Category Archives: Economics

Reading List: May 2018

Dear All,

We are almost half way through the year and my reading challenge is going extremely well! I should say I am grateful that I am going through this challenge and my objective is to get this a regular challenge from onwards.

The month of May will be an interesting month for my life because it will represent some endings and beginnings for my future life. I shall be sharing these positive developments next month with you.

Reading List: May 2018 

  1. Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
    Genre: Health, Spirituality
    Sakyong is a Tibetan lama and leader of global community of more than 200 meditation centres. In his book, he discusses physical activity could be more effective when it is combined with a meditation and particularly running is a good combination with meditation. He shares his insights about his running experience and how he developed its base within the first two years. He believes there are stages in running; lion, tiger, gradua and dragon and each stage represents developments not only in our physical strength but also our minds. Extremely insightful and useful book on running with those seeking peace of mind.I have been running for some time now, I should say it is extremely powerful tool to release energy and revitalise your mind and body. I wish I had never had a break after ending my professional volleyball career.
  2. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    Genre: Psychology, Self-Help
    Opening sentence of the book:
    “If you really want to live, we’d better start at once to try;

      If we don’t, it doesn’t matter, but we’d better start to die”
    Our lives are being spent between productive activities, maintenance activities, and leisure activities. It is extremely important to find the meaning of our lives and make a conscious effort amongst those activities to make everyday great and meaningful! Otherwise we will walk through our unaware and consciousness state of living to be open to be manipulated by the others which in turn very likely make us unhappy.This book explains these concepts in a very plain language with stunning examples. I hope most of us at once to try rather to die!
  3. Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
    Genre: Biography, Leadership
    Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of American pro sports and he was the head coach for Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. In his book, Phil Jackson shares his way of approach to leadership based on freedom, teamwork and authenticity.
  4. Blockchain: The Complete guide of Understanding Blockchain by Miles Price Genre: Science, Technology 
    Since I am trying to understand Blockchain more and more, this is a short handy book to get some more insight of Blockchain technology.

I look forward to writing my next month’s article!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: April 2018

Dear Readers,

My reading challenge is going quite well and I have finished 14 books in 2018 so far. I must say I am really enjoying each of the book very much.

During the month of March, I have decided to make a major change in my life and it had a little impact on my reading speed, but I am still ahead of the schedule.

I will be sharing more details about this exciting change of my life in the coming months with you!

Reading List: April 2018 

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    In his book, Steven Covey shares seven habits of highly successful individuals in the spectrum of life such as being politician, businessmen, and philanthropists. This book is an invaluable source of information who would like to achieve more in every single day! I would not take this book as a book to read and leave in your library for the rest of your life. It is a book which has to be revisited several times during our lives. Steven believes private victory in our lives leads us to be independent, but not sufficient by itself and prepares us for the next and the real victory: public victory which is interdependence.
  2. No Room for Small Dreams by Shimon Peres
    Genre: Autobiography, History
    Shimon Peres, 9th Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1994, passed away in September 2016. Just before he passed away, he finished his last book which gives a lot of insights about Israel’s foundation, relationships with Western countries and his personal life. Recommended by Shimon’s son, Chemi Peres, I would like to thank him for bringing this book into my attention.
  3. Powerful by Patty McCord
    Genre: Business, Leadership 
    Patty McCord, ex-Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, shares a lot of insights about talent management in her book. Given she has worked in Netflix, Pure Atria and Sun Microsystems for many years, she compares conventional HR applications versus innovative ways of recruiting new staff as well as building a culture of freedom and responsibility. In her book, Patty McCord argues why abolishing conventional corporate policies such as expense and travel and giving freedom and responsibility to employees enhances performance.
  4. The Next 100 Years by George Friedman
    Genre: Politics, History 
    George Friedman is a writer, not a fortune teller, but he tries to be provocative us by forecasting what could happen in the rest of the 21st century in this book. Imagine China fragments in 2020, a global war between the new great power of the world – US, Turkey, Poland and Japan in 2050, and Space based Energy powers earth in 2080.
  5. Becoming your Best by Steven Shallenberger
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    During YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation) event held this year in Singapore in March 2018, I came across Steven’s booth and I was introduced to his books. In his book, Steven Shallenberger discusses about 12 principles of Highly Successful Leaders as opposed to seven habits discussed by Steven Covey. There would be some overlaps between Steven Covey’s and Steven Shallenberger’s book, but I think they would be complementary to each other.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Book Review: Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

Dear All,

One of the January reading list book, Fourth Industrial Revolution, was recommended by a bright young gentleman, Ogul Havayir. He was so kind to agree to write a book review on this book to share with all the followers.

Thank you dear Ogul!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Klaus Schwab starts with a very simple and visionary thesis: human beings are now facing with an unprecedented transformation of their lives from various aspects including work, relations, and institutions. Schwab defines this transformation as a fourth industrial revolution and singles out this industrial revolution from previous ones in terms of its breadth, speed, and scope. Schwab’s intention is to shed light on how this revolution will impact us and how human beings can leverage this revolution for the common good. Most of the arguments advocated by Schwab are supported by the relevant data which cements his views and illustrated through practical examples.

In my opinion, Schwab defines a great and condensed framework in outlining the backbone and the potential outcomes of this revolution not only from humankind’s perspective but also governmental, business and global perspectives through accompanying these stakeholders’ relations with very key drivers, ideas, and technologies. What I particularly like about this book is that it enables everyone to be aware of what kind of a transformation that we are currently witnessing and allows us to grasp how we can contribute it and position our lives to fully cope with it.

The book prioritizes some new developments and trends as key factors of fourth industrial revolution in 3 main fields such as physical, digital and biological. Schwab gives unique and explanatory examples to underline how deep the impact of megatrends will be. One of the most vivid examples was related to physical technological megatrends. Schwab gives an example of developments of new materials, especially a material called graphene, which is roughly 200 times stronger than steel and a million times thinner than a human hair, and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity. This material is expected to be a superior substitute of steel which numerous economies relied on. Thus, Schwab implies that when graphene becomes price competitive, it will have an enormous impact on steel-based economies such as China, Japan, and the US, and reshuffle the cards in the global economic competitiveness in that field. Several other key trends are discussed with practical examples by Schwab including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, robotics. Schwab also pays heed to how to direct key biological developments toward the best possible outcomes by recapping the importance of the meaning of human, which data and information should be shared with others and what rights and responsibilities we have when it comes to changing the biological genetic code of future generations.

Next key topic according to Schwab is that the fourth industrial revolution will have a profound impact on economies, businesses, societies and the individuals. As a techno-optimist, Schwab thinks that humankind has just started to be influenced by the fourth industrial revolution and his thoughts are backed by 3 main sources in which I totally accepted. Firstly, Schwab advocates that this revolution will unearth the latent demand from undeveloped part of the world through making existing products and services available for them. Secondly, the fourth industrial revolution will be facilitating us to deal with negative externalities like carbon emissions and fuel economic growth further. Lastly, businesses, governments, and civil societies will able to grasp the merits of this revolution for the purpose of fully utilizing these merits. In my view, the most important impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the economy will be related to employment. Schwab argues that through the deployment of newly-emerging technologies including AI, robotics and machine learning, various jobs and skills are expected to be automated, indicating a risk associated with the labor substitution. However, his discussion also encapsulates that acceptance and prevalence of these newly-emerging technologies will create new jobs and skills. The counter arguments give rise to the question of which effect will supersede other. Another key impact of the revolution on the economy is the potential deterioration of income inequalities across the world. Schwab argues that whether this revolution will be a winner takes all phenomenon or allow undeveloped parts of the world to catch up developed economies.

I was mostly influenced by the impacts of this transformation on the way we work, the way we operate businesses and the way we allocate our resources to create value. Schwab advocates that creation and harnessing of cutting-edge technologies will lower the entry barriers for various industries and will lead to disruption coming from startups and vanishing market shares of well-established large incumbents. These disruptions may result in fundamental changes in the value chains for various industries. According to Schwab, the fourth industrial revolution will have four main effects on business including major shifts in customer expectation, enhancement of products via data utilization and increasing collaboration among companies as well as digitalization of operating models. In my opinion, digitalization of operating models is the most vital effect among all. In order for companies to fully adopt their organizations to fourth industrial revolution, their strategic planning should be able to design the required frameworks and roadmaps to operate companies more agile and faster. Schwab stresses the importance of “platform” strategy and sees it as a disruptive and profitable. Schwab further explains the effects of platforms and underlines how the ownership is redefined with increasing scope and size of platforms. Customers become more willing to pay for services such as access to an online service such as Amazon Kindle or delivery instead of ownership of physical products.

