Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: The Art of Profitability

The Art of Profitability The Art of Profitability by Adrian J. Slywotzky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The Art of Profitability" uses the same novel approach as "The Guy Who Fired His Boss" & "Lost and Found", two books which I read earlier, except that the delivery style is reminiscent of Gu Long, the late Taiwanese Wuxia novelist, who had a habit of not explaining everything explicitly in his novels.

This is good in the sense that it leaves you to ponder over the concepts and draw (quite literally) your own conclusions. On the flip side, sometimes there is too much backstory going on for its own good, which leaves you hanging, especially if you are lazy to think through things.

At the end of each chapter is usually an interesting reading assignment, which turns out to be a subtle promotion of some of the author's other works.

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Friday, May 05, 2017

Review: Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best

Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best by Srinivas Rao
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is preachy and repetitive, so much so that you will feel like you're reading the same chapter over and over.

The more I read books of this nature, the more convinced I am that acclaimed authors such as Seth Godin, Hugh MacLeod, et al., operate within the realm of a links-exchange orgy - I mention you in my book, and you mention me in yours. Eventually they become enclosed in an echo chamber and their reputation precedes themselves.

Take for example a glaring contradiction on the piece about Seth Godin. The author states that one of the reasons that Seth has intentionally chosen not to have comments on his blog is because "hearing negative feedback from anonymous people who I have no connection with will cause me to do nothing but hide."

Yet, in the conclusion of the piece, Seth defines unmistakable this way: "The path to become unmistakable is the willingness to be wrong, to be criticized, and most of all to matter."

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: The Politically Incorrect Parenting Book: 10 No-Nonsense Rules to Stay Sane and Raise Happy Kids

The Politically Incorrect Parenting Book: 10 No-Nonsense Rules to Stay Sane and Raise Happy Kids The Politically Incorrect Parenting Book: 10 No-Nonsense Rules to Stay Sane and Raise Happy Kids by Nigel Latta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unlike other no-nonsense parenting books, this one actually got me off my butt to work on stuff that I haven't been doing right. The case studies have an easy-to-follow structure, and the solutions do not need a PhD to comprehend.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators by Chris Brogan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is one of those New-Age hippie-dippie non-conformist literature that tries to inspire but falls flat in many places due to its over-simplistic and flippant one-size-fits-all recommendations. Some parts of the book also read like a shameless plug for Evernote.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

I believe in free speech*

"You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours."

Today, I came across two Facebook updates by Andrew Loh (here and here) where he asked: 

I don't normally post elaborate responses to Facebook conversations but this time I felt compelled to because:

1. I find it surprising that having suffered at the hands of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), Andrew does not realise the irony of what he is trying to propose.

2. The arguments put forth by some against "absolute free speech" were getting ridiculous.

You either believe in free speech or you don't. There are no two ways about it. You can't say that you believe in free speech, but then put a big asterisk next to it with a fine print about the conditions when speech is not free. Can you see how ridiculous it is?

It's like one of those promotions that says "FREE!*" Who the fuck believes that?

Ok, I guess I have offended some people with that irresponsible speech. But guess what? Alvin Phua rightly pointed out:

And then there are those who use the age-old fire-in-the-theatre argument to justify the boundaries for free speech:

To which, without going into a long-drawn philosophical debate, Christine Sng Mechtler summed up the difference best with these three choice words:

Andrew and several others mentioned somewhere (can't remember where I saw the comments as it became difficult to track the conversations) that if we impose limits to free speech, it will have to apply fairly to everyone, including that obnoxious IB, Jason Chua. Problem is, if the law of the day ruled that what Jason the cockroach says is well within the legal framework of "free speech", do you just go lppl?

Once you advocate that a higher authority has the right to determine what is ok within the context of free speech, you basically cede your rights to any form of free speech.

There are also some who tried to tout "responsible speech" as a substitute for "free speech". What the fuck is "responsible speech"? Who decides what's responsible, and responsible to whom? Once you go down this slippery road, you will risk having one party dictating to another what constitutes "responsible speech". And the outcome is already quite obvious. Censorship.

What I believe is that free speech should be guided only by your own moral and ethical principles, and if your principles happen to be immoral/unethical, expect people to challenge them. Or walk away (hey, that's a valid option too!).

What irks me is when people resort to straw man argument to state their case against free speech, as Jolene Tan rightly observed:


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