Saturday, July 20, 2013

F?@K Knows by Shailendra Singh

F?@K KNOWS by Shailendra Singh (2013), Rupa, p 234

Last month I was reading a business magazine and found this book reviewed.  First the title caught my attention and as I read the brief review. I got inclined to buy this title and read it. So that's how I got this book. I knew about Percept and its foray into advertising and people management. I admired this company and gave its example many times to my students in the class. But I did not know Shailendra Singh as a person.   

After having gone through this book, I can really admire the individual as well for his guts and grain to have penned down his experiences and the journey so wisely traveled. Many of the lessons are quite similar to my personal growth as more or less we belong to same generation, which has witnessed the growth (economic) of India and the upsurge of organisations resulting in huge shift in work behaviour of people involved in managing the resources of the organisation.

Jack Welch's Straight from the Gut taught four key lessons, It's nice to be small, however big you become, it's all about people, boundaryless organisations, efficiency over quality. I somehow learnt these lessons through this very unconventional and crude title F?@k Knows. Personally I have strong belief in what Shailendra mentions - Journey is more important than the destination. We need to focus on journey and enjoy every bit of it and rest assured you are going to go places, you are going to reach to a perfect destination. If one is destination driven, one misses on enjoying the journey. I have been sharing my views on happiness at many formal as well as informal fora and in that sequence this title adds some more value to my learning so I have something more to share with the defense of F?@k Knows. Interestingly this book seems to be the target of the the author and as he mentions at many places in the book, he has been wanting to write the book.  I wonder was it his ambition or he wanted to honestly motivate people through his life lessons.

I really liked two of his chapters which directly focus on having opposing view on Robin Sharma, as Shailendra suggests, one does not need to sell one's ferrari in order to lead a happy life (the monk who sold his ferrari) and I'd rather have them laugh with me while I'm alive, than cry for me when I die (who will cry when you die). The logic is convincing. It shows the originality in this title as one flips through chapters after chapters, though the author suggests that one should read one chapter at one time.  

The family wisdom that he conveys through his relationship with his father, brother, wife and mother makes the book quite grasping and honest. I am sure many of us also find ourselves somewhere in the book, though he keeps addressing the younger generation at many places in the book. The language is crude at times and gives a very different feel (may be that is what Shailendra is known for, so his original style), yet I think it makes sense as it is coming through the heart of the author and at that he scores points for being blunt and bizarre in some chapters.

It makes a good read and I assure, though it may not have a capacity to become a bestseller, it would not disappoint the reader. Time spent on reading this book is worth and it does teach many things in simple and practical way. Thanks Shailendra for having shared your journey.

>>>Some Lessons<<<
Make a 'to do' list
Enjoy every bit of life
Stop thinking, start doing
Give 100 percent
There is nothing which is right, or which is wrong
Being wealthy rather than being Rich
Being Healthy rather than being fit
Replace 'have to' with 'want to'
Smile increases your face value
Your body is your temple

Friday, July 19, 2013

Impatient Optimist - Bill Gates in his own words

IMPATIENT OPTIMIST: BILL GATES IN HIS OWN WORDS (2012) edited by Lisa Rogak, Collins Business - an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, India, p 184

While I was in Hongkong attending a conference few years back, I planned to visit IFC mall with some of the friends. A big board displayed in the mall read as - Whoever said money cant buy you happiness, did not know where to go shopping. I always believed that Happiness can never be bought with money.  Thoroughly convinced about Easterlin Paradox on Money and Happiness. However when I read about Bill Gates and went through the collection of his quotes by Lisa Rogak, I started believing, yes one does buy happiness with money. There is a person who is proving this.  And that person is Bill Gates. Having tasted the money, which is sweeter than honey, he has reached to a level where the fifth position of Maslow's need hierarchy in the form of self-actualisation is achieved through the good deeds of charity and looking at the projects contributing to the welfare of society for different causes. He seems to be enjoying and really feeling happy through making others happy. A classic case of teaching the whole world The Art of Giving. Apart from money one requires a big heart to think like that. And that is where Bill Gates shows his concern and commitment. I am sure he would be remembered by many generations later, may be even after 300-400 years to have contributed to the eradication of HIV AIDS, eradication of many such cancerous diseases and to have respected human lives.

This book is a collection of statements made by Bill Gates throughout his career. The collection of the statements by Lisa is really remarkable and they are not really put in chronological order, rather she has chosen theme based alphabetical order which makes it easier to the reader to find related statement. If one has not read the biography of Bill Gates, after going through this book, much of his life become clear and in that effort Lisa really deserves appreciation. After reading the whole book I felt as if I read a story about a great person, about a person who dropped from his college, went on to take risk through his entrepreneurial venture, and after achieving greater heights in life through developing excellent products and creating blue oceans, comes back to his college and collects the degree (honoris causa). The journey of this great person is portrayed through the words borrowed from many of his speeches, few books and write ups. I really liked the milestones section very much where the chronologically his achievements are reported.

It really makes a good book for collection and reference for students to whom he really inspires through his deeds. It makes a good as well as a simple read. Really the title is very catching, impatient optimist, who does not want to be one. However if one is looking for some serious stuff on Bill Gates, one can very well ignore this title.
I think short of the transporter, most things you see in science fiction are, in the next decade, the kinds of things you'll see. The virtual presence, the virtual worlds that both represent what's going on in the real world and represent whatever people are interested in.  This movement in space as a way of interacting with the machine.  I think the deep investments that have been made at the research level will pay off with these things in the next ten years.
 -D5: All Things Digital Conference, 30 May 2007. (Impatient Optimist: p. 57)