February 2nd, 2006
Beyond the Age of Innocence by Kishore Mahbubani
A couple of weeks ago, I meet Kishore, the former ambassador of Singapore to the UN and currently the Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy for some work related matter. I remember fondly of his previous book Can Asians Think so after the meeting, I pull this book out and shamelessly asked for an autograph. :-)
This book is really written for Americans. I would really encourage all my American friends to read it, of how America inspire the world, help the world and yet at the same time hurt rest of the world.
No, this is not about the good or evil of America, nor does it dive into any conspiracy theories of American politics or policies. Rather, it is a solid analysis of the founding principles of America, of how those principles shaped the politic arena that resulted in various policies (domestic or internationally) which has “intended” (or unintended) consequences on the rest of the world. From Iraq war to Asia Financial Crisis, from UNSS to IMF, from China to Brazil, and how those are shaped by American policies.
As a non-American and yet part of this “global village”, heavily influence by Amercia (I think I was more excited about US election then the one locally), I couldn’t stop nodding at many things Kishore said in this book.
Two words stood out in my mind right now: Goodwill and Moral High-Ground. Both are lost in the last couple of years as the world witness the numerous actions America taken in the name of fighting terror and self-interest. This reminded me of the speech Al Gore gave last month (btw, listen to the mp3 for the full impact of Gore’s delivery). Perhaps the age of innocence is over.
May 30th, 2005
Communities Dominate Brands by Tomi T. Ahonen & Alan Moore
Actually I have not buy this book yet but I have it on my Amazon wishlist. I met up with Tomi1 last Friday who is in town to give some talks on 3G. We spend a couple of hours debating on various technology development; I love discussion that screwed with my brains, and best of all changed my perspective. Suffice to say, Tomi certainly did :-)
Anyway, his latest book is on “Community” something which is quite different from his previous four books on 3G. I am attracted to this book because it is perhaps the first book I am aware of written for business and marketing folk on how to deal (leverage) on bloggers. Some of the concepts introduced by the book totally would turn traditional marketing upside down :-)
Given that many non-bloggers businessman and marketing folks are still trying to figure out how to deal with bloggers, this look like a timely and great book to read.
1 For those who don’t know Tomi, Tomi is the former head of 3G group in Nokia and now he is a consultant on 3G to every handsets and 3G operators you can think of.
March 12th, 2005
Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (the author of The Tipping Point)
Absolutely love the book. And I can relate to the many stories cited by Malcolm especially about intuition – sometimes people asked me how I know what technology to focus – I don’t know how but I just know it.
There is also another important lesson to learn : When you asked someone what they want, they often give you the wrong answer. For example, when Herman Miller rolled out the Aeron chairs, everyone they survey pre-market love the feeling but hated the look. It was rated 2-3 out of 10, where 1 is really bad aesthetic. Yet, after Aeron hits the market and won several industry design awards, the score jumped to 8 out of 10!
The lesson here is that when you present someone with some so radical different from what they used to, they are going to reject it just because it is different. (at least initially)
Now, this has some relevancy to VoIP: Many entreprise cited QoS and Security as two main issues why they didnt deploy VoIP. But is that really true? Could it be because the CIOs are unfamilar with VoIP, and therefore not comfortable with it, and hence, QoS and Security problem is the mind trying to give a logical reason to that uncomfort?
Back in the early 90s, I heard similar arguments about why Email cannot be used as entreprise communication – poor QoS and Security. 10 years forward, sure, we have secure email now but are people using that? Nope, most are using unsecured email no different from the early 90s except for a handful, e.g. government, who really need secure email. What has really changed is that CIOs are no longer uncomfortable with Email.
So good luck to all those who believed the survey and invested to solve the so-called “QoS and Security” problem for VoIP. It is, indeed, blind leading the blind.
February 17th, 2005
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
January 4th, 2005
Game Theory at Work by James D. Miller
December 19th, 2004
Confessions of a Civil Servant : Lessons in Changing America’s Government and Military – by Bob Stone
I got a pleasant surprise this morning: Bob Stone emailed me to tell me his book is available in paperback. (PDF is also available on his website but hey, please go buy the book!)
Actually I blog this book sometime ago and I absolutely love his quote “Some people look for things that went wrong and try to fix them. I look for things that went right and try to build on them.“
November 29th, 2004
The Daily Drucker – by Peter F. Drucker
I am a great fan of Peter Drucker. His articles on business, creativity, innovation, management are not only ahead of his times but also rightly on the mark. He invented numerous terms we used daily, like cost-centre (altho he regret it), management-by-walking-around, knowledge worker and knowledge economy. He talks about innovation for values, looking for future that exists now, and outsourcing before anyone heard of the these terms.
He has so many articles, so many books that one will be totally confused where to start. So this book simply summarizes 366 best snipplets from Druckers writing over the years. Highly to anyone who is new to Drucker.
October 16th, 2004
Can Asians Think? by Kishore Mahbubani
Kishore wrote this book when he is serving as Singapore ambassador to United Nation. While it is a bit outdated, it is an incredible book on the subtle political in the foreign policies within Asia and with the West.
For example, how (nuclear) energy plays an important political balance between Russia, China, Korea and Japan. In a way, it explains a lot of questions I have on the ACT Seminar I was invited to attend last year :- of why it is a seminar on energy and infocomm hosted by the Prime Minister Kozumi, grace by Economic Minister Takenaka, keynote by Russian Energy Minister was held (infocomm was obviously not the focus of the conference); of why the only Korean representive is a Korean businessman from United State;
And I quote: An imperfect government that commits some human rights violations is better then no government, in many societies, which is profoundly relevant wrt the situation in Iraq…
October 2nd, 2004
The Future of Ideas – Lawrence Lessig
I “found” this book in my bookshelf. Yes, “found” because I didn’t remember receiving the book which is autographed by Lessig. I think Lessig send me this book because I made a donation to Creative Commons a couple of months ago when he made an appeal on his blog.
Thanks! Just in time for my trip to Brazil on Monday …