Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

predictably-irrational-dan-arielyAfter listening to Dan Ariely’s TED talk on our buggy moral code, I become interested in his research on behavioral economics. During a transit flight in Frankfurt airport back to Singapore after my trip to Monte Carlo, I managed to bought myself a copy of his book “Predictably Irrational” (and you can hear the story what prompted him to write the book in another TED talk entitled “Are we in control of our own decisions?“). Upon reading the book, I found that he was basically reiterating the examples from the book during the TED talk. It’s a fascinating book providing a different perspective on how we make decisions using the combined discipline of psychology and economics. In fact, you will be convinced by his reasoning why there is hidden rationale behind people performing the acts of cheating and dishonest behaviour. So, I thought I might just summarize two interesting concepts that popped up in this book: Continue reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

House of Cards by William Cohan

house-of-cards-cohanI have been contemplating about purchasing William Cohan’s “House of Cards” on different occasions. It is not until the interview with William Cohan by Jon Stewart in the Daily Show, I have decided to grab a copy and read about the chronology on how the collapse of Bear Stearns have triggered the eventual downfall of Lehmann Brothers and proceeded by the global meltdown in Sep 2008. Of course, the most memorable line between them during their exchange on the Daily Show where Jon Stewart asked, “What is the difference between a Ponzi scheme and an investment bank?” His tacit reply is that the investment banks are playing by the rules whereas the Madoff scandal is playing outside the system. Once I started the first hundred pages of “House of Cards”, I realized where Jon Stewart drew the chronology of the material when he fired at Jim Cramer and CNBC for their faulty reporting on the financial institutions earlier. Of course, Stewart highly recommended this book on his show. It will be interesting to review Cohan’s book in detail here. Continue reading House of Cards by William Cohan

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

team-of-rivals-doris-goodwinDuring the US 2008 Presidential Elections, during a press conference, Senator Barack Obama (now President of the United States) offered his answer to a question from the press on how he would select his cabinet through quoting this book “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, an acclaimed historian. If you have watched “Meet the Press” in the days of Tim Russert, she was often invited as a political pundit to comment and reflect on how lessons from past presidents can be applied to look at the presidential elections or politics of today. The summary of the book narrates how the US President, Abraham Lincoln (famous for the abolition of slavery and winning the civil war) had managed to rope in his rivals (who ran against him in the 1860 election) in his Cabinet from 1861 to 1865. The most notable of his rivals who served him as  Cabinet members are: Edward Bates (Attorney General), Salmon Chase (Treasury), and William H. Seward (State). The book revolves around how Lincoln manage to reconcile people of conflicting egos and personalities (with their political factions) to resolve the greatest crisis which faced US at that point of time. Continue reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott

grown-up-digital-tapscottIf you have read the book “Wikinomics” by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, then you should not miss this new book “Grown Up Digital” by Don Tapscott.  Believe it or not, ten years ago, the same author wrote a book entitled “Growing Up Digital”. In some sense, this book is a sequel and traces how the Net-Geners have evolved. The book was inspired by a US$4M project “The Net Generation: a Strategic Investigation” started by the company “New Paradigm” founded by the author and funded by large companies. With a survey of 11,000 young people, this book looks at the new generation who have literally grown up digital, a cultural phenomenon characterized by a few things they do: (1) texting friends, (2) downloading music, (3) uploading videos, (4) watching shows on YouTube, and (5) communicating via social networking platforms such as MySpace and Facebook. If you are a practitioner of social media or a policy maker involved in crafting new policies for the net generation, this might just be the book to read to understand the trends and strategies in the realms of education, citizen activism and parenting. So, here is my review of this interesting treatise: Continue reading Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott