Books

Review of books related to entrepreneurial stories.

What the Pluck! Who Needs a Book to Share on a Social Network! [Book Review]

Smart move, Kawasaki. Use a product, write a user manual with hundreds of screenshots, crowdsource editing on Google+, publish the book, earn royalty, be talked about, and gain popularity on the newest and most powerful social network in town. And then do what?

Book Review: The start-up of you [You are a Born Entrepreneur]

How did Sheryl Sandberg who began her career in India where she worked on public health projects for the World Bank, go on to become one of the top executives at Google and then Facebook?

Book Review: “The Good Fail”

Richard Keith Latman started Microworkz, one of the hottest Silicon Valley startup that rose to fame owing to the unique business model it had. The company went through its own roller-coaster ride – from running one of the hottest startup to going downhill, for not living up to customer’s expectation.

Book review: Behind the Cloud [Salesforce Story]

Behind the cloud is not about cloud computing. It is not about the journey of salesforce.com from an idea to a billion dollar company as the cover claims either. It is Marc Benioff’s way of patting himself on his back for his marketing genius, salesmanship and connections. And even though I put it that way, if you run a technology company, it is a brilliant book and there are tons of things you can learn from it. The book starts with a quick introduction on his stint at Apple and Oracle, and how he transitioned from a shy coding geek to something that was way more fun – interacting with customers. He led a number of huge projects under the inspiring leadership of Larry Ellison who was an early mentor. But when Benioff realized that he had become a corporate lifer and got frustr...

Book Review: The SAAS Edge

What is SAAS? What is Cloud? Well, evolved souls are aware of the nitty gritty of these technologies, but a lot of business leaders/middle managers are unaware of SAAS and most importantly,practical use cases of SAAS services. Authored by Sahil Parikh (Deskaway founder), the book is written in simple English and takes the route of story telling. First half of the book covers basics of web2.0  – what is a blog, web2.0 tools (like wikis) etc and presents examples of viral content. Second half of the book transitions from web2.0 to enterprise 2.0 and that’s where lies the interesting story of infrastructure, SAAS etc. Sahil does a good job of covering SAAS tools for some of the most important use cases in enterprise space – i.e. project collaboration/helpdesk/invoicing and a...

Book Review : The Crowdfunding Revolution [Social Networking meets Venture Financing]

As a follow up to my earlier post on crowdfunding [a concept wherein the ‘crowd’ – that is, people like you and me – can participate in the early stage funding process] , I got an opportunity to read this book by Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom – in which the authors reason out as to why crowdfunding is a natural progression to the current status of venture financing – given the increasing impact of social networks in our lives that has simplified sharing of views and knowledge – thus deploying the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ to the otherwise ‘private’ world of venture capital. Citing numerous examples [right from how funds were raised for building the Statue of Liberty (!) to Open Source Development, Wikipedia, etc] , the authors emphasize on how the advent of information technology has raised the ...

Book Review: Women Entrepreneurship [Case Studies of Women Entrepreneurs]

Women in entrepreneurial roles and women at work have garnered a whole lot of literature and attention recently. Women’s Entrepreneurship as a space in focus – both for discourse and action planning will not only boost the body of work but also provide examples to scores of women considering the entrepreneurial path. The book begins with a reference to Steve Jobs and his entrepreneurial vision. True, that Steve rules the imagination of many entrepreneurial dreams. He also epitomizes the male-driven tech scene, where women have minimal role to play. Apple executive team has no women on it. Moreover, when you propel the conversation by referencing one of world’s most cash-rich, market leading firm, the expectation moves to similar ground. References to the Mckinsey literature on the subject ...

Book Review: Delivering Happiness

If there is only one book that you are ever going to read on how to build a customer-centric business, make it Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. For most business leaders today, having a successful business is about focusing on just the bottomline and they think everything else will fall into place. Hseih has a very different take to it. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop, just focuses on delivering a WOW customer experience, and everything else falls into place for them. In Delivering Happiness, he talks about how Zappos have been able to deliver a great customer experience consistently by having a strong core – a great company culture. Zappos’ culture is defined in terms of 10 core values which Hseih talks about in great details. Be open and honest, creative ...

Book Review–The Intelligent Entrepreneur

Very few books related to entrepreneurship really study the subject. Most of the books on entrepreneurship are heavily titled towards stories in hindsight and end up as a good bed time reading books (especially the ones based on QnA with entrepreneur). The Intelligent Entrepreneur, a book by Bill Murphy walks you through stories of three Harvard MBAs (1998 batch), with different background/different businesses – the only common element being the story of success and failure. The three entrepreneurs  Marc Cenedella (TheLadders.com), Marla Malcom Beck (Bluemercury.com), and Chris Michel (Military.com, Affinity Labs) have a unique story (and interesting background, right from McKinsey to Navy). What’s interesting about the book is the conversational tone and the fiction-styled story telling (...

Book Review–The Man Who Lied to His Laptop

What’s common between us and computers? Can we use computers as a tool to learn human behavior? While the answer sounds an obvious no, but book by Clifford Nass, Professor at Stanford University (Director of HCI lab) does brings interesting insights to the table. Unlike several other theoretical books on HCI (Human Computer Interaction), this book takes a much practical approach with experiments and their results. For example, Nass talks of an interesting case study of BMW’s GPS system when German drivers refused to take ‘orders’ from a female. “A woman should not be giving directions.” Despite the customer service rep’s reassurance that the navigation system in his car wasn’t actually a woman-just a computer with a female voice-the driver  refused to listen. Nass c...

Book Review: Connect The Dots by Rashmi Bansal

There are very few English books written with Indian audience in mind and Rashmi Bansal’s Connect The Dots is amongst them. The book is specifically for people who talk to themselves in Hindi but with the world in English. Connect The Dots is a collection of 20 inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who never went to any B-school. Written in the form of a conversation, where the author questions the subjects and complements their words with insightful statements as well. If you are an entrepreneur you will resonate well with her words. The 20 stories have been divided into 3 sets viz. Jugaad, Junoon, Zubaan. In Jugaad, the author has covered entrepreneurs who created business the Indian way, thorugh Jugaad. Finding alternative ways to do things that is completely against what industry ha...

Book Review–The Design of Design by Fred Brooks

First of all, Design of Design is not a book for casual readers. This isn’t one of those books which you could read without getting involved. Author, Fred Brooks earlier wrote ‘The Mythical Man-Month’ and is well known for his involvement in the design of IBM’s OS/360 – so the book brings in a lot of anecdotes and insights from Fred. The book brings perspective from a computer scientist on the finer aspects of design and is divided in 6 parts – Models of Designing, Collaboration and Telecollaboration, Design perspectives, Dream System for Designing Houses, Great Designers and Case studies. The book gets into the depth of design process, team interactions , few perspective on waterfall model (and Boehm’s Spiral Model) and drives couple of interesting points (like bold desi...

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