Book Sips #40 — ‘Radical Candor’ by Kim Scott

Josh Morales
Nov 20 · 3 min read
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Radical Candor book cover

When I recently joined my new company, this book was sent to me as a highly recommended read before starting. I had heard about it before as a framework becoming a standard for tech companies when it comes to people management and professional relationships, but honestly, I never found myself interested in the topic in spite of the catchy title.

Now I kinda feel bad because I’ve fallen into the common trap of challenging ideas without the constructivism it takes to keep improving. Likewise, I’ve just said good words to someone to avoid conflict when I didn’t even believe my own words. Sounds familiar? We all do that all the time, but can change that as well!

‘Radical Candor’ by Kim Scott is a game-changer. It consists of the framework of a professional relationship taken very personally. It’s simple yet very effective: on one hand, we have the ‘Challenge Directly’ axis which refers to providing feedback (or the lack of it), and on the other, we have the ‘Care Personally’ which takes into consideration we are all humans willing to do things the best we know. Challenging but not caring? Aggressive. Caring but not challenging? Ruinous empathy. Not challenging nor caring? Insincerity.

I am so happy to have read this book that I took out the last page with the framework and pin it in my workspace so that I can always refer to it. A sip:

‘It’s brutally hard to tell people when they are screwing up. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings; that’s because you’re not a sadist. You don’t want that person or the rest of the team to think you’re a jerk. Plus, you’ve been told since you learned to talk, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Now all of a sudden it’s your job to say it. You’ve got to undo a lifetime of training. Management is hard.’

Book on the grass

Be direct and honest but always acknowledge there’s a human on the other side too!
#joshdixit

Radical Candor
by Kim Scott

Why read?

As the author says: a compass, not a personality test. Learn an invaluable framework to improve while helping others in doing so. A must-read.

336 pages, Pan Books, 2019

Get this book here on Amazon!

PM Library

Books and topics around tech, business and design that help you build better products.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @N26, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @N26, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

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