! Book Review (Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Without Blowing it)

Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing ItBrag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this book because its unconventional and direct way of delivering ideas. Its structures are clearly divided by points and followed by explanations. What’s more about it is that for me, this book really match with The Dip by Seth Godin. While The Dip intelligently describe how we can achieve our goals and going through the bad times with persistence, it somehow pass an important point of how can we enter into the road that leads to our goals. Brag! is all about leveraging your capability to enter the path of your dreams.

The book turns up side down the conventional notion of bragging and by calling “Bragging is an art” and pointing vital phenomenon that the 21 century workplace is no longer a safe and secure haven for anyone or any career because job security is virtually non existent.

The motto of this book is that if you don’t speak up yourself then who will? The idea lies in bringing out a new paradigm in which we are the product, nevertheless of where we work and how long we have already work, we are a product for employer. Therefore, the goal is for us to create the most valuable product that worth to be offered.

What I like about this book is the so called Myth of bragging. It really open up a whole new horizon about what bragging truly is. In the book it is presented 7 point on the Myth of bragging. Of all of those points, number 1 and 4 are what gets me excited about learning to brag because I have done exactly these myth and now that I know that, I can change.

1: a job well done speak for itself
2: i don’t have to brag people will do it for me.

What I don’t like about this book is the assumption that introvert is the same as shyness. Because bragging is not just for an extrovert, but for all. In fact, the best performers are often an introvert and as Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly remind us, performance and introversion could go along really well.

A last note about this book will be besides learning the art of bragging, it also gives a resourceful tips for those who struggle with performance review and and will help with tips for those who need to pass job interview.

Related Book:
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to QuitSeth Godin

The Dip

The Dip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

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To get to know about who is Peggy Klaus (The Author):

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How to built Quality into a process: a lesson from Shigeo Shingo

Lately, I am quite busy and overwhelmed because of so many things I have to do right now. From doing many reports in my workplace as well as continuing a research project for university. However, I really so into and passionate in doing the research project particularly because the topic that I work in is both my passion and my work. I am now researching theories about Quality especially how to create a culture of quality and found a classic book from Shigeo Shingo which I fall in love with. The book is titled Zero Quality Control. I admire the wisdom he has at that time that even many people or companies today might not know about it yet. Here I will share some of his important view on built-in quality.

Young business woman presenting colorful charts and diagrams

In summary, he elaborate on his journey on finding the most effective inspection method to built quality into the process. Those three inspection methods are all currently use all over the world right now, but as he said personally that sometimes people do not know what is the right one for them and in what situation they have to use it. Those inspection systems are:

    1. Judgment inspections (inspections that discover defects)
    2. Informative inspections (inspections that reduce defects)
    3. Source inspections (inspections that eliminate defects)

Next several weeks I will try to explain what is the really the difference among them. Additionally, it is worth to mentioned here that Shigeo Shingo give a basic recipe of how to built quality into your process.Those are:

  1. Use source inspection
  2. Always use 100 percent inspections rather than sampling inspections.
  3. Minimize the time it takes to carry out correction action when abnormalities appear.
  4. Human workers are not infallible. people are human and set up effective poka-yoke devices accordingly as control functions.

Small Changes, Big Achievement!

I just read a blog by Beyond Lean that is so insightful. In his post, with the title Small Change vs. Large Change, he highlighted about how Paul Akers at FastCap often talks about 2 seconds kaizen.

I have read Paul Akers’ Book about 2 Second Kaizen which describes his personal journey on creating kaizen culture in his small to medium size business (at that time). Following my current reading on Workplace Management by Taiichi Ohno, this post really spark a light for me to set out this post about small changes.

Company has been the center of all attention for decades. But scaling further to a level of personal kaizen, big achievement by means of doing small changes can definitely be a roadmap to improvement. I would imagine if we are not only focus on doing productive works but in addition to that, we apply 2 seconds kaizen on how we went throughout our day.

