Hit Refresh Review: A refreshing story on the new new Microsoft

I just finished reading Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh and if you want a short review of the book, let me just tell you this: go grab a copy.

The book is Satya Nadella’s perspective on the old Microsoft, the in-between changes (and the big deals like Nokia acquisition) to the new face of Microsoft (winning the cloud battle).

But before that, you should take a look at this picture (which Satya does mention about the org culture at Microsoft).

If you have worked for big corporates / interacted with them, you will appreciate the beauty of this pic and this was a true representation of culture @Microsoft (ps: Ditto for my last employer, Yahoo).

Satya Nadella, in his book ‘Hit Refresh’ goes a bit candid about the cultural issues that existed in Microsoft to his personal life (importantly, the importance of ’empathy’ in a nerd’s life) to many decisions that went wrong as well as right at Microsoft.

Been an active observer, I definitely think that the book does a great job of story telling – especially by a man who is still in the trenches (and not leading a retired life). Plus, he is the new breed of non-founding CEOs who are achieving new successes and is always a great idea to get perspective in this context.

This isn’t really an autobiography, nor a book about tech advancements and neither a book on business strategy. Hit Refresh is a mix of all of the above and is a good read, if you want to read about the inner workings of Microsoft and how the company bounced back after losing the search and mobile war.

Hit Refresh: Book Review
Hit Refresh: Book Review

My only grudge is that the book is superficial at places where it shouldn’t have been – especially Nokia acquisition. It’s easy to ‘sound right’ (“the world doesn’t need new OS”) in hindsight, but Satya Nadella somehow ducks many of these bouncers.

Totally recommended, if you are a cricket fan and wanna experience how Satya Nadella brings the cricket metaphor in the story telling.

There has been a debate whether it is ‘too early’ for Satya Nadella to publish his journey – well, my take is it’s never too late and as long as he has the audience, it is all cool.

To his credit, he has brought back a LOT of love for Microsoft over the last few years – not just with Windows 10, but the open love which MS has shown towards open source tech and for other platforms (esp Apple) is quite commendable.


» Buy Hit Refresh from Amazon.

Notes: “One Click” Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos in India : Akkha India ka don kaun?
Jeff Bezos

My curiosity to find out what runs Amazon, its philosophy, vision and roots resulted me in picking  “One Click” Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com. The book provided some interesting insights, rise/fall, good/bad part of early days of Amazon and particularly Jeff Bezos vision and leadership. Continue reading Notes: “One Click” Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com

#WorldBookDay: A quick look at books entrepreneurs recommend

Today is World Book day and we bring to you books recommended by entrepreneurs.

Books I Recommend : Deepinder Goyal

Books I Recommend: Shashank ND, Practo.

Books I Recommend : Paras Chopra

Books I Recommend: Kunal Shah

Books I Recommend : Sanjay Anandaram

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln.

With every edition of Books I Recommend series, we bring to you different perspectives and varied topics. Today, we have Sanjay Anandaram, angel investor and mentor share his book recommendations.

“Fermat’s Last Theorem” by Simon Singh.

For over 350 years, proving Fermat’s Last Theorem was the most notorious unsolved mathematical problem, a puzzle whose basics most children could grasp but whose solution eluded the greatest minds in the world. In 1993, after years of secret toil, Englishman Andrew Wiles announced to an astounded audience that he had cracked Fermat’s Last Theorem. He had no idea of the nightmare that lay ahead.

The importance of perseverance, cross-domain synthesis and passion that led to the solution of the most recalcitrant math problem for 350 years!

» Buy


India: A Sacred Geography

India: A Sacred Geography is the culmination of more than a decade’s work from the renowned Harvard scholar Diana L. Eck. The book explores the sacred places of India, taking the reader on an extraordinary trip through the beliefs and history of this rich and profound place, as well as providing a basic introduction to Hindu religious ideas and how those ideas influence our understanding of the modern sense of “India” as a nation.

An idea of India before there was an India, a set of thoughts, motivations, compulsions, beliefs, travels, desires, callings that really make India the great “civilizational state” it is.

» Buy 


The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.

A mystery- murder book set in medieval Europe, of semiotics and the evolution of debate-argumentation that exposed the nature of the relationship between Church, state and people.

» Buy


The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria

A modern classic that uses historical analysis to shed light on the present, The Future of Freedom calls for a restoration of the balance between liberty and democracy and shows how politics and government can be made effective and relevant for our time.

The importance of understanding the subtle interplay between freedoms, liberties, markets and structures.

» Buy


Morality of Markets by Michael Sandel

Can businesses abandon the axiom that the customer is always right when consumers start questioning the ethics of business practices? Professor Craig Smith examines the theory and practice of ethical purchase behaviour, a crucial mechanism for ensuring social responsibility in business. He explains how and why consumers have used their purchasing power to influence corporate policies and practices.

The inherent immorality of markets and the nature of choice.

