Tuesday, June 14, 2022

How Come No One Told Me That - Prakash Iyer

 I have read two of his books 'The Habit of Winning' and 'The Secret of Leadership' and like his easy story telling manner of getting stuff across. He does what he does best with this book - many short stories from his life and work.

The book is split into many sections. 

Life Lessons. We begin with lessons from a boat ride (a boatman teaches lessons on humility and other stuff to get to the destination), left or right (we want stuff without knowing why, just because others want them), search for the tiger (missing the other beautiful stuff in the way), monkey that decided to jump (but never jumped - decide and do work instead of saying 'how can I help' or 'let me know').

Getting better - alteration tailor (how small alterations can make a big difference to life - to fit - go get yourself a coach), no option (burn bridges so you commit fully), table tennis, shot clock, judge a book by its cover (most times its right), quality vs quantity 

All in the Mind - What will people think (looking good vs being effective), Man who kept giraffes away (you cannot see them because I kept them away), Hanlon's razor (never attribute to ,alice what can be explained by negligence), 10th floor (illusion - it was the first floor), they are all like that (bias), car key (it's not as bad as it looks, stop blaming and look at what you need to do) 

What leaders do - Sully (landed his plane in the Hudson, gave credit to everyone else, last off plane), Upside down chart (the organisation chart turned upside down so the boss is at the bottom), Know your people (each lion is different) unlucky guy in the Q (can help others in Q), Starting point, Brown M&Ms (Van Halen story), Chairman's white kerchief (where the Chairman took out his kerchief and cleaned the dusty product), Mount Everest (more people die while coming down), talent needs opportunity (ABD got his chance thanks to his skipper)

Good advice - Socks and shoes (John Wooden and how he teaches his players how to wear socks and tie shoelaces), Never forget the lessons, why keep a dog and bark yourself (let them do their job), lion and antelope (do what's needed, not what is convenient), fight for orange (peels and fruit, and how they can resolve it peacefully if only they had known)

Better decisions - cleaning wardrobes (the right question - what would you do and not what did you intend to do), college dropouts and bomber planes (survivorship bias - look at where the planes were not hit because they came back), cobras (incentivising has other results), steering wheels and seat belts (change the perspective - instead of making softer steering wheels, stop hitting the wheel)

Influence - who are you kidding, popsickle hotline (one USP that everyone wants - create those moments), can you do me a favour (help others, ask for help), salesmen at Churchgate (plants in the crowd acting like hey are buying and getting others to buy as well)

Teamwork and culture - bicycle shed (can decide 10 billion project funding in 5 minutes but will take an hour to decide over cycle shed decision), team of stars (build a star team - good fit, right chemistry, eagles in formation), strong links and weak links (both have their place), being human, Kumble-Dhoni (latecomers called out and penalised - MSD penalises the whole team for one guy's misdemeanour), who picks up the tab (his colleague John Aravamuthan who taught him the principle of who picks up a tab as a principle), golden helmet, when traffic light turns red (do you stop or go through when no one is looking)

Leading change - Headlights in the morning, the best nailclipper (until I found another one), advice from a dentist (little water is best to gargle), power of 1% (aggregation of marginal gains), escalators (can you help those who cannot by coaching them and teaching them a lifelong skill), shoelace (how he found that there were different ways to tie a shoelace and its never too late to learn - also don't blame the shoe company because you don't know how to tie your shoe laces), Fosbury flop (game changing style of high jump), turning the ship (be patient, do the work and wait for the results, don't overdo)when you cannot understand why

What matters - magic of giving, last step (beware the last steps), who's your legacy

As you can see, a whole lot of stories, all of them interesting and explained simply and with great insight. I've picked up quite a few stories from Prakash's books to relate. As usual, worth reading. Pick it up. Easy, insightful and very practical.  

And for the record - I have all three of his books. 



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