Thursday, 13 December 2012


“Keynote n: an address designed to present the issues of primary interest to an assembly and often to arouse unity and enthusiasm.”

A wonderful communication device, that keynote presentation is. Did you ever have to sit through a bad one? It happens. If you would like to give a “snoozer” yourself, here are a few sure-fire ways to give your audience the sleep they may have been lacking.

1. Try To Fool The Audience. It probably won’t work. Audiences are very perceptive. They know when the speaker in congruent and “walks the talk.” They also know when the presenter is just giving a book report, having spent a little time in preparation to learn about the high points of the topic presented. When you are the keynoter, your audience ought to sense that you are not just a gallon of water, but, rather, a fountain of knowledge.

2. Read It From Your Text.
 We liked hearing stories read to us as children. But our audiences are adults. They want to xperience what is in your heart and in your mind. Notes to guide you  through the important points are fine, but if you are reading from a text, you may as well hire a professional actor who is trained to bring a script to life. Know your material cold. Tailor it as you deliver it. As your audience reacts to a particular point, expand on it. Feed them what they hunger for.

3. Use Inside Stories. Be sure to mention some event or some anecdote about someone that most of your audience will know nothing about. Isolate the majority of your audience. Keep them in the dark. Make them feel that they are not among the chosen few. Use their time to have a private, inside dialogue with someone. They will be riveted.

4. Make Your Audience The Butt Of A Joke. Humor is a wonderful communication tool (if you are funny). Self-deprecating humor that reveals your own vulnerabilities and foibles works. Stories about people and events, other than your audience, if done in good taste, will set the tone for a positive learning environment. But if you direct the barbs of your humor directly to your audience, you set up an “us versus him/her” climate that will interfere with your message getting out. Attacking an audience, even if not meant to offend, will tend to make them defensive and distrustful of the speaker.

5. Go Over The Time Limit. You have a contract with your audience. Their obligation is to be attentive. Yours is to deliver the material that was promised and to do it within the announced time frame. If you are given twenty minutes, finish in twenty minutes. If no time frame is announced, tell the audience up front how much of their time you will take. (“We are going to be together for the next 50 minutes and during this brief time…”). I frequently tell my audiences at the outset of my presentation, “I will be your speaker and you will be my audience. If you get done before I do, please let me know.”

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Why People Should Read ?

In the past years the use of the television and the internet has increased; this situation has caused many people to change their likes and the way that they enjoy their free time.  Because of television and the internet, many people spend less time reading, so the purpose for this essay is to present reasons why people should read just for pleasure.  The reasons that I give you are quite simple: to improve your knowledge, to expand your general culture, to have more fun, to make your imagination fly, to find new ways to express your ideas, and finally to expand your vocabulary.

The first reason that I give you to enjoy reading is that when you read, you can expand your knowledge and also your culture. There are a lot of good books in which you can find history, novels, tragedies, comedies and a variety of other themes. You can see that people who read more often frequently have a bigger knowledge of life and also a bigger perspective of their environment.  I think that fact gives them an advantage over all others who do not read frequently.

The second reason to read more often is that through books you can have fun and even travel in your imagination.  Children have not yet lost the ability of getting into their dreams, and because of this, in their first years the parents read a lot of tales in which they use their imagination. Adults should try to keep this ability, so we do not forget the importance of the use of the imagination. The imagination also represents a tool that could help you to develop your professional career in a creative way.

Finally, the third and the most important feature that reading offers you are that it does not matter the age that you have, you always could expand your vocabulary and the ways to express your ideas to the others in a simple and correct form. By the time you can improve the kind of books that you read, there are a lot of categories, so you will never stop learning from the pleasure of reading. People who know how to choose a book generally have the capability of choosing a formal book in which they can find formal grammatical structures and obviously a formal vocabulary.  All these things allow them to gain greater fluency in their communication.

In conclusion, I recommend that you enjoy reading more often. There are excellent reasons for doing it; you just have to want to expand your knowledge and your culture, to improve your imagination and also your vocabulary. I know that we should evolve with the technology; that is, it is good to know how to navigate in the internet, but we must also not forget the books. Try to choose good books at the beginning, and then I ensure you that you never will stop reading.

* Based on Personal Experience

* Photo : Google India

Monday, 29 October 2012


Making Globalization Work
By Joseph E. Stiglitz.
358 pp. Penguin Book. Rs. 267/-.

Fifteen years ago, the world seemed headed irresistibly toward economic integration. Developed, developing, formerly Communist and even still-Communist nations (like China and Vietnam) had embraced markets and plunged into the global economy.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a former Yale, Princeton and Stanford professor, spent most of the 1990s atop the commanding heights of this globalizing economy, first as the chairman of Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and then as chief economist at the World Bank. After returning to academia with a position at Columbia, Stiglitz became one of three recipients of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize for his research on the economics of information.

Now, as enthusiasm about economic integration has waned, Stiglitz has emerged as one of globalization’s most prominent critics. Even while he was at the World Bank, he clashed repeatedly with his counterparts at the International Monetary Fund and the United States Treasury over what he called their “market fundamentalism.” His “Globalization and Its Discontents” (2002) included sharp criticisms of international economic institutions, in particular the I.M.F. for its handling of the East Asian financial and currency crises of 1997-98.
The book, which sold widely, was hailed by globalization skeptics and hotly debated by economists, some of whom found Stiglitz’s criticisms exaggerated, unfair and unduly personal. Still, the novelty of an eminent economist and former high-ranking public official making a passionate assault on the international economic order put Stiglitz at the center of the globalization debate.

His new book extends the discussion of “Globalization and Its Discontents” but largely avoids the polemical tone. One can, in fact, judge these two books by their covers. The earlier work showed a flame streaking across a stark black background. The soft white jacket of “Making Globalization Work” features three earth-eggs resting in a vulnerable nest. Stiglitz appears to have gone from flamethrower to mother hen. Even the title suggests a transition from flashy dissent to constructive engagement. And indeed, this book is a concise and enlightening treatment of international economic problems, along with much less convincing proposals for reform.

Stiglitz walks the reader through a series of issues, from trade and intellectual property rights to global warming and the role of the multinational corporation. Each of the book’s chapters frames a problem, provides some analysis and proposes solutions. On page after page, Stiglitz argues that globalization holds out great promise as a force for good, but that the rules of the present international economic order are designed and enforced by the rich nations to serve their interests. As a result, they are inequitable and inefficient.

Developed countries manipulate international trade rules to protect their factories and farmers from more efficient producers in the developing world, Stiglitz tells us. Multinational corporations evade responsibility for the damage they do. Meanwhile, the international financial system, led by the I.M.F., rewards improvident lenders (the wealthy) and penalizes hapless debtors (the poor).

Stiglitz often invokes the concept of negative externalities: the costs that some individuals, firms or nations impose on others. A factory that skimps on pollution control, for instance, may increase its profits, but it harms the rest of society. The polluter is responding to incentives without having to pay the cost of its activities. Similarly, interest groups in developed nations benefit from favorable treatment by their governments, but these favors victimize people in developing nations who are trying to compete. It is bad enough, Stiglitz says, that thousands of wealthy American cotton farmers get billions of dollars in government subsidies; it is even worse that this depresses the world price of cotton, further impoverishing millions of African cotton farmers.

When the pursuit of private gain causes social losses, government should force the perpetrators either to stop or to help repair the damage, Stiglitz argues. This is the rationale for pollution control, fisheries management, public health restrictions and other familiar regulatory measures. “Making Globalization Work” calls repeatedly for action to avoid or redress the impact of externalities — in trade, corporate activity, the environment and financial and monetary affairs.

Stiglitz uses his command of economic logic to good effect, offering clear discussions of dozens of complex issues, from patent law to abuses in international trade. Many critics complain that drug companies overcharge poor countries, but Stiglitz goes further and makes a convincing case that this is not only immoral but also economically inefficient. Poor countries should be charged less than rich countries: if people willing to pay for medicines are unable to buy them, an existing demand goes unmet, which, in economic terms, is wasteful. Drug companies’ pursuit of private gain results in an inefficient allocation of resources and a social loss. Stiglitz won the Nobel for exploring how uncertainty and poor information can make markets fail. Here he takes evident pleasure in showing how an examination of incomplete markets can make corrective government policies desirable.

Many of Stiglitz’s criticisms are uncontroversial. He is hardly alone in believing that economic opportunities are not widely enough available, that financial crises are too costly and too frequent, and that the rich countries have done too little to address these problems. But he can be one-sided, as in his unstinting praise for East Asian development policies that often repressed labor and restricted democracy, and in his tendency to absolve developing-country governments of almost all blame for their problems. He is even weaker in his policy proposals.
Stiglitz argues throughout that powerful special interests have distorted the world economic order and the international institutions that run it. His preferred solutions are large-scale reforms in existing international institutions and the creation of new institutions like a global reserve system — to make trade fairer, to allocate reserves more equitably, to discourage despotism and corruption. But why would the national governments that, after all, still run the world want to do any of these things? And why should we expect new institutions to be any less biased, any less subject to special-interest pressures, than existing ones?

