Framework to evaluate great companies from “Good to Great” book by Jim Collins:


I like frameworks — it helps structure your thoughts. One of the most basic questions that I have asked looking at a company/org is to figure out how to evaluate the whether it’s good or great? And more importantly, how to help drive it to greatness? There’s a list of things that I could rattle off but it was not complete and also, I didn’t really have a structure. That is where the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins comes into picture. It’s a great book that shares a “framework of ideas” for steering a company from good to great by sharing six key learning’s wrapped in a continual process he calls “flywheel”:


I encourage you to read the book if you can. But if you don’t have time, here’s a good overview:

Book Review: The Data Journalism Handbook


Data Journalism Book CoverIn this post, I am going to write the Book Review for The Data Journalism Handbook

Earlier, I had shared an insight from the Book with you, Here it is: “World has changed, from what’s NEW to “what does it all Mean” – This means that Professionals who focus on reporting “what’s new” would soon be “out of job”. And they should start equip themselves with Analytics skills that helps them uncover insights from all the news around us and help us all make sense of information that’s all around us.

To that end, The book “Data Journalism” is a great inspiration for Journalist and it seems it’s meant to encourage journalist to start embracing the change. It inspires Journalists to think of stories and find data about it. So what’s it for Data Geeks? It encourages Data Geeks to help journalists weave story around the data that they found. The book also outlines resources that Data Geeks could use.

Now, Two things I really Liked about the book:

1. Examples & case-studies, Lots of them! very inspiring!

2. I came to know about Tools that I didn’t knew about before. I am going to use them!

You can read the book online (web version) for free here:

World has changed: from “what’s NEW” to “what does it all Mean”


I am reading a book titled “Data Journalism”. And I read a very Interesting insight that was primarily meant for “Journalism” industry – But I realized it’s true in general and I thought I’ll share that with you. The insight is that the world has changed from “what’s new” to “what does it all mean”. By that it means that few years ago – we had to subscribe to newspaper/journals/other-paper-based-stuff to know about “what’s NEW”. And notice that the pace at which the NEWS reached us was very slow. But now Thanks to Internet – we know “what’s new” and in fact it is TMI (too much information) and so now what we ask ourselves and others (including online services): “What does it all mean?”.

data journalism what is new to what does it all mean

That’s about it for this post.

How do you deal with “information overload” – Tips/Techniques? do comment!

Book review: Linchpin by Seth Godin


In this blog post I am going to review a book “Linchpin” that I completed reading in January 2012.

One of the key take-away for me from the book was: Inside an organization, take “initiatives” without hoping for rewards. That translates to: If you see a problem in an organization, take an initiative to solve it without hoping to get rewarded for solving the problem. Other take-away for me was the idea that Linchpin is more about the mind-set rather than the skill-set that you may have. Author, I believe, does not state this in direct words but he does have a chapter in which he walks through the characteristics that one can acquire and become a Linchpin. And the benefit of being a Linchpin is that you are indispensable in this new economy. To this end, Here are few characteristics of a Linchpin worth pointing out:

  • Linchpins are good at making connections. They are a “glue” that holds the organization together.
  • Linchpins understand the power of giving gifts. They understand that – more they give, more they’ll receive.
  • Linchpins do not “strive” to fit in. They are comfortable with the unique talent that they know they own.
  • Linchpins are passionate PLUS they are NOT attached to their own viewpoint of the world. They see the world as it is.
  • Linchpins do not need a “Manual” of what they should do. They are good at figuring out path/solution on their own. (Do NOT translate it to “Asking for help is bad”)

I liked reading about this new concept of being a “Linchpin” as it exposed me to few ideas of becoming indispensable that I believe would help me advance my career. And I can’t wait to work on acquiring the characteristics that were described in the book.

Side-note: I liked it that Seth Godin, the author of this book, began by describing why he thinks the new economy is best suited for Linchpins. If you have read first couple of chapters then it’s hard to put the book down.

Conclusion: So if you are part of an organization (and you aim to advance your career) – Give this book a shot. It does NOT tell you “what” to do; After all Linchpins do not need “instructions”, right? But the book does share some key ideas that would help you advance in your career.

BTW, I like reading books; Here’s the list of the books that i have read so far:

Want to read more? Here are few book reviews i have written:

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That’s about it. Your feedback is welcome!
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Book Review: SQL server Interview Questions and Answers by Pinal Dave and Vinod Kumar.


Though SQL server is an huge ocean – this book does justice to touch-base on every different aspect of the product. Starting from the basic concepts and then discussing Tricky questions, authors Pinal Dave and Vinod Kumar lucidly explains each aspect in a Question Answer Format.

