Tid.bi.ts: Issue #2

by Vinaya HS on January 12, 2007

in General Stuff

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The latest boom in merger activity appears to be creating more value for the shareholders of the acquiring companies. With announced merger activity approaching $4 trillion globally in the first 11 months1 of 2006, the year had already surpassed the record levels set in 2000. That earlier boom was known not only for the number of deals completed but also for a lack of discipline and the number of deals that destroyed value for the shareholders of the acquiring companies; in fact, earlier McKinsey research shows that as many as two-thirds of all transactions failed to create value for the acquirers. Are shareholders doing any better this time around? Find out in this article from The McKinsey QuarterlyAre companies getting better at M&A?

More on McKinsey. Recently read through “The McKinsey Way” by Ethan M. Rasiel, a former McKinsey & Company associate. It’s a very ho-hum book. If you have worked for two to three years in the industry and have interacted with customers a fair bit, there’s absolutely nothing to learn from this book. It’s not that good for newbies too. Proves that you should never believe those “fancy-worded praises” printed on the front and back of most books these days.

A couple of reviews from Amazon.com on The McKinsey Way:

Mr. Rasiel has written a book on consulting for 3rd graders. It is full of fluff and cliches. At the beginning of each chapter, he outlines its contents in 2 paragraphs, and spends the rest of the chapter illustrating his “points” with weak, unengaging, and not even remotely entertaining anecdotes. His solution for a member of the client team who would leaf through the presentation booklet at the beginning of a meeting and then tune out? Staple the pages of the book together! Gee thanks, Mr. Rasiel… priceless advice.

Here are some other gems that I found especially helpful:

+ “No one ever said life was fair.”
+ “Sometimes a little politeness goes a long way.”
+ “When all else fails, have a doorman. Then, at least, you’ll come home to clean laundry.”

The only valuable information I gleaned from this book is that if Ethan Rasiel is anything like the rest of the McKinsey-ites, I would last no longer than 2 years at the Firm myself. I found myself gritting my teeth at the nauseating tone and pointless content of this book. Save your time and read something (anything) else.

This book claims to provide an insight into the skills and tactics that McKinsey consultants use. However, it rarely goes beyond generalities i.e. you would find some business concepts that business school grads (and many others) would be well aware of. Not really the McKinsey way.

Have you ever seen a book with a negative review published on its cover?

Moving on, LifeHacker’s stumbled upon a network security guide from the NSA. It supposedly takes all of 60 minutes to have your network function like The Great Wall of China! The guide had its last meaningful update in March 2006; it’s almost state-of-the-art I guess. Download the The 60 Minute Network Security Guide – First Steps Towards a Secure Network Environment. (PDF 818 KB)

You’ve just built that cool new must-see website/blog. But there’s just one small problem; there’s no one visiting. CopyBlogger’s accumulated some serious stuff on attracting links and on increasing website/blog traffic. Get stuffed at How to Attract Links and Increase Web Traffic – The Ultimate Guide. Warning: It could take ages to get through that mountain of information.

Finally, you love YouTube for all those nice and naughty videos being uploaded incessantly. But have you ever wondered, “How do I download these nice and naughty videos from Google Video, YouTube, and MySpace?” It’s possible, albeit a bit nerdy. Find out How-to Download Videos from Websites Like Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, and Others?.

That’s it for Issue #2. Have fun executing these tidbits.

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

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