It is hard to disagree with Stiglitz’s intentions. Yet he seems to assume that bumping policies up to the international level will make world economic institutions less captive to the special interests he abhors — though democratic control of policy is more likely at a national than an international level, since most national politicians must face elections. Even if focusing on national policies (for example, what the United States should do in the I.M.F.) is difficult, it may be a more promising avenue for reform than Stiglitz’s new and improved international organizations.

“Making Globalization Work” is an optimistic book, offering the hope that global society has the will or the ability to address global problems and that international economic integration will ultimately prove a force for good. Certainly Stiglitz is right that the world would benefit from a concerted effort to address problems of the environment, poverty and disease. However, his proposals are almost utopian in their reliance upon good will, enlightened public opinion and moral imperatives to overcome selfish but deeply entrenched private or national interests that do not share his goal of making globalization work for as many countries and as many people as possible.

Stiglitz has given us a well-written and informative primer on the major global economic problems. He helps his readers understand exactly what is at stake. Nonetheless, for all its good intentions, “Making Globalization Work” is probably not a workable blueprint for the future.

Photo Credit: Google

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


In the foreword to the book, John M. Letiche writes, "this small book is a 'treasure-chest' for economists, philosophers and political scientists interested in the relations between contemporary economics and moral philosophy." Written in a clear, crisp and stimulating style, Prof. Amrtya Sen provides more than a terse synthesis of the relevant literature on ethics and economics. Here he shows the contributions that general equilibrium of economics can make to the study of moral philosophy; the contributions that moral philosophy and welfare economics can make to mainstream economics; and the harm that the misuse of the assumption of self-interested behavior has done to the quality of economic analysis.
Description and Summary
First of all, this book is a collection of his three lectures conducted abroad. He has divided the book into three main chapters and discusses various aspects in economics and ethics. In the first lecture, he goes in to the thoughts of Adam Smith, the father of economics. Here, he discusses the rational behavior & self-interest and the relationship of Adam Smith with Self-interest maximization. "Self interest dominates the majority of men." As Smith explains in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Prudence is the union of two qualities of 'reason and understanding', on the one hand, and 'self-command', on the other. The notion of 'self-command', which Smith took from the Stoics, is not in any sense identical with 'self-interest' or what Smith called 'self-love'. As Smith himself puts it, 'man, according to Stoics, ought to regard himself, not as something seperated or detached, but as a citizen of the world, a member of the vast commonwealth of nature'. One of the passages of Adam Smith that has been quoted again and again by the latter-day Smithians, is quoted by Sen is the following: "it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their sel-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."
In the second lecture, Sen makes some economic judgement related to moral philosophy. First of all, he says that interpersonal comparisons of utility make no sense and are indeed totally meaningless. Second, Sen compares the pareto optimality & economic efficiency, well-being & Agency, Valuing & value and the relationship between self-interest and welfare-economics. Sen continues that if economic efficiency were the only criterion for economic judgement, and if the various conditions imposed by the so-called 'Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics' were to hold, then there would be in general no welfare-economic argument for anyone to behave in a way other than that required for self-interest maximization. Such behaviour on the part of all will indeed produce pareto optimality, and the attempt on the part of anyone to the part from self-interest maximization would, if it would do anything, only threaten the achievement of 'economic efficiency', i.e. Pareto optimality. Therefore, if welfare economics is in fact put in this extremely narrow box, and if the structural assumptions were to hold (including ruling out non-market interdependences), then there would indeed be no welfare-economic case against self-interested behaviour. Here Sen discusses that the impoverishment of economics related to its distancing from ethics affects both welfare economics and predictive economics.
In the third and final lecture, he goes into the demands of the systematic ethical evaluation, and the role of consequences, freedom and rights in this evaluation. Here, he discusses how the conceptualization of personal achievement and advantage in welfare economics has been deeply influenced by the utilitarian view of the person and how this influence continues to be important even in the post-utilitarian phase of welfare-economics.
In this elegant critique, Amartya Sen argues that a closer contact between welfare economics and modern ethical studies can substantively enrich and benefit both disciplines. He argues further that even predictive and descriptive- economics can be helped by making more room for welfare economic considerations in the explanation of behavior, especially in production relations, which inevitably involve problems of cooperation as well as conflict. The concept of rationality of behaviour is thoroughly proved in this context, with particular attention paid to social interdependence and internal tensions within consequentialist reasoning. In developing his general theme, Sen also investigates some related matters; the misinterpretation of Adam Smith's views on the role of self-seeking; the plausibility of an objectivist approach that attaches importance to subjective evaluations; and the admissibility of incompleteness and of 'inconsistencies' in the form of over completeness in rational evaluation. Sen also explores the role and importance of freedom in assessing well-being as well as choice. Sen's contributions toeconomics and ethics have greatly strengthened the theoretical bases of both disciplines; this appraisal of the connections between the two subjects and their possible development will be welcomed for the clarity and depth it contributes to the debate. It's interesting how ethics and their practice seem to fall along the lines of events that tend to produce profits, and are therefore, more easily justified than not, to the point of being made a part of the law that governs ethics as well as processes. This aspect of human tendencies to favor profits as ethical under any circumstances may well have given rise to the Enron's, Worldcom's, etc., that often also produce the exonerations of bankruptcies where privileges of "restarts" are common, under different names, or through acuisition/mergers where social responsibilities are thrown by the wayside and efforts to salvage the more profitable opportunities are typical of commercial justice. The inconsistency that these ethics represents is often difficult to rationalize in rational minds.
Critical evaluation
Through this lectures, he was trying to argue that welfare-economics can be substantially enriched by paying more attention to ethics, and that the study of ethics can also benefit from a closer contact with economics. He argued that even predictive and descriptive economics can be helped by making more room for welfare-economic considerations in the determination of behavior. He didn't try to argue that either of these exercises would be particularly easy. They involve deep-seated ambiguities, and many of the problems are inherently complex. But the case for bringing economics closer to ethics does not rest on this being an easy thing to do.
Professor Amartya Sen, who became the first Asian to win the Nobel prize for economics today, has won acclaim as "conscience keeper" of the world of economics by probing into ethical and philosophical questions relating to inequality and causes of poverty and famine. The Indian Express dated on 15, October 1998 revealed Amartya Sen as a 'conscience keeper' of world of economicsThe Times of India dated on 15, October 1998 says that Prof Sen's distinctiveness as an economist rests on the fact that he has ranged far and wide over the vast terrain covered under the rubric of economics. His diversity not only embraced different areas of economics but also bridged what, for most practitioners of the science, is an unbridgeable chasm -- that between the theoretical and the practical, combining empirical work with policy orientation. His contribution has been substantive to all the areas he has touched upon: social choice, definitions of poverty and welfare indices, causes of famine, and most importantly, the restatement of what indeed is development. Recognition of his outstanding insights to the science of economics has come in the form of a Nobel prize.