Personally, i liked the Tricky question section because it made me think about the topic at hand. And i believe, this exercise of thinking on my feet after reading the question will help me tackle questions during interviews that require quick thinking. And for questions which i knew, i learned the perfect way of answering them.

And every chapter, ends with a summary (called points to ponder) which is an excellent place to reflect upon and test one’s knowledge. And even if you are not planning to go for interview’s in near future – this book is a handy reference for all FAQ’s you may have on a day-to-day basis.

It’s an excellent book to master the SQL server Basics and Gain confidence before a SQL server based Interview. And perfect for any who is a SQL server Database Developer or a SQL server DBA or planning to be one!


Review cross-posted from:

why I liked reading “One Minute Manager”?


I read anything – literally anything and so you should know that there was no sane reason to pick up this book. Anyways here is what I promised – a monologue on why I liked reading “One Minute manager”:

I have a perception that “management” books are either exhaustive or boring. In some case, both! Also, I find no point in reading passage after passage of theories – It would have made sense if I had decade of managerial practice but sigh – I do not have any such experience; so what if I just wished to learn few things before I began the managerial journey? After reading “one minute manager”, I think, I now know few fundamental management practices. I like the feeling! So +1 here!

The book is a story of a young man in a quest to know effective management practices. yes, no boring paragraphs on management mumbo jumbo but a book having a story format. I like it! so +1 here.

Next, there are only three “secrets” that sums up the knowledge imparted in the book. Only three! I like it! so +1 here too.

The first half of the book is about knowing these three secrets. and the second half about knowing why they work. Some fundamental pointers on human behavior – I like it! so +1 here too.

And biggest +1 on the fact that it is an one hour read. That’s it – only an hour! I like it! so +1 here too.

Book review: Getting Real by 37signals


The Book “Getting real” is a paradigm shifter. it’s worth reading for anyone who is remotely connected to the field of making software. i devoured one article after after another and stopped only after reading the entire book. The book has fresh ideas that are worth reflecting upon and the approach is unorthodox. it defies the conventional software engineering approach and tries to explain simple steps to build a web application. Couple of ideas like ‘ask the customer, what they don’t want’ and ‘cutting down on unwanted features’ really struck a chord with my belief system.

In a Nutshell, a must read for anyone who wants to make a world class web app/software

Link: 37signals web page

Book review : If god was a banker by ravi subramaniam


This is the insider’s fictionalized account of how Indian professionals experience the world of foreign banks. The novel has all the ingredients that keeps it very interesting read till the vey end. Ravi Subramanian is an IIM-graduate.
Ravi’s style is very similar to Chetan bhagat. Like Chetan bhagat’s novel, this story too has dark background and then story heads to bright ending. Two young management graduates, with nothing similar in family backgrounds and temperament, join New York international bank on the same day and take entirely different routes to success. Both rise up the ranks at breakneck speed. One is aggressive and will stoop to anything to get ahead while the other guy is mature and sensible, with high regard for good old ethics. Then there is a top notch banker who plays the benevolent god whenever crises loom over the young guns. The story is peppered with ambition and frustration, deceit and malevolence, love and lust, struggle for power and status. The story reveals the nuisances of a corporate life and at the same time has idealized the importance of ethics in professional life.

– This book review was published in Rotaract club of Nirma university’s annual magazine Reckon.

Book Review : Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.


I am scared of huge novels. i imagine them laughing at me while i try to figure out, how on the earth will i complete this monster. But, after reading shantaran which is approx 1000 pages in size [ plus it has medium font size ], my outlook towards such novels has completely changed. i read it in Diwali vacation ’08. . The description of scenes is picturesque and the language is elegant.

It all started when I read that Johnny Depp had bought rights for some book called shantaram and it roused my curiosity. Let me sketch the outline of the book a bit. The protagonist is a man called Lindsay, who escapes Australian prison and arrives in Bombay on a fake passport. Here he befriends tourist guide prabaker, who finds him a place to live in a slum away from the eyes of the law. The slum is to be the home of Linbaba, as Lindsay is called, for the next few years. while he runs a makeshift first-aid center in the slum, he also engages in criminal activities like smuggling and counterfeiting, and eventually fights with mujhahideen of Afghanistan and acts in bollywood. Lin’s experience in Bombay range from falling in love with the beautiful karla to visiting prabaker’s village where he gets the name “shantaram”, or man of peace. The Book is Full of character’s, each character is a jewel in the crown i.e the novel. The fact that the author who is foreign to India makes an effort to understand the pulse of a complex country and does it in style makes this book a compelling read. The adventures of shantaram never ceases to amaze you. it’s a perfect script that can be translated to a movie.

Must read!

This book review found a place in Rotaract club of nirma institute’s annual magazine Reckon.