One Book at a Time – 2020

Year 2020 is a year of Work From Home, for me it means less time to commute and therefore less time to read. Unlike what I promised last year, I didn’t read books about Artificial Intelligence and Decentralised Identifier. Instead I read books about product management, history, organisational design and even meditation. Here are my books of year 2020.

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  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – One of the best books about developing good habits. Don’t miss it. (https://amzn.to/3mxPuy8)
  2. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life – Believe it or not, the daily morning 20 minutes meditation helps me getting through this tough year.  (https://amzn.to/2Wrz145)
  3. Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society – One very deep book, but if you’re in the world of IT, don’t miss the “Data as Labour” chapter. (https://amzn.to/3rcMVFA)
  4. The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage – If you repeat one idea hundreds of time, you can write a book … you can safely skip that one. (https://amzn.to/3anbfyk)
  5. Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments – We all know it’s important to test our ideas, business models … but how ? Check out this book. (https://amzn.to/3mvFmWW)
  6. Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem – The story behind the 350 years old mathematical puzzle, Fermat’s Last Theorem. One of the best books I read in 2020. (https://amzn.to/2Wu9wiK)
  7. INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love – If you’re a product manager, or want to be one … in a startup or an enterprise, it’s the best book in town. (https://amzn.to/2KzOAEi)
  8. The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data – Want to get a good book to read after The Phoenix Project ? This is the one. (https://amzn.to/2K8cQgY)
  9. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Lot’s of methods and stories about how to be an “original”, as long as you don’t mind most references are from USA. (https://amzn.to/2LOXwpS)
  10. Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos – I am a big fans of Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letters. If you are a fan as well, this book is for you, in his own words. (https://amzn.to/34m8ppl)
  11. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention –  Talent Density, Candor, and Reduce Controls … these are the three ways Netflix designs their organization. To me, it’s BEST book of the year. (https://amzn.to/3nwqLvJ)
Hotel lobby of Eslite Hotel, Taipei

My 20 Kindle eBooks of 2014

books

2014 is a tough and rough year.

However it is also a good year, as I kind of picked up reading again (thanks to the Kindle Paperwhite II, my fourth Kindle), even though I am still a slow reader. Managed to only finish 20 Kindle eBooks this year, and my favourite ones are “Stuffocation“, “Lean Startup“, “Service Design” and “Pitch Perfect“.

The 20 books in reading sequence …

  1. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
  2. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
  3. Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking
  4. Chariots of the Gods
  5. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
  6. Stuffocation
  7. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur
  8. The Fortune Cookie Principle : The 20 Keys to a Great Brand Story and Why Your Business Needs One
  9. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  10. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
  11. Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing
  12. Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time
  13. Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series)
  14. Service Design: From Insight to Implementation
  15. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
  16. The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt
  17. Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
  18. Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)
  19. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
  20. The Lost Empire of Atlantis: History’s Greatest Mystery Revealed

Still, there are a few books in the Kindle impatiently waiting … shall be good for the next three, four months !!

  1. The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids (a reread)
  2. The FastDiet – Revised & Updated: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting
  3. Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification
  4. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
  5. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
  6. The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch
  7. Flash Boys

Keep reading !!

Kindle Voyage, iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 ?

Kindle-Family

Same to many of you, I have the Kindle Paperwhite II and the iPad Air. The Paperwhite II is my primary ebook reading device, and the iPad Air is my primary digital content consumer – be it News, Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Zite or YouTube. I also use the iPad Air to compose emails, post feeds to social media via Buffer etc.

Both devices are pretty new and of course, both devices did not stone last few weeks even the new gadgets from Kindle and Apple launched recently. The key question is … “Is it worth an upgrade to the latest gadgets, even though mine are still working perfectly ?”

“No.” is my answer, in my case.

But what about you ? Let’s see the specifications of Kindle Paperwhite II and Kindle Voyage, key improvements are highlighted.

  1. Kindle Paperwhite is US$ 80 cheaper;
  2. Screen sizes are the same – 6″;
  3. Kindle Voyage screen include “adaptive light sensor”;
  4. Kindle Voyage screen touch screen and PagePress (Pressure-based page turn sensors in both side of the device);
  5. Kindle Voyage screen is higher resolution (300 vs 212);
  6. Kindle Voyage is lighter, for about 30 g;
  7. Sizes are similar but Kindle Voyage is thinner;
  8. Both store similar number of books and battery life last the same;
  9. Kindle Voyage gets a new Origami Cover.

Again, my answer to Kindle Voyage is “No.”. But if it’s your first Kindle, or your old one is broken, Kindle Voyage is a no-brainer.

ipad-air2

And what about iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 ? Again, I highlight the major differences.

