Thursday, January 26, 2006

How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less.

An intriguing title for a book! This small book (less than 200 pages) is written by Nicholas Boothman. It covers a pretty broad range of topics. From my perspective, the book did a decent job of bringing body language, communication skills, and behavior together. It covers a lot of ground with everyday examples. One of the acronyms that is fascinating is KFC. Know what you want, Find out what you are getting, Change what you do until you get what you want. The key is the "K" know what you want. Once you know what you want, you can direct your attitude, synchronize appropriately, communicate effectively by using the preferred senses.

The book focuses on achieving rapport when it does not come naturally. Boothman calls his technique "Rapport by Design". In this technique, you the reader, will assume the characteristics of the person you are engaged with temporarily,"The key to establish rapport with strangers is to become like them". He describes various ways of doing that, especially through body language and the right attitude. The author describes to general types of attitudes. A "Really Useful Attitude" and a "Really Useless Attitude".

Really Useful AttitudeReally Useless Attitude

  • Warm

  • Enthusiastic

  • Confident

  • Supportive

  • Relaxed

  • Obliging

  • Curious

  • Resourceful

  • Comfortable

  • Helpful

  • Engaging

  • Laid back

  • Patient

  • Welcoming

  • Cheery

  • Interested

  • Angry

  • Sarcastic

  • Impatient

  • Bored

  • Disrespectful

  • Conceited

  • Pessimistic

  • Anxious

  • Rude

  • suspicious

  • Vengeful

  • Afraid

  • Self-conscious

  • Mocking

  • Embarrassed

  • Dutiful

The whole idea to list the useful and useless attitudes is to get a picture of what is needed and what must be avoided. Attitude is the core of interpersonal skill.


There is significant talk about body language and synchronization at the subliminal level. Boothman states "When you meet someone new, immediately point your heart warmly at that person's heart. ". Such gestures, he claims are universal and cross-cultural. He adds, "There is magic in this.". He explicitly calls out on closed body language and gives examples of what not to do.
He cites Albert Mehrabian, professor at UCLA, who has studied communication in detail. His studies suggest that 55% of what we respond to takes place visually; 38% of what we respond to is the sound; and 7% is the content. The author suggests that we synchronize our attitudes,body language (gestures, posture, gesticulations, movement, tilts, nods, expressions, breathing and rhythms), and voice (tone, volume, speed, pitch, rhythm, words).

Boothman declares two types of communication methods, one that opens up the conversation (through open-ended questions) and the other, that closes the conversation (questions that ask for a yes/no response). The author encourages questions that begin with "who, what, when, why, where, how" compared to "did you, are you , have you".
A "location/occasion" conversation methodology is recommended to break the ice. It is even better to use sensory specific words like "See, Tell, Feel" in a conversation. The author offers situational advice for regular day-to-day scenarios. The strongest point the author makes about communication is that most people do not know what they want out of a communication. It is of paramount importance that you know what you want before you open your mouth. If you do not want anything, make sure the other person knows and ensure that you are not wasting any time theirs or yours.
Boothman explains nicely the difference between "active" listening and "parrot phrasing" by providing excellent examples. All facets of communication are touched upon, at one point in the book Boothman explains how to receive compliments and advises not to flatter, "cheap flattery, tired cliches, and patronizing remarks reek of insincerity & can be insulting".

What makes this book different from other books is how Boothman classifies people by their preferred senses. He claims that there are three type of people: Visuals (55%), Auditories(15%) & Kinesthetics (30%). The author claims that it is more effective to select words in a conversation depending on which type of person you are talking with. The book offers techniques to determine the type of person. There is a good description of the type of eye-movement to expect when a person is visualizing, re-hearing, or re-feeling to retrieve information. A self-test is also offered in the form a questionnaire that determines your favorite sense. From a communication perspective, Boothman says to use metaphors, he claims that it appeals to all types because metaphors exercise all senses.

This book concludes easily by bringing all the four major components together. It ends with food for thought. The author urges his readers to get their imagination under control and install some Really Useful Assumptions. Assume rapport and trust, assume likability, assume synchronicity, assume forgiveness, assume impact, assume positivity and above all assume disposition to connectivity. He reminds us that when greeting someone new use this metaphor: Open-Eye-Bean-"Hi!"-Lean.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Management Skills for Everyday Life : The Practical Coach (2nd Edition)

An excellent book by Paula J. Caproni. This book covers important topics that will impact your personal and work life.
Topics covered by the author include success predictors, self-awareness, trust building, effective communication, ethical power & influence, relationship management, cultural diversity, creating high-performance teams, and crafting a life. Sounds a lot for 459 pages ? It is. The material is covered in sufficient detail.
One thing that strikes you while you read the book are the quotes. Famous quotes are printed on the margins, contextualized and related to the content. One of my favorite quotes can be found in the first chapter. "Learn as if you were to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow" - Mahatma Gandhi.
Every chapter is well researched. The end-notes are documented at the end of each chapter. This book should appeal to all.

IT Timeline

Information Technology Timeline

1642 - Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical calculator
1834 - Charles Babbage designed the analytical engine
1890 - Herman Hollerith created the statistical tabulator
1936 - Alan Turing described the universal machine
1947 - Bardeen, Shockley, and Brattain invented the transistor

(To Be Continued...)

IBM WebSphere 5 Classloaders

Abundant articles are available on WebSphere classloaders.

Just to reiterate one important point:

Several issues in WebSphere version 4.x have been resolved in WebSphere 5.x.
For example: If in a WAS5 ear there are multiple WARs and each WAR needs to reuse a utility jar and the reference is given in the manifest, the jar class loader will load up the utility only ONCE.

In a project I was working there was debate and almost certainly a hack was planned by delinking wars from their manifests and adding those manifests in a shell EJB projects (!)

Here is a sample classloader hierachy:
Application is set to Parent First
War is set to Parent last.

EJB ClassLoaders

WAR Classloaders

You can view your hierarchy with the classloader viewer, read and download from here.

What is Architecture ?

"Architecture is a set of structuring principles that enables a system to be comprised of a set of simpler systems each with its own local context that is independent of but not inconsistent with the context of the larger system as a whole."

This definition can be easly contextualized to information systems.