Tag Archives: book

Jeff Bezos’ reading list: the books that Amazon employees are expected to read

2017-07-28

Recently, the big news was that Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon online store, had become the richest person in the world. The ranking, however, can quickly change because it largely depends on the stock prices of companies the richest people own, which is why Bill Gates or Warren Buffet can take the number one position any day.

Amazon started its business as an online bookstore. Even now, when the company enters a new market, it often starts business in the country with books.
jeff bezos reading list; 3 book covers
Books, reading, and learning mean a lot to Jeff Bezos who established Amazon 22 year ago. He has led the company from the beginning, and has always been regarded as a visionary. He took over the Washington Post newspaper that was on the brink a year ago. He is investing his personal money in the Washington Post, not Amazon’s corporate assets.

Amazon has invested in the creation of the ebook market probably more than any enterprise. The Kindle ereader, and the worldwide marketplace for ebooks on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and on other country-specific markets have the biggest market share of ebooks. The company is also running many other book-related business programs, such translating titles, print-on-demand, and even its own publishing imprint.

Jeff Bezos is known as an authoritarian leader. He has established rules, processes and methods that are strictly followed. Jeff’s Reading List is a list of 12 books Bezos expects Amazon employees to read. Many are related to business, but there are other themes as well.

Author Brad Stone who wrote the Bezos biography The Everything Store lists those 12 books. The author says the books have shaped Bezos’ leadership style and way of thinking. Here is the Jeff’s Reading List.

– The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: a fictional story about the First World War.
– Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins: advice from business management guru.
– Creation: Life and How to Make It by Steve Grand: building intelligent technology systems.
– Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t by Jim Collins: the author of the book has consulted Amazon as well.
– The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen: how new technologies disrupt existing businesses.
– Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton: Walmart founder’s biography.
– Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James Womack and Daniel Jones: lean thinking method.
– Memos from the Chairman by Alan Greenberg: a collection of memos from the Bear Stearns Chairman to the employees. (Bezos worked for an investment bank before starting Amazon.)
– The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.: small groups of engineers can be more effective than large groups.
– The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvements by Eliyahu Goldratt: lessons for manufacturing.
– Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jeffery: how to measure everything – has become a must at Amazon.
– The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb: the power of events with massive consequences.

Via CNBC.

Tips for traveling in Scandinavia in a free guidebook

2017-07-22

The land of the Midnight Sun, long and cold winters, welfare states, high living standard, languages that no one outside Scandinavia can understand, plenty of space and few people. Sure, it is a definition of Scandinavia, but for travelers, the Northernmost region of Europe is much more.

If you want to find out how much more, read Traveling in Scandinavia. It is an ebook that you can download for free.
Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia
The guidebook is a selection of travel information, tips and cultural insights into the Nordic countries. A little bit of information on food and history is included in the book as well.

From the book description:

Here is a taste of Scandinavia for you to explore at the comfort of your reading nook – perhaps before heading out to the North yourself. As the selection of writings show, there are plenty of destinations to see and things to do: city life, mountain biking, fishing in pristine rivers, camping, island hopping, road touring, Arctic adventures, or hiking in the wilderness. If something is missing, Finns will invent it (e.g. wife carrying competition), Swedes will sell it to the world (e.g. entire country available on Airbnb), and Norwegians will win the cross-country skiing world championship (again).

Free download.

It takes 5 drafts before a writer can tell the manuscript for a book is ready

2017-07-11

Writing a book is hard work that takes time, requires patience, and persistence. The process of writing is individual, and continuously develops as experience and the number of published books grows. For instance, my own process has always been to write multiple drafts, and edit them until the outcome is what I had envisioned.
a writer stares at her computer screen with a pen in hand
That’s why it is so inspiring to find out that author Jeff Goins has identified five stages in the writing process that each represent a draft for a manuscript that is continuously being improved. The number is very close to the number of drafts I tend to write. Another inspiring thing is that Goins is refreshingly brutal when it comes to describing how the process of writing a book really works.