Schwab also discussed the impact of fourth industrial revolution on governments and countries, societies and the individuals. Schwab points out that government has a very key role to nurture innovation and incentivize learning and adaptation of any developments that can contribute community. Lastly, potential impacts of this revolution on the individual were discussed by Schwab and concluded that rapid adoption of the technology could weaken basic human capacities such as self-reflection, empathy, and compassion.

Thank you again dear Ogul Havayir!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: March 2018

Dear All,

We are almost in the last month of first quarter and my reading challenge has been going really good so far.

During the first two months, I really enjoyed reading each of the books.

If I need to highlight the best books of the month, I would choose “The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli” from January list and “Shoe Dog by Phil Knight” from February list.

I am publishing the reading list for March 2018 below. Enjoy!

Reading List: March 2018 

  1. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton
    Genre: Spirituality, Philosophy 
    Douglas Carlton captures the visit of Desmond Tutu to Dalai Lama’s hometown and their couple of days together. Even though they believe in different religions, they show the world that they can be really good friends and they talk about happiness as well as having fun through journey of life.
  2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr Carol Dweck
    Genre: Business, Leadership
    Dr. Carol Dweck talks about the differences between the fixed and growth mindset in her book and she gives a lot of great insights from business life, parenting, and personal relationships. Such a great book to understand the difference between a boss and a leader.
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
    Genre: Economics, Personal Help 
    It is a book of small stories about how the richest man in Babylon has become the richest man in that era. There are quite a lot of practical information in this book which is easily applicable to our modern lives.
  4. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
    Genre: Business, Biography 
    Elon Musk is attracting a lot of attention nowadays, but there are not many biographies about his childhood and his  journey through Paypal, SpaceX and the other ventures.  This book enlightens us about how a great entrepreneur such as Elon Musk becomes as he is today.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: February 2018

Dear All,

As usual, time always flies. We are almost in the second month of 2018!

I hope that you have enjoyed the reading list of January 2018. Please give feedback by emailing me on sukru_haskan@yahoo.co.uk!

I am publishing reading list February 2018 below.

Enjoy!

 

Reading List: February 2018 

  1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
    Genre:Business, Biography 
    Founder of Nike, Phil Knight, talks about his journey with Nike. An inspiring true story of a giant brand which started with USD 50 loan from the founder’s father.
  2. Capital Without Borders by Brooke Harrington
    Genre:Business, Economics
    Brooke Harrington got into the world of wealth managers to figure out private banking world and share her invaluable insights about the industry.
  3. Empire by Niall Ferguson
    Genres: History
    Great book about British Empire on which sun never set at one point! Reading the book will enhance one’s vision to understand current conflicts in Asia, Africa and Middle East.
  4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
    Genres: Business, Leadership
    Author argues that any initiative should start with a good reason rather than a materialistic short term target. Not only good reasoning helps companies and individuals to succeed, but more importantly to sustain for long term. Readers will find plenty of real-life examples from Apple and Google.
  5. Who moved my cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson
    Genres: Business, Psychology
    A book to read in an hour, but to stay with you for a life time. It is a story of two mice and two men in a maze who are after their cheese. Their attitude towards change is highly affected by their backgrounds. It is a good guide on how to deal with change.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Unutilised Youth in Emerging Markets

I consider myself quite lucky that I can travel to many countries throughout the year for business and pleasure.

I had the chance to visit Athens after almost four years for a weekend and lately I was in Istanbul for a week. One of my latest observations is  that emerging countries, such as Greece and Turkey, are unable to utilise their very well educated youth not only in the labour force, but also in the social arena.

Consider Greece… Youth unemployment is close to 45 per cent and overall unemployment is around 25 per cent.

Consider Spain… Youth unemployment is close to 50 per cent and overall unemployment is around 22 per cent.

And finally Turkey… Youth unemployment is around 20 per cent and overall unemployment is around 10 percent.

A common point among all these countries—besides the fact that they are all Mediterranean—is that they have a highly educated minority youth population, whether they be not fully utilised in the labour force and inactive in the country’s social arena, or fully utilised in the labour force (very few of them), but again inactive in the social arena.

To be sure, a minority of the minority is active in the both arena and this is huge loss for these countries in closing the gap between them and highly developed nations.

