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

Quotes from Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

six-thinking-hatsI previously reviewed Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono . You can read the review here. Here are 10 quotes from the book.

  1. Instead of judging our way forward, we need to design our way forward. We need to be thinking about ‘what can be’, not just ‘what is’.
  2. Thinking is the ultimate human resource. Yet we can never be satisfied with our most important skill. No matter how good we become, we should always want to be better.
  3. The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us.
  4. A thinking system based on argument is excellent just as the front left wheel of a car is excellent. There is nothing wrong with it at all. But it is not sufficient.
  5. White hat energy is directed at seeking and laying out information.
  6. Red hat thinking is all about emotions and feelings and the non-rational aspects of thinking. The red hat provides a formal and defined channel for bringing these things out into the open.
  7. The black hat is the ‘natural’ hat of the Western thinking traction. With the black hat we point out what is wrong, what does not fit, and what will not work.
  8. Yellow hat thinking probes and explores for value and benefit.
  9. The green hat is the energy hat. Think of vegetation. Think of growth. Think of new leaves and branches. The green hat is the creative hat.
  10. The blue hat is like the conductor of the orchestra. The conductor gets the best out of the orchestra by seeing that what should be done is done at the right time. The blue hat is for the management of thinking. The blue hat is for the organization of thinking. The blue hat is for process control.

My One Idea From Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

six-thinking-hatsEven though the Six Thinking Hats has six hats you can use to facilitate thinking during a session, you don’t necessarily have to use all of them during a session (you can read my review of the Six Thinking Hats here). You can choose to use the hats that are relevant to the topic on discussion. So supposing you are running a meeting and discussing a topic that people have a lot of strong feelings about. For example a new work process, shift work pattern or loss of a benefit, how can you get people to discuss their feelings without it turning into world war III? Continue reading

Book Review – Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

six-thinking-hatsI first read this book about 15 years ago, and remember using the techniques in the book to facilitate a couple of sessions. I had forgotten about the Six Thinking Hats till I recently reviewed, Teach Yourself to Think, another book by Edward de Bono (you can read my review here). In just 177 pages, de Bono has written a book which can teach anyone a simple, but very effective technique to help manage meetings, facilitate group sessions and more importantly, solve problems. So what is the Six Thinking Hats technique? It is a parallel thinking method which allows people to look in the same direction at any point in time with the aim of exploring a particular subject fully and deriving multiple perspectives for making a decision. Continue reading

Quotes from Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

talk-like-tedFrom each book I go through I always likje to curate ten quotes and this book does have some really useful quotes related to the books main theme (you can read a review of the book here and a lesson I curated from the book here). Here are my ten quotes from the book:

  1. Passion is the thing that will help you create the greatest expression of your talent – Larry Smith
  2. The great truths of the world have often been couched in fascinating stories – Dale Carnegie
  3. Practice relentlessly and internalize your content so that you can deliver the presentation ad vcomforysnly as having a conversation with a close friend – Carmine Gallo
  4. Only through seeing your own world through a fresh lens will you be able to hive your audience s new way of looking at their world – Carmine Gallo
  5. The brain remembers the emotional components of an experience better than any other aspect – John Medina
  6. The brain also loves humour. Combine humour and novelty and you’ve got presentation gold – Carmine Gallo
  7. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex. It takes courage to move in the opposite direction – E.F. Schumacher
  8. It is better to present an explanation in words and pictures than solely in words – DR. Richard Mayer
  9. You can learn from others and how they achieved success in public speaking, but you’ll never make a lasting impression unless you leave your own mark – Carmine Gallo
  10. Please keep this in mind. When you deliver s presentation, your goal should not be to ‘deliver a presentation.’ It should be to inspire your audience, yo move them, and emcouragenthem to dream bigger – Carmine Gallo