Here is the summary of Goins’ five-draft book writing process.

Draft 1:
Ideas. Often unstructured, and may only make sense to the writer.

Draft 2:
Structure. The manuscript begins to take shape. If it doesn’t, something is terribly wrong.

Draft 3:
The rough draft. At this point, the text is readable and can be edited. The whole work can be reviewed if something is missing.

Draft 4:
Cut. It is time to make it simple and easy to read which means cutting all the excess words and paragraphs.

Draft 5:
Finetune. Final edits, and the last chance to show it to reviewers for improvements.

The good news for writers who have never had the courage to even begin writing a book is that the threshold is actually low. You are not going to write that book at one go, but it is a step-by-step process where you continue improving your text until the whole work becomes a finished manuscript.

The next step after the five stages of drafts is to work with a publisher’s editor who may have ideas how to further improve the manuscript. A good editor knows that he or she is not always right, and that it is a collaborative process to get the book finished. It means respecting the author’s opinion and voice.

If a writer is not working with a publisher, it is beneficial to get a professional editor to review the manuscript before publishing it.

Ebook news digest: recommended books for vacation, nomads’ favourite continent, Tour de France

2017-07-05

News on ebooks, writing and reading

bookcrossing street library in Spain
Bill Gates Discusses His Lifelong Love for Books and Reading
Time

Bill Gates is the man who started the personal computing and software revolution in the late 1970s – early 1980s when his company Microsoft managed to make a deal with IBM. He became the world’s richest man, even though someone else may have passed him by now. When he was still the leader of Microsoft, he used to list the books he is going to read on his short summer break. The books, of course, became instant bestsellers. Time magazine has recently interviewed Bill Gates, and yes – he has more book recommendations.

Best e-readers
PCWorld

PCWorld is a computer magazine that has reviewed Kindle and Kobo ereaders. Good advice and terminology for the uninitiated included as well.

Publishers and Publishing: Why We Still Need Them
Writing and Pubishing My Book

While self-publishing, triggered by the rise of ebooks, is living its golden age, publishers still have the same old job as they have had for hundred of years. Here is a reminder on what they actually do.

Save Space in Your Suitcase and Leave These Things at Home For Your Next Trip
Popsugar

The first item on the list to leave home is a laptop. If you are flying, a good tablet perhaps with a small foldable keyboard (if you have to work a little) goes a long way. Instead of packing a paperbook, we recommend downloading thousand ebooks on the tablet for choice.

Ask a Digital Nomad: What Are Your Favorite Places?
The Ramble

Location independent writer Gigi asked a few fellow digital nomads what are their favorite places to stay, have fun, eat, to name a few questions. Interestingly, Europe got the most mentions for traveling professionals’ favorite continent with Asia as a solid second.

Tour de France is live and so is Riviera on the Mediterranean coast
Klaava Travel Guide

Tour de France is the biggest sports event in the world if measured by the number of spectators watching the live event where it happens. Here is a guidebook to southern France where the professional road cyclists pedal as well.

LG’s latest tablet is lighter than a can of soda
Android Authority

If you read ebooks on a tablet or on an ereader for long periods, and you are holding the device in your hand, you may notice the weight. Just like a paperbook, electronhic reading devices weigh a little, but less is always good. LG has announced an 8-inch high-end tablet (LG G Pad IV 8.0 FHD) that is really light.

6 books Wall Street is reading this summer
CNBC

If you are a professional, here are books that many cubicle heroes will be talking about in the autumn. The books are not only business stories, but also astrophysics. Yes, astrophysics. You know, black holes and stuff.

Nordic food and travel book Eight Arctic Seasons has won the Gourmand Award for the best Scandinavian title

2017-05-30

8 Arctic Seasons is a book that lives and breathes the sensitive Arctic environment as it describes gourmet meals prepared from local ingredients that often are enjoyed outdoors. The book also takes readers to exquisite adventures to the North. Above all, it is a beautiful book filled with photographs of the Arctic moments, meals and landscapes.
8 Arctic Seasons book in the snow with Liisa KokkarinenLiisa Kokkarinen, Editor & Co-author of the book took it for a spin near North Pole.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. Every year, the best food and wine books (printed and digital), and food shows on television are being awarded.

In 2017 award ceremony in China, 8 Arctic Seasons: Discover – Taste – Experience was the Scandinavia Cookbooks category winner in the global Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Janne Honkanen and Liisa Kokkarinen, who were the key contributors to the book, have day jobs at Luxury Action Ltd. The company is based in Finnish Lapland from where it covers the entire Nordic region, including Greenland and even North Pole. Custom tours are planned with the environment and gastronomy in mind, a source of inspiration for the book as well.

The book is available both as printed edition (at Akateeminen bookstore) and as an ebook (check availability and prices here).

Still wondering what the eight Arctic seasons are? Starting from summer, they are: the ever-rising sun, Midsummer harvest, colors of autumn, the first snow, Christmas time, frosty winter, crusty snow and departure of ice.

An image from 8 Arctic SeasonsAn image from 8 Arctic Seasons.
8 Arctic Seasons book, food photo
Eight Arctic Seasons book in the North with Liisa Kokkarinen

Ebook news digest: publishing trends 2017, tools for remote workers, tips for book proposals

2017-01-15

Ebook news digest January 15, 2017

bricks-and-mortar, book shop in Gothenburg
Top Ten Trends in Publishing Every Author Needs to Know in 2017
(Written Word Media)

Some bold predictions and some things that already have happened are featured in this article. 2017 will be an exciting year for ebook publishing. Digital markets are growing in many countries, for instance, in Europe, whereas in the US, big publishers rather sell paper books than ebooks. The rise of self-publishers and independent publishers will be one of the key trends to follow in 2017.

The Ultimate List of 22 Remote Work Tools Any Digital Nomad Needs in 2017
(Remoters)

Remote workers need good tools to be able to work both online and offline anytime and anywhere they happen to be. The ultimate list of tools introduced by Remoters features the usual suspects, but they are proven tools. We encourage Remoters and readers to think about two issues: offline work situations and being locked out of your free cloud service account. We have argued against using Google services for business or freelance work because of risks that particularly traveling workers will eventually face.

What To Know Before You Submit: 28 Great Tips from Literary Agents
(Writer’s Digest)

This is actually a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) with expert answers to the mystery of how to approach an agent with a book proposal. It is worth mentioning that not all publishers, especially in Europe, require an agent to represent the author. If a publisher’s web site has instructions for submitting book proposals, follow the instructions and submit directly (for instance, here). The points, however, made in the Writer’s Digest article are very valid for those direct submissions as well.

Travel Photography Essentials
(Wanderlusters)

An accidental travel photographer carries a camera, and a lens or two along for a trip, but a travel photographer who shoots for money often has a bag full of photography equipment for a trip. Wanderlusters introduces a comprehensive kit for on the ground and underwater travel photography. Here is a travel photo gallery updated by our writers.

Best Events For Digital Nomads In 2017
(flystein)

Life of a digital nomad can be lonely unless you are participating in one of those organized tours that move from one country to another once a month. Plenty of online services can help you find fellow nomads and connect with others near your location. If you want to connect with hundreds or even thousands of digital nomads in one place, attend a conference. Yes, they exist for nomads, too.

Behind a book manuscript: How a travel writer experienced Helsinki

2016-05-21

The first impression: love or hate

In every relationship, the first impression is extremely important. The same applies to travel destinations that you are visiting for the first time. You can fall in love with a place at first sight, or it can take multiple re-visits before the poor first impression changes (if it ever does).

Now that I have written a travel guidebook on Helsinki and it is published, it is time to look back and evaluate my relationship with the city. I have lived and worked in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, for quite some time but what was my first impression about the city? Did I really like it, did it make me curious, was I unimpressed or even unmoved?

