Posts Tagged ‘books’


May 14, 2018 2 comments


unscaledIt has been “common” knowledge that in order to drive more business, make it harder for competitors to compete, for companies to drive down prices etc. they have to scale. A new, pretty well written book argues that those days may be over. It makes a pretty compelling argument that with all the “for rent” infrastructure out there (computation, manufacturing, potential consumers etc.) plus the advances in AI companies no longer need to build scale, but can rather rent it.

It’s not a academic book. The author is a VC and has personally invested in companies that illustrate this. Some examples / tidbits

  • Voodoo Manufacturing wants to be the AWS of cloud manufacturing. It has a factory full of 3D printing machines available for “rent”
  • Forward thinking utilities will evolve to become platforms essentially operating an energy version of the internet
  • Mobility as a Service (MaaS) that allows one to pay for all types of journeys in one go (e.g. Whim)

And so on. Worth a quick read.




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Pretty good book about timing

March 26, 2018 Leave a comment

whenI’ve always enjoyed Daniel Pink’s books and this new one (“When“) about timing (i.e. when to do what) was no exception.

It’s basic premise is that there are “natural laws” about when people should either begin or end things, which sort of makes common sense. A few tidbits to whet your appetite:

  • If you are not the default choice (e.g. as a consulting partner) then you should try to pitch first. Ditto if you feel that the other interview candidates are much stronger than you.
  • Past the age of 32, the odds of divorce increase by 5% per year. Also related (but not about timing), the more a couple spent on a wedding and an engagement ring, the more likely the divorce.
  • 9-enders (i.e. people at 19, 29, 39 of age etc) are over-represented among first-time marathoners by ~50%.

While it’s not his strongest book, it’s still a breezy and interesting read.

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Wonderful ‘little histories’

January 17, 2018 Leave a comment

While not directly related to consulting or tech, I wanted to share a wonderful set of books that I came across recently from Yale. They have undertaken to publish a set of books for both experienced and newbies on a set of subjects – religion, the world, economics, philosophy, science etc.

little history series

Having now read two of these (on religion, and on the world), I can testify that these are really well written, highly informative and (for me) eye opening. I’m looking forward to reading the others. The ones on economics and science may be especially informative towards this blog’s audience.

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Doing less for greater success

January 17, 2018 Leave a comment

The WSJ has a review of a timely new book as people make resolutions for the new year.

great at work

Written by a recovering management consultant (Morten Hansen), he seems to extol what most successful people already do: focus. A couple of points caught my eye. One was his anecdote from consulting that it’s often the more junior consultants that have a hard time “letting go of the slides” and summarizing to just one. Another, was the fact that those who focused and said no to their bosses were ~25% higher in their performance ranking.

The key differentiating points in this book seems to be the reams of research (5 year survey of ~5000 people) on which the conclusions are based. His last book had good reviews on Amazon too. Maybe worth a read?

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Consumption patterns of the 1%

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

sum of small thingsFor those that are trying to understand the future spending patterns of the 1% (and the others that are aspiring to get there), the new book by Elizabeth Halkett (“The Sum of Small Things“) may not be a bad place to start (at all). Unlike other books that are based on hypothesis and mere observation, the strength of this book is the unique data set that the author (and her doctoral student) have been able to parse and synthesize. And what a synthesis it is: the book is full of really interesting insights. E.g.:

  • Travelers who spend over $100k annually on trips have increased their spending ~2-3x compared to the “regular traveler” (who spend ~$10k a year). Wow.
  • ~80% of Whole Food customers have a college degree
  • The number of farmers markets have doubled to ~8000 over the last 4 years
  • American made apparel dropped from ~55% to ~2% between 1991 and 2012
  • New Yorkers spend 27x more on watches than everyone else (in the US)
  • ….and so on!

You get the idea. It’s a longish read, and at times a bit pedantic, but worth it if you are trying to understand consumption patterns.

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Awful book on AR/VR

October 21, 2017 Leave a comment

I had high hopes when I picked up a book on AR/VR from Scoble based on a presentation I had see him do at MWC in San Francisco. The presentation was really good – full of energy, interesting insights, good facts. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to it online)

ar vr

It’s a shame that the book has none of this. It’s full of hype, devoid of any interesting facts and sorely lacking any semblance of a framing to understand the landscape of players. To be fair, the only thing it does have is a whole set of AR/VR examples / companies. I have no idea why it’s rated so high on Amazon.

Definitely save your time and skip.

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Rethinking what drives success

September 5, 2017 Leave a comment

barking up the wrong treeI don’t often write about self help books. However, it’s not often that one comes across such an entertaining one as the new book – “Barking up the wrong tree” by Erik Barker.

It does a good job of calling BS on a number of success drivers and in a really fun way. The book is chock full of examples, anecdotes, references to other studies. Now granted if you have been keeping up with the other popular books, chances are that you would have heard about say 60% of what he says. But it’s not often that one sees Einstein’s “contract” with his wife in the same book as the success techniques of Genghis Khan.

Worth a read. At a minimum it will make you laugh.

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