Seasonal Greetings Vienna

Christmas is approaching again – and it is time to think of the beloved ones and of what makes life beautiful…

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    “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things?” – by Robert Bartlett – a Book Review

     Christmas is near – less than two weeks to go. And I think there comes no better time of the year to meditate about the sacred things – what makes us believe in God, what drives us ahead, why we are here. It is not that we should be more religious then we are. In the heat of our daily lives, when we run for better career prospects, increased ROIs, higher incomes, we tend to forget that other things are important.

    So I decided to read laterally and do several different book reviews. The first one relates to a book called “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things? – Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation”, by Robert Bartlett. You can hardly find a tome better suited to the Christmas period, I guess. First of all, it is a book about one of the most distinct features of the Christian religion – the veneration of saints. Secondly, “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things?” is an academic book – it approaches the subject from a research angle. Thirdly – the book is quite impressive in appearance in writing – more on this below J. Read more

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      “Six Simple Rules” – A Book Review for a HBR Press Title

      If there is one thing that is increasing in the modern working world, this is the entropy. Which has as synonym, among other words, “complexity”. The authors of “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” (Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman) have embarked on a journey to do just that. And they accomplished to write a fine book.
      Both seniors in the Boston Consulting Group, the authors are seasoned warriors in this “untangling the clients’ businesses” field. This might be just the smallest reason why they embarked on creating a handbook on how to efficiently manage your business from a strategic and de-complexing level. The biggest one is that they seem to be “ideas entrepreneurs” – the kind of persons who see an opportunity to improve things via a new approach or idea – and they just go for it.
      And here’s how “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” proposes to do: Read more

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        First Task to Accomplish on Monday Morning

        Imagine it is 09:00 AM on a Monday morning. You just landed in your office, supercharged by the Bucks or Republic or another brand coffee. You already had two phone calls with a customer (internal or external). Your task waiting list is longer than the Bible’s first chapter and you do not (want to) know where to begin. So what do you do?
        It might look as a joke, but you might start by reading a chapter of a professional book. Research shows that you become 1-2% smarter with every book you read. Your synapses get fired up, your brain starts working and warming up, you get smarter. So why not?

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          “Power Cues” by Nick Morgan, a Book Review

          Sometimes the title says it all and it is just enough as an appetizer. This book’s subtitle did that job for me: “The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others and Maximizing Your Personal Impact”.

          Well, this sounds like the perfect recipe, doesn’t it? It is a bit like in the one-time wonder hit song “Handlebars” – you can already imagine yourself starting low and climbing your skills to the heights of a Capitol where you lead armies of followers.

          Leaving jokes aside, “Power Cues” is a really good practical neuroscience book. If you have not met the term before, neuroscience studies the way the brain influences and gets influenced by the the non-verbal language of others (among other things). “Power Cues” delivers exactly that promise – with a practical perspective. The book looks at how people respond to the non-verbal cues of others. Apparently, something that dogs are very good at, but humans – not J. Read more

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            Book Review – “The First Mile”, by Scott Anthony

            The First MileA book about how to transform your innovation ideas into a working machine? Anytime! Especially when it comes from Harvard Business Review Press and it is packed with actionable advice and study cases.

            “First Mile”s author (Scott Anthony) is not quite new to the innovation field. As a managing partner at Innosight (a small venture capital and consulting company from Singapore which generates 76,400 hits, quite  a lot for a discrete company), he has seen hundreds of such small companies starting and failing – or succeeding. And objective books by venture capitalists, written out of passion, are quite rare. So I braced myself for a potentially good read.

            “The First Mile” is an entrepreneurship book mostly about creating, testing and starting the implementation of your business plan. It is a book oriented towards the first-time or maybe serial antrepreneurs, who want to do other mistakes than their predecessors. As a Harvard Business Review Press book, it has two main advantages: Read more

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              Big Data and Hadoop

              Accidentally I came over recently an Apache server technology for big data centralization and analysis. Hadoop is a mix and match technology, open source, which allows companies to write their own big data analytical tools in a quick and efficient manner.

              What puzzled me mostly was the adoption of this type of open-source solution. You would think that the serious developers (such as SAS, IBM or Pentaho) would be reluctant to adopt open-source solutions. After all, look at what happened with the Goldman Sachs flash trading code (if you have not read the book “Flashboys”, maybe it is time to give it a try :)). But no, they are embracing it! I do not know if this is because they want a continuously developeable solution, a community pooling benefit or just something off-the-shelves, but here we go. Big data tools are not only very lean, but also based on a global creativity streak. Isn’t this interesting?

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