I believe it was late summer — August or September — when I arrived. The first images I can still recall were that it was green everywhere, lots of light, very clean, plenty of space and no fuss — everything just worked. Nothing was spectacular, massive, totally weird, or anything like that, but rather human-size and practical.

Local people kept their distance, and didn’t chit-chat (later, I found out that it is the norm). But if I approached someone, the response was overwhelming.

Helsinki made me curious. I didn’t quite know what it was and why it attracted me, but I wanted to know its secret. There had to be something behind those faces and facades that an average tourist didn’t see.

View video:

Helsinki, city streets

Reality check: How was Helsinki really like?

After you have spent a few days in a new destination, you realize that there are actually ordinary people who go about their daily lives in the city. Life in the destination is not all about seeing the sights, having meals in tourist restaurants and constantly carrying a camera that’s ready to shoot whatever comes in front of the lens.

Of course, a few days isn’t enough to learn how people live in a place, but a sharp-eyed traveler gets hints and impressions of the local culture. At this stage, things get interesting. If I am exploring a destination because I intend to write about it, after a week or so, I have visited and photographed the obligatory sights. Then, I can look around for things that I find different, interesting and outside the inner circle of must-see places. In Helsinki, it meant discovering places like Kaivopuisto, Itäkeskus, old Eira, touring the shores of the city on a bicycle, and getting to know the bohemian district of Kallio.

I must have taken more than thousand photos in Helsinki in winter and in summer time. Some of the images made it to the book, most didn’t. Let me show you a few pictures of Helsinki where I believe I managed to capture something about the true faces of the city.
cafe at Esplanade park in HelsinkiA cafe at Esplanade Park in the city center.

Erottaja, Helsinki, jugend housesHouses lining the Erottaja street.

helsinki, view from hotel torniA view of Helsinki from Torni. The city’s landmark white Cathedral rises above other buildings.

The bottom line: What does Helsinki mean to me?

After spending so much time in Helsinki, exploring its streets, discovering rarely visited places, studying its essence, asking stupid questions when chatting locals, photographing and writing about the city, how do I feel about it now after my Helsinki travel guidebook has been published? Would I want to live in the city? Do I feel that I want to visit the city next year and two years after that?

It is a universal up-and-down experience how a foreigner accommodates to a new country and culture. Many culture shock -books have been written about the phenomenon. Having lived long enough in Finland, I believe I have survived from my shock, and I can sit back and take a long, hard look at the city, its people and culture.

The things I most appreciate in Helsinki (and in Finland) are safety, how everything just works, rationality of the people, ample green space, human-size architecture, modern art, and large wilderness areas. For me, the ideal moment to travel to Finland is when I want to breathe freely, be sure that I can be alone of I want to be alone without anyone bothering me, not worry about officers or taxi drivers cheating me, and forget about the poverty and distress in many other parts of the world. If it is summer, I will sit down at Esplanade or Kaivopuisto Park with my ice cream and blend into the crowd. I will be quiet and think the same things as Finns do: when we head to the cottage next weekend, what will we grill after sauna?

Helsinki is one of the easiest city to travel to and explore. It is a pleasure to stop by even for a short layover. Staying in the city for a long period exposes people to the long and dark winter, but summer rewards those who survive the winter. (Locals actually enjoy winter by traveling somewhere where it is colder than in Helsinki and snow is abundant).

I actually think that Helsinki (and Finland) is a bit of a hidden gem. The world has started to take notice of the country and its capital after news of its school system, maternal packages, Angry Birds, Nightwish and talented race drivers have spread in social media. Scandinavian kitchen and literature are also trending, at least, in Europe.

At times, Helsinki may be cool, but it won’t leave you cold if you give it a few days.

This story was written by Kim Anton who has authored and photographed two travel guidebooks for Klaava Media.

