Oct 3, 2015

Book Review: It's Not All About "Me" by Robin Dreeke

Robin Dreeke is former FBI Agent from the FBI Behavioral Unit. He writes in his It's Not All About "Me": The Top Ten Techniques for Building Rapport - book about how to build trust and connect with people.

The book is written well and it's easy to understand. Techniques as such are not magic, but something that everyone can take in to use if they wish. I've previously read about nonviolent communication and I think there are many similarities to the things Robin is teaching.

As the title already says, the main message is to concentrate to the other person. The key is to get rid of need to answer to other, but to concentrate on what the other one is saying. It sound so easy, but you can easily notice in everyday discussions the need to bring your own views and your ego to the discussions. NVC book already thought me about this skill few years ago, but I still find it very difficult to master.

Of course there are some other things to take in to account. For example there are tricks that help you make the person you want to approach, to feel safe and comfortable to open up. These skills are important for everyone in their personal and work life's.

In top of being interesting and easy to read, the book is also very compact and fast to read. I highly recommend everyone to read this book. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit of the skills presented in this book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Sep 26, 2015

Book Review: The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Richard Dawkins is world famous evolutionary biologist and author. His book The Magic of Reality tries to explain in understandable ways some of the really complicated phenomenons of physics and science overall.

In the midway of the book, I felt like back in school. Quite many things very familiar, but the way Mr. Dawkins explains those helped to deepen the understanding quite a bit.

The book goes through topics all the way from big bang to evolution to quantum mechanics. So it is really comprehensive overview to the universe as we know it. I give the credit to him on explaining things in very understandable ways.

Mr Dawkins is a know atheist and science believer. It really shows in the book. He dismisses all religions. He does admit that there are many things science can't explain yet, but he sees it only as a shortage of current science, not as a possibility for higher forces. Atheism actually came disturbingly through from all the writing. That's a shame, in science facts should be facts without personal believes.

I have to still recommend to people who want to understand physics and the world better. I felt like getting a fast recap of learning's from physics from many years at school. It's an excellent book, if you can tolerate the pushing of atheism.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 28, 2015

Book Review: Practicing the Power of Now

Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a self help book about being present and not letting the past or future create any pain to you. Eckhart Tolle introduces himself as a spiritual teacher without any specific religion or ideology behind him. His message is quite simple: be present at the moment and feel yourself and you will free yourself of pain that your mind is causing.

I both hated and loved the book. I believe, in the being in the moment and accepting what life offers, kind of thinking. Then on the other hand Mr. Tolle takes his toughs sometimes to the levels that are out of my thinking and my ideology. If I understood him right, he says we should forget the past and the future and only live in the moment. In my thinking, your past defines you, relationships with people always have a past, learning is relies to the past and part of our happiness comes from the past.

What I think is really valuable in the book is the idea of feeling yourself and not letting your own history define you too much. You should always be open to people and really feel what you are feeling and not what you think you should feel.

The book as such isn't long, it's quite short to be exact, but still I believe it could have been even shorter. The idea is such a simple that it could have been told even in bit less pages.

I'm glad I read the book, but I think there are better books about being present and mindfulness. If you've already read couple of similar books, this could be good addition to the group, but if you haven't read one of these before, select something else to start with.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 26, 2015

Book Review: #Workout by Jurgen Appelo

I'm a bit ashamed of myself. I've owned #Workout: Games, Tools & Practices to Engage People, Improve Work, and Delight Clients by Jurgen Appelo for already half a year and now I finally was able to finish the book. Book is a real gem and I will definitely be using it regularly for my work.

I actually had met Jurgen Appelo years ago in Finnish agile event before he had written any books. From those days onward I've been reading his interesting thoughts from his blog and his books. This book I bought directly from him in Dare Festival last fall. So I could say I'm a fan.

I believe he is one the leading management thinkers in the world right now. What I especially like is the realism in his thoughts. There are so many people who are much too idealistic about different practices that they seem to forget the laws of business, that relies behind it all. Jurgen seems to always remember the reality in his thoughts.

The book itself is really valuable from cover to cover. For myself there were quire many things I've either run into in other sources or read from Jurgen himself earlier, but it is always valuable to get good recap on things.

Book is quite long and thick, it is over 500 pages. That made it bit scary to start with. Fortunately it is filled with colorful illustrations and good examples. So it isn't that long to read as it seems to be. And like said earlier, the whole book is full of important topics, so I recommend to give it a try.

There are too many important topics in the book to start raising any special ones tot the actual review. All the subjects concentrate on improving workplaces and organizations. It talks lot about management, but management doesn't mean actually supervisor management, but more managing ourselves, our peers and the full organization.

It is important and enjoyable book and highly recommend everyone to read it. Hearing and understanding these ideas will eventually lead in to better organizations and better work places.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jun 30, 2015

Book Review: Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick

For once I read something else than work, sports or self development books. I wanted to read something entertaining, fact based and hopefully interesting. I got my hands to Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick.

Kevin Mitnick is a hacker who for a reason or another became one of the most wanted hackers in the world. He claims that he hasn't done many of the things he was accused on, but I guess that's what he has to say to avoid further jail time.

Book definitely was interesting. It starts from the days that calling was actually done by wired telephones. Kevin learned to control the technical environment quite early, but I guess his social hacking skills helped him to raise to the whole new level. It was amazing to read how easy social hacking had been and I believe it might still be in some occasions. People are helpful by nature and that security vulnerability Kevin shamelessly used to exploit to many companies networks. Of course social hacking needs superb technical skills to complete the hackings.

For a trusty person as myself, I still feel bit disturbed by the book. Kevin of course brings himself up as good guy with noble purposes, but I'm not sure how noble he really is (or at least was). As a trusty person again, I would like to believe him, but I haven't heard the story from the other side.

At least how he was handled in the US court system was unbelievable. He was handled similarly as a serial killers, or even worse, almost without decent ways to communicate to outside world. He would have earned a better trial, but hacking was so new on that time, that caused some of the mix-ups.

All in all, I definitely got what I wanted. Book was really interesting and even though it was bit longish, it went really rapidly. I recommend the book to any one interested about hacking, security or history of IT and SW.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen