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Book Review: Me 2.0 By Dan Schawbel

There are a lot of people who are great at their work. They are passionate about what they do, they do it well, and are very well liked too.

How many such people do you know? Are you one yourself?

How do you leverage your passion and performance to really get noticed in today’s cut throat world of corporate warfare, specially if you are a recent graduate?

If you graduated in 2000 and later, I am sure you do one thing better than much of your senior workers do – use the internet to connect with friends on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. And perhaps you have a website too – and maybe you maintain a blog too. 

Dan Schawbel shows you how to use the tools available for free online to create and communicate a great personal brand. Think Tom Peters’ “You Inc.” and add communicating web 2.0 style and you have it.

The book is called Me 2.0

 

by Dan Schawbel

by Dan Schawbel

 

 

It’s packed with useful tips – often not found with much ease – for example, how to hide your photographs on Facebook and not enable anyone to just tag you – to help you minimize negative impact on one’s personal brand.

In fact, the book is more relevant today than it was when the economy was doing better. 

The HR professional these days searches for a candidate on the web – as each and every hire is scrutinised and like it or not – your social network profiles, comments on blogs/ forums will go into forming an opinion of who you are – your values and a judgement would be made – even without your being aware about it. 

But Me 2.0 is a book not only about being reactive – but is majorly about understanding how you can be proactive about your personal branding.

Dan points out that branding is not just making a promise – but is about fulfilling that promise, so whatever you choose to communicate needs to be backed up with reality. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a Millennial/Gen Y member. This book is a useful set of advice/tools for anyone to use.

Book Review: Invest the Happionaire Way

Invest the Happionaire Way is written by Yogesh Chabria and published by Network18. The book is subtitled “Create wealth through the Indian Stock Markets in a fun, interesting and simple way”

Let me admit from the outset that I keep away from the stock market. The jargons loaded by the talking heads on TV play a big part in my keeping away. The intense media focus on the booms and busts of the stock market makes me even more ambivalent about it. As a person who’s never believed it is possible to make ‘easy money’, the stock markets’ public perception never seemed to match my personal value system.

Which is one of the reasons I took a couple of weeks (and more) to finally get down to reading it. Yogesh had mailed me, and I was intrigued by the title and the fact that an author has his own blog around the book, even though it has the marketing muscle of the Network18 group behind it.

The book is very easy to read – written in easy to understand language it demystifies terms like “upper circuit” and “lower circuit” that the stock market analysts keep saying. The book also takes a few pot-shots at stock analysts themselves like this quote:

“Why did God create stock analysts? – To make weather forecasters look good”

Yogesh simplifies the way to evaluate an investment – if you as a consumer like eating in fast food restaurants, using the same toothpaste like your dad and granddad before him, and love watching movies in the multiplex – there are three investment options for you.

He also helps to dispel some popular myths – like “land is always a safe investment – as they are not making any more of it” (words that Gene Hackman said as Lex Luthor in the first Superman movie – but I digress!)

Yogesh says that’s not true.

Every high rise building, he clarifies, adds real estate. So land is as much a commodity that can be increased.

There are other very useful bit of advice, amongst the difficult ones are “Never get emotionally attached to your investments”

However, the most important message that the book conveys is that making money is all very good – but not at the cost of smiling and happiness. That is why the book has the Happionaire in the title.

There was a humorous description of a hacker in my school text book “A person who wants to master the computer by being a slave to it”

The book keeps reminding people that the objective of investment is not just to make money. The objective of making money is to be happy. If the former happens at the cost of the latter then it serves no real purpose.

Go ahead. Read the book. You won’t regret it.

Book Review: Engineering Admissions

There is an ages old rite of passage that students of maths and science in India go through after completing their class 12 exams.

They sit for the iconic JEE and other Engineering College exams.

Why do they all sit for the exam? Even when the admission percentage of these colleges are abysmally low?

I remember my own JEE. I did not have even a snowball’s chance in hell of getting through. Now, when I look back on it, I sat for the exam not because I wanted to be an Engineer (I was sure I didn’t want to be one) but because it was the social thing to do. Everyone in my class gave the exam. Finally some 5 students got through from our school batch in the elite IITs.

So when editor of youth magazine JAM, and popular blogger, Rashmi Bansal asked on her blog if people can help her compile a comprehensive guide to Engineering Admissions in India, I was thankful that someone was taking the huge effort to do this finally.

The book is out now and I got a copy from Rashmi and the folks at JAM to review it.

I really didn’t know what to expect. Maybe I was expecting a dry collection of facts, but the book is a huge collection of experiences of anecdotes, advice and experiences about Engineering. Questions like:

  • “Should I do Engineering?”
  • “I have a low rank in a good college vs a great rank in the neighborhood institute. Which one do I choose?”
  • “Which branch should I choose?”
  • “Which is the best coaching class?”
  • “How is life at IIT for a girl?”

All these are answered.

All this has been possible thanks to the huge number of people who responded to Rashmi’s blog posts asking for information. I would unhesitatingly call this India’s first “social media” created book.

Engineering colleges from almost all states in India are covered, and peppered with personal feedback from students who are either students there or have graduated from there.

So if you have someone at the critical decision point of class 10 and 11. Give him/her a copy of this book. They’ll thank you.