Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The New One Minute Manager book review

Just like many other business books this book also has a very low signal/noise ratio. Almost all of the first 2/3rd of the book is just self-promotional stuff, about how this entitled manager is everyone's favourite because he follows one-minute management techniques. One minute employee goal reviews, one-minute problem resolutions, one-minute performance review. Guess how much he lasts in bed?

But the book gets better from chapter 11 onwards. Here are some key insights that follow.

1) Many managers have the habit of gunnysacking the feedback to their employees. That is, storing up observations of poor behaviour until frustration builds up, and when that happens they release it all in a dump all at once. Things don't go so well on the receiving end,  too much info, too much fact checking to combat rationally, and the employee naturally becomes defensive, defending her actions to the point of distorting facts even, and not owning what was done wrong, leaving the discussion resentful.

2) Being Tough and Nice is better than being Nice and Tough. There was once an emperor in China, who called his Prime Minister (second in command) and said to him "Why don't we divide up the tasks, you do all the punishing and I will do all the rewarding". PM said OK. Some time went by, the empereor realised that people would ignore his orders (coz of his rewarding nature) but would strictly obey the PM's orders. So the Emperor called the PM again and ordered him "Why don't we divide the tasks again, you do all the rewarding, and I shall do all the punishing.". PM said OK, and they switched roles. Within a month there was a revolt. The emperor had been a nice and rewarding person, and now he suddenly started punishing people left and right. People said "What's up with this old codger?". When they came to look for a replacement, guess who they chose ? The PM, who had won people over his recent change of heart from ruthless to kind and rewarding.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Tuesdays with Morrie Book review

Have you ever had a teacher, one that saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a pound shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back.

This book is about one such teacher and a faithful student, who comforts and listens and documents the learning of his teacher in his last days.

Here are some key insights from the book.

1) The most important thing in this world is to learn ways to give out love to the world. Love in its purest form, unconditional and without a contract.

2) “The tension of opposites:
Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.

A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”

3) Morrie speaks a great deal about dealing with Death and making peace with the fact that it is coming soon. "Only when you're about the die is when you start to live." ~Morrie

4) We spend our lives sleep walking, looking at life through a keyhole. Only at the thought of death, does the keyhole widen and we begin to see the larger picture. The other way to widen the keyhole is by out of this world experiences and by analysing past. Imagine looking back to your past and thinking about something you will realise that there were so many aspects of reality you completely overlooked. Life is a series of decisions and many of these decisions we make with little information. Death is the ultimate bottom line which forces our mind to think objectively.

5) For most people, if it feels like the truth, that's enough for them, that all they ever will need.

I have decided a little thought experiment for myself, to not allow myself to fall into the comfort of believing things because of socially dictations.
Whenever I'm talking to someone and they offer a view, I always force myself to take an opposite stance on the view, if they are against GMO I'm pro-GMO, if they are for capitalism, I romanticise about socialism. Sometimes I lose sometimes I win, but I learn every time, and that learning is far more than the learning from just agreeing to someone's views. As Marc Andersson says, ideas should be free of ego.

6) The importance of family

Except for the two-three good friends you have ( if you're lucky) and your close family no one really gives a fuck about you, no matter how important you think you are.
The family will stay at your side in wealth, health, sickness and bankruptcy. The family is perhaps the most underrated support system institution.
Only once you've realised the importance of it, can you truly become a man, and think about starting a family of your own.

7) Investment in building your own culture around you

After a time you realise that the doctrines of your culture which you believed to be absolutely are actually not so. This realisation is more profound and direct when you go to new countries and spend time in a new culture. So the author says that its essential that you invest in building your own little culture around in your life. Less TV more conversation, less buying useless stuff and more giving. Less of planning more spontaneity. It could be whatever you like.
Running away is not the solution, every culture has its flaws and sooner or later they will make themselves visible in strong ways, it's foolish to assume that any culture is perfect

This book is a great one time read, I give it 3.7/5 rating.