Archive for investing book reviews

“Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” – book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson (book review)

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming really hot topics. Take Europe companies, for example – it is enough to through in the discussion the “digitalization” and the “machine learning” topics and you will get the CEO’s attention. But as in most mini-industrial revolutions, the devil hides into the details. And the very same companies that push for transforming themselves are having a difficult time to perform the transformation itself. This is because of multiple reasons – not the smallest being a certain lack of knowledge ramp up during the current revolution.
“Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” takes an interesting middle ground approach to the topic. On one hand, it lays down quickly the rules governing this brave new volatile world – data agility. Continue reading ““Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” – book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson (book review)” »

“The Battle of Bretton Woods”, by Benn Steil – A Book Review

To be fair, the complete name of the book is “The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order”. This title kind of raises the expectations, doesn’t it?

Bretton Woods is, for most people outside of the economics field, just one of those expressions that specialists use to drive others away. It is the kind of expression mentioned when somebody needs to describe the redefinition of the economical order – or even more, the redesign of a financial system. Sounds like a big thing – and it actually is – Bretton Woods represented, in the aftermath of the 2nd world war, the place were the winning nations redesigned the monetary system and shaped what we have today in terms of financial flows globalization.

But don’t get me wrong – “The Battle of Bretton Woods” tells the story of the story, not of the technicalities behind. In retrospective, most historical decisions look usually logical and inevitable. The best history books, such as this one, do justice to the topic and show how intrigues and rivalries between the leading nations shaped the history at that moment. And boy, this was history – in this middle town of new Hampshire the dollar would become, after many strenuous battles, the currency of choice for international trade. This choice propelled US at the nexus of the modern economy, making it noit only the most powerful economy in the world, but also its guardian of choice. “The Battle of Bretton Woods”  how US became the biggest creditor nation, how the US banks started to do deals with other governments, why the international trade still takes place mostly in dollars – and so on. Many reasons just to read it, right? Continue reading ““The Battle of Bretton Woods”, by Benn Steil – A Book Review” »

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?

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: Continue reading “Book Review – “The First Mile”, by Scott Anthony” »

Book Review – “Big Data @ Work” by Thomas Davenport

It is quite rare that somebody admits they were wrong about a major trend in IT which was overseen in the past. Quite rare. Fortunately, Thomas Davenport is not that kind of person – on the contrary. In the preface of his new book (“Big Data At Work) published by Harvard Business Review Press, he actually admits that he initially dismissed the concept as being just another technology hype. And you can hardly blame him – there are many gurus or specialists or journalists who still think that the “big data” concept represents another form of selling clound and analytical services. Promoted, of course, by the big IT companies who happen to endorse the concept quite actively.

From this perspective, Harvard Business Review Press has done some justice to the hype surrounding the concept. “Big Data at Work” was in a sense a long waited for book – people were maybe familliar with the concepts, but wanted maybe to know more about:

– how big data is implemented and used by various companies (the famous “case study” approach patented by the Harvard Business Review (one of the biggest business case studies publishers in the world by the way); Continue reading “Book Review – “Big Data @ Work” by Thomas Davenport” »

“Global Dexterity” by Andy Molinski – A Harvard Book Review


When you work in an international environment, it is very easy to forget how complicated is to deal with different cultures. “Global Dexterity – How To Adapt Your Behavior Without Loosing Yourself in the Process” comes to correct this forgetting – before you can do some irreversible damage to your cross-cultural relationships.

As usually, a Harvard Business Review Press book comes with two main strong points:

–          A highly knowledgeable expert author  –  in this case Andy Molinski, a professor specialized in cross-cultural communication and

–          Lots of practical study cases which should illustrate powerfully each demonstrated point.

“Global Dexterity”does not simply state some facts and then demonstrates them – it actually assumes that managing  cross-cultures is a skill which can be taught and developed into a concept of … global dexterity. As such, it offers a meta-framework – namely a conceptual framework which can be applied various cultures and help you adapt quicker and better to the new environment. This is what I actually liked about “Global Dexterity” – you can take it as a light case-study handbook or you can advance and practice the mastery of the new method to new levels. Continue reading ““Global Dexterity” by Andy Molinski – A Harvard Book Review” »

“Playing to Win” by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin – a Book Review


 Strategy books are so many this year, that you could literally by a dozen by the 10 dollar bill from Amazon. I would go so far as even to say that there are too many. So many strategy tomes are written, that the authors are no longer named “authors”, but “thinkers”, as a new job description… And classified accordingly. (top 50 thinkers, year by year).
“Playing to Win – How Strategy Really Works” (to give the book’s complete name) is actually a very different book in this respect. First of all, “Playing to Win” is written from a practitioner’s perspective. Both authors (A.G. Lafley – by the way, you should buy the book at least for the nice haircut of this gentleman  – and Roger Martin) have created this strategic decision making system during their working life. Actually the system described here was literally applied and developed within Procter & gamble, a fairly successful company overall and a very successful one if e take out the tech sector in the last decade :). Continue reading ““Playing to Win” by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin – a Book Review” »