Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Secret Language of Business: How to Read Anyone in 3 Seconds or Less by Kevin Hogan

You have heard that most of the communications is non-verbal. This book will convince you of that. Excellent mix of academic studies and practical applications.

This book methodically examines non-verbal behaviors and discusses how they originate, where they originate, how to read them, how to use them effectively. The book looks at non-verbal behavior, popularly termed as body language, in day-to-day life's scenarios.

An eye opening and perspective changing landmark book. Very rarely a book achieves such a sweet balance between academic theory and practical applications. This is one such book.

Posting some of my notes as mind maps.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fearless Change: Patterns for introducing new ideas

Fearless Change: Patterns for introducing new ideas by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising

Started reading 'Fearless Change: Patterns for introducing new ideas'. Seems like an interesting book. Contains a library patterns which may be useful for introducing change.

Posting the notes (in the form of mind map) of first 3 chapters.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Cool Down: Getting Further by Going Slower by Steve Prentice

Refreshing book for today's sped up world.

You got to slow down to go faster. No brainer. Right? If so, why on the earth people are getting sped up more and more. Are they achieving more and more? Hell no. Any increase in so called productivity is a total sham. People like anything else can not violate the laws of nature. Being sped up constantly may give an impression of activity but activity is not accomplishment.

Do you feel guilty when you take time off or work at a more sustainable pace? Please do not. That's your natural rhythm and keep to it. Of course, by all means, find ways to better your life by doing things more effectively. But, do not give into the fact that you need to work 10-12-16 hour days to be successful. Let alone successful, you will burn out and die (literally) if you keep such a lifestyle for too long.

This is a great book for all of us who tend to caught up with event-to-event living mind set. Take time to break that robotic lifestyle. Wake up, smell the coffee and stare at the blue-sky. In fact blue-skying is a technique advocated in this book to slow down and enjoy the life.

Also attaching some of the notes I made (as mind maps) while reading this book.


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Mind map

Mind mapping is a technique to collect, record and organize ideas. It's a very powerful tool. Now with the availability of several free and commercial software to do mind mapping, it's much easier to put this very effective technique into practice.

Mind mapping is a very simple technique. Central idea is to build around the core. For example, let's say you start reading a book. You glance through the book and record the theme of the book at the center. Then secondary ideas are recorded all around the center and connected by lines which can denote relationship.

Beauty of mind mapping is that it first lets to you collect as many ideas as possible and then lets you organize them as appropriate. 'To get the best idea, first you have to get a lot of ideas' - this is at the heart of brainstorming. Linear way of recording ideas impedes the brain because brain does not think linearly. It builds connections between ideas. When we start recording ideas linearly, we actually impede the free flow of ideas. By starting to mind map, we give the freedom that brain craves for over the artificial order that we want to follow. Once we dump all ideas randomly on a paper and look that random zig zag picture, sometimes great insights come into picture.

I always used to find that despite spending a lot of time reading on variety of subjects I did not get the return back on the time spent. When I had to refer back to something, I had to remember the book on that topic, go back, look through the contents and then refresh my knowledge and understanding. That was a good start but I still wanted better return on investment. So, I started making high level notes in the form of a mind map and I am astonished to say the least about how effective it is in terms of getting the big picture. These day I fire up 'Free mind', an open source free program, on my laptop as I read something making one or two notes about each paragraph I read. It takes little longer but I can always go back to refer to them. That's where the maximum return on investment is.

Since I learnt that liner note taking or jotting down points impedes free flow of ideas, I use mind maps to come up with presentations, long e-mails, plans etc. Once I have a mind map on any topic, I can expand or reduce it to the level I want.

You can read more about mind mapping at -

You can also search on YouTube for some excellent videos on mind mapping. Also, look for excellent books by Tony Buzan. He systematized the art of mind mapping and his books are really good.

You can download 'Free Mind' software from It's a great tool.

Below is a mind map of few chapters from the book 'The secret language of business: How to read people....". Just to illustrate that it does not take much time, I read about 80% of the book quickly in probably 4-5 hours over 3-4 sessions. Made the mind map as went along. Beauty was every time I picked up the book, I could scan the mind map for a few seconds and remember very well about the past reading and dive into the next part with complete understanding.

Free mind tool lets you export into variety of formats. You can export into a PDF and share your mind maps with people who may not have free mind.

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