BELIEVE

It has been acknowledged that doing the right things before doing things right will elevate productivity in our lives by preventing doing the wrong things. But truly I said that bigger achievement is attainable by performing small changes in doing things right. Now I invite you, my fellow travellers, let us set for ourselves to do everyday at least 2 achievements (productivity) but as complementary also do 2 seconds of kaizen ( improvement in method of doing things).

Tea and Productivity

Several days ago, I walked down to city center on Saturday morning to get myself a little exercise in the weekend. When I walk, I like to pick new routes, so besides exercising, I could get a totally new refreshing perspective of the neighborhood where I cross. This time, I went through some roads and alleys that I have never had gone through before and in the middle of my walk, a store window caught my attention.

Through the store window, I could saw many kinds of teapots displayed behind the window. From outside the store, I could look into the store these big tubes contained tea leaves. My curiosity made me to enter the store to just find what this interesting store could offer me.

The Tea Palace

I entered the store and it is so wonderful that I really felt like I am in a library of tea. The store called Le Palais des Thes. First of all, when you entered, there will be various tea leaves that were ready to be smelled (you choose tea by smelling it!). These tea that come from China, Japan, Afrika, India and this is in fact only a glimpse of what this store could offered. Further back of the store, they have a whole lot many tea leaves, teapots and books about tea. Just what a person need to travel the world of tea.

From visiting this store, I could understand more about tea and decided to bring two distinct tea types from Afrika. From it, I also know that tea is beyond what traditionally be a medicine to increase condition of our health. For me, I mainly drink tea because it is refreshing in non-destructive way. The interesting part that lends itself to an increase in productivity is that compare to coffee, tea has more benefits.

Asian couple having coffee on home porch

First of all, I want to once again correct the assumption that caffeine in tea or coffee will help us during our work to be more productive by increasing alertness.

Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at the University of Bristol, after years of studying caffeine, he sees no evidence to suggest that it improves mental alertness.

However, if we know the right time to drink tea or coffee, a good effect will be obtained.

Professor Andy Smith, an expert in occupational health psychology at Cardiff University said that Caffeine is rightly prized by workers for combating fatigue, with a 2002 study of US Navy Seals showing the drug’s ability to override severe sleep deprivation. What caffeine does is to get you back on form. “We use the term ‘restoration of function’. The effect of caffeine is to restore your function closer to normal,” he says.

Therefore, caffeine can still has contribution to our performance to help us when we have fatigue at work. Additionally, hot beverages have numerous advantages. Here is some facts about contribution of Hot beverage in our workplace whether it is office work or home office.

  • 61% of employees feel that their employees cares about their well-being if they provide good hot beverage options such as in office coffee and tea.
  • 43% reported experiencing a positive effect on their work productivity.
  • 90% of decision makers and 85% of employees believe that quality coffee and tea can contribute to increased productivity and morale.

Both tea and coffee are a complex drinks. However, Tea could give better contribution in many ways.

First of all, tea contains Theanine, which researchers argue has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Secondly, Randy Murray blog in his article “Simple Productivity Task of The Day:Make A cup of Tea” really point out a benefit of tea psychologically. He ’ve found that the process of making tea is also soothing and ritualistic, which is good for helping him slow down and regain focus. To learn simple ritual of creating tea in your office your could see it below.

Just This from Dave Caolo on Vimeo.

Additionally, you can better awake when you drink a cup tea compare to drink a cup of coffee . Yes! It seems not true because every time we drink coffee we can get the effect of waking up instantly right? It is apparently true that coffee will give you more instant effect. However, it turns out that drinking tea will give us longer wake up time because the way caffeine works in tea is different than coffee. When drinking tea, caffeine inside the tea will slowly be absorbed by our body and this will lead to long consumption of caffeine for our body which will keep us awake for quite a longtime.

Hence, those three (3) simple benefits that I tried to highlight (reduce blood pressure, psychologically soothing due to it’s ritualistic nature and better works of caffeine) will give more than enough  for you incorporate tea to your daily productivity agenda.

Join Green Movement in Urban Area

Last post, in my personal article focusing on plastic bag, I have elaborated the importance of the role of Industry in determining the progress of  transformation into green and sustainable living. In addition to the Industry effort, we as a customers in any supply chain, a human that lives in the earth and a parent that will have to pass on the living environment to our future generation, has an obligation to the progress of green and sustainability of living around us.

