I am posting some thoughts on various books that I find interesting.

Along the Bund

Ticking off an item on my bucket list, I self published a book.  I collected my dining experiences along the Shanghai Bund and combined with historical details of the buildings.  I hope that visitors can use the book as a guide to the history and enjoy the great food.  Along the Bund


The Frackers

Although you can pick up the notable talking points on Fracking in a few web pages, I thought the book did a good job on adding some color to some of the key players in the early days of development.  The stories of the players involved having determination and going for broke are the biggest take aways for me.   I thought it was interesting to see the players having nothing to lose push all in.  I think there are many cases in life where having nothing to lose provides a freedom to take the big gamble.  The freedom to be creative and break away from traditional thinking has the potential to be very rewarding.

Left Brain, Right Stuff: How Leaders Make Winning Decisions

I thought the notable point in this book is ‘The ideal strategic decision maker is “part tactician, part psychologist” and “part riverboat gambler.”  The tactician operates with a competitive mind-set, carefully planning his or her moves – that is, making decisions – while considering how rivals will respond.  The psychologist creates desirable outcomes by being an inspiring leader.  The riverboat gambler is always ready to make a bold move.  The best decision makers know when and how to assume each role’


Our book club completed the book by Daniel Pink, Drive.  I gather that its about topics he discusses during his TED talks.  He has a view on the carrots and sticks approach to motivation vs. providing people with autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

My take aways from the book are

– Match your capabilities vs. work/responsibility so that there is the challenge and stretch/growth.  The term Pink uses is ‘flow’

– Work to make sure there is a feeling of autonomy

– There is a growth vs. fixed mindset.  I choose to look at a growth mindset which means I can continue to get better and grow my skills and abilities.

– Communicate the organization/team vision beyond making money to provide purpose.  I would note that the purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be altruistic.  i.e. not every organization has to try and save the world.

– I like his thought about checking at various times if you are in the ‘flow’ and asking if you feel are better today vs yesterday.

– He also has the idea to take some time to clear your mind and think about the bigger picture for your life.

– He covers deliberate practice which is a topic that is covered elsewhere

– Have a think about what gets you up in the morning and what keeps you up at night.

– Create a ‘to-don’t’ list


Paper Tiger

I think this article has some interesting commentary on Asians getting on after the academic life.  He has examples of how individuals handle the generalizations, cultural norms, and bamboo ceiling.  I don’t know that I agree on some thoughts relating to Asian Americans getting to leadership positions.  One thing I like about the commentary is the focus on the individual moving forward instead of accepting their predicament.

What Happens to All the Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-Taking Ends_ — New York Magazine

Never Eat Alone:

A book I read with the book club is Never Eat Alone.  I summarize the book as explaining why networking is important and giving advice on how to network in a positive way.  He provides interesting stories to support the practical steps he proposes for networking.  The book gave me some useful insights and reiterates ideas I know from first hand experience.  The author talks about he is proactive in creating and taking advantage of networking opportunities.  I realize that I don’t put as much thought into building and leveraging my network.  My goal is to apply the suggestions on daily basis.

There is a great write up on the book here


Who Moved My Cheese?

One of my favorite books, Who Moved My Cheese, talks about how to handle change.  With the pace of change in the current generation, I think more people struggle with handling the rapid pace of change.  This book does a great job to give people a positive mindset on handling change.  If there is one constant in life, it is change.  Instead of resisting change or becoming a victim, we need to look for the opportunity that can come from change.  I highly recommend this book.

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