Esplanade park ,Helsinki in summer
My favourite season in Helsinki? Well, everyone falls in love with Finland’s summer (as I did), but winter has its own, very special atmosphere and fun outdoor activities. The picture above and the one below show the same place in summer and in winter in the center of Helsinki.
snow storm at Esplanade park in Helsinki

Five tips to get started with that book you always wanted to write

2016-05-19

Everyone who has ever written a book, or even tried to write one, knows how much hard work it is. Sure, writing requires creativity, talent, and ability to play with words and grammar, but perhaps perseverance is the most important element in a writer’s toolbox.
 thinking and watching laptop computer screen
Especially, writers who are planning or writing their first book may regard the task too big to handle. That’s right, it is a huge task. That’s why it is important to prepare for it well by learning what kind of working method is the best for each personality, making sure that all the writing and research tools are in place, and learning to focus on the work even though distractions are constantly tempting online.

Bec Evans and Chris Smith have developed methods that help aspiring writers to establish habits that promote writing. They regard writing a book such a demanding work that individuals who are seriously pursuing it, should develop habits that support it. They have listed five tips that help you to build the motivation to write :

1. Scale down your goal.

A book (it doesn’t matter if it is a non-fiction or fiction book) must be planned before you can begin writing. This way, you know you goal and you have divided the big task into small pieces. It is easier to start working on a chapter that is about the same length as a long article than to start working on a 300-page book.

2. Slowly crank up the time.

In the beginning, it maybe difficult to sit down and type for eight hours or even two hours a day. Once you get started and words begin to flow, time goes quickly. Start small, and slowly extend the time spent by a keyboard.

3. Stretch yourself.

In the beginning of the project, goals should be achievable, but you should enhance your goals as the work progresses. From personal experience, I can add that even though I have never set an explicit goal, like one or two pages a day for myself, there are days when it feels that nothing was achieved after eight hours of hard work. Then, the next day, I realize that I have suddenly completed 10 pages. The things is that those days that felt like nothing was achieved were groundwork for those 10 pages that magically were completed in one day.

4. Track, monitor and adjust.

Tracking and monitoring helps you learn how you really work. Adjust your ways in order develop habits that support your writing.

5. Use other people.

Most writers don’t like to talk about the book they are working on. I completely understand this: plans may change, another project may take priority over the current one, or even the intended content of the book may change. Yet, Evans and Smith suggest that it is important tell other people about your goal and update them on your progress. Peer-pressure and accountability can do wonders for writers.

My tip is to use Table of Contents as the key planning tool for a nonfiction book. For a fiction book, many writers have character cards and maps that show how the story flows.
Smiling woman holding books

Spaghetti and Sauna is a survival guide to Europe’s vastly different cultures: Italy and Finland

2016-03-28

Finns are from Neptune and Italians from Mercury – that is what someone moving from Italy to Finland (or vice versa) might think. The differences in culture, behavior and socializing – not to mention weather and food are so great that it can drive a normal, healthy person to believe that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy correctly defined the meaning of life.
sample page from book Spaghetti and Sauna
Fortunately, everyone who is planning to move to Europe – particularly to Finland or Italy – can now read a book that tells everything about the most common pitfalls that a traveler, student or an expatriate may encounter in a new environment.

Irene De Benedictis moved from Rome to Pori, a relatively small town in Finland to study and work. She survived. Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as she would have liked, the best thing is that she wrote a book Spaghetti & Sauna about her culture shock and how she learned to cope with the Scandinavian weather, food, and people.

Spaghetti and Sauna tells an entertaining and educating story that is worth a read for everyone who is interested in the cultures and customs of South and North Europe. If you don’t know what a personal bubble, sauna evening, umbrella ride or onion-style fashion is, you better read the book.

book cover image: Spaghetti and Sauna
More about the book Spaghetti & Sauna – Discovering the Rational Finnish Culture through the Eyes of an Emotional Italian here.

