Jan 07

Resolutions and 2013 reading list…

Resolutions are here to stay

I have a consistent track record of “not” following all my new year resolutions through to successful completion. Since 2009, when I first initiated this annual review of the elapsed year and setting goals for the year ahead, there has not been a single year when this resolution strategy has worked to my satisfaction. One of the most gratifying feelings of this year came last weekend when a consultant friend of mine in Toronto told me that he shares the same story too and that I am not alone.

In hindsight, I find that despite of these failed attempts, making resolutions and setting targets is an important “starter” for the new year. It increases productivity, boosts morale and most importantly, it structures the thought process. In fact, I am experiencing that year after year, my resolutions are becoming more rational reflecting increased levels of self-awareness. Out of all the stranded resolutions, there have been a few successful ones too. In 2009, back when I was working as an engineer in India, I vividly remember that two of my resolves were to actively look for an international opportunity in software industry and read 15 books by the end of that year. The international opportunity to work in Singapore didn’t come around the time I had planned. But it did come and brought rich professional and personal experiences with it. I did not read 15 books by the end of 2009. In fact, the count was somewhere around 7 or 8. But I wonder if I had been able to read even 5 books had I not set a target for myself.

A few days back, while reading an article authored by Peter Drucker, I came across the idea of feedback analysis. Peter discusses how constructive it can be to write down the goals and evaluate those at the end of the year to see the progress. This kind of an exercise can give a clear picture of what “not” to pursue.

2013 must reads

Like last year, here I am again with my reading goals for 2013. Out of books that I have shortlisted to read by 1st January 2014, here are 7 that are on top of my list and the reasons for picking them:

Wikinomics: I started this book yesterday and it seems to be one of the most persuasive and finest books on collaborative innovation I have ever come across.

The age of unreason: I have always aspired to read this great work by Charles Handy. Charles is rated among the Thinkers50, a list of most influential management thinkers in the world. What attracts me to this masterpiece is that it grew in reputation decades after it was published after the ubiquitous virtual world, internet and outsourcing proved his vision to be provident.

The Essential Drucker: TIME magazine last year wrote that “over a career that spanned 60 years, Peter Drucker single-handedly invented the field of management”. The insights of this “superstar CEO’s go to guru” are generations ahead of their time. The Essential Drucker is one of the finest representation of his works and thoughts.

My years with General Motors: Alfred P. Sloan Jr. has been one of the most inspiring business leaders. The book, as per the reviews and recommendations of friends, is full of shrewd lessons from managing a giant corporation to product development to corporate structure.

Ubuntu unleashed 2013: I love everything open source and everything built around collaboration strategies. Ubuntu is one of the finest operating systems out there and its been some time now since I explored Linux Fedora.

The four steps to epiphany: I have been ardently reading Steve Blank’s blog since the last 6 months now. Steve is one of the most sought after entrepreneur cum thinkers based out of Silicon valley. As an engineer in a graduate level business program, I believe this book will provide an enriching experience.

The Origin of species: This scientific literature by Charles Darwin, is the foundation of evolution. The book is a carry forward from my reading list for 2012.

Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest political leaders in human history, once said that “A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying”. Well, for me and many others like me, becoming a saint is neither possible nor desirable. What we can do is to make an earnest effort to bring down the count of these “sins” every year. Resolutions, irrespective of their success rate, seem to be one of the best tools at disposal.

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