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The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works – Ricardo Semler
Non-fiction / 10th July 2022

Introduction The Seven-Day Weekend is a combination of political manifesto, a business case history, and an anthropological study. The author says it is also a road map to personal and business success. This book explains the philosophies and practices that make Semco one of the world’s most unusual workplaces. I would like to see if seven-day weekend means we do not need to work at all. Authors Ricardo Semler is the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners in Brazil. He is also Professor of Leadership at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School. Contents The Seven-Day Weekend contains 9 chapters. These chapters are 1) Any Day, 2) Sunday, 3) Monday, 4) Tuesday, 5) Wednesday, 6) Thursday, 7) Friday, 8) Saturday, and 9) Every Day. Review The seven-day weekend approach is an alternative that bridges the gap between the airy theories of workplace democracy and the nitty-gritty practice of running a profitable business. However, it is not about abolishing work. The author states clearly in the book that seven-day weekend is equal to seven-day workweek, but with an emphasis on workers’ welfare. He advocates giving up control to cope with changes that are transforming the…

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott
Non-fiction / 21st April 2021

Introduction Radical Candor is about people management. The author wants to help the readers to avoid management mistakes that she made. I am interested to know the methods that she uses to be a good boss. Author Kim Scott is the cofounder and CEO of Candor, Inc. She was also CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She has worked in Google and Apple previously. Other than management and consulting work, she is also a writer who has penned three novels. Contents Radical Candor has an introduction, a How to Use this Book guide, 8 chapters, and a Getting Started guide at the end of the book. The chapters are grouped into 2 parts. Part I is A New Management Philosophy. There are 4 chapters here. These chapters are 1) Build Radically Candid Relationships: Bringing your whole self to work, 2) Get, Give, and Encourage Guidance: Creating a culture of open communication, 3) Understand What Motivates Each Person on Your Team: Helping people take a step in the direction of their dreams, and 4) Drive Results Collaboratively: Telling people what to do doesn’t work. Part II is Tools & Techniques. The 4 chapters here are 5) Relationships:…

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility – Patty McCord
Non-fiction / 14th January 2021

Introduction Powerful is about the work culture of Netflix. It is not a memoir of building Netflix but a guide to building a high-performance culture, written for team leaders at all levels. I would like to learn a thing or two from this fast-growing company. Author Patty McCord is a human resources (HR) consultant and executive. She spent 14 years at Netflix experimenting with new ways to work. Making the Netflix culture deck become reality for the people who work there. She is frequently in the media with interviews and articles from Harvard Business Review, NPR, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal. Contents Powerful has an introduction (A New Way of Working: Foster Freedom and Responsibility), 8 chapters, and a conclusion. Chapter One is The Greatest Motivation Is Contributing to Success: Treat People Like Adults. The next chapter is Every Single Employee Should Understand the Business: Communicate Constantly About the Challenge. Chapter Three is Humans Hate Being Lied To and Being Spun: Practice Radical Honesty. Chapter Four is Debate Vigorously: Cultivate Strong Opinions and Argue About Them Only on the Facts. The following chapter is Build the Company Now That You Want to Be Then: Relentlessly Focus on the…

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
Non-fiction / 9th December 2020

Introduction Creativity, Inc. is about Pixar. The book contains the wisdom of managing a creative company shared by Ed Catmull. This book is about leading by being self-aware. I would like to learn the management lessons that the former president of Pixar is sharing in the book. Authors Ed Catmull is a computer scientist and the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios. He was the president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He has won 5 Academy Awards. He also has been awarded the Turing Award for his work on three-dimensional computer graphics. Amy Wallace is a journalist and writer. She is currently the editor-at-large at Los Angeles magazine. Contents Creativity, Inc. has an Introduction (Lost and Found), 13 chapters which are organized into 4 parts, and an Afterword (The Steve We Knew). Part I is Getting Started. The 4 chapters here are Animated, Pixar Is Born, A Defining Goal, and Establishing Pixar’s Identity. Part II is Protecting the New and has 5 chapters. They are Honesty and Candor, Fear and Failure, The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby, Change and Randomness, and The Hidden. Part III is Building and Sustaining. There are only 2 chapters: Broadening Our View and…

The Power of Experiments: Decision Making in A Data-Driven World – Michael Luca and Max H. Bazerman
Non-fiction / 14th November 2020

Introduction The Power of Experiments, as the book title suggests, is about experimentation. The authors write this book to show managers how to make the most of experimental results. I read it to find out how experiments can impact on management practices. Author Michael Luca is is the Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He serves on the board of directors at the National Association of Business Economics, the academic advisory board of the Behavioural Insights Team, and the advisory board of the CNBC Technology Executive Council, and is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Max H. Bazerman is Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management in 2019. Contents The Power of Experiments has 15 chapters which are divided into 3 parts. Part I is Breaking Out of the Lab and has 3 chapters. They are The Power of Experiments, The Rise of Experiments in Psychology and Economics, and The Rise of Behavioral Experiments in Policymaking. Part II is Experiments in the Tech Sector. The chapters here include…

Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It – Erin L. Kelly, Phyllis Moen
Non-fiction / 19th October 2020

Introduction Overload is a book about workplace reform. The authors hope to initiate a reflection on the current work practice and start a discussion on better ways of working in all kinds of jobs and in all industries through this book. I am interested to learn more about how to make jobs better. Author Erin L. Kelly is a Sloan Distinguished Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management and CoDirector in the Institute for Work and Employment Research. She is also Faculty Director of the the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. She is an organizational sociologist who has studied the adoption, implementation, and consequences of anti-discrimination and “family-friendly” policies in US workplaces. Her early research contributed to the understanding of which diversity policies and programs seem to change organizations and which are primarily “window dressing”. Phyllis Moen holds the McKnight Presidential Chair in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She studies occupational careers, gender, families, and well-being over the life course, including the frequently obsolete social, cultural, and policy ecologies in which lives play out.  Contents Overload has 8 chapters which are divided into 3 parts. Part I is The Problem. It contains the first…

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs – John Doerr
Non-fiction / 22nd August 2019

Introduction Measure What Matters is a book about a management system known as objectives and key results (OKRs). It has a foreword by Larry Page, the cofounder of Google. Furthermore, the names in the subtitle (Google, Bono and the Gates Foundation) further pique my interest in this book. This system is not developed by the author but by Andy Grove in Intel. Author John Doerr is an investor and chairman of Kleiner Perkins. He cofounded a graphics software company while earning his master’s degree. He joined Intel in 1974 and advanced to be one of its most successful salespeople. The author dabbles in venture capital after being offered a job with Kleiner Perkins in 1980. He is the backer of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt (Google), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Scoot Cook and Bill Campbell (Intuit). Content Measure What Matters is divided into 2 parts. The first part is about the system’s features and how it turns good ideas into superior execution and workplace satisfaction. There is a total of 14 chapters in this part. The second part is about the application and implications of OKRs. This part contains 7 chapters. There…