Nordic mixture of unique experiences and culture: The Best of Helsinki

2016-02-27

The capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a traveler-friendly city: there is plenty to see in the city, but it is easy to move around town and traffic rarely causes major problems. Food, drink, and accommodation options are plenty. Helsinki is a mixture of many things: it is centuries old, but modern; it is a western city that used to be part of eastern empire. These influences and traditions have blended into a unique Nordic culture and architecture that visitors can experience in Helsinki. Travel guide The Best of Helsinki: The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites explains and shows it all.
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Travelers who have never visited any Scandinavian country may think there is always snow on the ground and people have to give way to elks and reindeers that roam on city streets. Yes, snow covers the ground in Finland in winter, but summers are beautiful, warm and green. Yes, there are plenty of elks and reindeers (and a number of wolves and bears as well), but they are hiding in the wilderness.

Helsinki (or any region in Finland) has plenty to offer for nature-lovers because large forests, lakes or the sea are never far away. Party-goers enjoy Helsinki’s lively nightlife scene, whereas foodies may enjoy a meal the Lapland, Asian, Italian, Russian or traditional Finnish way.
The Best of Helsinki, Klaava Travel Guide
The Best of Helsinki is a visual travel guidebook that shows you the places to go and helps you navigate to your destination. You can browse the book to get an overall understanding what the city has to offer, and then study details of those places that seem interesting.

Find out more about the book here.

Here are a few sample pages extracted from The Best of Helsinki.
Travel guide: The Best of Helsinki
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page

Mongolia is barren, dry and remote country, but it also has beautiful moments and landscapes

2015-10-28

Few people travel to Mongolia for vacation probably because the destination doesn’t have any obvious tourist attractions. The statue of Genghis Khan in capital Ulaanbaatar alone isn’t a reason to plan a trip to Mongolia, but there are many other reasons. CNN reporters have discovered the beauty of the country and show it to all of us in a photo gallery.

Stephen Parliament has worked in Mongolia both in an office in Ulaanbaatar, and in the countryside with herders. He wrote a book titled Herder’s Boots about the places he visited, people he met and life in Mongolia. After reading the book, most readers expressed two things: they never realized how hard herders life could be, and how worried readers are about mining industry’s access to the resources buried in the ground. Mining prevents herders from conducting their traditional work.

Below is a photo gallery from Stephen Parliament’s Mongolia book. Take a look at CNN’s photo gallery of 18 beautiful Mongolia moments as well.

The Herder's Boots, Mongolia travel story book

The statue of Genghis Khan on front of The Great Hural, Legislative building, UB

The statue of Genghis Khan on front of The Great Hural, Legislative building, UB

Camel herder, ebook on Mongolia travel

Camel herders

open road into the horizon in Gobi desert, Mongolia book

Mongolia travel book, photo gallery

Gers ready for another move: all possessions of a herder family

In addition to information on sights and food, this travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand explains local customs

2015-09-21

Travelers who are unfamiliar with Asian cultures and customs tend to experience many surprises on their first trip to any Asian country. The land of smiles, Thailand, has many customs that travelers may misinterpret if they are new to the Thai culture. Once tourists understand a few basic things about Thailand and its people, a week on a beach, nights at bars, dinners at seafood restaurants and trips to nearby sights are more convenient and communication with locals is smoother.
pattaya travel guide chapter 6
That is exactly what the objective of the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture, published in Klaava Travel Guide series was. The guidebook interprets for travelers, for instance, what the Thai smile really means in many situations and why it is important to know the protocol of wai (the polite Thai greeting).

The travel guidebook shows the sights of Pattaya, as well as the food, the shopping, the hotels and restaurants in photo galleries and video clips. Tips for surviving in the traffic, hiring a motorbike, finding a room, playing a round of pool or viewing a Thai boxing match, among others are included as well.

View a video that shows select sections from the Pattaya travel guide:

More about the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture download travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

pattaya beach from travel guidebook