. And personally there are many people who have had a role in making me understand who is a CEO and what is he made of? There were some who taught me, some who directed me and some compassionate ones, you get a mix of all. There are impacts and there are just small overtures in dealing with people.

But then we need to ask can we ever have a contest, and if there is one how do we decide who’s the most loved one at that!

Who could be the most loved CEO ever? Everyone has different answers and can those thoughts meet and could we have someone rock the place as the #IndiasMostLovedCEO. This brings to mind lot of names, suggestion in particular like that of NR Narayanamurthy or APJ Abdul Kalam.

I have had a CEO who blazed a racing track, no guesses though. There are times when you can talk to him and get an answer for some question you thought don’t have answers! It’s like he has answers for everything!

So would your CEO qualify for the best or the most loved one? Would you be nominating the person who made a difference in your life and how exactly are they going to be ranked or chosen. This is for real and I just can’t wait to see that unravel as we go in the days to come…

Sometime I do feel if there could be most loved CEO. That’s an irony if he is able to keep folks happy and the board members happy, but could that be possible, may be yes or no.

As we debate this, lets check this out and see for yourself how CEOs have shaped careers, personal lives and destiny of a lot of people. Go straight here http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ Check out and join in the race, nominate your CEO, and chances are you will be walking away with goodies and more importantly you would be noticed by your most loved CEO.

Senthilkumar

Ancient Chants for Modern Living by Aatmanika Ram #bookreview

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Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152602
Number of Pages 168 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152603
Binding Paperback

These are fast times and when you have ancient and modern in one single sentence you have a challenge. Here in this book Ancient Chants for Modern Living the author Aatmanika Ram takes us through a thoroughly and easy to digest research of Sholkas of the Ancient times and how we can leverage the same in modern day.

Personally for me, it was a memory down the lane, esp of the shlokas the ‘sahanavavathu’ as we chanted them at the start of every class in school, to the ‘thrayambagam yajamahe’ whenever we had someone have health issues.

It is to the credit of the author that she has deftly wielded the subject with finesse and clearly marked them as topics that would have an immediate connect with the readers.

The shlokas are from the ancient texts to the C Rajagopalachari’s Kurai Ondrum illai, all that have an impact even just by listening and the experience is elevated by having them chanted with proper pronunciation and at the right times.

You also have the yoga postures that you could add to your way of life to maximise the impact of these chants. The suggestion on the audio or video makes for a practical aspect of the book, but I think as a suggestion those should have been added as a reference in the chapters for the readers so it’s easy to follow. You never know our modern habits of skipping things for want of time.

These experiences as I see it has to be tested by individuals by following it very diligently so that they have a real healing effect, since these are always about the faith and the result will be there for all to see.

The challenge of the book is in its ability to cover a wide range of issues and presenting it succinctly, since I am sure the vastness of the ancient text given to its interpretations and commentaries are so huge. A great attempt has actually crystallised into a nice readable form and presented in a manner that its easy to read and easy to implement.

The temple visits could also be generalised since the same form of the God and Godesses are present across the terrain of our country though I am sure those mentioned will have more of spiritual benefit too.

A very concise presentation in what is supposed to be a big set of texts and easy to digest form, the chants should work magic in whatever endeavour you are trying to master or get in.

All in all a nice effort to introduce the importance of chants and the purpose led definitions for the common man who otherwise would be just looking at it from a third man’s perspective as an alien Sanskrit shloka.

For starters this is a very inspiring book that has the magic of healing in truest sense.

Senthilkumar

The 5th P of Electoral Marketing

Superstar Rajinikanth addresses after casting his vote during the South Indian Artists Association’s SIAA Election in

Let me admit this, this post has been long overdue, and procrastination has had an undue effect on this and I thought what better topic than the voter as a consumer. This is the season of election where I am living and my neighbouring state of Kerala.

My professional assignments have taken me to see how the political parties see these voters as consumers and fool them into buying their promise and come up trumps.

