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Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars


Favorite Quotes

That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt

I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.

I’d always thought the world was a wish-granting factory.

We find humor where we can.

I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?

That's why I like you ... You are so busy being yourself you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.

Oh, I wouldn't mind. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.

I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe, but that has not been my experience.

Grief does not change you. It reveals you.

You've gotta pick your battles in this world.

I take quite a lot of pride in not knowing what’s cool.

You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you.

No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.

The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.

People always get used to beauty.

Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon.

I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up,' he said. 'And it is my privilege and my responsibility to ride all the way up with you.

There is no try. There is only do.

Ignorance is bliss.

The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people noticing things, paying attention.

Don't tell me you're one of those people who become their disease.

Pain is like fabric; the thicker it is, the more its worth.

Book Review: Great by Choice


Quotes:

Good is the enemy of great.

The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.

Bad decisions made with good intentions, are still bad decisions.

A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.

Creativity dies in an disciplined environment.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

20 Mile March describes the fanatic discipline that leads you to manage for the long term rather than chasing short-term results or the fade. Three reasons for 20 mile march:

  • Builds confidence 
  • Reduce likelihood of catastrophe 
  • Exert self-control in an out of control environment

It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.

By definition, it is not possible to everyone to be above the average.

What separates people is not the presence or absence of difficulty, but how they deal with the inevitable difficulties of life.

Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people. Worse, it can drive away the best people. Strong performers are intrinsically motivated by performance, and when they see their efforts impeded by carrying extra weight, they eventually become frustrated.

When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity.

Freely chosen, discipline is absolute freedom.

Boom Review: Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere



This book is written by Ravi Venkatesan, Ex-CEO of Cummins India and Microsoft India. Ravi makes a case of why India is a great destination for multinational corporations (MNC) and associated challenges. According to Ravi, in spite of the well-known issues of poor infrastructure, bureaucracy, red-tape, corruption and land acquisition issues, India presents an excellent opportunity for MNC’s (even if Indian market contributes to less than 1% global revenue for the company). The author argues that there are more benefits than just low cost labor and low cost manufacturing (commonly termed as the offshoring) for setting up operations in India.

Several examples of world class companies like John Deere, Cummins, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung and Unilever are included with case studies. One example stands out – John Deere and Mahindra. Mahindra has a majority of market share in India when it comes to low horse power tractors. Recently, Mahindra was also challenging John Deere in their strong foothold market in the some western countries by introducing low cost (but value) products. John Deere was losing on home front and also on foreign turf. For John Deere, all aspect from design to manufacturing to marketing were controlled from the headquarters. In the light of changed market conditions, John Deere decided to open a new facility in Pune, India for developing low power-low cost tractors. All aspects of the product development were managed form the Pune facility. The strategy paid off – John introduced a new tractor specifically tailored to the developing market like India. They were able to penetrate the market and claim a sizable market share. Additionally, they were able to launch modified version of these products on the home front to regain the lost share in the developed markets. Thus, by expanding in India and taking the competitors head-on, John Deere acquired essential skills and capabilities to innovate and develop tailored products.

For the India strategy to succeed, the author suggests a few tips:
- Instead of a strong headquarter control where every small policy and directive is issued, the author suggest to have some local autonomy for the Indian executives. Many MNCs control each and every aspect of business from the headquarter normally located in its parent country. The author argues that such a model is detrimental for India operations due to the differences in the cultures, business, political and social structures with respect to a typical western country. The strategies which  work well in a developed western country do not necessarily apply in India.
- Many MNC try to standardize and use the “one size fit all” model. This might need some change – Indian customers are not necessary ready to pay premium prices for premium brands – A typical Indian customer will look at the value versus allied services and brand name. For example, the sachet  size shampoos and conditioners packaging.
- The most important point which was highlighted in the book was – Use India as a testing ground for other developing countries. The author argues that skills a company will acquire as they work in India will be useful for other developing countries which ,might have even adverse conditions. If the company is successful is India, it can easily replicate the strategies in other developing countries, expanding their reach and market potential.
- Strategies to work with local politicians, corruption and red tape are interesting.
- Author’s views and suggestions of entering the Indian market with acquisition or joint venture with an Indian company are noteworthy.