10 Books that I like and recommend
In the past months I’ve read some really interesting books that made me think and changed who I am today. Everybody has their favourite books. These are just ten that I really enjoyed and which I’d like to share. If any of them seems interesting, give it a try.
Delivering Happiness is probably one of my favourite books of all time. It tells the story of Tony Hsieh and how he founded Zappos which is one of the largest online shoe and clothing stores. The success behind Zappos is all about customer service and company culture. Their goal is to give their customers a great experience while having fun at the same time. After reading this book I definitely understood the importance of delivering happiness to our customers.
Turn the Ship Around!
Turn the Ship Around! is a story about leadership. David Marquet is a Navy officer who becomes captain of the Santa Fe submarine. This was the worst submarine in the whole US Navy. As a captain, he figured out that he shouldn’t be giving orders but instead he should be creating leaders. With everyone on the ship being responsible for their actions and acting as leaders, he turned Santa Fe into the best US Navy submarine with the best performance, best morale and best retention. It’s really a lot more interesting to work in an organization where everyone is thinking and acting as leaders.
The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek is a book about living the life you always wanted. Tim Ferris says we shouldn’t wait for retirement to do the things we want to do now. We should have mini-retirements during our life. This book enlightened me. I do believe we should be enjoying life as we go and not wait until retirement. Travel, learn guitar, learn a new language, go surf… live your life now. Don’t wait for later.
The Lean Mindset
In The Lean Mindset there are case studies about companies like Intel, Pixar, Ericsson and Spotify. I particularly liked reading about Spotify and their development cycle which consists of four phases:
- Think it
- Build it
- Ship it
- Tweak it
Basically, you come up with an idea, build a prototype and ship fast. And then keep tweaking and improving. It’s all about building great products for your customers.
Rework is an amazing book. It really changed the way I think about work in organizations. For example, meetings should be short, with only the necessary people and they should be prepared. Also, working from 9am-5pm isn’t necessarily the best for everyone. Try working when you feel more productive. You’ll find chapters like: planning is guessing, no time is no excuse, start a business not a startup, long lists don’t get done, ASAP is poison, and a lot more.
In Tribal Leadership Dave Logan talks about the five different stages of tribes. From Stage 1 where “Life sucks” to Stage 5 where “Life’s great”. We all belong to tribes. And each tribe we belong to has it’s unique set of values and culture. A tribal leader’s goal is to take the tribe to higher levels. A company’s success also depends on the stages of its tribes. Stage 4 and 5 tribes work better together, are more productive and achieve greater results. It all comes down to values and culture.
Maverick is the story of Ricardo Semler and how he changed Semco to be one of the most unique workplaces at the time. We’re talking about a manufacturing firm in Brazil in the 80's. So what did he do that was so special? Employees could dress how they wanted, they could set their own salaries and working hours, decide when to take vacations, work remotely when possible, they would participate in major decisions and share a percentage in the company’s profits. Wow! We’re in 2015 and many companies aren’t even close to be at this level. This is a must read. This book is the foundation to many of the changes we’re seeing nowadays in organizations.
The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup shows us how to build a successful startup by avoiding common pitfalls. Things like, shortening the development lifecycle, measuring progress and learning what customers really want are just a few of the topics of this book. Not all startups succeed and each entrepreneur needs to know when it’s the right time to pivot or to persevere. For me it’s all about getting your product as quickly as possible into the hands of real customers, get feedback and iterate.
Remote: Office Not Required… the title says it all. This is also one of my favourite books. Learn how to work outside the office. Not just from home, but anywhere. There are great benefits, but also some dragons… so beware. Nowadays many companies are adopting this mindset and that’s great. We’re not in the industrial era anymore. If you work in a company that doesn’t allow you to work remotely, read this book and show it to your boss.
Good to Great
Good to Great is the result of an extensive study done by Jim Collins. Why aren’t most companies great? Because they settle for good. Not all companies make the leap from good to great. But if you apply the framework of ideas provided by Jim, you can improve the company’s performance and perhaps even become great. Great companies manage correctly, motivate people and create alignment. Great companies focus on what not to do. Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And then they will figure out where to drive it.
Each one of these books made me see things in a different perspective, which I will summarize here:
- Great customer service is top priority.
- Create leaders, don’t attract followers.
- Enjoy life as much as possible today. Not tomorrow.
- Adapt to change and try new stuff.
- Interruption is the enemy of productivity.
- Core values and culture really matter.
- Treat your employees like adults.
- Ship fast and get feedback.
- Work wherever you’re more productive.
- Hire and motivate the best people.
Have you read any of these books? Which ones did you like the most? Do you recommend any other books?
Thanks for reading.
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