Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: “Mark Zuckerberg: Ten Lessons in Leadership”

zuckI was sceptical that “Mark Zuckerberg: Ten Lessons in Leadership” by Michael Essany would be worth reading, but decided to give it a go anyway. It isn’t a large book, but the documentary style works well and I found it in fact contained good practical advice including inspiration to get out there and make a difference, leveraging mentors, getting started, focusing on the idea first and details later and many other great pearls of wisdom.
The key points I noted were:

  • When popularity supplants passion at the forefront of the entrepreneur’s mind, the likelihood of success rapidly diminishes.
  • Live your regular life and just try to build stuff that matters.
  • The most successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow will be those who take to the next level that which we have today. If you want to be the next Steve Jobs, you're not required to invent anything in order to do that. You simply have to listen, observe, and innovate.
  • Young entrepreneurs are notorious for idolizing the wrong people. You cannot and should not have a 'mentor' who is unreachable, outside of your industry, and doesn't wholly represent that which you seek to become.
  • Most people think of great entrepreneurs as lone wolves who accomplished their dreams by themselves. This could not be more false. From Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Warren Buffet and Donald Trump, each had a mentor or two along the way. Each have well documented experiences with these mentors and speak openly about the help they got along the way.
  • "Hit 'em where they ain’t" and never let your immediate location be an immediate deterrent for immediate action.
  • Starting the entrepreneurial process is one thing; sticking to the process is another
  • Control must not be yielded under any circumstances.
  • The most successful inventors and entrepreneurs of our time have given the world technologies that can be personalized and effortlessly controlled by the user. When people take ownership in a highly personal way of their smartphones, computers, social networks, etc. they are highly inclined to keep returning to those devices and platforms.
  • Rivalries are healthy for business, essential for innovation, and just a whole lot of fun.
  • The most successful entrepreneurs of the 21st Century will be those who limit their adherence to 'traditional distractions.'
  • When inspired, wait for absolutely nothing.
  • In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
  • If you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress
  • The things we can do without a lot of thought or effort are often of greater value because they allow us to get started and getting started is the most important part.
  • The companies that work are the ones that people really care about and have a vision for the world so do something you like.
  • When you're passionate about a simple idea that brings together diverse and wonderful ideas, resources, and technologies into a cultivated platform that does collectively that which each part could not do individually, success is not only possible, it is virtually inevitable.
  • It's all about the idea - the core, compelling, central focus of the product or service. Details don't matter at first. Details come once you've assembled your team, consulted bright, diverse minds, and patiently charted a course toward prototype or product completion.
  • Details matter more than anything else - but not at first. It's the core idea that must lead the way

Monday, March 26, 2012

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers contains lots of good practical advice, such as the power of eliminating negativity and pessimism from your vocabulary, taking responsibility for your reactions, how to have a balanced life, and many other great pearls of wisdom.

Here are some of my key take aways:
  1. All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it
  3. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else
  4. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes with a feeling of helplessness. 
  5. Before you take any action in life, ask yourself: "Is this action moving me to a more powerful place?" If it isn't you will think twice about doing it.
  6. Begin eliminating the terribles, can'ts, problems, struggles and so on from your vocabulary. Certain words are destructive; others are empowering. e.g. "I can't" --> "I won't", "I hope" --> "I know", "What will I do?" --> "I know I can handle it"
  7. The more you expand your comfort zone, the more powerful you become. Each day stretch yourself and do something that intimidates you
  8. You are the cause of the feelings that take away the joy in your life. Are you a 'victim' or are you taking responsibility for your life? Whenever you are not taking responsibility you put yourself in a position of pain, and hence decrease your ability to handle the fear in your life
  9. Taking responsibility means never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having or feeling
  10. Taking responsibility means not blaming yourself
  11. Taking responsibility means being aware of where and when you are not taking responsibility so that you can eventually change
  12. Outtalk your negativity
  13. It is empowering to have the support of a strong, motivated and inspirational group of people. You have to go out and create the type of support system you want.
  14. The knowledge that you can handle anything that comes your way is the key to allowing yourself to take risks
  15. You're not a failure if you don't make it; you're a success because you try. The trick in life is not to worry about making a wrong decision.
  16. If I am not making mistakes, I can be sure I am not learning and growing
  17. Act as if you really count
  18. Create a whole of life grid of what is important to you for a balanced life and allocate 100% commitment of time to each; Contribution, Hobby, Leisure, Family, Alone Time, Personal Growth, Work, Relationship, Friends. Each day, create daily goals that reflect all the boxes in your grid.
  19. With a positive attitude, value can be created from anything that happens in your life
  20. Genuine giving is not only altruistic; it also makes us feel better.
  21. You must become what you want to attract. Be the kind of person you would want to surround yourself with.

