Martin P Wilson

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Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Insight, IT

Facilitation and Mentoring for Success.

Microsoft Project 2010 Inside OutMicrosoft Project has become the de facto standard software for project management in all but the most specialised organisations. It is now a powerful tool yet many users barely touch its full capability.

With Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out even the most experienced Project users will learn new ways to improve their use of Project. It provides a comprehensive guide to the software and the differences from the previous version. For those new to either project management or Project it will take them through the project management process in a structured way using Project 2010.

Indeed Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out is more than a guide to Project, it is effectively a complete project management course. As a result it may feel slow, initially at least, to experienced Project users who are looking for an update on the new features of Project 2010. That said even experienced project managers will be surprised how much they will learn if they work through the detail. However any reader who perseveres will end up as a Project power user and a well-equipped project manager.

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More Efficent or Dangerous Anarchy?

Hacking Work Bill Jensen Josh KleinHacking Work suggests bypassing stupid rules in the workplace makes individuals and organisations more efficient and effective. Or is it high risk anarchy?

Most people have been frustrated by rules and policies that make their work more difficult, often transferring time, and sometimes financial, cost to the individual for theoretical benefit to the organisation. Hacking Work attempts to show how people can bypass apparently stupid rules to the benefit of both the individual and the organisation. However, when the hacker does not properly understand the reasons for the rules there can be considerable risks for both the individual and the organisation.

Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

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A Different View of the Financial Crisis

The Big Short Inside the Doomsday MachineSome unsung traders saw through the sub-prime bubble to make a fortune. Michael Lewis uses the stories to show dubious practices by many banks and brokers.

Rarely does a book on economics and finance entertain in the way that Michael Lewis achieves with The Big Short. Not only is it a great read but The Big Short also explains how financial products and practices worked and effectively brought the financial world to brink of total collapse. Michael Lewis has pulled off a tour de force; he has created a financial thriller with a great story of greed, possible fraud and incompetence whilst clearly explaining complex financial ideas. In the end, a few small funds succeed in beating the frighteningly incompetent big financial institutions and for once, it is a true story.

Financial Crisis; Stories of Success and Failure

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The Art of SEOThe Art of SEO is subtitled Mastering Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is an essential guide for all who own, design or write for serious websites

Web sites exist for a wide range of reasons but to be successful search queries must be able to find them and so sites need rank well in search results. Most visitors will find web pages by searching through Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and others. As result, good search engine optimisation is the tool that maximises the visibility of the site and is the key to generating traffic for the site.

The Art of SEO sets out to demystify search engine optimisation and explain what search engines need to be able to rank web sites properly. SEO is often seen either as an arcane and mystical process or as a battle between web content providers and the search engines. As The Art of SEO explains in the opening chapters it is neither. In reality, search engines and web site owners with original information to share have a common interest in providing relevant information that matches web searches.

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Killing Giants by Stephen Denny10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry

Killing Giants by Stephen Denny is not the first book on the subject of how smaller enterprises can compete successfully with the market leaders. However, it is probably the most accessible and its ideas are straightforward to implement.

Practical Messages Clearly Presented

The ways in which Killing Giants presents the ideas lend themselves to creating practical strategies for any business that is competing against much larger incumbents. Denny stresses he is not providing advice but telling stories from which the reader can learn. Killing Giants consists of ten broad messages. One, or more, stories, illustrate each section. From each story, Stephen Denny pulls out what he sees as the key lessons and puts them into a wider context.

At the end of each chapter, Denny pulls all the lessons together with the overall message. So while the content is not advice of the form: do this, that or the other, Killing Giants steers the reader to possible strategies. The reader is then left to apply what they have learnt, the ideas, to their own situation. It works well as the ideas are practical and the messages are down to earth so reinterpreting top specific situations is straightforward.

As Stephen Denny clearly expresses the ideas with minimal management jargon applying them to real-world situations should not be difficult. Readers can adopt some immediately and others will require more thought. The ability to move quickly will encourage the smaller business owner to use the ideas. Used with imagination and commitment the ideas in Killing Giants should enable the smaller player to claim their niche.

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Quick Thoughts

Has Military Action Ever Dissuaded Tyrants?

Syria - flagIn his speech before the war in Iraq Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, argued that not intervening would send a message that tyrants would feel at liberty to act without consequence. By military action in Iraq, he argued, those who would perpetrate atrocities would think twice. There would not seem to be any evidence, before or since, that would back up that contention.

We now have David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, making essentially the same arguments – do politicians ever learn from history?

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Government Spending is not Driver of Growth

Parliament Square London IC02001If more public spending is the only way to create growth then surely governments have become too large a part of the economy? Government is about spending and has little to do with creating wealth.

The best government can do is move wealth from individuals and business to those who serve government.

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Capped Bonuses, There May be Trouble Ahead

Politicians do not seem to be good at imagining unintended consequences. The cap on bankers’ bonuses, however popular, may be counter-productive in reducing risk.

Dark Stormy Skys and Beauty Often CoexistIf a smaller proportion of a trader’s income is at risk if a trade goes wrong they may pursue high-risk opportunities to get that big win. If it works they guarantee the full bonus and could also use it to negotiate a higher salary (and bonus) for the following year. If it fails the downside is limited by the capped bonus to a smaller part of overall income. At the end of the day traders are competitive and gamblers at heart so will they be more likely to pursue the big win when their own risk is limited?

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