Before I move ahead to write on the topics which I had mentioned in my last post, let me take a digression and write something about the latest books I read during the last one month.
Making the Cisco Connection: This book, I felt, is a plain description of the origin of the behemoth named Cisco. David Bunnell has described well the nature of the three eras of the Cisco Management –
The entrepreneurial stint of Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack (the birth of Cisco)
The Morgridge years (the period of consolidation)
The era of Chambers (the age of expansion)
David has well described the major strategies and the culture of the organization. This book is indeed informative but something was lacking – something that was so striking in Richard Branson’s “Losing my virginity” or Sam Walton’s “Made in America”. Perhaps if some day, Chambers writes the story himself, the missing excitement can creep in.
I found something different in this book regarding JVs when David writes about Chambers -
“In JVs – no single transaction he’s had, he says has been 50-50. Sometimes CISCO’s partner will get 70% of the benefit, and the next time CISCO might get 80% of the benefit. All in all it adds up to 50-50.
The Age of Discontinuity: This book by Peter Drucker was first published in 1968.
Through this book, Drucker looked into the future and predicted stuff which we have taken for granted today. He mentioned about four sources of discontinuity, which he felt, marked the end of the then existing continuity. These sources are
Origin of new industries, new entrepreneurs and new economic policies
Changing society tending towards pluralism and privatization
The term “knowledge economy” and “knowledge worker” became almost a sociological jargon after this book.
Drucker foresaw the last decade of the last millennium well in advance. He was indeed two decades ahead of his time. No wonder he is considered the greatest management mind of this era.
Games Indians Play: This is an interesting book by V. Raghunathan. In this book, the author has tried to explain why we (Indians) are the way we are by using Prisoners dilemma. While the author has maintained a simple environment in spite of using complex behavioral economics terms like rationality, systematic chaos etc., I feel he could also have used Prisoner’s Dilemma and other game theory principles to the context of Indian-ness as well. I mean he has used game theory as a tool to explain why Indians are the way they are. Perhaps he could have done a better job had he used the game theory to answer the question “what makes Indians behave the manner they do” in the context of the socio-economic status of India. However, this book is a good read…especially for its simplicity in dealing with complex things.