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The art of profitability – Adrian Slywotzky

In Book Review, consulting, Strategy on March 7, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Written in teacher – disciple style, the book is a series of meetings between Steve Gardner, in his first job in the strategic planning function at a company that’s going downhill, and a veteran of the business world, David Zhao, consultant to the top-brass of several companies. The oriental last name of the teacher is a none-too-subtle parallel to Sun Tzu’s ‘The art of war’, which is a quoted a few times in the book. Over the course of 23 meetings (all held on Saturday mornings in Zhao’s office), they discuss different profit models successfully employed by companies.

There are 23 profit models discussed in the book. While that seems overwhelming, the book does not delve into the intricacies. I found some of the models; like Customer Solution Profit, to be simplistic. However, a few of the models are handy to have an idea about and while the examples help drive home the point, a few more would have helped. The models are also not mutually exclusive and I found it hard to distinguish between a few of them.
All said, the book is a light read and fitting for when one’s waiting for the boarding announcement.

Melchizedek’s Urim & Thummim

In Book Review on May 6, 2006 at 9:57 am

Finally read the book that’s been touted as a ‘publishing phenomenon’ by many. Its apparent, that the beauty of it lies in its simplicity, but at the same time, there seem to so many different messages sprinkled liberally in the parable. Im fairly certain that my fairly rudimentary mind missed more than it registered as I read through The Alchemist but for the first time, couldnt resist the impulse to actually write about the bits that stuck…maybe for reinforcement at a later time. Most are common-sensical platitudes, and yet, so often forgotten. (the comments are wholly personal…kinda like notes on the margin of a textbook)

The world is huge and inexhaustible; We dont realize that were walking a new route everyday. Occupied by our search for food and water, we miss the fields that are new and the changing of the seasons.

Its the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Its the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.

When someone sees the same people everyday, they wind up being part of that persons life. And then they want that person to change. If someone isnt what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own. – familiarity breeds contempt or is this more sinister

The worlds greatest lie: At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of whats happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. – am gonna need proof to buy this one…

To realize ones destiny is a persons only real obligation BUT In the long run what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important to them than their own destinies. – unbelievably accurate

If you start out by promising what you dont even have yet, you will lose your desire to work toward getting it.

He had to choose between something he was accustomed to and something he wanted to have. – bullseye!

Its because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives everyday that the sun rises.

The secret of happiness: See all the marvels in the world and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon. – youd think itd be easier than that…

I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does. – root cause of every bigoted feeling ever?

On being cheated by his guide in Tangier – I’m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. Im going to hate those who’ve found their treasure because I never found mine. And I’m going to hold on to what little I have , because I’m too insignificant to conquer the world. – right about the time I fell in love this book…maybe its the none-too-subtle use of sarcasm?

And then the comeback – He had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and an adventurer in quest of his treasure. – amazing how much depends on what goes on inside our heads

You can sense whether a person is near or far from his destiny, just by looking at them. This candy merchant is not making candy so that later he can travel or marry a shopkeepers daughter. He’s doing it because thats what he wants to do. – amen to what I sincerely hope to be able to remain trueto…wouldnt wanna expand to chocolate though…

I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go onliving – and hence the need for distinct and several dreams…

I don’t want to change anything because I don’t know how to deal withchange. Im used to the way I am – a weak argument against the muchmore lethal what if… for certain people reading this…think of this question being asked of you…right this moment…be honest to yourself as you answer…

Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he’s really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. – and yet, we have five and ten year life plans…

Alchemy101: When you want something with all your heart, thats when you are closest to the soul of the world. Its always a positive force.

The caravan guide: I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man and life will be a party for you, a grand festival because life is the moment, you’re living right now. – feeling even better about all the time spent at the isb parties 🙂

The language that everyone on earth is capable of understanding…something that exerts the same (considerable) force whenever two pairs of eyes meet…love – sappy? Yeah well…sue me…liked some other bits on this topic…
Fatima: If I am really a part of your dream, you’ll come back one day
Santiago’s confusion as he’s unable to separate the concept of love from possession
– has anybody yet?

If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return. – but what about the dread of finding complete darkness on your return…?

On the futility of worry: If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and, you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur – hear hear

It’s not what enters mens mouths that evil. Its what comes out of their mouths that is. – for all those consider alcohol intake a sin

People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they dont deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.

Why don’t peoples hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?
Because that’s what makes a heart suffer most, and hearts dont like to suffer. – and also so not to make other hearts suffer however momentarily?

Every search begins with beginners luck. And ends with the victor being severely tested.

Your eyes show the strength of your soul. – My personal favorite

And finally…the delightfully refreshing closing paragraph…

The wind began to blow again. It was the levanter, the wind that came from Africa. It didnt bring with it the smell of the desert, nor the threat of Moorish invasion. Instead, it brought the scent of a perfume he knew well, and the touch of a kiss-a kiss that came from far away, slowly, slowly, until it rested on his lips. The boy smiled.

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