Book Review: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

book_hookedMy Rating: 7/10 Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Nir Eyal in his book proposes a methodology for building habit-forming products. He argues that products can be built and successfully transformed into ‘habits’ by following these four steps: Trigger, Action, (Variable) Reward, Investments. One of the interesting ideas in the book is what he calls ‘internal triggers’, these are forces that trigger the usage of the app but the force is initiated by the user himself/herself – internally. For example: user decides to capture a moment that s/he feels memorable in Instagram, there was no trigger from the product – Instagram. That’s where you should get to with your product, when users have enough internal triggers to keep using your product on their own without you triggering them with ads, push notifications and email newsletters.

Video of Nir Eyal summarizing his book in 30min, watch here.

Book Review: The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics)

quran oxford world's classicsMy Rating: 10/10 The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics)
The Quran has been translated to English numerous times, and there are many great translations (eg; Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad, Ali Unal etc). However, this translation from Oxford is a unique one, in the sense that it uses modern language unlike the others which tend to use Shakespearean type of ancient words. With those translations, readers oftentimes have difficulty in grasping the full meaning of the verses.

M.A.S. Abdel Haleem (translator) has done a great job – it flows very smoothly and reads very easily. Highy recommended.

Book Review: How Google Works

howgoogleworksMy Rating: 6/10 How Google Works – Quite boring book to read to say the least. It’s written from 3rd person perspective too – referring to Eric Schmidt – “he did this and he did that..” which was kind of strange for me, since the book was supposedly written by Eric Schmidt himself (& Jonathan. Couldn’t they just write different chapters on their own?). It’s a very general book too, nothing special. It talks a lot about hiring “smart creatives”, so I think that could be the central theme of this book, everything else was just common sense stuff.

Smart creatives – are impatient, outspoken risk-takers who are easily bored and change jobs frequently. They are intellectually versatile, typically combining technical depth with business savvy and creative flair.

Book Review: The Four Steps to the Epiphany

book_steveblank4stepsMy Rating: 9/10The Four Steps to the Epiphany – It’s a must read book for all Tech Entrepreneurs. Newer version of the book is called The Startup Owner’s Manual. Author of the book Steve Blank, was the lecturer of Eric Ries who popularized the Lean Startup book/movement. This book will teach you how not to build a company, and to avoid many pitfalls that early entrepreneurs normally do. It’s a highly recommended book that will change the way you approach building and growing startups.

Book Review: Don’t Make Me Think

book_stevekrugMy Rating: 10/10 Don’t Make Me Think – This was one of the first books that I read on usability, back in early 2000s. If you are into web usability and user experience (UX), this is a highly recommended book. It’s one of those foundation books that can set a solid base for someone who is foraying into the field of building usable user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for the web.

Newer 3rd Edition is now available, see details.

Book Review: The Lean Startup

the lean startupMy Rating: 9.6/10The Lean Startup – In his hugely popular book, Eric Ries basically expands on Steve Blank‘s “Customer Development Model“, a formula for building successful and sustainable products and businesses. The main idea of the book is about shortening the product development cycle by way of validated learning. It encourages building MVP (minimum viable product) version of the idea and then adding small iterations and improvements to the product. Each new iteration (i.e feature) has to be tested against the customers. So that, you are absolutely sure that the features you are adding to your products are actually useful to your customers.

Book Review: Zero to One

book_zero2oneMy Rating: 6.5/10Zero to One – this is a very easy to read and simple book. Peter Thiel touches on many topics with simple examples (oftentimes too simplistic). But one takeaway from this book is, he suggests that everyone should try to build a monopoly-company (i.e proprietary products and solutions, closed ecosystem, patents etc).  He argues that instead of competing with your competitors in the perfect competition market, which results in marginal increase in revenue, you should build a monopoly company where you can charge a lot higher margins for your products and services. He also argues that many of the successful companies (eg; Google, Apple etc) are monopolists, but they have been successful in “tricking” everyone that they are competing in a very competitive industry.

Book Review: Innovator’s Dilemma

I have had this idea of reviewing books that I’ve read with a very short review – only the gist of them, the main theme so to speak – and it shouldn’t be more than five sentences. So, here goes the first one.

book innovators dilemmaMy Rating: 8.5/10The Innovator’s Dilemma – this book argues that the processes and resource allocation priorities that are setup in big corporations are not startup (new idea) friendly. For this very reason, it argues that big corporations often miss the boat on the new emerging and disruptive technologies. Because they are setup to keep churning more and more revenues from existing products and services. Their focus is to improve existing line of products and services, and ignore the new emerging technologies that are initially not directly competing with them.

Eg; Telcos – SMS vs Whatsapp, Taxis vs Uber, Hotels vs Airbnb etc.