3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Business · Leadership · Management

BR 260: What You Do is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: There’s a lot to like about Ben Horowitz’s book on culture. His first book was just a tough act to follow.

Insights that resonated:

1. Culture – what you do is who you are.

2. Choose virtues instead of values -> Values are what we believe. Virtues are beliefs that we pursue or embody.

3. The amount of communication required in a relationship is inversely proportional to the amount of trust in it.

3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Business · Leadership · Management · Novel Concepts and Interesting Research · Psychology · Skills

BR 259: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: I think this book is a good place to start if it is one of the first books you read about leadership and culture. Dan Coyle pieces together many wise notes – the importance of vulnerability, psychological safety, sharing appreciation, etc. – with a collection of good stories. It just didn’t work for me.

Insights that resonated: Trust in a team is proportional to psychological safety.

3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Business · Entrepreneurship

BR 257: The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A nice read – one of those books that could have been a long blog post though. :-)

Insights that resonated:

1. Values aren’t values until they cost us something. This lesson from a while ago was reinforced with a story focusing on the decision made by CVS pharmacies to not sell cigarettes (more here).

2. To change outcomes, we must change behavior. And, to change behavior, we must change culture. There was a memorable story about how Alan Mullaly changed the culture within Ford by insisting executives stopped bringing slides that showed all their initiatives marked as “green” despite the company not turning a profit. “We are going to lose billions of dollars this year. Is there anything that’s not going well here?” (more here)

3. The title itself. Life is an infinite game.. think long term. :-)

3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Business · Technology

BR 252: Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

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Comments: Got off to a promising start as it promised to detail how Bill Campbell became such an influential executive coach. However, it quickly just became a gushing list of platitudes. So, the book works as a lovely memoir if you knew Bill Campbell in some ways. For folks who’d like to learn more about the “how” behind Campbell’s magic, it falls short.

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BR 250: Who Gets What and Why? by Alvin E Roth

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Comments: This was a case of reality unable to meet expectations. Prof Roth is a Nobel Prize winner thanks to his pioneering work on creating a market for kidney transplants and it was recommended by a good friend who works with me on our hiring marketplace at LinkedIn. The book started off with plenty of promise as he spoke about the impact of marketplaces in our lives.. but the book was understandably focused on the marketplaces he’s worked on (kidney exchange, school enrollment, and law clerk enrollment). It is great in many respects and opened my eyes to some of the complexities involved in these markets.

It was just not what I was seeking. :)

3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Technology

BR 248: Valley of Genius by Adam Fisher

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: This book would be category 2 if you are a technology buff. It is a wonderfully put together collection of commentary of the story of Silicon Valley in a unique format – as excerpts from various interviews. I loved the first half of the book as there was a lot about the early history of the valley that was new to me.

Top Lessons:

  1. I was frequently reminded of the notion of clusters of talent. It happened at Fairchild Semiconductor (leading to Intel), happened at General Magic (leading eventually to the iPhone), and then at PayPal and so on.
  2. History doesn’t repeat itself.. but it does rhyme. A lot of the issues around content moderation were faced in “The Well” and a lot of what Napster struggled with was a precursor to Spotify.
3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Book Reviews · Career · Psychology · Relationships

BR 247: The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: The Algebra of Happiness is a nice collection of his weekly newsletters with many nice nuggets. This book didn’t rank as high on my list as I’d already seen most of the content. I guess I was looking for something I hadn’t seen when I read the book.

Top Lessons:

  1. Hard work and lack of balance early in your career has a disproportionate impact later in your career. Speed matters. There’s no right way to do it. It involves trade offs.
  2. Most important decision you make is who you marry. Good sex is 10% of a good relationship but bad sex can be 90%. Aside from that, your values – especially on money matter a lot.
  3. The ratio of how much you sweat to watching others sweat is a leading indicator to success.
3. SHELF it · Book Review Actions · Design

BR 243: Microinteractions by Dan Saffer

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Comments: An interesting book on the importance of getting the small details in Ux design right.

Top 3 Lessons:

1. When microinteractions are done well, you get to design “signature moments” – e.g. “You’ve got Mail.”

2. The more frequent the microinteraction, the more visible it should be.

3. The best, most elegant, microinteractions are often those that allow users a variety of verbs with the fewest possible nouns. E.g. users can enter any credit card and the field auto detects which one it is (versus asking users to select a credit card first).