Book Review by Deepak Bhatt, 25.10.2012, 06:00 a.m.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Being Ethical: Ethics as the Foundation of Business

Businesses have to act in self interest but to what extent should they sacrifice ethical behaviour? The question has become increasingly relevant with the recent high profile corporate scandals such as Satyam and the 2G scam. 

But can, and should, a business behave ethically at all? Is the corporate social responsibility of a company just to make profits as Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, once famously declared? In this timely book, Professor Manikutty takes us through the minefield of business and ethics looking at the ways in which ethics enters work and the choices available to companies and to individuals. 

He argues that being ethical is not a simple question of doing the right thing vs the wrong thing; it is to find a balance between multiple right or wrong choices, arriving at not a solution but a compromise. Using a variety of examples and case studies from Indian businesses, Being Ethical is an indispensable book for any responsible manager. 

Does business need to be ethically neutral, not unethical, but non-ethical? Asks Manikutty in this smartly brought out reader for the Indian corporate mover and shaker. If the only social responsibility of business is to make profits, is it enough that it is done legally? That is, respecting the laws of the country you work in. What of ethics? To ask the question in another way: Is being ethical good for business? It increases credibility, generates trust, improves relationship with stakeholders, and believe it or not, can reduce cost of litigations, says the author. But is it practical? Tata’s story in India, missing in this book, could have been instructive.

Professor S. Manikutty has specialized in Business Policy and Strategy and his areas of interest include strategic management and competitive strategy, leadership, global competitiveness of industries, corporate governance and strategies for family businesses. He is the Regional Editor (Asia and the Pacific) of European Journal of International Mangement (EJIM), a member of the Editorial Board of Vikalpa, the journal of IIM Ahmedabad, Journal of Human Values published by the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and of International Journal of Innovation and Incubation published by Chinese Business Incubation Association (Taiwan) as well as associate editor of Journal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability published by St. Paul University (Quezon City, Philippines).

