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Supriyo Chaudhuri "Supriyo Chauduri" (London, UK)
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Open: How we'll work, live and learn in the future
Open: How we'll work, live and learn in the future
by David Price
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Reading for those who care about future, 6 April 2014
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I am deeply impressed by Open, and having finished it just now, full of inspiration and ideas. I read this at a time when I was not sure about my business, and this presented an experience of a light bulb moment. The only issue I have with this book is its title - in my mind, this is all about the present, how we are already living and working, rather than an idea of the future, which the title may suggest: However, this increases, rather than decrease, the relevance of the book and the urgency why everyone should read it.

This very accessible book is full of deep insights and practicable ideas, presented side by side. This is a book without pretensions, which is the bit I loved, not full of jargon or smart-sounding things like 'software eating the world'. This is an appeal to common sense, backed by stories of real life people and organisations which are doing these things, intertwined with the author's own story.


Change.edu
Change.edu
by Andrew Rosen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Case for For-Profit Education, 24 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Change.edu (Hardcover)
Andrew Rosen makes a powerful case for For-Profit Higher Education, as one would expect him to do. These are dark days for the sector, with Harkin Committee and other state and federal reviews looking closely at the practices: With that backdrop, Mr Rosen attempts to lay out a well-argued case.

His arguments are based on some of the failings of the other kinds of players in the Higher Education spectrum: The Private Not-For-Profit, with the arms race on conveniences and features unconnected with education and therefore, expanding costs, and Community Colleges, with their admirable mission but low graduation rates, come up for flak. Mr Rosen also documents the failings of For-Profit sector, including those of his own Kaplan University's, but then puts these in perspective and argues that the For-Profit players cost less to taxpayers, create options for students, and may make possible Obama's dream of lifting the college graduation rates in America (indeed, he argues, without For-Profit sector, it wouldn't be possible).

This is a very accessible book on a fairly complex policy area, though, admittedly, this is a biased account. Critics will argue that the coverage of failings of the For-Profit sector is skimpy. But, undeniably, the book needs to be read, as we can't wish away For-Profits. Borrowing Mr Rosen's argument, one would say that if we expect private companies not just to provide us with goods and services, groceries and cars, as well as run our hospitals, schools and even fight our wars, it is hard to see why we can't let them run our universities. And, indeed, we need to understand the sector better and have a proper debate about it, rather than the current witch-hunting the politicians and the media indulge upon.

I shall recommend the book to all interested in the sector. There are wide international similarities regarding the For-Profit Higher Education, and therefore, while the context here is solely American, readers from other countries will be able to connect with the arguments. I have given it a 4-star rather than 5 because Mr Rosen seems to skip certain crucial aspects of the debate, such as whether the proliferation of For-Profit schools represent a dumbing down of education, and whether the practice of using adjunct professors represent an indirect public subsidy (as these professors will often hold down full time jobs at public institutions) and whether teaching-by-the-hour changes the profession completely. These issues are as substantial in this debate as the question of taxpayer subsidy is, and needed to be addressed if this was become a more balanced account of the For-Profit industry.


The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups
The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups
by Randall Stross
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insider guide to Magic, or, the world of silicon valley start-ups, 8 Oct. 2012
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This is a very good book, an insightful narrative of the one of the most successful business accelerators in the Silicon Valley, Y-Combinator. I have come across the stories of the some of the companies they hosted, indeed I use dropbox and read about Airbnb, but this presents a perspective I least expected, a statistically balanced model of investment to mitigate the risks of start-ups, but, at the same time, to take the upside of the creative energy. I liked the style of presentation, a running narrative with interesting asides on founders' backgrounds, business models and ideas that may or may not have been accepted. Being in a similar stage of life - I am working to set up my second company at the current time - I could connect with many of the challenges the founders faced, though I am in a different sector with different challenges (in Education, where Minimum Viable Product, as in technology businesses, may create several ethical and commercial problems). I am also fascinated to note how Y-Combinator may back a good founding team even when they don't like the idea, another thing only possible in technology businesses, I suppose. Overall, a great book, a must have for entrepreneurs, mentors and educators, and a great addition to my collection alongside Eric Ries' The Lean Startup, Steven Gary Blank's The Start-up Owners Manual and Jessica Livingstone's Founders At Work.


