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Thinking Better December 13, 2009

Posted by raimundosilvam in Think Better.
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With no doubt, the best book I read this year.

The book provides a very practical framework to learn how to think better.

One of the most important concepts I learnt by reading this book is that, more than any other commodity, information is everywhere  and the ability to think better will soon become the most significant competitive advantage companies and individuals can claim. Thinking better is what it’s all about.

Productive thinking is about freedom. To free ourselves from the unproductive thinking patterns that holds us back.

The book provides a 6-step thinking framework that is easy to use and that allows you to get to those “third/third” kind of solutions/ideas.

Step 1: What’s going on? Explore and truly understand the challenge,  Step 2: What’s success? Envision the ideal outcome and establish success criteria, Step 3: What’s the question? Pinpoint the real problem or opportunity, Step 4: Generate answers. List many possible solutions, Step 5: Forge the solution. Decide which solution in best. Then make it better,  Step 6: Align resources. Create an action plan


Why we buy? December 13, 2009

Posted by raimundosilvam in Why We Buy.
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This is a great book. A must read for someone who wants to pursue a career in retail, and a fun reading for anybody else.

This is not a business reading. It is fun and very insightful about the way we do shopping. As customers we never think of the reason why of things inside a store. However, the next time you go to a store, I suggest you to take a moment to think about all the decisions you would have to make if you ran that business. Everything has been studied many different times and there is a reason for the location of the store, the width of the idles, the height of the shelves, the layout of the store, the color of things, the music it plays, the way personnel dress, everything. It has all being carefully planed to improve the customer shopping experience, and ultimately to maximize profits.

The good news is that you can always leverage on the experience of somebody else. There is so much that has already been done that you can use for your benefit. If you ever have to take decisions about a store I do suggest you to get back to this book since what seems to be pretty easy decision, is actually a Science. “The Science of Shopping” Do not improvise on this. Do it good.

Back of the Napkin December 13, 2009

Posted by raimundosilvam in Back of the Napkin.
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By the cover, I expected this to be the best book ever. To know how to solve problems and sell ideas with pictures is one of the skills everybody would like to have. The book was interesting but I believe there are much better books on this topic, such as “sketching user experiences”.

My professional experience in Investment Banking and Consulting taught me the importance of being able to communicate the ideas in an easy and simple way. Hence, i did not hesitate to choose this book when I saw the cover. However, in spite of the fact that the book gives many tools to improve the way we communicate our ideas, the truth is that the framework is not sufficient to gain confidence to communicate/think with pictures. This is something that came up several times in the class (it is not a critic to the class but to the book instead). Now that I know the theory, how can I start thinking and communicating with drawings/pictures?. I would improve the book by including a sketchbook where the reader can do several exercises as he reads. I do believe on the importance of being able to communicate with picture, however practice, practice and practice, seems to be much more important that theory in this case.

Bottom line: The book is a good theoretical approach that has to be combined with practical experience. The book itself is not sufficient to train the drawing skill.