Archive for category Books

Meritocracy and Rules

Meritocrazia e RegoleCan a country or a company survive even if it doesn’t care about meritocracy?

Yes, probably, but just survive, since in the fast global market it’s destined to lose competitivity.

I read the two books, Meritocracy and Rules, with interest. They accurately analyze important subjects, often superficially mentioned in articles and debates on traditional media.

The first book by Roger Abravanel left me with a definitely optimistic impression: after an analysis of the value of recognizing and rewarding merit, as well as the best practices this social attitude can lead to in different environments, from small companies to public administration, Abravanel makes 4 realistic proposals to develop meritocracy culture in Italy.

The second one, written by Abravanel together with Luca d’Agnese, left me feeling a bit more pessimistic, since they unravel the causes that generated “vicious circles” of rules in our country, making it fall to the bottom of numerous international rankings about competitivity in various sectors.

We need to fire up “virtuous circles” of rules, because making rules is as much important as respecting them, to understand which of them needs to be canceled or changed.

However, if our country sits on the proverbial “rule made, cheat found”, we can forget to regain competitivity. 🙁

I think everything starts from schools and good teachers. Abravanel’s proposals about this are realistic and perhaps something is happening, slowly, while dinosaurs egoistically defending their positions are extinguishing…

The books are a must read even for startuppers. By definition a startup has to act quickly to become competitive, and in my experience this isn’t possible if startup members don’t really understand how important meritocracy is.


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The Legend of the Good Italian Food

La Leggenda del Buon Cibo ItalianoDid you ever stop to carefully read the tag of a food package you purchased at a supermarket?

I rarely did it before reading Paolo Conti’s book.

It’s the synthesis of a three years long inquiry, containing a lot of information exposed in a clear and easy way.

The book deals with arguments ranging from the supermarkets power over the food chain, to the analysis of health emergencies caused by food adulteration, to the opposition between techno-food and eco-food.

All of this always taking into consideration the position of Italy compared to other countries: we have a good competitive advantage in the biologic food sector. 🙂

It’s an advantage mostly due to a slow industrialization process of the food production sector in our country, something which we can exploit now that the consumer attention towards good and genuine food is definitely increasing.

So there’s still hope in order to preserve the good italian food reputation over the next years, so that it won’t become a legend due to invasive production and conservation techniques, supermarkets economic interests and, last but not least, our buying decisions. 😉


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Beppe Grillo’s Modern Slaves

Schiavi ModerniI was waiting for Beppe Grillo’s book since even I have been a “modern slave“, a underpaid worker, without any contractual guaranties and to the mercy of superiors making their arrogance their unique way to get listened.

Beppe Grillo’s initiative was born to give voice to the stories of more than 400 young workers, often with a degree, which don’t seem true such is the humiliation level in many cases. 😯

The book is well structured in different sections dealing with problems going from black work to “forced” VAT accounts, from escaping brains to mobbing by superiors.

Such witnesses don’t paint a nice picture of the italian work market at all.

They say that who critics his country the most is actually the one who loves it the most, and italians are pretty good at this ;), but the real situation is really bad, we definitely need a Reset as Grillo says!

Initiatives like this not only helps to give voice to a generation of young precarious but also to start a reaction aimed to change things.

Great Beppe, keep it up! 😉


A as Adventure by Anna Maspero

A Come AvventuraA as Avventura (adventure), B as Bagaglio (luggage), C as Cibo (food), D as Donna (Woman).. and so on till the last letter of the alphabet. 🙂

This is the original layout of the book by Anna Maspero, a traveler living in Como who turned into words her numerous adventures around the world.

A book which captured me for the many hints of reflection about the essence of traveling, which is the metaphor of the life, as Anna says. I read it while I was still mentally elaborating the events of the intense journey I did last summer on my Vespa around Italy, so it has been very useful for me.

I met Anna at the presentation of the book at the local library in Como organized in collaboration with the staff of Il Sole since the earnings of the book were going to be employed for the project Reborning Flowers.

Anna writes we travel “to escape from the routine, but even as habit; for pleasure as to live new experiences and emotions; to follow a dream and to forget an broken love affair; to learn or simply for a wish of freedom; for the joy to leave and for coming back.

Well, there actually has been all of this in my solo Vespatour.

“For Davide, have a good road!” she wrote as dedication on my copy of the book.

It has been so and it will be again, thanks Anna! 🙂


Stop Making a Mess of Yourself!

It’s the title of the new book by Roberto Re, founder of HRD Training Group, a company offering training and personal development services both to business men and individuals. As soon as I read in the HRD’s newsletter that the book presentation tour would start from Milan with a promotional One Night Seminar at the Teatro Nuovo on November 13, I didn’t waste time and I immediately booked for the event.

The show was exciting! Watching Roberto Re communicating and expressing himself live on the stage leaves a mark. It surprised me that a man like him, pretty used to public speaking, was visibly moved during the very first steps of the show, a clear sign of the total involvement in what he does. 🙂

The event went on with some properly selected cuts of famous movies presenting the 10 strategies to make a mess of yourself which we unconsciously adopt in our lives as described in the book. Renato Converso, an energetic comedian born in Calabria, then performed on the stage to show the audience to power of the smiling-therapy. 🙂

There was even the great Don Mazzi seated in the first line since he wrote the introduction of the book.