For those of you that live in Urban area where people bustle everyday, tall buildings occupying most spaces  and transportation seems never stop their activities, the hustles will be more intensive than people that live in suburban or small city area. However, I can convince you that it is possible to still join Green Movement to preserve the good side of the city that we have know and to fix those that have already been destructed by pollution and other matters. Below are several tips for you to get to move and participate in small act to make our city Greener and more comfortable for a living.

1. Electricity and Water Use Awareness

By saving energy and water, we actually will in the end save our money.The US Department of Energy has statistically calculated the hundreds of dollars savings that could be achieved by smartly using energy and water. From Coffee Maker, Refrigerator, Fan, Clock Radio, Cell Phone Charger, Personal Computer until Printer, there are still a lot of possibility that we can cleverly reduce our consumption.

One great example is to turn off the lights if you know that you will leave the room for more than 15 minutes or you can also put a sensor to further save electricity. Another is sharing fridge. Sharing fridge seems have a little impact, but in reality, the cost of electricity from fridge itself is consider as large in comparison to other home appliances. So, instead of buying small fridge for each of rooms in your house or apartment, you can plan to share a fridge.

2. Buy Green Products

Eating organic, free-range, local and fair trade are also a great options that will definitely have a positive impact. However, because those products are rather expensive, an alternative is to to eat less meat, use canvas bag when you can, use recyclable plastic bag and buy from your local to get anything from fishes and meats to vegetables or fruits and still contribute to environment.

Buying green products will also unconsciously lead you to healthier living by avoiding more and more consumption of junk food which have bad effects that will later take away money from your pocket due to obesity, diabetes, depression and nutrient deficiencies.

3. Urban Farming

The previous two tips are all about getting better at managing what we already have. The next tips will be about making small changes that have a big impact. It starts with Urban farming. It is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city.

Urban Farming is very fun activity to do. If you have a garden in your house, you can use it as your own farm. Even if you have only a roof (flat roof ones), you could turn it into a space for farming. Urban Farming is so easy as you can simply use your window as a medium for farming which Urban Farming Communities called windowfarms.

Urban Farming communities is now everywhere in the world, you can find communities around you with the like minded purpose and the good thing is that all that effort you spend in your farm will be fruitful as you can sell it as an organic product through Urban Farm communities and organizations. The organization also has good resources for education from methods of urban farming until ways to plant a certain plant and dealing with issues like watering and soon.

4. Cycle to Work

Another fun way is Bike to Work scheme. Using bicycle to go to work is a very effective method to achieved so many things. It is not only contributing to a more greener and sustainable environment, but also saving money for gasoline and make you more healthy. For some people, indeed, Cycle to work could also save life.

If you have a road bike, you can go to work riding it and take a shower in your office and you will be fresh and energetic to start your day. Another good alternative that I found very compelling is to use Folding Bike. I love folding bike because it gives commuters so much flexibility on the way. There are many combination of method that can be done using folding bike to get us to workplace in no time.

5. Change our Mindset from “WANT” to “NEED”

Our mindset is a powerful thing. Have you heard about feeling lonely in a crowd ? This is exactly what mindset is able to do. It can make you happy or unhappy when you decide that the circumstances seem to prove that you should have it. The fundamental change in mindset could change the way we behave and how it affects our surrounding.

To change mindset, the key is to know what our currently mindset is toward a particular situation. Oftentimes, in relations with buying or shopping, we as a customer has been automatically set our mindset into “WANT mindset”. The reason is, this is the right mindset that all retailer shops want customers to have so that customers will more likely to buy their products.

So, now we should change our mindset to NEED instead of WANT. Think before buy is a good step to take. Do some researches before buying anything instead of getting tempted on the spot when you see a very nice advertisement. Go online, watch videos, read articles and make sure that you purchase good stuffs that you need. Then, you will be surprise by how much stuffs you really need and how much stuffs you already have that are actually got there and hanging around since you first bought it.