Timeless Tunes

I have been developing an obsession for Arvo Pärt, a minimalist Estonian composer. My favorite is Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror). If you listen to it with full attention (through earphones) I promise it will make everything around you go slow motion. Perhaps a bold claim, but BBC Soul Music seem to think just as highly of it.

I am also a fan of combinatorial creativity; a hat tip goes to Beats Antique for a fair attempt to remix Fratres.

There’s an old documentary about him. This guy is a genius.

Next Stop: MIT Sloan

I visited Boston in 2011 on a business trip. One sunny day, while wandering around, I stumbled upon a small stand selling t-shirts. In a standard impulse buying behavior I decided to buy a light grey MIT shirt. I only wore it once; it didn’t feel right as an outsider.

Last month I received official admittance to MIT Sloan to pursue a two-year MBA. If you were to tell me, three years ago, that Boston would be my next home I would have laughed it off. I still can’t believe it.

I am forever indebted to those who helped me throughout the process.

Book Summary - High Output Management

I often forget what I read. This is why, for every non-academic book I read, I will be sharing an electronic copy of my bullet-point notes. I hope this would help me retain the information, easily reference it in the future, and maybe share some of the things I learned with you.

High Output Management is a very practical, result-oriented guide to optimize processes and manpower.

Andrew Grove (the author) was the CEO and Chairman of Intel, and a significant icon in modern management practices. He steered Intel from its startup days to become a world-class brand, while driving the growth phase of the whole Silicon Valley.

Grove’s methods are impressively practical. Some of the things that hit me the most is the idea that he prefers decisions to come from the middle of the hierarchy chain, because that’s where you get the know-how and the authority to execute. Or how much emphasis he puts on performance evaluations: the fact that every year, he reviews around 100 random evaluations, making sure that all of his managers are giving concise and constructive feedback. He sends notes of compliments or requests for re-writes to all of those evaluations.

Click here for my bullet-point summary. If you are in management, I highly recommend you read the book. I’d give it 4/5.

Thanks to Jihad for unknowingly bringing this book to my attention.

The Best Advice

The best advice I have ever received was around one year ago, when a good friend told me about (and pushed me to embrace) Rejection Therapy. Few minutes ago I received the best news I have ever received – a life changing phone call.

Rejection Therapy is a marvelous idea. Put simply, it is the concept that if you are not being consistently rejected/denied, then you are not consistently aiming for big things, and therefore not consistently evolving or learning. Practitioners of this exercise should find themselves comfortable out of their element and always surprised of how much they can achieve only by asking or trying. Or as the Arabic Bedouin proverb goes: اللي ما يطلع القنص ما يصيد.

Do it today. Plan for experiments immediately.

Aiming for the Arena

Always racing to the front row, he is now restless and boiling. The tiered seating can no longer seat him. After every fight, he shoves his way through the crowd and, with a strong fist, he shakes every sweaty hand. A beast with a big smile, he hears their stories, while hiding a deep envy for both the winners and the losers. This man is tired of the sidelines, and is now aiming for the arena.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.

Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt