Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review : The Habit of Winning

Prakash Iyer's - 'The Habit of Winning' is a one-flight long book which may take several flights to complete. One may complete reading a section in minutes but ruminate on it for hours. This isn't a Management tome but the contents are no less significant. The text is uncomplicated - Reader's Digest like - but imbibing or inculcating the traits described, though simple, may not be easy but are essential. The book consists of 11 human attributes elucidated through 57 very interesting, easily identifiable, real life stories, tales and anecdotes.

'Climbing the Mountain' is where the author asks the reader about the most important thing needed to climb a mountain. Is it the equipment, the training, the teamwork or favourable weather? To my dismay, the answer failed me. 'Flat Tyre Leadership' is another endearing, possibly apocryphal, story about Ratan N. Tata - about his work ethics. Whether you subscribe to or believe in these work ethics is not important. What is certain that this story will get you thinking whether you need to learn a lesson from this story - to set an example for your team.

As you savour this book you will be able to recollect several instances from your own personal or professional life which profoundly impacted you. Stories which you could share with others but perhaps didn't. 'The Habit of Winning' is not just a collection of stories from the author's own experiences. It is a compilation of stories drawn from Cricket, the Olympics, History, Nature and Business Folklore.

This is not a book just for Corporate Managers or Business Persons. This is a book which I want my wife, mother and teen-age son to read. This is a book that I'll want my father to read - who's long retired from corporate life. This is a book that I want to gift to my friends - friends who like to read and reap the benefits from reading.

Roger Bannister's accomplishment of running a mile under 4 minutes is well chronicled in sporting history. Till he broke the 'mile under 4 minutes' barrier, - it was considered to be an unattainable target. A target which was 'humanly' impossible to achieve. Doctors and Sports Experts were of the opinion that this could not be done 'without causing significant harm to the body'. Yet, just after Roger Bannister broke this barrier, John Landy an accomplished runner whose previous best time was 4 minutes and 1.5 seconds - who said that the mile under 4 minutes could not be broken - ran the mile in 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco is the current record holder with a timing of 3:43:13.

'The Second-best Time to Do Anything' is another story which will strike a deep chord with readers. The author quotes from the old Chinese proverb: 'The best time to plant a tree was twenty years back. The second best time is now'.

Unless you are among those few who are close to being perfect - a notch higher on the ladder of evolution, it may be wise decision to read the book, now - the second best time to read this book.

We are long past the best time to have read this book.

The Habit of Winning by Prakash Iyer.
Penguin India - Rs.299 - 248 pages

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Anand Kumar, who founded Super 30, Bihar's widely acclaimed free coaching centre for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) aspirants, has blamed the institutes' entrance exam panel for the poor quality of students making the cut, a concern voiced by Infosys chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy.

Forewarned when four-armed

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Friday, October 7, 2011


He was not looking for Steve's job! He was looking for Steve Jobs!