Monthly Archives: September 2015

Book Review: The Small Big: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence By Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini

the small big

This was another book that was sitting on my shelf for almost a year and I finished reading it a couple of weeks back. Due to time crunch these past couple of weeks couldn’t post this review earlier.

The small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini is a very interesting & powerful book. The authors are all behavioral scientists and have written books earlier as well on this or related subject, specially on science of persuasion. If human behavior or persuasion strategies interests you this book is a goldmine.


★★★★★ (5 out of 5)

The Storyline

The authors talk about how bringing small changes in the way we do things can bring about BIG difference in its outcome. Hence the title The Small BIG: Small changes that spark big influence. Also the changes that the authors suggest costs very little or nothing at all and they have backed up their suggestions with case studies and scientific findings.

Some of the examples or case studies are pretty impressive. The first one shows how a small change in the letters sent to the tax payers in UK resulted in a greater number of people paying taxes.

Another good example is how a small change in the way the appointments are booked at doctors resulted in a considerable number of people turning up for their appointments. The authors earlier mentions that people not showing up for appointments when clubbed together for a country amounts to losses in billion dollars. So even a small change done resulted in saving of millions of dollars.

Authors go on to suggest many other such small changes that can drastically improve the productivity, procrastination, the precision in doing things, etc.

There are 52 such small changes divided into 52 chapters that can have a big influence and as mentioned earlier it costs almost nothing (even if they don’t work for you).

What I Think

I have earlier read  few such books on behavior and habits and how altering them can benefit you. This books joins the ranks of those top books. The best thing about this book is its simplicity or the simplicity of the methods or changes suggested, which can be implemented by anyone. If you are a sales rep, a computer professional, HR executive or an entrepreneur. These “pearls of wisdom” can help you in all walks of life. Although the authors can’t be credited for all these findings (and they give due credit and references to the scientists who did actual studies and findings) but they can definitely be credited for bringing these changes up to a wider audience and writing it so simply.

Each small change has a chapter of its own. So if you are in a hurry or some changes don’t interests you, you can simply skip to the chapters you want to read without losing the ‘plot’ anywhere.

After reading the book I did realize that some of the changes are ‘common sense’ (or so I think) and a few of them I already follow in my life or work and they were logical deductions on my own after experimenting and experiencing. I am sure many of you will have the same findings.  Nevertheless there are a lot of things that I or you wouldn’t know without reading this book.

Now all the changes may not work for you, it’s basically a pick and choose according to the situation which even authors suggest in the book. But I would recommend going through all the chapters just to get a feel of how small those changes are and even you can start observing and changing a few things not mentioned in this book which can work for you.

One such small change from the book suggests that if you want people to really follow up on their promise “ask for a plan”. So if your friend has promised you that he would get you that book you asked for ask him how do he plan to carry the book to you while he rides that motorbike. This will improve upon the chances of fulfilling his commitment and you getting that book.

Last Words

It’s a very powerful book and the thing I like about it most is its simplicity. The case studies or findings are also written in an uncomplicated manner.

If human behavior interests you or you think about how better you can do things or communicate with people you should definitely read The small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence
However if you are looking for a quick fix like ‘5 steps to a happy life’, ’10 steps to be an effective communicator’ or any of those sort of books, don’t bother. This is definitely not for you.

You can buy this book at low price from Amazon.


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Book Review: Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair

nothing to lose by ryan blair

Last week was kinda great to me I was able to read 2 books. I finished reading this book on last Wednesday. The book was sitting on my shelf for over a year.

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair was a book which was recommended on some site as an entrepreneurial read. The book is slightly different from the self-motivational types and a tells a slightly different story too.


★★★★ (4 out of 5)

The Storyline

It’s the story of the author himself how from a life full of problems he went on to become a successful entrepreneur.

The book tells the story of Ryan who had a troubled childhood , his father succumbed to drug addiction and his mother raises him in a troubled neighborhood where he gets entangled with criminals and becomes a gang member. But around the age of 21 years his mother marries a small time businessman who inspires Blair to turn his life around and he goes on to start his own business. He later goes on to do many successful businesses and sold many as well. He narrates his experiences from his journey to be an entrepreneur and also tells what worked from him and what were the mistakes that sometime costed him millions.

What I Think

To be very honest I found the book to be good but not a life changing or anything out of the ordinary. The differentiation (and good too) was how at one time in his life the author was at the bottom and from there he was about to turn his life around. The title is well thought out too, when you really have nothing to lose you have a very different take on the situation and things around you. That’s how Blair started his career and many times practiced in negotiations or to build his business.  There are many things he mentions about “doing business” which I personally do not agree to, for instance he stresses a lot on having a good business name and not your “porn name” but I personally don’t think a business name however weird that is (and now a days weird is better) is going to be a big differentiate. There were a couple of chapters which I found uninteresting (may be its because I really am not interested in those topics as of now) like the home based business and cashing out.

In other chapters he raises or reminds us of the benefits of networking, getting a good mentor, selling first and asking questions later mantra and many other small nuggets of useful information for the new entrepreneurs to keep in mind. He also makes it plain and simple that if you are not comfortable with uncomfortable, entrepreneurship is not for you. The best I liked was his million dollar mistakes chapter.

All in all a pretty decent read but it fell short of my expectations. The title was very interesting and it has set my expectations a little different. Somehow I got the feeling that it is not a very honest book which I was expecting it to be. At many instances you get a feel that someone is pitching his business before you (and may be that could be the case).

Last Words

It’s a decent book that new entrepreneurs can read and gain something from. But it’s definitely not the bible of entrepreneurship (for that matter there is no bible for that). There are many things that Blair reminds about entrepreneurship and many experiences that he narrates afresh. You don’t have to agree or disagree with him but just read it for what it is without expectation.

If you are an entrepreneur or thinking of becoming one you can give it a try otherwise you can skip reading it.

You can buy this book at a low price from Amazon

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