What Works?


Hamish’s book is about what works in our world despite conventional wisdom, contrary examples and sometime, cynicism. Case studies in the book range from Harvard University to the Edinburgh Festival, from the Dharavi slums to the Bangalore IT industry.
What Works?

Hamish McRae: author of What Works

Guess who was in town yesterday? It was Hamish McRae, one of the most respected journalists from UK and a celebrated columnist for the Guardian. He is also widely respected as a futurist apart from being a highly sought after speaker. He was here to launch his book, What Works.

Ramachandra Guha, renowned historian and author, has known him for a long time. A few days back, Ram wrote to me asking if I would join for a conversation with Hamish on the occasion of his book launch. We had a wonderful evening discussing several ideas presented in the book. There, Hamish presented his view of how the world around us is changing. I requested him for a copy of his slides; he readily and most graciously agreed. Click here to view the slides.

Hamish’s book is about what works in our world despite conventional wisdom, contrary examples and sometime, cynicism. Case studiesin the book range from Harvard University to the Edinburgh Festival, from the Dharavi slums to the Bangalore IT industry. What Works is an easy read and brings out beautifully a set of 10 core lessons from the examples drawn across sectors and continents.

1. Optimism, balanced y realism: pessimism paralyses

2. Excellence, tempered by decency; if you neglect your wider responsibilities, you’re liable to end up in trouble when you meet headwinds

3. Community works, if it is allowed to: look at things from the ground level up and mobilize community

4. Government works too; compare like with like

5. Become a true magnet for talent: put out the welcome mat

6. Be honest about failure; keep learning , keep making mistakes

7. The need for humility; be sensitive to success as you are to failure

8. Be nimble: make sure you are quick to adapt

9. Listen to the market; remember, it is about more than money

10. Have a sense of mission; keep the long game in view and do right by those who share your objectives

Each of the above points comes out beautifully as the book presents the 20 cases; some, like the Dharavi slums are what I would call “community of communities”, some are institutionslike Harvard, some are for-profit companies like IKEA and some examples take us to an utility set up, an industrial community,or even the government program that is succeeding some place.A great read if you are a policy maker or leader of an organization and want to know why things work.

Meanwhile, do let me know your opinion about Zen Garden in Forbes India. My guests for theNew Year issue will be Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg , a great duo that founded the non-hotel chain Neemrana which sprang from their passion for restoration of heritage sites. So, look out for the story there.

Meanwhile, here is wishing you all Happy Holidays and thank you for reading my blog.

Comments
Lubna Says
Thursday December 9th 2010

Dear Subroto,
I will definitely pick up this book. I am so glad you have resumed your column in Forbes magazine.
It was generous of Hamish to share the slides for your blog readers.
Happy holidays to you also.
Best regards,
Lubna

Balaram Sahu Says
Sunday December 12th 2010

Dear Sir,Beautiful laws of life.”Be honest about failure; keep learning , keep making mistakes” is the lesson we all need to learn in the time of explosion in knowledge system.

By the way,on request of my son Bithal,I picked up an wonderful book “Go Kiss The World” from The Capital Book Fair now going on in Bhubaneswar.Now I am going through it. The more I advance,more I learn laws of life.Thanks and Congratulations for those wonderful speaking words, which are whispering me so closely to feel lively. With Warm Regards

SABBAS Says
Friday January 21st 2011

Sir, i ahppned to read the quote of your mother ,go kiss the world.what i understand is.words of mother is word of god.for any progres in life its parents.those whoi dont respect parents to what ever position he may be ,he is the smallest person.
regards
ABBAS

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