Friday, April 14, 2017

Barnabas - Bombay's First Private Detective by Sangeeta Nambiar

British India. 
The summer of 1942.
From the leafy lanes of Wodehouse Road, a British woman goes missing from her home. 
Her husband Thomas Stanton, wants to keep the police out of the loop, and thus calls in Bombay's first Private Detective, Barnabas Mehta.

Barnabas, the son of a cook, has been brought up under the tutelage of his father's employer, Francis Curtis, and thus knows the ways of the British. But that isn't enough to solve the mystery for him. 
His search for Rose leads him to the by-lanes of Girgaum where he finds a murder to solve and webs of deceit to traverse. 
Who would murder Rose so brutally? 
Family secrets and the machinations of an evil mind they're all there for Barnabas Mehta to unveil! 
A gripping murder mystery, set against the events of the Indian freedom struggle.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.25 out of 5 (20 Ratings; 8 Reviews - As on April 14 2017)
My Rating 3 out of 5
My Comments:   Well written enough to keep you engaged. The identity of the murderer is rather easy to guess for a seasoned detective fiction reader though.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Thriller That Shook A Generation 
Five prominent biophysicists give the United States government an urgent warning: sterilisation procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. 
Two years later, Project Scoop sends seventeen satellites into the fringes of space in order to 'collect organisms and dust for study'. 
Then a probe falls to the earth, landing in a desolate area of northeastern Arizona. 
A little while later, in the nearby town of Piedmont, bodies are discovered heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. 
But the terror has only just begun, because when they try to find the cause of death, the scientists don't realise just what kind of unearthly danger they are dealing with...Brilliantly filmed by Robert Wise in 1971, The Andromeda Strain was the first book to introduce Michael Crichton's audacious combination of believable plots and white-knuckled excitement to a wide audience.

[Book Description Source: ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.87 out of 5 (173,920 Ratings; 2448 Reviews - As on April 13 2017)
My Rating 3.5 out of 5
My Comments:  Keeps you fully engaged and almost convinces you that it is a true story. The narration of the climax could have been better.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Essential Kanban Condensed - David J. Anderson and Andy Carmichael

Kanban is a method of organizing and managing professional services work.
It uses Lean concepts such as limiting work in progress to improve results. A Kanban system is a means of balancing the demand for work to be done with the available capacity to start new work. 
This book provides a distillation of Kanban: the "essence" of what it is and how it can be used. 
This brief overview introduces all the principal concepts and guidelines in Kanban and points you to where you can find out more. 
Essential Kanban Condensed is a great resource to get started or continue exploring ideas for evolutionary change and improvement in business agility.

[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.95 out of 5 (21  Ratings; 4 Reviews - As on April 10 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  A very precise summary of The Kanban Method that serves as a great introduction to the topic and provides guidance for further study. 
Probably the first book one should read about The Kanban Method.  

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by David J. Anderson

Kanban is becoming a popular way to visualize and limit work-in-progress in software development and information technology work. 
Teams around the world are adding kanban around their existing processes to catalyze cultural change and deliver better business agility. This book answers the questions: 
What is Kanban? 
Why would I want to use Kanban? 
How do I go about implementing Kanban? 
How do I recognize improvement opportunities and what should I do about them? 
The author David J. Anderson pioneered the kanban technique with Microsoft in 2004 and has been refining the approach ever since.
This book gives his insights into this new, evolutionary approach to change management.
The Kanban Method will improve your organization's maturity and agility with minimum resistance to change.

[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.96 out of 5 (1739  Ratings; 80 Reviews - As on April 9 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  The official and comprehensive introduction to the Kanban Method. Well written with convincing enough arguments to try out Kanban. 

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Kanban and Scrum - Making the Most of Both by Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin

Scrum and Kanban are two flavors of Agile software development - two deceptively simple but surprisingly powerful approaches to software development. 
So how do they relate to each other?
The purpose of this book is to clear up the fog, so you can figure out how Kanban and Scrum might be useful in your environment.
Part I illustrates the similarities and differences between Kanban and Scrum, comparing for understanding, not for judgement. 