» Buy


Affluenza by Oliver James

There is currently an epidemic of ‘affluenza’ throughout the world – an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses – that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, bestselling author Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why. He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading.

The link between material wealth, the purpose, genuine-ness, authenticity and society.

» Buy

Books I Recommend: Shashank ND, Practo.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. – Anna Quindlen

In our attempt to bring different perspectives and enable the NextBigWhat audience to learn new new things, we have started a weekly series (every Tuesday) called ‘Books I Recommend‘. This is the latest installment.

Today, we have Shashank N D, Practo founder and CEO share his recommendations.

My inventions by Nicola Tesla

Nikolas Tesla’s patents and theoretical work helped form the basis of wireless communication and radio.

He is also known for his high-voltage, high-frequency experiments in New York and Colorado Springs, experiments in X-rays, and his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

» Buy from Amazon.

Adds Shashank: An autobiography, which gives one an understanding of what Tesla was going through while he came up with his world changing inventions.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

The book Zero To One is about nurturing the next big idea to build a valuable global company. The author recalls how certain innovative ideas were incubated and how people behind them dared to dream big and even did realize some of them.

This book also compiles the startups culture as discussed by Peter Thiel in his lecture for Stanford University students in 2012 with details about various other aspects of entrepreneurship.

Buy from Amazon]
Adds Shashank: A classic. First principle thinking at its best.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

‘For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.’
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the most celebrated inspirational fable of our time, tells the story of a bird determined to be more than ordinary. This bestselling modern classic, reissued with a beautiful new cover design, is a story for people who want to follow their dreams and make their own rules and has inspired people for decades.
Adds Shashank: An amazing story of the price one has to pay to be a contrarian, to try out something new. It is a quick read but it left a huge impression on me.
» Buy from Amazon

Tool of Titans by Tim Ferries.

The book contains lessons from highly successful people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Robbins, etc. For every situation that you meet in your life, take a flip of the pages and you will find something that will help you immediately.
This book is compiled from the interviews done by Timothy Ferriss, but as he himself proclaims, it is far more than just interviews.
Adds Shashank: It is a good compilation of tools and techniques used by the best in the world in their day to day lives to overcome their difficulties and achieve greatness.
» Buy from Amazon.

The Founder’s Mentality by Chris Zook.

Why is profitable growth so hard to achieve and sustain?  Most executives manage their companies as if the solution to that problem lies in the external environment–find an attractive market, formulate the right strategy, win new customers.
Based on the authors’ decade-long study of companies in more than 40 countries, The Founder’s Mentality demonstrates the strong relationship between these three traits in companies of all kinds–not just start-ups–and their ability to sustain performance.
Adds Shashank: A good read for those who are running high growth startups and looking to tackle complexity while scaling.

Books I Recommend : Deep Kalra

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde

We love books!

NextBigWhat’s #BooksIRecommend weekly series is an attempt to bring different perspectives and ideas to the audience. No better way to do this than by talking about books.

Today, MakeMyTrip Founder and CEO, Deep Kalra shares his book recommendations.

Innovator’s Dilemma

The best-selling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen. His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller, one of the most influential business books of all time, innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right, yet still lose market leadership. Christensen explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation.

Buy from Amazon.


The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

This is the story of one of the most successful companies of the world, Amazon.com and of its ambitious and bright founder Jeff Berzos.

He wanted Amazon to become ‘The everything store’. He wanted Amazon to offer limitless selections of things at reasonably low prices. In this book, we have a detailed account of Amazon and how it came into being.

Buy from Amazon


Good to Great

The author and his expert team set out to find solutions for the handicaps that the small and mediocre companies have to face.

The problems can range from the initial teething problems to the mid-life-business feeling of just being good and not great!

Buy from Amazon.


The Fountainhead

This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him.

Buy from Amazon.


The Billionaire Who Wasn’t

How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune

In 1988 Forbes Magazine hailed Chuck Feeney as the twenty-third richest American alive. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a blue-collar Irish-American family during the Depression, a veteran of the Korean War, he had made a fortune as co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the world’s largest duty-free retail chain.

But secretly, Feeney had already transferred all his wealth to his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. Only in 1997, when he sold his duty free interests, was he “outed” as one of the greatest and most mysterious American philanthropists in modern times. A frugal man who travels economy class and does not own a house or a car, Feeney then went “underground” again, until he decided in 2005 to cooperate in a biography to promote giving-while-living. Now in his mid-seventies, he is determined his foundation should spend the remaining 4 billion in his lifetime.

Buy from Amazon.

Books I Recommend : Paras Chopra

In our attempt to bring different perspectives and enable the NextBigWhat audience to learn new new things, we have started a series called ‘Books I Recommend‘. This is the third installment.

Paras Chopra : Books I Recommend
Paras Chopra : Books I Recommend

Today, we share book recommendations* by Paras Chopra, founder and CEO of Wingify, one of the finest bootstrapped tech startup from the country. Continue reading Books I Recommend : Paras Chopra