So I went back to see how these have evolved in the last few years and how one last election has changed the landscape to a different plane of activity as far as election is concerned.

How do you actually define your consumer. Work backwards, that might be the philosophy.

A party looks at the voter as a consumer. And the best part is the market or the target that it is all about. The product here is a 5-year government that is being sold to a very heterogeneous set of population.

The parties used to profile the market and differentiate in their own way not until the matrix of social studies came into play.

The matrix of 4Ps in play in elections is quite evident from the way they start announcing the candidates. Price, Place, Packaging and Promotion.

First P : Price
The Price here refers to the amount the candidate is willing to pay for the Party quite easily becomes the preference which they think can make up for the rest of the next three Ps. Quite obviously, this took a different dimension in Tirumangalam in Tamilnadu where each voter was given a price say ranging between 1000 – 2000 rupees to cast his vote in favour of a party. This was significant because it was also a bye election. This later came to be known as Tirumangalam Formula and was widely used by the opposition and won elections handsomely.
So what’s a little few crores when you can earn as much and more when you get to power in the next five years.

Second P : Place
The next P is the Place, its actually a suggestion by the Electin commission that makes it a reserved category seat in some cases. But otherwise the candidate needs to be a local. The national Parties are very strict about this sometimes, they believe the son of the soil card can be played to the advantage. So clearly in Kerala when Sreeshant was announced a candidate the opposition which no real issues picked on him as an outsider.

The Place factor also can be historical, say the DMK Stalwart contests from his hometown a bit of psychology and emotional appeal as if the constituency is going to be changed to a capital anytime soon. Mind you need to fool all the people only for that few days when the electoral code is in force.

Third P : Packaging
Let’s move to Packaging, what’s a product without the real deal – packaging, the inherent psyche of the consumer is that however good the product may be it is enhanced to the next level with some packaging and we see how important it is when it comes to FMCGs, I would rank the votes under the same category except that its once in five years.
The Packaging these days have now come to be done by professionals who can crunch data for you and give you a presentation that will floor you down and make it look like a book titled how to win elections by engineering a social divide across caste, community and religion. Again the closest the parties come to is the packaging of the castes, communal and religious overtones in subtle and sublime way that people think its ok for us to be hoodwinked and a sense of righteousness fills them when they are told that they belong to a clan of warriors or fighters or sometimes they will be known for their hard-line stance on caste or community lines.

Fourth P : Promotion
Now let’s talk about promotion. Those were days when you can actually do paid advertising but then today Election Commission thinks it’s got the rights to enforce at least some of the important statues and try to get an un influenced by media election. Of course you can discount the party owned and other media outlets, especially with reference to Tamil Nadu where I belong, I still wonder how Election Commission will be able to ideally have them accounted as a cost.

The last Parliament election made Social Media the darling of every party and the way Narendra Modi used it apart from his whirlwind tours made it an important instrument in his victory.

So we have digital making a great impact and there are different patterns appearing even Meme’s making it to the forefront. Whatsapp, Facebook, twitter are all used extensively to create touch points for communication. Ofcourse there are apps too which are making it happens. The digital with its targeting is making it a wonderful instrument. Even SMSes are being used across.

Fifth P : No guesses Its Prashanth Kishore
Now the post 2014 has given birth to a new P. It’s called Prashanth Kishore and that P has been able to make waves after Mission 2014 Its been easy till now with the Bihar elections in his bag The 5th P in election marketing is on a roll. Time will decide how it will fare in the near future.

The winner needs to get these 4Ps together in appropriate measure according to the place he is working on the ground. Not to forget the 5th P.

Urban has a social media edge meanwhile rural has the other side of offline marketing which also includes bribing with liquor, biriyani and money.

Now you might be asking me what will the consumer here aka the voter get. He gets to be laughed at for another 5 years. :P

Now in case you are any of the state are in election mode and reading hope you did your sacred duty of voting!

Senthilkumar

PS: Incase you are asking me about the Picture its about an election but yeah nothing to do with the article, as much as citizens plight for the next five years