A Little History of Philosophy
A Little History of Philosophy
by Nigel Warburton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.73

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Great Philosophers and their thought, 22 Jan. 2012
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I had a career in business, and had no prior knowledge of philosophy when I picked up this book. What I was looking for is a quick read, a businesslike introduction, to the things I needed to know about. This book proved just right, and more: It created an interest which I intend to follow up on.

This is a relatively short book, 250 pages in all, given that it attempts to present the ideas of more than 40 major philosophers dating back to Socrates and ending with the living ones like Peter Singer. Written for the lay reader, it is full of examples, presented in plain language, in sections not more than six or seven pages long. There is a conscious attempt to put everything in perspective, each section ends with a prelude to the next, and at other times, there are references made to ideas and works of other philosophers as we read about another one.

As I mentioned, this book goes beyond the basic introduction and generates an interest in the subject. It does so by being practical and establishing relevance to everyday life. A number of questions are explored in the context. People like Darwin, Freud and Kuhn find sections of their own. I ended up recommending this book to friends in other disciplines as a good read and great enabler of intelligent conversations.


ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever
ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever
by David Heinemeier Hansson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Little Read - Inspiring!, 18 Dec. 2011
Great little book, easy to read, full of insights that will serve any entrepreneur (okay, starters, not entrepreneurs) well. Some of the advice are obvious, critics will say, but we still do it: Like considering an exit strategy even before one started. I like some particular bits, like building a business not a start-up, again something obvious, but something that started reminding. And, finally, the best thing about the book - it can be read in a couple of hours as I did last night - and still it does not overload you.


The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember
The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember
by Nicholas Carr
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Argued Perspectives on a timely issue, 12 Jun. 2011
I have just finished Nicholas Carr's The Shallows. I am usually not one to give in to technology scepticism, having built my life and career around the advent of Internet. However, Nicholas Carr, whose previous efforts Does IT Matter? and The Big Switch made nuanced but well-argued points about the usage of IT at work, brings it home with Internet's effect on our thinking, reading and writing habits. After having read it, I must admit, I shall not stick the techno-sceptic label on this book the way I shall do it on other similar efforts (For example, I found Andrew Keen's The Cult of The Amateur a pointless effort to complain about the erosion of power from the perspective of Oxbridge trained editors); this book instead is quite a balanced effort to ask the question whether Internet is truly a 'mind-expanding' technology, or this may be contributing to dumb us down.

It is indeed common to have such arguments thrown at us with the advent of every new technology and Nicholas Carr makes an effort to acknowledge this. His primary argument rests of neuro-plasticity, human brain's tendency to rewire itself when we start using a tool frequently. And, this is not about developing a new habit, but this essentially comes at the expense of an old habit, and in what is the book's most eloquent sections, he makes the point about the history and the cultural effects of the book itself. Indeed, he refers back to Socratic defence of the Oral tradition, where Socrates warns against Writing, saying that this would be a tool 'not of memory, but of reminder'. The same argument holds against the Internet today, with its infinite repository of data along with its capacity of immeasurable distraction.

The book also draws on the theory of Cognitive Load, developed by John Seweller and others, which dwells on the understanding of human memory in two parts, a small working memory and an almost infinite capacity long term memory. The argument here is that using internet puts working memory in stress, because at every step, one needs to make choices and decisions, and therefore create a bottleneck and limit our capacity to reflect and cultivate a thought.