Another common point among these countries is that there have been coup attempts and coups in their recent histories: a coup attempt in Spain in 1982, a coup in Greece in 1967–1974, and most recently, a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.

Whether we like it or not, the common history of violence and coups has pushed the youth of these countries away from voluntary social  work and has made them completely apolitical, as well as more individualistic and disinterested in local/global issues.

Given that they are living in much better conditions than their peers, these groups of people live completely for themselves, make fun of everything and, more significantly, do not produce much.

It is no secret that all societies are becoming more individualistic, irrespective of the culture and countries that we live in, but it is always important to feed the soul as well as the stomach.

We should reincorporate these youths back into society and grow together! Unfortunately, I do not have a concrete plan to act upon, but I have the ambition to start somewhere!

All the best from a beautiful Mediterrean country.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lecturing in China

I was honoured to give a short lecture on wealth management last week in Beijing at Renmin University. It was my first time in Beijing and I wish I could have spent more time discovering the city, but giving a short lecture was definitely more accommodating.

This has been my second teaching experience; my first one was in late 2014 at Singapore Management University.

Public speaking skill is a virtue which I really want to develop further, as it is always good to give back to society and meeting younger people to connect with different generations is always a great opportunity.

My session took about 45 minutes and I spoke about various aspects of wealth management such as its challenges and the opportunities ahead, along with its advantages and disadvantages compared to other departments in an ordinary bank.

What I am amazed by was the quality of the questions and the level of spoken English in the class.

It was such a good experience and I hope to avail of similar opportunities more regularly.

Thank you Eric Sim for the invitation!

All the best from Sri Lanka.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Book Review: Homo Deus

After reading Yuval Harari’s book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind early this year, it was almost impossible not to read his next book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow as soon as it is published and I can get it.

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Homo Deus is the second book written by Harari and talks about the future of mankind. Since Deus is “God” in Latin, he argues in his book that a new religion called Dataism to raise and humans will not need gods anymore since we will very accurately predict what will happen or who will do what by the help of gather data.

The book starts with striking statistics about the past and the present. Almost three million people–15% of the French population–starved to death between 1692 and 1694.  Today, more people are dying of diabetes, which is linked to being overweight rather than a result of starvation.  According to Harari, in 2014 more than two billion people were overweight compared to 850 million who suffered from malnutrition. Half of humankind is expected to be overweight by 2030.

Some of the quotes from the book that I really liked:

“Sugar is more dangerous than gunpowder”

“We don’t become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon”

Does the above quote remind you of someone?

“Historians don’t ignore objective factors such as climate changes and genetic mutations, but they give much greater importance to the stories people invention and believe”

Like in his first book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, in Homo Deus Harari emphasizes the power of stories whether they are true or not. Actually my interpretation is; the less likely they are true and superficial, the more likely the people will listen.

Another point Harari argues is that humankind’s definition of knowledge has kept changing since the Agricultural Revolution. We were simple creatures during this time, so knowledge for reading the scriptures and applying and applying our logic.

“Knowledge= Scriptures x Logic”

Then the Scientific Revolution came and everything focused on collecting data and trying to find meaning for the gathered data.

“Knowledge = Empirical Data x Mathematics”

Finally in 21st century, as much as we are confident about ourselves, we care more about our life experiences and our sensitivities.

Another provocative fact that Harari argues is that there is no free will, and that free will can be manipulated. With the help of technology and data, machines know much better than what we will do or choose. Harari argues that companies are using this to manipulate us. In other words, Harari says what you think you want to do may not be really what you want to do.

He strengthens these points in the following sentence: “We are about to face a flood of extremely useful devices, tools and structures that make no allowance for the free will of individual humans”

Fascinating and provocative! Isn’t it!?

Harari also argues “In the 21st century we might witness the creation of a new massive class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society”  I personally did not get this point. Since societies are manipulated, how can they have this massive new class?

Some other provocative thoughts in the book are about collecting personal data.  Harari states “In the 21st century our personal data is probably the most valuable resource most humans still have to offer, and we are giving it to the tech giants in exchange for email services and funny cat videos”

“After 300 likes, Facebook algorithm can predict your opinions better than your husband or wife!

Yuval Harari is a young and great visionary writer. He definitely make my 2016 and led me to think as well as learn a lot!  He offers great opportunities for readers to think and learn. Harari’s Homo Deus is highly recommended.  His first book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is suggested as a prerequisite to Homo Deus.

