Book Review – Sprint by Jake Knapp

sprintSprint subtitled Solve Big Problems and test new ideas in just five days promises to teach us a unique five day process for solving tough problems. The author writes that the technique has been tested at more than 100 companies. The book is coauthored by John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz ¬†of Google ventures, and what lends more credibility to the book is that the technique originated at Google and has been used to develop numerous products. Jake, the main author, did work at Google where he created the Google ventures sprint process and has run numerous sprints with various startups. Jake defines a sprint as, Google Venture’s five-day process for answering crucial questions through prototyping and testing ideas with customers.

All that sounds very laudable, but how useful is the book? Well, to start with it is a good looking book, printed to very high quality. It is also very well structured. The content is divided into seven parts, five of them labelled Monday to Friday corresponding with the five days a sprint should take. The book is written in simple English which makes the topic easy to understand and it uses interesting stories too. After reading the introduction which briefly covered a story about using the sprint to test a robot, not only did I understand how a sprint works, I was hooked on reading the book. So the answer to my earlier question is, ‘yes’, I think the book is useful. Following is my review of the various sections. Continue reading

Book Review – Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

talk-like-tedIf you are a fan of TED talks or at least you’ve listened to any of them, you will know that they present an array of speakers on different topics delivering short presentations usually no more than 18 minutes. Some of these presentations are brilliant and breathtaking, they keep you engaged throughout. In Talk Like TED, public speaking coach Carmine Gallo, analyses these brilliant TED presentations to uncover nine public speaking secrets. In fact the book is subtitled: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the Worlds Top Minds. In my opinion this is no ordinary book on presentation skills. Carmine definitely knows his trade and has spent a lot of hours going through 500 TED presentations, to prepare the material for this book. This is not the first time Carmine has pulled of such a feat. He previously wrote, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, which was an international best seller.

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Book Review – Teach Yourself to Think by Edward de Bono

Teach yourself to thinkEdward de Bono, in my opinion is one of those people who take focus to an extreme. He has focused on the subject of effective thinking for a long time and written over 62 books about it. No wonder he is considered to be an expert in the area of thinking. This book titled, Teach Yourself to Think, presents a five stage framework for thinking and how to put each stage to work. de Bono describes the book as a simple and practical guide for teaching ourselves to think. But reading it will require a degree of concentration because it has got 254 pages of content and requires the use of logical thinking as you read through it. Nonetheless it doesn’t contain any psychological jargon about how the brain works as you would expect from a book on thinking. Below I have briefly reviewed what you can expect to learn from each chapter. Continue reading

Ten Quotes from Successful Networking in 7 Simple Steps by Clare Dignall

7 stepsHere are some quotes from Successful Networking in 7 Simple Steps. You can also read a review of the book here.

  1. Simply put, networking is the process of meeting new people, and maintaining valuable contact with these people, to benefit both you and them.
  2. Surprisingly, it’s the people you know least that could be most useful to you.
  3. It’s generally believed that a person can only sustain around 150 meaningful social relationships; all those people you see on Facebook with 350+ friends don’t really have 350 lifelong buddies; they’ll have a few, the rest acquaintances.
  4. Networking relies mostly on your ability to listen and converse.
  5. Making social media work for, not against you, relies on having a strong awareness at all times of what you want people to see and what you don’t.
  6. Creating an online brand sounds complicated, but it isn’t: it’s simply the process of ensuring that what people can find about you online is consistent with, and underlines, the persona you’ve worked hard to develop face to face.
  7. When online, it’s safest to act as if you have paparazzi on your tail. Google doesn’t forget or keep secrets.
  8. Only choose events that may have valuable relevance to you, and work with your diary.
  9. It’s not rocket science to suggest that when meeting new people, it’s a good idea to look your best.
  10. If you want to feel confident and fully engaged in conversation, then it’s no surprise that the first thing you have to do is look confident and fully engaged.

Key Lesson From The One Thing – Focusing Question

One ThingHere is a key lesson from The ONE thing. You can read a review of the book here.The overall message in The One Thing is about focus, one of the key tools introduced in the book is the Focusing Question. The focusing question is a question you ask that helps you identify the one thing you need to focus on in a specific area of your life. It can relate to your personal life, business work or career. The focusing question looks like this:

What’s the one thing i can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary.

The key benefit of the focusing question is that it can help you to focus and think about the first action you need to take on the way to achieving something and that action must make successive steps easier or even unnecessary. Continue reading