On My Shelf with Georgina Smallwood — CPO at N26 (Berlin)

Alexander Hipp
Nov 18, 2019 · 5 min read

About

Hi, I’m Georgie and I like to build things. Products, teams, companies, user value, pretty much anything that is exciting and challenging. My interests range from transforming organisations from early-stage into scaleable global businesses and embedding a product-led mindset for the purpose of driving incredible consumer value and commercial outcomes.

Books are an incredible way to see things from a different point of view or enhance your knowledge in areas of interest or struggle. It’s my belief though that only you know the situation you are in when you want to apply this knowledge. So take what you need, what inspires you and what pushes you out of your comfort zone and add a healthy dose of your own experience and intelligence — you’ll be unstoppable.

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On my shelf

Escaping the Build Trap

How effective product management creates value
by Melissa Perri.

Why read?

When I read this book I felt like Melissa had skilfully articulated all the thoughts and ideas that run through my head on a daily basis. Reading it really helped me to sort my brain jumble into a clear and coherent plan (she has a great layout and topic heading structure!) so that I could execute the beginnings of huge strategic vision. In my experience, the strategic vision is the fun and easy(er) bit, however, it means nothing unless you start delivering against it.

200 pages, O’Reilly Media 2018

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FYI — For Your Improvement

Competencies Development Guide
by Michael M. Lombardo & Robert W. Eicheringer

My opinion

This book was given to me in my first management role by my boss when I was working through building a team in my first hypergrowth environment. There is nothing trendy about it, it looks at competencies and when they are underused, well used or overused and what tools you can use in each case. It’s a managers bible that I still pick up if I’m stuck on how to tackle something.

580 pages, amazon.com 2014

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What You Do Is Who You Are

How to Create Your Business Culture
by Ben Horowitz

My opinion

Ben takes incredible stories of turn around leaders and culture creators from across history and moves the business culture discussion from Uber, WeWork, Apple and Amazon to a time that the reader has no ability to justify. A Haitian slave- who defeated Europe’s superpowers and Shaka Senghor- a man convicted of murder who ran the most formidable prison gang in history and then transformed prison culture for the better. Read it and remember culture comes from the top and it’s not just what people say and do when you’re not there (as I was always told) it most definitely is who you are.

288 pages, HarperBusiness 2019

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Dare to Lead

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
by Brené Brown

My opinion

I’ve been following and reading Brené for 5 years now and have found deep resonance in her research on vulnerability, shame, bravery and empathy as it applies to all aspects of life- from working in hypergrowth environments, building teams that have cores of diversity and inclusion, to the frequent justification I’m asked to make about how I ‘balance’ family and work. ‘Dare to led’ puts her research in the focus of leadership and everyone should read it. The leaders of today and tomorrow need to know how to have tough conversations and lead from the front. The messages that stuck for me were:
1. you shouldn’t have a tough conversation if you're not prepared to sit next to the person and be in the conversation with them.
2. Clear is Kind, Unclear is unkind

“With Dare to Lead, Brené brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

320 pages, Ebury Digital 2018

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Stories of Startups’ Early Days
by Doctor Seuss

My opinion

This book has seen me through so many different situations and decisions. Every time it has been my talisman as I’ve made my own choices in life. In the end, I always come to the below conclusion: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

56 pages, Random House Books for Young Readers 1990

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The PM Library series “On my shelf” features Product Leaders from all over the world who are passionate about reading and sharing with the community. If you want to join the movement and share your reading list with others send us a message or fill out the following form. Let’s get better together 📚.

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PM Library

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

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.

Alexander Hipp

Written by

Founder of Beyond, PM Library & Riptide, Ex-N26, Co-Organizer of Product Tank Hamburg & Barcelona

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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