There is no such thing as a good or bad tool - just good or bad decisions about when and how to use which tool.
Part II is a case study illustrating how a Scrum-based development organization implemented Kanban in their operations and support teams.
Consistent with the style of "Scrum and XP from the Trenches", this book strikes a conversational tone and is bursting with practical examples and pictures.
This book includes:

  • Kanban and Scrum in a nutshell
  • Comparison of Kanban and Scrum and other Agile methods
  • Practical examples and pitfalls
  • Cartoons and diagrams illustrating day-to-day work
  • Detailed case study of a Kanban implementation within a Scrum organization
[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.94 out of 5 (448 Ratings; 46 Reviews - As on April 7 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  A very concise and too-the-point book that brings out the similarities and differences between Scrum and Kanban approaches clearly. The conversational style writing  supported by illustrations and cartoons makes it a very light weight and interesting reading. It also has a  well described case study drawn from real-life experience of the authors. Highly recommend this  book to get a super-quick introduction to how Scrum and Kanban can work together.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Agatha Christie's Poirot by Anne Hart

The Life and Times of Hercule Poirot 
 'My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.' 
The dapper, moustache-twirling little Belgian with the egg-shaped head, curious mannerisms and inordinate respect for his own 'little grey cells' has solved some of the most puzzling crimes of the century. 
Yet despite being familiar to millions, Poirot himself has remained an enigma -- until now. 
From his first appearance in 1920 to his last in 1975, from country-house drawing-rooms to opium dens in Limehouse, from Mayfair to the Mediterranean, Anne Hart stalks the legendary sleuth, unveiling the mysteries that surround him. 
Sifting through 33 novels and 56 short stories, she examines his origins, tastes, relationships and peculiarities, revealing a character as fascinating as the books themselves.
[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 3.78 out of 5 (192 Ratings; 13 Reviews - As on April 6 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  A very informative biography of Hercule Poirot one of the most popular fictional detectives created by Agatha Christie. Very cleverly written without any spoilers. Kindles a desire for reading all the books he is featured in. A must read for all Poirot and Agatha Christie fans.
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Running Lean - Ash Maurya

Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. 
We're building more products than ever before, but most of them fail--not because we can't complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product.
What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. 

That's the promise of Running Lean.

In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a "product/market fit" for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. 

Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.

Running Lean is an ideal tool for business managers, CEOs, small business owners, developers and programmers, and anyone who's interested in starting a business project.

Get to know how to:
  • Find a problem worth solving, then define a solution
  • Engage your customers throughout the development cycle
  • Continually test your product with smaller, faster iterations
  • Build a feature, measure customer response, and verify/refute the idea
  • Know when to "pivot" by changing your plan's course
  • Maximize your efforts for speed, learning, and focus
  • Learn the ideal time to raise your "big round" of funding

[Book Description Source:  ] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.07 out of 5 (5,970 Ratings; 141 Reviews - As on March 31 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  Nice cook book to jump start your Lean Startup process !
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh

This is the story of the puzzle that had confounded mathematicians since the 17th century. 
‘I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.’
It was with these words, written in the 1630s, that Pierre de Fermat intrigued and infuriated the mathematics community. 
For over 350 years, proving Fermat’s Last Theorem was the most notorious unsolved mathematical problem, a puzzle whose basics most children could grasp but whose solution eluded the greatest minds in the world. 
Many people had tried and failed, including an 18th-century philanderer who was killed in a duel. 
An 18th-century Frenchwoman made a major breakthrough in solving the riddle, but she had to attend maths lectures at the Ecole Polytechnique disguised as a man. 

In 1963, a schoolboy Andrew Wiles browsing in his local library stumbled across Fermat's Last Theorem. Aged just ten, he dreamed he would crack it.
In 1993, after years of secret toil, Andrew Wiles  announced to an astounded audience that he had cracked Fermat’s Last Theorem. 
The solution of the Theorem was one of the most important mathematical developments of the 20th century. 
In ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ Simon Singh has crafted a remarkable tale of intellectual endeavour spanning three centuries, and a moving testament to the obsession, sacrifice and extraordinary determination of Andrew Wiles: one man against all the odds.

[Book Description Source:  and] 

Goodreads Rating - 4.21 out of 5 (17,874 Ratings; 739 Reviews - As on February 18 2017)
My Rating 4 out of 5
My Comments:  Gripping narration about an esoteric mathematical subject. Not a single dull moment throughout the book.

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