Posts Tagged ‘book’

The Sam Zell book review – Am I Being Too Subtle?

I had no idea about Sam Zell before reading his book (which I only found out via Brad Feld), Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel. He runs Equity Group Investments, and their tagline is: “We identify opportunities others don’t — and invest like others can’t.” Do visit their website, it really is quite interesting. I tremendously enjoyed the book, I highly recommend reading or listening to it.

Here are some notes I made from his book.

  • always have a sense of urgency
  • trade conformity for authenticity
  • be blunt
  • culture is king
  • read risk – always understand the downside
  • listen. There is great value in this because you then know the motivations of folk.
  • look for clarity. Drown out the noise. Conventional wisdom tends to be a lot of noise.
  • “If you are really good at what you do, you have the freedom to be who you really are”
  • His daily routine: workout at 4.45am, then in the office by 6.30am, and stays there till 7pm. And he still does this at age 75!
  • Where there is scarcity, price is no object
  • There is value in tenacity
  • Use simplicity as a strategy
  • Strive to be asset rich, cash poor
  • Weak economies breed troubled companies
  • “Competition is great for you, but I’d rather have a natural monopoly; if I can’t have that I will take an oligopoly”
  • Board of Directors tend to have “good resumes whom are often past their prime”
  • Board members should be viewed as cheap consultants to the business. Management team should use them regularly.
  • Do not depend on people unless you understand their motivations. Listen to know their motivations!
  • When people ask Sam Zell what he does? “I am a professional opportunist.” (what a great job title)
  • He is always at his best when the scenario around him is at its worst
  • We should never get into a phase of “irrational denial” (like if people get cancer, you don’t get treatment, you will die)
  • Always make lists. Check them off.
  • “Liquidity equals value”
  • Find good companies with bad balance sheets
  • It is important to have owners, not just managers, in leadership positions
  • See micro-opportunities in macro events
  • Real estate tends to lag the general economy. So it falls slower than the rest of the economy when there is pain.
  • Sam is not pessimistic, but realistic. Go in with eyes wide open.
  • In real estate, he tends to assign walk scores. Takes number of steps to public transport. To the nearest Starbucks. Etc. This will tell you value of property.
  • “Please God, give us one more oil boom and we promise we won’t screw it up.”
  • “Everyday you choose to hold an asset is a day you choose to buy it.” Therefore if you get an offer greater than what you would pay for the asset today, you should sell!
  • Calculate risk, know what the downside is. Ask: if all goes wrong, what do I get from this deal?
  • “I don’t like auctions unless I am running them.” Bidding wars are something he doesn’t like to participate in.
  • Experience – you understand risk only this way. Experience teaches you how to minimise the downside.
  • Be an optimist. Focus on what is next. Do not lament on what could have been.
  • Emerging markets have built-in demand.
  • Global business requires:
    1. good partners
    2. aligned objectives
    3. vision, direction, strategy
  • Sam describes himself as the Chairman of everything but the CEO of nothing
  • Radius theory of business is the number of people between you and the decision. This will affect your ability to succeed.
  • Businesses that delegate too much fail as well.
  • Culture can either inspire or stifle innovation/creativity.
  • Fast decision making and autonomy is what usually wins out.
  • Be ready to pivot
  • Spot opportunity early for long term gains.
  • He is a voracious consumer of information. Reads 1 book per week. Knows how to get relevant information. Reads 5 newspapers per day and 5 magazines per week.
  • “If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas”
  • In everything you do, always be thinking of the next deal. Play it straight. You can be successful AND ethical in business. Do you consider their circumstances over your own? Loyalty definitely matters.
  • Always be tenacious, optimistic, have drive and conviction.

Four MariaDB books available now

It’s quite exciting to see the amount of MariaDB books out there (first GA release of software: February 2010).

MariaDB Books

From left-to-right:

  1. MariaDB Crash Course (August 2011)
  2. Getting Started with MariaDB (October 2013)
  3. MariaDB Cookbook (March 2014)
  4. Real MariaDB in Korean (April 2014). (note)

Book in Korean: Real MariaDB

Real MariaDBFor some months now, there have been some back & forth emails with Matt, one of the senior DBAs behind the popular messaging service, KakaoTalk (yes, they are powered by MariaDB). Today I got some positive information: the book published entirely in the Korean language, titled Real MariaDB is now available.

It covers MariaDB 10.0. Where appropriate, there are also notes on MySQL 5.6 (especially with regards to differences). This is Matt’s fourth MySQL-related book, and there’s a community around it as well. The foreword is written by Monty and I.