I believe he will be in Istanbul on January, 25th which I am planning to fly and meet him in person!

Best Regards from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan

Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Can Singapore model be applied in Turkey?

Following from my last article, I would like to find some answers as to whether Turkey could replicate the success of Suzhou Industrial Park in Diyarbakir.

Actually, some work has already been carried out in this field.

A reputable businessman and philanthropist, Erdal Aksoy, aims to replicate the project in Diyarbakir in order to create an eco-system for 1 million people in the region, including Syrian migrants.

Turkey has a strategic role in natural gas transit because of its position between the world’s second largest natural gas market, continental Europe, and the substantial natural gas reserves of the Caspian Basin and the Middle East.

Since Turkey is well placed to serve as a transit hub for oil and natural gas supplies as they move from Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe and other Atlantic markets, the project is to develop an energy industrial park as the main platform to:

  • Create employment to improve lives in order to stabilise the region, particularly at the borders.
  • Leverage the energy resources and infrastructure in the region and target markets in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • End the refugee crisis in Turkey and Europe.
  • Eradicate terrorism and maintain stability in the region.

The project will involve social housing (HDB equivalent in Singapore or council housing in the UK), education centres such as nurseries, primary schools, and universities, as well as hospitals for the health services.

To ensure that it is built on strong foundations, the project is intended to be a public private partnership involving the Turkish government and possibly other governments.

Surbana Jurong, a Singapore company that also provided the expertise for Suzhou Industrial Park, has already drafted the project and the Turkish government has already been briefed and promised support for the project.

The next step is to find other sustainable and strong partners, especially from Asian countries such as China and Singapore, to support the project.

Mr Aksoy is quite open to sharing the project with anyone that would like to enhance and take ownership of this huge socio-economic innovation.

The realisation of a project of this scale could bring stability and prosperity to the region, and could potentially be replicated in other parts of the Middle East.

Personally, I believe that this is an exciting project and that everyone who wishes to contribute to peace of Middle East shall be involved in it.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

 

 

 

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Suzhou Industrial Park in China

I had an opportunity to go Shanghai last weekend and I took the opportunity to visit Suzhou Industrial Park which is about 1.5 hours away from the city centre of Shanghai.

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Suzhou Industrial Park is a landmark project between Chinese and Singaporean governments to create an ecosystem to enhance people’s lives through creating jobs, providing healthcare and education services.

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In the late 1980s, when China modernisation gained momentum, Chinese delegations visited Singapore and they were eager to learn modern management methods from Singapore. In 1992, the idea of developing a modern industrial city with Singapore flourished when China’s leader Deng Xiaoping told the public that they must tap into Singapore’s experience and learn how to manage better from Singapore’s good social order.

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After several rounds of discussion, both governments decided to develop a modern industrial park in the east of Suzhou, which was founded on February 1994 when Chinese Vice Premier Li Lanqing and Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew signed an agreement on the joint development of Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou. Suzhou Industrial Park has a total jurisdiction of 288 km2 where China-Singapore cooperation area covers 80 km2 with a residential population of 1.2 million.

Of course, this huge project has gone through many different phases and there were a lot of disagreements with both governments during the journey. Because of these disagreements, Singapore has decreased its share in the park from 65% to 35%. Also, between 1994 and 2000, the park made huge losses. The profit between 2000 and 2003 has erased all the losses made during the period between 1994 and 2000.

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The numbers speak for themselves today. Today, the park generates one of the highest incomes per capita in China. The regional GDP per capita is 257,900 yuan in Suzhou Industrial Park where Suzhou is 136,700 yuan and Jiangsu is 88,000 yuan. The per capita disposable income of urban residents in SIP is 56,696 yuan, in Suzhou 50,390 and 37,173 yuan in Jiangsu.

Another interesting statistic is that patents per ten thousand people are 86 in SIP, 25.46 in Suzhou and 14.22 in Jiangsu. A lot of international companies have presence in the park such as Bosch, Samsung, Hitachi, Nokia, Loreal and Panasonic.

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Can Turkey copy this model in southeast of Turkey to generate economic growth, to educate Syrian migrants with the Southeastern Turkish population and most importantly to eradicate terrorism in the region?

I will write this in my next article in the coming days. Please keep following!

Best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan

Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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