I thoroughly recommended this book.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: How To Have Confidence And Power In Dealing With People by Les Giblin

1e37124128a02faf24b06010.L._AA300_"How To Have Confidence And Power In Dealing With People” by Les Giblin had been sitting on my bookshelf for years and I was expecting it to be an over the top sales book so had put off reading it, but I was so wrong and now wish I had read it years ago. This is a superb book that has lots of great advice, good examples and is well written. I also really appreciate the short recap that each section has at the end summarising the key points.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review–“Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” by Daniel Goleman

49fd2b185ac4ecad329f6f6fcd8120ab_18740653481270286681I found “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” by Daniel Goleman to be quite an academic (and at times scientific) view of emotion that includes some good story-telling.

It started very dry but I found it got more engaging about 60 pages in. I found the book to be more focussed on describing emotional intelligence as opposed to providing much guidance about how to improve your emotional intelligence. Despite this, I did however find that it contained a wealth of interesting information.

My key takeaways were:

  • We have two minds (rational and emotional) that typically operate in tight harmony.
  • Anger builds upon anger; the emotional brain heats up.
  • Distraction is a highly powerful mood-altering device. This is due to the fact that it is hard to stay angry when you’re having a pleasant time.
  • Thoughts are associated in the mind not just by content, but by mood. People have what amounts to a bad-mood thoughts that come to mind more readily when they are down.
  • While crying can sometimes break a spell of sadness, it can also leave the person obsessing about the reasons for despair. Crying that reinforces rumination only prolongs the misery.
  • Aerobic exercise is one of the more effective tactics for lifting mild depression. This however does not hold true for habitual exercisers, since the opposite is true whereby they start to feel bad on those days they skip a workout.
  • Relaxation techniques which put the body into a low-arousal state work well for anxiety, a high-arousal state, but not so well for depression.
  • A constructive approach to mood-lifting is engineering a small triumph or easy success.
  • A potent antidote to depression is seeing things differently, or cognitive reframing. i.e. step back and look at the scenario from the perspective of somebody worse off.
  • A helpful depression-lifter is helping others in need. e.g. volunteering, feeding the homeless.
  • A strong cultural work ethic translates into a higher motivation, zeal, and persistence – an emotional edge.
  • Good moods, while they last, enhance the ability to think flexibly and with more complexity, thus making it easier to find solutions to problems, whether intellectual or interpersonal. Laughing consequently can help people think more broadly.
  • People with high levels of hope share certain traits such as being able to motivate themselves, reassuring themselves when in a tight spot that things will get better, being flexible enough to find different ways to get to their goals or to switch goals if one becomes impossible, and having the sense to break down a formidable task into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • People perform at their peak while in flow; they exhibit a masterly control of what they are doing, there responses perfectly attuned to the changing demands of the task.
  • People seem to concentrate best when the demands on them  are a bit greater than usual, and they are able to give more than usual. If there is too little demand on them, people are bored. If there is too much for them to handle they get anxious. Flow occurs in that delicate zone between boredom and anxiety.
  • Being able to manage emotions in someone else is the core of the art of handling relationships.
  • Emotions are contagious. We transmit and catch moods from each other.
  • Coordination of moods is the essence of rapport.
  • In terms of managing our own career, there may be nothing more essential than recognising our deepest feelings about what we do – and what changes might make us more truly satisfied with our work.
  • Turning a blind eye to acts of bias allows discrimination to thrive. To do nothing, in this context, is an act of consequence in itself.
  • While a group can be no “smarter” than the sum total of its strengths, it can be much dumber if its internal workings don’t allow people to share their talents.
  • Harmony allows a group to take maximum advantage of its most creative and talented members’ abilities.
  • Cultivating good relationships with people whose services might be needed later can increase your chance of success.
  • The stars of an organisation are often those who have:
    • thick connections on all networks, whether communications (who talks to whom), expertise (which people are turned to for advice), or trust.
    • teamwork coordination.
    • leadership in building consensus.
    • ability to see things from the perspective of others, such as customers or others on a team.
    • persuasiveness.
    • ability to promote cooperation while avoiding conflicts.
    • initiative – being self-motivated enough to take on responsibilities beyond their stated job.
    • self-management in the sense of regulating their time and work commitments well.
  • Helping people better manage their upsetting feelings – anger, anxiety, depression, pessimism, and loneliness – is a form of disease prevention.
  • Many patients can benefit measurably when their psychological needs are attended to along with their purely medical ones.
  • The emotional abilities children acquire in later life build on those of the earliest years.