If you’re reading the Korean language, this is the manual to read. It should push MariaDB further in this market, and the content is relatively quite advanced covering a lot of optimization explanations, configuration options, etc. At 628 pages, it is much, much better than the Korean translation of the Knowledge base!

MariaDB-related links in November 2013

Another month has come to an end. If you’re looking to be updated on MariaDB content on a regular basis, don’t forget to be on Twitter (@mariadb), Facebook (MariaDB.dbms), or Google Plus (+mariadb).

There was a question on Quora – Is Facebook considering ditching MySQL in favor of MariaDB like Google did? The best answer really comes from Harrison Fisk, so I’ll leave you to it to read. The older link made its way on social media about Wikipedia_$ mv MySQL MariaDB.

MariaDB 10.0 went into beta (with the 10.0.5 release). We made a 10.0.6 release shortly afterwards to fix some bugs. One cool thing to note — the blog post from Ian Gulliver at Google about how Google is making use of MariaDB today.

The MariaDB Audit plugin is now GA – yes, you have to register to download it, but it’s worth it. There is also a webminar on this come Dec 5 which can be worth attending.

There is a new book out by Daniel Bartholomew: Getting Started with MariaDB. I fully intend to read & review it soon (you can also get this from O’Reilly’s Safari Bookshelf).

Navicat has announced Navicat for MariaDB for all your GUI needs on Windows, Mac or Linux. There is a free trial, or it costs in various prices for their non-commercial, standard or enterprise edition.

The MariaDB Enterprise Beta program started. I myself signed up for the beta to give it a spin. From what I gather most people that signed up qualified to give it a go. It is likely to go GA in mid-December. It is opensource software. Look at the getting started guide for more.

And in case you didn’t already notice, the Knowledge Base has had a redesign. There currently exists 3,165 articles in English licensed under the CC-BY-SA and GNU GFDL.

Bookstores

Book vendorI’ve lamented the fact that there are very few stores in downtown San Francisco that I care about. The closure of bookstores, music stores, tech shops, etc. has been quite annoying to a frequent visitor. 

Today after lunch I took a different path back and stumbled upon Alexander Book Co, on 2nd Street (between Market & Mission). I immediately went in. I saw a book that I liked, and the first thing I did? I whipped out my phone and checked it on Amazon. It was about USD$3 cheaper online. 

Then I remembered that we have to support these indie retailers that are taking the trouble to still run a bricks & mortar store. I put my phone away and continued to find more interesting books, magazines, papers and more.

After browsing three floors, I walked out with many dead tree print items. I felt good. I know I spent more than if I had gotten it from Amazon, but I also know I would have never bought any of those items because I would have never discovered it online.

You can’t beat a physical space for discovery.

Book: Julian Assange – The Unauthorised Autobiography

I was in the library getting my usual feed of newspapers & magazines when I spotted a book that I totally wanted to read – Julian Assange the Unathorised Autobiography. I kind of forgot why I didn’t buy it upon release (read Julian Assange’s statement which tells why this is really an unauthorised autobiography).

It was a wholly interesting read that I can highly recommend. Some points that I would like to take note of:

  • Reminding me of 1984 by George Orwell: “he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt: “Behind the ostensible government sits an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.”
  • “Authoritarian powers knows ow to strengthen itself through conspiracy.” – Julian Assange
  • What were the unfakeable metrics in modern journalism? They were sales, hits, take-up and exclusivity. 
  • I see that WikiLeaks published Michaela Wrong’s book about Kenya that was banned in the country as a PDF (It’s our turn to eat). Turns out that the author didn’t like this. This is something I myself have long thought about as the list of banned books in Malaysia is amazingly long.
  • Its nice to see that he talks about the Malaysian Hack In The Box Conference (which he attended). It’s nice that he mentions he met Anwar Ibrahim too.
  • Another George Orwell gem: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
  • Disclosure is not merely an action; it is a way of life. To my mind it carries both sense and sensibility: you are what you know, and no state has the right to make you less than you are. Many modern states forget that they were founded on the principles of the Enlightenment, that knowledge is a guarantor of liberty, and that no state has the right to dispence justice as if it were merely a favour of power. Justice, in fact, rightly upheld, is a check on power, and we can only look after the people by making sure that politics never controls information absolutely.
  • Information sets us free. And it does so by allowing us to question the actions of those who would sooner we had no means to question them, no right to reply.

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