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Toyota Under Fire by Jeffrey K. Liker and Timothy N. Ogden

I know it sounds silly but I found myself having read 50 pages and never jotting down a single item.  I literally lost myself in this book.
The first 60 pages discuss how Toyota's culture and operations allowed it ride out out the recession and become stronger for it.
The remainder covers the issue of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) and the Toyota recalls that followed.
It reads like an episode of Law & Order.  I loved it.
Read this book if you want to know the true facts about the recall and why the culture of problem solving at Toyota unintentionally caused so much angst in Americans.
It also covers how Toyota is changing they way they listen to customers by also understanding their worries and concerns.
The last few pages covers "Lessons" from the crisis.  The book is worth reading just for these few pages of wisdom.
The book is a fascinating compilation of data and facts that obliterates all the fallacy and myth about the recall.
After reading the book I Googled (Saylor sudden acceleration) and it's amazing the number of articles that contain so much false or misleading information about what was really happening at the time.
Just as Liker and Ogden say, some of the news pieces written appear to be based on innuendo, opinion and in some cases pure fiction.  There was very little fact finding or discovery going on by the media.  They just seemed to report everything that someone else said.

"Who dunnit?"  It was an improperly secured floor mat but public opinion didn't want to believe it and some still don't.
I wrote the next 2 segments in the hopes that people browsing the web for the real cause of the accident will find this and give themselves some closure.  The book covers the below excerpt in about 6 pages but I wanted everyone to pay special attention to it so I gave it a louder voice in this review.
A few days before the Saylor family climbed into a dealer loaner and crashed,  another person named Frank Bernard using the exact same vehicle had an almost identical experience.
Frank Bernard was using the same car a few days before the Saylors and had the accelerator pedal stick causing him to speed to between 80 - 85 mph.  He used the brake to get down to about 25-30 mph and shift into neutral on the side of the road.  He turned off the car, got out and removed the floor mat and went about his day.
Upon returning to the dealership he informed the receptionist what happened.  Bernard assumed that the receptionist would pass the info along....the receptionist thought that Bernard would tell the service technician.  Three days later Mark Saylor and his family would get the car as a loaner and die in a crash.
The report is 29 pages so I've summarized the main points with the page numbers so you can read for yourself.
  • The floor mat is indicated as being a possible cause ( p 14 - 15)
  • How floor mats are stored and installed at Bob Baker Dealership (p 16 - 18)
  • Recreation of pedal sticking (p 19 - 20)
  • Frank Bernards story and the story from the receptionist (p 21 -23)
By the time I was done reading all of "Toyota Under Fire" I was asking myself 2 questions.
  1. Why does American culture desire conspiracy fueled by speculation as opposed to searching for facts?
  2. How can I get a job at Toyota?
My favorite piece is a personal one.
"Akio Toyoda often cites Jim Collins's book "How the Mighty Fall" to remind listeners that Toyota is not immune from mistakes and problems....That fourth stage is where Toyota's actions diverge from Collins's model.  Those are the actions of a company that does not have, or does not have faith in, a strong culture.  Toyota did not do any of these things.  What Toyota has done is follow the recipe that Collins advocates: old-fashioned management virtues such as determination, discipline, calmness under pressure, and strategic decision making based on careful sifting of the evidence."  Toyota followed the Toyota Way!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Accidental Theorist

  • First Published: 1998
  • Type of Work: Essays
THE ACCIDENTAL THEORIST: AND OTHER DISPATCHES FROM THE DISMAL SCIENCE is a collection of twenty-seven of Paul R. Krugman’s best essays that were written between the fall of 1995 and the summer of 1997. Throughout the book, Krugman uses clear English interspersed with understandable models and examples to communicate to the general public simple truths about economical issues, including unemployment, supply-side economics, corporate downsizing, globalization, economic growth, and financial speculation.
Krugman’s essays unravel and simplify some long-held and lofty economic ideas at a level that can be mostly understood by the general public, including insights on the effect of production efficiency on labor demand, the impact of globalization on economic policy, and the unimportance of the trade deficit with China. By examining pundits from across the political spectrum, Krugman enlightens the reader about the workings of the national economy, pointing out some of the pitfalls of the “supply-siders” of the Reagan-Bush era, as well as those of the “strategic traders” of the Clinton administration.
Since the book covers many important technical topics with great clarity, the reader’s desire to better understand economic principles, as well as the economic rhetoric of politicians, is encouraged and reinforced. However, this strong point also becomes a weak point of the book. Krugman not only needs to make the general public aware of the broad economic issues and problems, but he also needs to better address some practical solutions that might help resolve more of the problems. Nevertheless, the book is basically solid, and what Krugman has to say is clear, important, and provides the common public with a better overall understanding of the workings of our national economy.