Some books that changed me.
Good to Great - What really makes great companies? Jim Collins dispels many terrible misconceptions in one good, even great, book. Great lesson: The Stockdale Paradox – never mix up faith and reality.
No Rules Rules - 1) Hire great people 2) Increase candor 3) Remove rules 4) repeat. Good lesson: a company is not a family, it’s a group of people committed to a purpose that is above themselves.
The Lean Startup - Has a special place in my heart as the first book about startups that I read and planted the seed for my entrepreneurial career. Good lesson: you can't predict anything, so get testing and fast.
Crucial Conversations - Your reptilian brain takes over while blood is rushed into your muscles and adrenaline spikes high. Crucial conversations happen when we’re at our worst – cognitively and emotionally. Good lesson: with a bit of awareness and practice you can identify these crucial physical moments in your own body and in others and learn to undo them.
Think Again / The Scout Mindset - Two books about open-mindedness are better than one book about open-mindedness. Good lesson: Right now, there is something important that I believe is true, and is completely untrue.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things - The first time I read this book was before I started my startup and every word of it seemed like an overblown exaggeration. The second time was a few years into my startup and I couldn’t believe how accurate it was. Good lesson: when things are hard, expect them to get harder. When things are good, expect them to get harder.
Never Split the Difference - Turns out that hostage negotiations are not that much different from day-to-day interactions. This book is a super practical guide to empathy, active listening, building trust, communication, and of course, persuasion. Good lesson: the late-night FM DJ voice is really cool.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - A useful model for diagnosing what prevents a team from being healthy and performing at the highest level. Good lesson: teams behave in predictable ways, and can be improved if you bother to pinpoint their dysfunction.
An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management - Lots of practical frameworks for building and managing engineering teams. Good lesson: every engineering team will always be in one of four states. Always know which state you are in and work towards #4.
High Output Management - The output of any manager is the output of the organization under them. Good lesson: you can always meaningfully increase the output of your entire organization by having the right conversation with the right subordinate at the right time. And it will take you 1 hour.
The Effective Executive - Effectiveness, “getting the right things done”, is the only thing that matters. The 5 core practices from this 1967 book are only more important 55 years later. Good lesson: Ignore weaknesses and focus on strengths. Combine the strengths of different people to get the right things done.
Getting Things Done - If you can’t manage your time, you can’t do anything else. The framework in this book is stupidly simple and frees your mind immediately. Good lesson: the way to have a task-free mind is by writing down every single task, instantly as it comes up, in an organized and easy-to-review system.
Principles - A principled approach to life and work. The perfect level of abstraction combined with great storytelling. Truly a masterpiece. Good lesson: the path to any goal goes through never ending loops of failure. The only thing in your control is how fast you go through them and how stronger each loop makes you.
Predictable Revenue - This book is the shortest path from sales illiteracy to less sales illiteracy. Good lesson:The best way to start a cold call will forever be “Did I catch you at a bad time?”