I must admit that I could connect with this book as I reckon I suffer from a bit of a Attention Deficiency Disorder, and sometimes struggle to read a book these days. This is surprising, because I love reading. But it is common these days that as I start reading, all sorts of ideas start buzzing in my head. More interestingly, and this is where I tend to agree to the thesis put forward by the book in question, sometimes my reading gets waylaid by the references made in the text I am reading. So, often, as I see a reference of another work in the body of text, I shall stop and jump to the reference section and see what's being referred to. And, quite commonly, this will lead to another exploration, often on Amazon or on an Electronic Database or Google if I am near a computer or have my phone nearby, and - way leads to another way - will soon stop reading the main text altogether. I have recognized this as one of habits I wish to change, and Nicholas Carr's book almost explains why I may be suffering from such a problem (though I don't want to be deterministic).


Marketing in the Groundswell
Marketing in the Groundswell
by Josh Bernoff
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Extract - Misleading Description, 19 July 2010
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I read Groundswell with interest and pre-ordered this book as it appeared on the catalogue. i did not realize that this is just an extract from the original book. So, I ended up returning it as soon as it arrived.


India's Global Powerhouses: How They Are Taking on the World
India's Global Powerhouses: How They Are Taking on the World
by Nirmalya Kumar
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Primer of Indian Companies Looking Out, and Others Looking In, 28 May 2009
A good book on the evolution of Indian corporate houses, from the largely inward looking domestic organizations to global players. The book paints a good backdrop of business in India, which is interesting from the perspective of setting up a new business as well. The major focus of the book, of course, is on the international ventures of Indian organizations, and how they came to perceive and plan the effort.

The key takeaway from this book is to understand how India is changing and Indian businesses are changing. It will be an useful read for anyone wanting to do business in India or looking to collaborate with Indian companies. In summary, this will help one to understand Indian business mindset, as it rapidly evolves and meets the world halfway down the road.


A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
by Daniel H. Pink
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Skills Guide for The Conceptual Age, 3 May 2009
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In this beautifully written book, Daniel Pink points to a shift that we already knew was coming. We have already moved from the industrial age, where manufacturing jobs dominated our societies, to the information age, where the programmers, engineers and medical professionals commandeered our economies into prosperity. However, three things - abundance, asia and automation - is pushing us to the next shift. One that the author calls the Conceptual Age, where creative, synergistic skills, domain of our Right Brain in physiological term, are becoming increasingly important. This book examines what this means, what will the key skills be and how our social preferences, education systems, jobs and ideas need to change to account for this shift.

I shall recommend this book as an essential read for business decision makers, educators and public policy professionals, or anyone wanting to make sense of the future without necessarily wanting to stand in the way of progress.


Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic From Our Kitchen Table: 57 Real-life laws on entrepreneurship
Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic From Our Kitchen Table: 57 Real-life laws on entrepreneurship
by Sahar Hashemi
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Inspirational, 30 May 2006
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This is two books blended into one [just like coffee] - one, the human story of building coffee republic, the soul searching of Sahar and Bobby after their father's death, the journey, the obstacles and goof-ups and all; the other, more like a business book, with 57 laws, advise and sample business plans etc. From the structure, it seemed that the authors wanted to make it the latter - a business advise book. I have, however, given a 5-star to the former, the human story.

Dont read it if you are just looking for how to start a business handbook. There are those free guides from Business Link which will do better. Not only that - once you read this book, you may start feeling that you got to be incredibly lucky and well-placed [read the comments about going without an income for two years in other reviews] to become an entrepreneur. That's not the morale of this story here, at all.

But if you are looking for a real story how people build a business, you will find it right here. All in the package - starting with the motivation [Father's death and introspection in this case], the idea [Not a new microchip, but something they noticed and enjoyed in US], the development [Sahar moving around with a camera in New York, the business plan, the failures] and the actual process of business [getting a site, a loan, suppliers, employees and customers, complete with goof-ups and strokes of luck].

The best bit of the book? You will have to wait till the end. No, I am not trying to give out the plot - but I am sure you will discover why this real, humane story of entrepreneurship deserved a 5-star.


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