  1. Depends on configuration, but you can get an iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 with 128 GB;
  2. iPad Air is now cheaper than iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3;
  3. The screen resolutions of the 3 devices are actually the same (surprise !!);
  4. iPad Air 2 is 1.4 mm thinner and 30 grams lighter;
  5. iPad Air 2 is equipped with A8X chip and M8 motion coprocessor – it’s 40% faster;
  6. Both iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 have the Touch ID, iPad Air 2 also gets a barometer;
  7. The FaceTime camera resolution is the same across 3 devices, but iPad Air 2 is equipped with an 8M iSight Camera (iPad Air gets only 5M iSight Camera);
  8. iPad Air 2 supports slo-mo video now;
  9. Battery life are all similar.

To me, if you think your iPad Air is fast enough, you don’t really need to upgrade to iPad Air 2, unless you really, really need the Touch ID.

 

5 Gadgets You Should Buy Now Instead Of Later

Everyday we have lots of news about the latest gadgets from Tech blogs and social networks, and everyday we tell ourselves to wait … wait until the reviews are out, wait until the better versions are out or the prices are dropped. Yes, it’s me; but of course, YMMV.

However, there are times that I cannot wait but go ahead to buy the overpriced, not-well-tested gadgets, then find out I should have bought those earlier because the gadgets are soooooo good. And here are 5 gadgets that I think you should buy now, instead of later.

I traveled a lot and really like to have a pair of headphone that can play good music as well as cancel all the background noises. I have other noise cancellation headphones before, but the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphone is really the best one. This in-ear headphone is lightweight, delivers excellent sound quality, and extremely comfortable. Many times I would turn on the noise cancellation mode in busy cafe or packed subway train such that I can have some quiet time to read. If you have lots of good songs in your mobile device and like to enjoy those even in a noisy environment, this is for you.

bose-headphone

So you have a good pair of headphone with noise cancellation feature, then it’s probably about time you shall get the Kindle Paperwhite (second generation) to restart your book reading project. The screen is simply stunning, and you can read it under bright sunlight or in the dark. Best of all, your eyes will thank you as the other non-ePaper digital readers really will hurt your eyes.

Kindle Paperwhite

Other than a pair of headphone and a good book reader, another essential travel companion for me is a good DSLR camera. I’m never a fan of Canon, Nikon and Sony, but became a big fan of Olympus about 10 years ago (I really love their E-1). So when they released their excellent OMD E-M1 last year, I bought it without skipping a heartbeat (note that I already got the E-M5, ooops). A solid, weather-proof, and responsive camera that will never disappoint you in terms of image quality.

OMD-E-M1

Another “gadget” that travel with me all the time is the Macbook Air. It’s my work computer, research tool, programming machine and social networking platform. That’s not much you can complain about the great machine, but for me I want one more USB port – to charge my iDevices and without syncing. Yes, I can get one of those power supply plug charger, but instead of getting extra bulk I bought the Twelve South PlugBug World. It’s an All-in-one MacBook global adapter with 2.1 amp iPhone/iPad charger – perfect. And the bonus is, this world edition comes with different plugs for different countries.

plugbug

The last gadget that I wish I had bought earlier is the MIO Alpha I. It is a watch and it is also a strapless heart rate monitor. Yes, you read it right, it is strapless (!!). In addition, it can synchronise the reading to the RunKeeper app with Bluetooth, such that the app can read out the heart rate to you during your exercise. If you like to track your heart rate while jogging or running. Get one, period.

mio alpha

So, those are my picks, what are your 5 buy-it-now gadgets ?

 

Kindle Price Disparity

We all hate price disparity. No matter it’s a scoop of ice cream, a can of soda or a set of computer, you sure want a good price. So what if you can get a brand new, legitimate Kindle Paperwhite much cheaper than in US ? Yes, not same price as in US, but in fact US$ 65 cheaper.  It’s due to the fact that Japanese Yen dropped (and still dropping) like a stone in the past few months. And of course in Japan, Amazon needs to compete with good Sony Reader and others.

Here is a picture from a Hong Kong online retail store, selling Kindle Paperwhite 3G + Wifi, and Paperwhite Wifi. It’s about US$ 268 and US$ 191 respectively.

Hong Kong

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And here are the same two models from US Amazon store – US$ 179 and US$ 119, note that you need to add another US 20 (i.e. without special sponsors screens) and shipping cost.

USA

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And lastly, here are the same two models in Japan Amazon store. Again you will need to add in the shipping cost, but as of today’s exchange ratio (May 1st), the prices are just US$ 133.5 and US$ 82 (before shipping) !! No Kidding !!

Japan

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So, if you have an Japan Amazon account or friends from Japan, it’s time to buy the beautiful Kindle Paperwhite. It’s simply irresistible.