iStock photo/M_a_y_a

Loads of people are preparing to hop on planes, bullet trains, and automobiles in the coming days, camera ready and stomach primed for exotic delicacies. Although Golden Week is the season to travel for those living in Japan (as evidenced by the hike in plane ticket and tour package prices), some of us have humbler plans. Where will you find us when Tokyo all but empties of people for the first week of May?

Curled up with a good book.

Whether you’re without plans this travel season, heading for a secluded beach, or camping out under the stars, why not take a great read along? The GLOBIS Insights staff has compiled some of our favorite business essentials for those hoping to gain a little professional insight during Golden Week downtime.

High Output Management

Review by Shoko Imai, Business Development Leader, GLOBIS Digital Platform

Written by Intel’s former CEO Andrew Grove, this book is a must-read for managers. Although it was published more than 30 years ago, it still has lots of specific and practical advice on organizational management.

How can we maximize team performance? Grove says improving middle management’s output is the key. In particular, how managers use their time for leverage. The book introduces the one-on-one type of meeting, emphasizing it as a fundamental principle in Intel’s business philosophy. This idea is not only persuasive in theory—in fact, it was generated during Intel’s successful growth from a small organization to a very large one.

Grove asks through this book how middle management can add their own unique value, rather than simply pass information between bosses and subordinates. They should collect information, he says, and understand exactly what is happening around them.

If you are considering how to effectively allocate your time or want to rethink how to maximize results on your team, this book can give you some practical tips.

Deep Thinking

Alexander Rewey, Instructional Designer, GLOBIS Digital Platform

According to Garry Kasparov, fewer topics are as misunderstood as the game of chess and rapidly expanding field of AI. In his latest book, Deep Thinking, the former chess world champion offers a definitive take on his legendary 1997 defeat by IBM’s then state-of-the-art supercomputer Deep Blue, and what it continues to mean for AI today.

An admitted sore loser, Kasparov gives a brief, authoritative look into both the world of professional chess and the early history of AI, right up to a deconstruction of the moment the two spectacularly collided. Equally fascinating (and practical) is his take on strategy and tactics, the strengths and limitations of AI, and the future of machine learning. For chess fans and non-fans alike, Deep Thinking is richly informative. It demystifies both the skills required for world-class chess and the way machines learn to compete with human thinking.

The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Review by Alex Scharf, GLOBIS Unlimited Project Leader, GLOBIS Digital Platform

How can we get things done fast in an age of volatility and uncertainty? Many people are great at laying plans, but unable to deal with them when the pressure rises, the direction changes, or the plans simply don’t go as imagined. In order to address these challenges, many of the world’s top technology companies have adopted a framework for managing product development: Scrum.

In this book, The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, Jeff Sutherland, one of the inventors of Scrum, explains through real-world stories and engaging examples how the framework has helped transform business. Here, for the first time, he makes this invaluable tool available to the broader business world. Sutherland elevates Scrum from an engineering fix-it tool to a way of life.

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