Thursday, June 24, 2010


Nowadays i am getting lot interested in behavioral economics, psychology and finance. In fact, but you can say behavioral xxx. Game theory is another area of interest, but more of that in a separate post.

More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (Updated and Expanded)
I just started reading a book called 'More than you know: Finding
Financial Wisdom in Unconventional places" by Michael J. Mauboussin.  i have quoted a few snippets from the first chapter here.

"More than you know's core premise is simple to explain, but devilishly difficult to live: you will be a better investor, executive, parent, friend- person - if you approach problems from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The reality is that the majority of us end up with pretty narrow slices of knowledge. Most occupations encourage a degree of specialization, and some vocations like academia, insist on it. And there are the time constraints. We are all so busay talking on the phone, answering emails, and going to meetings that we don't have any time left to read, think, and play with ideas."
I came across a new word 'consilience' in this book.
Quoting from what Maubossin has to say about this word. "I adapted the title from Biologist Edward O. Wilson's  celebrated book, consilience, because no other word explain this idea as well. Consilience literally means the 'jumping together' of knowledge. Wilson argues that we can unify knowledge across diverse disciplines- physics, biology, economics,  and the arts, for instance at a fundamental level.  Indeed, you have to think across disciplines to deepen your understanding of how things work. So More than you know celebrates learning about the world with an eye toward building and refining the best possible analytical tool box".

I need to understand how this word 'consilience' is different from the word 'syncretism' meaning 'The union (or attempted fusion) of different systems of thought or belief (especially in religion or philosophy)'.

I will share more from the book once i complete it . I end with the below quote from the book "Consilience".

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge"A balanced perspective cannot be acquired by studying disciplines in pieces, but through pursuit of the consilience among them. Such unification will come hard. But i think it is inevitable. Intellectually it rings true, and it gratifies impulses that rise from the admirable side of human nature. To the extent that the gaps between the great branches of learning can be narrowed, diversity and depth of knowledge will increase."

Edward O. Wilson, Consilience

Monday, June 14, 2010

Manali - Keylong Road Trip

We planned a road trip to Leh from Manali in the first week of June 2010. Unfortunately for us, couldn't travel beyond Keylong due to landslide. The sceneries along the way were awe inspiring. Hope the attached photo conveys some idea about the grandeur of the terrain. We have promised ourselves that we will be back next year, with more time at our disposal.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Different phases in a project

Why are some tough projects recalled with fond memories, while a few other (also successful) projects not given the same treatment by people? I believe it has to do with the environment in which the project was executed.

Factors like the trust within the team and how the different stake holders interact, make or mar the project atmosphere. The relationship that exists between the stake holders makes a difficult project easier and an easy project difficult. for e.g. bad relationship between the project team and the business unit can easily spoil/poison the project environment.

This gives us the opportunity to look at a project through the nature of the human relationship and we can classify the life cycle of a project into four different phases.  
  1. Handshake with velvet gloves: In this phase everything proceeds well and people are nice to each other. Aka honeymoon stage at the start of the project. 
  2. Grip is too tight for comfort: Honeymoon period is over and reality begins to bite. But people are still nice to each other. Things are progressing well in the project.
  3. Gloves are off: Things are not that well. Niceties are dispensed with and people are waiting to pounce on each other.
  4. Knives are out: Things have gone worse. Each side is looking to make a scapegoat of the other for the mess.
Good projects get completed within the first two phases itself.
Projects that go bad enter phase 3 and if the project is able to bounce back, it enters back phase 2.
Projects in which the atmosphere is so damaged enter phase 4. Once a project enters this phase, it is very difficult (close to impossible) for it to bounce back.

This brings into spotlight the role of the project manager and key stake holders. This group has to make certain that human relationships are maintained at a healthy & competitive level and make the project deliver. They also have the added duty to ensure that people get enough opportunities think of the project as a good project to work and remember it so, years after the project is over.