Ruskin Bond

Unlike other kids, my childhood had no love for reading. I was happy roaming in nature, playing cricket or fighting. A somber version of Huckleberry Finn. Off late I have got into the habit of reading Ruskin Bond and have been enjoying it. A few of my friends told me Ruskin books are for toddlers. What I liked about Ruskin Bond’s writing is simplicity. I put him in the same category as Roald Dahl.

I have not been to Nainital, Dehradoon or places Ruskin Bond mentions in his book but makes me feel I am there, walking on the streets or in the wild via him. His writing takes me back to my childhood, makes me think and feel my past.

Some other Indian writers like Khuswant Singh, R K Narayan, and Satyajit Ray follows the same style.

One requires complete idleness to craft a masterpiece. We need to look back to our past, dream and imagine.

market failures

In the book: in the service of the republic, the author talks about market failures. 

  • Externalities Where an external situation defines/effects a group in positive or negative ways. A university resulting in making city hotbed of innovation falls in externality. A factory emitting noise and smoke making neighborhood sick becomes a negative externality.
  • Asymmetric Information is found in situations where customers buy medicine with the premise that it is not adulterated. The fear of adulteration will change his buying behavior affecting manufacturers. 
  • Market power is when a bunch of companies owns the market. It is like Ola/Uber controlling the ride sharing. 
  • Public goods are the things that are non-rival and non-excludable like breathing air. 

I found it worth sharing. 

blame

It is very easy to blame others. It reduces our self-guilt, makes us better.

We are alone, we blame others because we are miserable and scared. We want to vent our anger and frustration. We want to prove ourselves right, our voices felt.

It takes time to build or cement a relationship but minutes to break.

We are responsible for our lives, why do we have to blame others for our mistakes?

education

I feel sad every time I get introduced by someone via their pedigree. The bias which we inculcate in us and filter it creates in our decision-making capabilities are enormous.

Education is a life long process, having a degree from some university is a small part of it. It does not guarantee your future successes.

Education comes from observing, listening and learning. It comes from going through the pains and coming out alive from it.

Since centuries our country has been producing mistics in large, what was their university degree? How well off were they?

Mother Teresa, who could speak no native changed the world with her empathy and care. What was her degree?

pond

In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the analogy: big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond.

I liked the way he explained along with a few examples and data. How impressionist started own art event instead of participating in grandeur event where no one gave respect and appreciation.

It kept me thinking, in our day to day life we are hustling. We are so busy with the grand vision that we forget about the minor joy of living in it. We are running for the big pond without even becoming a big fish in a smaller pond.

Communicate

In the book what you do is who you are, Ben Horowitz talks about keeping open communication with organization heads with the team. 

These are his advice:

  1. State the facts clearly
  2. Openness to bad news
  3. Encourage the bad news

This kind of reminds me of Ray Dalio’s Principle of Radical Transparency. This ensures everyone in the team is aware of how as an organization we are doing it collectively. 

When smart people are bad employees

Ben Horowitz in his book: Hard Things about Hard Things, talks about smart employees who also happen to be responsible for breaking company culture.

The Heretic
These are the employees who find faults to take the case of management or co-workers. They can go to an extent claiming the company is run by morons and management has no fucking interest in the business. They will question every management decision, break trust, and cause your culture to disintegrate.

The Flake
These are brilliant people who can be unreliable. They will be at peak at times while wasting at some other time. Giving a mission-critical task to this bunch can result in screwing things up along with missing timelines.

The Jerk
These employees are no different than others out there. Their existence has more to do with picking a fight with others, making others feel uncomfortable. Having such a manager can screw up a company culture, flow of ideas and innovation.

The Prophet of Rage
The Prophet of Rage is a special type of Jerk. They are super smart, know to get the job done. No obstacle too great and no problem is too hard. They can piss off anyone or everyone to get the job done.

They are so self-righteous it’s difficult to even have a conversation with them about the right way to do things because they believe that if they are doing it, it must perforce be right. Everyone else is always wrong.

If you are running a big team, I am sure you would have encountered these personas in your team.

decision

In the book what you do is who you are, Ben Horowitz talks about how a team takes a decision. He talks about 3 primary modes.

  1. My way or the highway: As a CEO I know what is right and I will make the decision.
  2. Everyone has a say: Before going out with a feature or announcement everyone takes decisions together.
  3. Everyone has an input then I decide.

The author says using the 3ed method is most appropriate.