Actually this is the second book by Roberto Re. The first one, Leader di te stesso (Leader of yourself), which became a best seller published by Mondadori, represented for me a sort of milestone because it gave the start to a personal growth path that is generating unexpected positive results and is going on right now.

For this reason I brought the book with me and during the pause I managed to get it signed by Roberto while he was surrounded by a crowd of people willing to get a custom dedication on the new book fresh off the press.

“This is your first one, Roberto!” I told him while he was signing it, he nodded and replied: “Eh, this one rocks!”.

Maybe the second one is a bit lighter, but I’ll know that only after reading it.

What’s sure is that I’ve got a lot of friends to give a book with a title like Smettila di incasinarti (Stop making a mess of yourself) as a Christmas gift. :mrgreen:

There’s no two without three, Roberto! 😉


To Blog or Not To Blog

BloggingWhy do you do it?” asked me a friend some time ago while talking about the blog.

It impressed me because he said that with a tone and with blown eyes meaning something more similar to “Why the hell are you wasting your time by writing a blog?“.

It surprised me also because he’s getting a degree in robotics so he’s pretty at ease with informatics tools. 😉

He asked me that question maybe because he didn’t understand why someone should feel the need to tell something about himself to whoever happens to read the blog, or maybe it didn’t appear justified to him since no one pays me for the time I spend updating the blog.

I asked the same question to myself and I think the answer is two sided: on one side it’s something useful for me to fix memories in time and to make a point on the progress of my projects, on the other side there’s a natural need to communicate, or simply to entertain anyone stopping here to read these lines.

Gratification then comes when someone tells me he read the blog and appreciated its contents. In that moment a smile from a friend o from someone I just met goes way beyond any pecuniary remuneration. 🙂

Recently I studied the best software platform to transfer the blog to and I chose WordPress after reading the book Building Online Communities With Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress. I installed WordPress on my web space and I began populating the database with content starting from the first post I wrote on July 16, 2003 when I launched Ecpc.

After more than 220 posts here’s the preview of the result:

It will take some more time to complete the migration and to customize the graphics, but I already got positive comments on it and it seems the graphics theme I chose is appreciated.

It has been really strange reading all the old posts while I was copying them. I noticed a different way to write and to propose myself towards readers along the time. I was like a sort of confirmation of a personal growth.

Something I think to be more than a good motivation to have a blog. 🙂


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Reorganizing Thoughts and Things

Windows Mobile Guida PraticaThat’s what I did in these summer months: reorganizing things in my studio, as well as reorganizing thoughts and relaxing my mind with some good books to get ready for the incoming months.

Among the books I read the most entertaining was Joel on software, a collection of the writings by Joel Spolsky, CEO of Fogcreek, originally posted on his blog. It contains views, comments, rants and raves about software development so brilliant that I found myself exclamating a “That’s so true!” after reading many articles. 🙂

Software development is unlike any other artigianal work, it’s pure design, as Joel states, that’s why the skills needed to be a good programmer or even a program manager are peculiar.

I also read a couple of books about personal leadership and social relationships. Another one was much more related to mobile devices, Windows Mobile Guida Pratica, a beginner’s guide about devices with the Windows Mobile OS, written by the italian developer Massimo Mangia.

I met him the last evening in Como with great pleasure, since there are only a handful of independent developers in Italy, and you can imagine how much such occasion can be special when guys like us get the chance to share their views and problems about a job they do with passion. 😉

So, a pause from actual coding work to recharge batteries and get ready for the next months which look busy.

More about that in the next post.

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Bruno Bozzetto at the Closing Seminar of AnimatiComo

Bozzetto VipThe presentation by Bruno Bozzetto, the father of the italian animated cartoons, concluded the first edition of AnimatiComo, a series of three seminars about computer animation organized by the researchers of the Polytechnic of Como.

All the attendees have been fascinated by the words of the “father”, although he actually preferred to be called grandfather. 🙂

What impressed me the most, apart from his extreme clarity of exposition, was the firm belief which lead all of his career, that is you can do great things even with poor resources. It all begins from creativity, then you use the tools at your disposal to express it, tools that don’t have to be necessarily the most technologically advanced and expensive. Just take a look at what he produced by using Flash and a lot of irony about the worst attitudes of italians in Europa&Italia, a short animation he made in 1999.

The seminar concluded with the projection of the cartoon Vip Mio Fratello Superuomo, one of his three full length movies, made in 1968.

Here you can read a brief interview with Bozzetto published by the local daily newspaper La Provincia.

All this contrasts al lot with the final results obtained by the spanish big budget, for European standards at least, animation team who produced the 3D animation El Guerrero Sin Nombre, presented for the first time after its completion by Nacho Martin last week during the second of the three seminars. The cartoon rendering technique granted a unique and impressive look to the movie, but the empathy generated by the characters was light years from that stirred up into spectators by Bozzetto’s Vip Brothers, in my opinion.

I had the chance to talk a bit with Nacho and he told me a phrase I only partially share: the important is getting to the end…

AnimatiComo has been a really pleasant experience, made even more interesting by the fact I’m reading the book Animazione 3D wrote by Nicolò Ceccarelli and Daniele Bigi, the two main brains behind the event.

Can’t wait for the next edition then! 🙂


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