Book List

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Resuming my deep-dive into American history through biographies (great stories and learn about history). Here is an amazing, almost-difficult to believe story of a man who grew out of slavery into one of the best orators and activists in 19th century America. The struggle and the journey is amazing – reminds me of another leader who came out of nowhere : Alexander Hamilton

Range: Why generalists triumph in a specialized world

Fascinating book – basic premise is that the 10,000 hour rule (deep, sustained practice in one domain) works very well in ‘kind’ problem spaces where the domain is narrow; there is a method to mastery and feedback is structured and immediate. Golf and chess are two examples he takes. And then argues – step out into the real world of ‘wicked’ problems: domain is not well defined, problems are shifting and feedback is neither clear nor immediate. Navigating that world requires ‘breadth of training that predicts of transfer’. Looking from the lens of problem solving in the workplace today – you have to agree with this… great read.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaption :

I have always been fascinated by graphic novels. A very interesting adaptation of one of the most storied memoirs from WW-II. The artwork is stunning

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order – Kai Fu-Lee

Fascinating book on the AI war is being fought right now between the US and China. This is one phase that many of us in this area will look back years from now.

Leadership in Turbulent Times – Doris Goodwin

The advantage of being a great historian is that you end up knowing so many stories that you can keep writing interesting views. This one is in that category – 4 Presidents and how they navigated through their careers. Leadership in action

21 Lessons for the 21st Century: Yuval Noah Harari

The chief prognosticator of our times – not much new in this set of essays, but still a good read.

One more Thing: Stories and Other Stories – BJ Novak 

Easily one of the most enjoyable book I read in the last few years – perfect holiday reading. This guy is very clever and can he write! And I thought of him as just one of the actors on ‘Office’.

The Ibis Trilogy – Amitav Ghosh

Enjoying some fiction for a change. Finally got down to the 3rd installment of Amitav Ghosh’s brilliant ‘The Ibis Trilogy’. This one is called the ‘Flood of Fire’. All 3 put together will be close to 2,000. Not for the faint hearted – but the storyline, the character development is top-notch. What is really fascinating to me is the larger economic canvas on which the trilogy is set – this is the 18th/19th century; the theater is Indo-China:  the world is changing dramatically, as international trade and imperialist ambitions (British Empire) are well and truly, accelerating change. Also, remember that this is the time when the fulcrum of global wealth and power was shifting from the East to the West. Fantastic writing. I have a feeling Amitav Ghosh will win the Nobel Prize in the next decade, if not sooner.

Measure what Matters: John Doerr

The idea is to learn about the famed OKR methods that was born in Intel and Google really made popular. Too many organization initiatives fail because of a lack of good measurement systems – even more in the knowledge economy, where unlike a physical factory, there is no immediate measurable output from say, a factory line. And more importantly, difficult to measure attributes like individual creativity, teamwork, a blending of art and science are becoming critical to success. In such a world, how do you create a framework for measurable Results that link to Objectives?

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

Finally, the economists have gotten into the mix! As AI continues to grow as a powerful factor in the modern enterprise, we need an economic framework to think about this. Do we need to question the fundamentals of the labor-capital relationship that have powered the economic thinking thus far?

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