BR 77: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh


Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A very good book. The book revolves around the life of Tony Hsieh and Zappos.com. Tony Hsieh is a co-founder and CEO of Zappos.com – which grew from a tiny Silicon Valley start-up to an online shoe retailing behemoth with 1 billion dollars of sales. Zappos.com was eventually acquired by Amazon and Tony talks us through the building of the company and it’s distinctive culture.

Everybody with some experience working in a traditional start-up can relate to the story and difficulties that Tony Hsieh describes. What I personally liked most about the book is that it felt very personal – touched a chord, this one.

BR 76: Drive by Daniel H Pink

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Dan Pink shares a new wave to look at ‘drive’ and ‘motivation’. In essence, he begins the book by illustrating old ideas behind motivating people (eg: throw money at them) and then proceeds to discuss the theory behind motivation 2.0 i.e. that people are motivated by a) autonomy b) mastery and c) purpose..

This book is well summarized in this popular video by RSA Animate.

Add on Mar 16 2016: What I love about Dan Pink is that he takes a complex topic like “Drive” and motivating people and boils it down to 3 things – autonomy, mastery and purpose. This is incredibly hard to do and he does it really well.

BR 75: Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A colorful book by a very colorful character. Giuliani is a controversial person and claims credit for many New York city changes like reduction in crime rate, which may not entirely have been down to him (Read Freakonomics, The Tipping Point) for more. All that aside, one thing that can never be taken away from him was his leadership during the 9/11 attacks. And this book is  a great read for that story alone. As one might expect, the team that ensured New York city’s admirable response to the 9/11 attacks was not built overnight. Giuliani delves into his style of leadership and how he built the team. I have written about his insight on ‘Breakfast meetings’ here.

The one aspect that can be a turn off is Giuliani trying to ‘sell’ his political agendas and inclinations. Aside from that, pretty good book.

BR 74: Worlds at War by Anthony Pagden

CategorySHELF it (All Categories are 1) Read ASAP! 2) BUY it! 3) SHELF it 4) SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Note – I couldn’t finish this book thanks to some corruption in the audio of the 3rd part. From my experience of 2/3rds of this massive massive book – it starts very well with fascinating insights about the greeks, the romans etc and then fizzles once it enters into the middle ages and become a collection of facts, names and dates.

The first part was excellent. The second part not-so-great. Still, likely a book worth reading if you love history..

BR 73: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: This was a story of 2  entrepreneurial CEOs who started up post B School and it deals with how and why one of them is more successful than the other. Many good ideas with the concept wrapped in a  good story. I don’t think much of it stuck with me sadly.