Jan 29, 2017

Book Review: If you meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!

The highly disturbing title of the book got my attention few years ago. I added the book to my "want to read" books long time ago, but still I wasn't really sure about reading it. When it started to come back as a reference on some books and articles, I just had to go and read: If you meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!

Book was written already at 1974 by Sheldon Kopp. Sheldon was a psychotherapist in US and had been working with variety of patients. He reveals quite much about himself in the book and that made the book more human and bit easier to grasp.

Overall the book was strange in a good way. Once in a while Sheldon Kopp tells ages old stories with a learning's and then he jumps back to quite instructive and sometimes disturbing stories about the patients he have met. He does get his message through via all of this.

The whole message of the book is: the solution to most of the problems are within oneself. There are no guides, no people or no ideologies that in itself can guide one to happiness, good life or just out of the troubling things in one's mind.

The book raised lot's of thoughts and ideas. For a long time this was a book I made most notes from. It's not by any means an easy one to read, but it is important. It's not easy and fun like many self-help books, but I believe that's the reason it's so powerful.

I really enjoyed the book and recommend to the people who want to learn to understand themselves better. It's not easy, but well worth the trying.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Book Review: How Google Works

I've been a google fan for a long time. I've read some books earlier about how they work, but when I heard that Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg have been giving their name and content to the book How Google Works, I had to read it.

Book takes a broad view on how the work is been done at Google. In many times it does spent time on talking about values, but ideas of the values are then clarified with concrete examples. Overall the book is comprehensive view to Google as their high management sees it.

Book is structured quite nicely. It starts with culture, goes through strategy, talent handling, decision making, communication, innovation and then finishes with the moonshot ideology. Other that the just the high level themes there are concrete ways of working for each section.

I found the book interesting and important. Everyone in the product development industry would benefit of reading it. Every company can't work like google, they do have special possibilities due to such a strong position in the web, but still there's lot to learn to many companies.

I highly recommend this book to everyone interested on making companies better.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Oct 17, 2016

Kirja-arvostelu: Henkka Hyppönen Pelon hinta

Sorry for the English speaking readers this review is in Finnish. Reason is that this book hasn't been published in any other languages than in Finnish.

Henkka Hyppösen Pelon hinta tuli minulle lukuun pienen kirjakerhomme kautta. Ollakseni täysin rehellinen, en usko, että olisi kirjaa muuten lukenut. Pidän kyllä Henkka Hyppösestä ja hänen tavastaan esiintyä, mutta oli vaikea nähdä häntä tiedekirjailijana.

Tämä ajatus Henkka Hyppösestä kirjan kirjoittajana, kummitteli mielessäni koko kirjan alkuosan. Olen myös lukenut tosi vähän suomenkielistä kirjallisuutta viimeiseen kymmeneen vuoteen, niin meni pitkään päästä sisälle koko kirjaan.

Aihe sinänsä oli mielenkiintoinen ja siellä oli muutamia tosi hyviä tarinoita pelosta. Lisäksi aihetta käsiteltiin monesta eri näkökulmasta ja tuotiin hyvinkin erilaisia tutkimuksia esiin.

Jossain kirjan puolivälissä alkoi jo tuntua, että Henkka Hyppönen oli halunnut laittaa kaikki hyvät tarinat ja tutkimukset samaan kirjaan ja välillä yhteys pelkoon oli jo aika kaukaa haettua. Tämä vaivasi koko lopputeosta, kaikesta yritettiin tehdä pelkoa ja pelolle koitettiin löytää hintansa. Esimerkkinä laskelma siitä kuinka monta yritystä Suomessa jää perustamatta pelon takia, se laskelma oli jo aika kaukaa haettua.

Sinänsä kirja oli soljuva ja helposti luettava. Tekisi mieli suositella kirjaa monille, mutta toisaalta taas aihepiiristä on varmasti parempiakin kirjoja. Jos Henkka Hyppösestä pitää TV tai radio-ohjelmien perusteella, niin ehkä tähänkin opukseen kannatta tutustua.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Sep 11, 2016

Book Review: Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win

I didn't book Soccernomics to read, only because of soccer. I wanted to read it to understand the power of data analytics. It turned out to be interesting also from soccer point of view.

Book looked soccer from all the different angles. It explained the economics of soccer, how money does mean a lot in soccer. Also it explained why some team are better on their transfers. But it does talk also quite much about what's happening in the field.

The whole idea of the book is to analyze countries and their enthusiasm towards soccer. Then based on many different data select, which are countries that will in the future dominate soccer.

I liked the book very much. It was just the season of Leicester winning the Premier league, which kind of destroyed some of the thoughts of the book. Most probably Leicester was a one season wonder and can be explained as a statistical bias. Still for the sake of soccer, I wish the thoughts in the book don't happen exactly as they predict.

It was an interesting book and I recommend to read it. Statistics and statistical analysis is field that will grow all the time, when more and more data becomes available. This is a good start to understand it more.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jun 27, 2016

Book Review: Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

I can't remember who recommended the book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design to me, but I'm glad someone did. It's an excellent book about happiness and how our homes, neighborhoods and commuting affect to our lives.

Book introduces really many interesting facts about how other people and the neighborhood affect to our happiness. Happiness have always been interesting topic for me, so I was keen on reading more about the subject. I've always had a hunch about how important your neighbors and the contacts with them are, but this really gave some good statistics about it.

Happy City goes through data and experiments around the world on how cities and streets affect to us. For almost 100 years cities have been build to run by cars and with current population, it has actually made us less free. Many people spend enormous amount of times in cars and are unhappy because of that.

Book also discusses a lot about cars versus other ways to commute. Maybe on that end, book is bit US centric, but many of the things affect to everyone around the world. Commuting affects to us a lot, the way you commute, how long you commute and with whom you commute affect in numerous ways. Book introduces many interesting studies about the subject. One example was a study that said that commuting to work over 45 minutes raises a risk of divorce by 40%. Book is full on nice anecdotes and studies like this.

As with any other book, it's good to have critical eye on the studies and ideas, but those definitely will raise thoughts for everyone. It's an excellent book and quite easy to read. I recommend the book to everyone.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen