Saturday, July 17, 2021

HBR's 10 Must Reads - Management Ideas 2021 - Review


HBR’s 10 Must Reads - The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review – 2021


HBR’s 10 Must Reads - The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review – 2021 is a good collection of short articles covering diverse topics. Of all, however, The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures, by Gary P. Pisano, is the most important, and also the best written, piece. 

It may seem harsh to use the saying – ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’, but success begets imitators. Decades ago, there was the ‘HP Way’, then came Google’s ‘20% Project’ and Amazon’s ‘extreme tolerance for failure’. If HP was the original garage startup that became one of the most successful companies of Silicon Valley (before suffering the inevitable decline, terminal in many cases, that every company goes through; Jim Collins' 2009 book, How the Mighty Fall, is a good read on the subject), Google and Amazon have grown to become trillion-dollar industry leaders. It is unsurprising that leaders at companies look to these successful companies for best practices to emulate. However, a superficial adoption of these practices without an understanding of what makes them successful in the first place is a recipe for failure. The article brings out the truths about five of the best practices of these innovative corporate cultures. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Indraprastha, by BB Lal - Review

Indraprastha: The Earliest Delhi Going Back to the Mahabharata Times

Author: B.B. Lal
Publisher: Aryan Books International

After Independence in 1947, the two most famous sites associated with the Indus Valley civilisation, Harappa and Mohenjodaro, became part of Pakistan. Indian archaeologists began a hectic campaign of excavations to discover more Harappan sites in India. One such excavation was at Lothal by S.R. Rao in 1954-55. In the coming years more than a thousand sites would be excavated, many along the route of the long dried-up Saraswati river. It is a matter of lament from archaeologists, including B.B. Lal that many of these sites have been subject to abject neglect and apathy and are in danger of being lost forever.

B.B. Lal, as a young archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India, wanted to examine whether places mentioned in the Mahabharata had an existence that went back to the times of the epic. It helped that the names of many of these places had remained unchanged from the times of the Mahabharata. The first excavations at Indraprastha were conducted in 1954-55, resumed after a gap of fifteen years, in 1969-70, and which continued till 1971-72. There was another round of excavations that was performed in 2014. A total of ten periods identified based on the excavations and the stratification were observed. These periods started with the Painted Gray Ware period, dated to the 10th century BCE; the Northern Black Polished Ware, dated to circa 600BCE; and all the way to the British period, dated to the 19th to mid-19th century CE.