Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Magic of Thinking Big

Have you been giving excuses for all your failures? Do you consider yourself as a pygmy? Do you always find faults with others? Are you dreaming about success and not taking any actions? If you have answered "yes" to any of these questions, this book is really for YOU.

Some of the key takeaways from this book are:

  1. If you believe you can succeed, you will.
  2. Fear explains why millions of people accomplish little and enjoy little
  3. Actions cure fear. Indecision, postponement on the other hand, fertilize fear
  4. To think confidently and act confidently - be a front seater, make eye contact, walk 25% faster, speak up, smile big
  5. We do not think in words and phrases, we think only in pictures and/or images.
  6. Successful person doesn't ask "Can I do it better?". He knows he can. So, he phrases the question "How can I do it better?"
  7. Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking. 
  8. The test of a successful person is not an ability to eliminate all problems before they arise, but to meet and work out difficulties when they do arise. 
  9. People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average, or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishments. 
  10. A wise man will be the master of his mind. A fool will be its slave. 

I enjoyed reading this book. David Schwartz corroborates his thoughts and suggestions with wonderful stories. You can apply his practical ideas even to change some of your perpetual habits. This book is really a motivation booster and forces you to get into action. It stimulates your positive thinking/attitude and alleges you not to make negative impressions about people/ideas/beliefs. The book affirms that successful people constantly involve in self-development.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be successful and is looking for a motivation booster.

 Author's website: http://www.davidschwartz.com/

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

If you have been wondering where to start, to develop skills on negotiations, this is a nice book to read.

The authors bring out the merits of the principled negotiations over the traditional hard/soft negotiation techniques. The book recommends to focus on the people, their interests, available options and the standards in any negotiation. I liked the BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement) concept which can be applied to many real life negotiation situations.

Key takeaways from the book are:

  1. Principled negotiation is hard on merits and soft on people 
  2. Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria - it should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties. It should be efficient.
  3. During negotiations, speak about yourself and not about them. For example "I feel let down" instead of "you broke your word". Use "we feel discriminated against" rather than "you're a racist".
  4. If you want to buy an item worth thousands of dollars and all that you've is one hundred dollars, you should not expect skillful negotiation
  5. Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or to attack them. 
  6. Some of the most effective negotiating that you will ever do is when you are not talking 

The content is short & sweet. This book is focussed on principled negotiations and doesn't deal with all the negotiation paradigms. I would consider this as a primer for negotiations. At the end, there are a few techniques suggested to handle people who play dirty tricks.

You cannot learn to swim by reading a book. Similarly, you cannot be a negotiation expert overnight by just reading this book. You should perpetually apply the ideas.

Author's website:  http://www.williamury.com/