Category Archives: General

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown

Best Leadership book ever!

I love reading, and mostly read business related books.  I have also read my fair share of leadership books over the past 10 years.  A month or so ago a friend that I studied with recommended Multipliers.  His book recommendation has always been good in the past and he was quit excited about Multipliers.  So immediately got a copy on my Kindle.

He turned out to be spot on. Multipliers is the best leadership book I have ever come across.  I found it so valuable that I read it a second time right after I’ve finished it the first time.

==> Click here to buy: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter <==

Multipliers describe a continuum of leadership with the two extremes being Multipliers and Diminishers.  The research Multipliers is based on, showed that Multipliers on average, got more than two times more out of their people than Diminishers.

Throughout the book they contrast the behaviour of Multipliers with Diminishers.  Multipliers are Talent Magnets while Diminishers are Empire Builders, Multipliers are Challengers while Diminishers are Know-it-Alls, you get the idea.

One of the most fascinating observations was that many people that worked for Multipliers reported that their boss managed to get more out of them than they thought they was capable of.  While many former Rock Stars revert the ‘quit and stay’ approach when working for a Diminisher.

Multipliers managed to reframe the whole way I look at leadership.  I just look at the world through completely different lenses now.  Where previously, I would get frustrated with some situations I now immediate ask my self how a Multiplier would look at it.  I try to figure out how I can learn from it and change my behaviour.

==> Click here to buy: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter <==

Multipliers work from the assumption: “People are smart, they will figure it out”, while Diminishers assume: “really intelligent people are rare, I am one of them”.  This leads to two complete diverging ways of operating and behaviours.

You have to read Multipliers, it will change the way you see the world!

Think and Grow Rich – Review

Cover of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a self-improvement classic; it is right up there with ‘How to Win friends and influence people’.  I must have read this book for the first time about 15 years ago, just after I’ve started reading.  It was an amazing read again after such a long time.  Some of the things he suggests one does in the book, I have been doing for years, only to realize now where I’ve learnt it from.

==> Click here to buy: Think and Grow Rich <==

In Think and Grow Rick Napoleon Hill sets out to teach you ‘The Secret’ to amassing great wealth.  He was inspired or rather guided to do this by Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest guys in the world at the time.  Hill went on to learn from many titans of industry at the time including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others.

The setting of the book is also fascinating.  After two decades of research the book was published in the late 1930s’, after the great depression but before World War 2.  This context makes some of the comments in the book even more fascinating.

What is also very interesting is some of the parallels to our own time. Like Hill’s reference to how the public has lost confidence in the banking business, or the lack of real leadership in politics.  He also got a few things wrong like he predicted that newspapers would need to find a way to stop depending on advertising revenue and also, newspapers that focus on publishing scandals will not survive.

Although I’ve found the unrelenting focus on only money in the book a little too much, the world these ideas were conceived in, explain it rather well.  But I am sure the techniques and thinking are applied to many other endeavours today.

==> Click here to buy: Think and Grow Rich <==

Think and Grow Rich is definitely worth a read, just make sure you see it from the context it was written, in a world far different from the one we live in today.

Business Model Generation – Review

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

Business Model Generation turned out to be a great book even though it started a little slow and I found it a challenge to read on my Kindle. In fact, I think it is the first book I have read on kindle that I would have preferred to read in hard copy.  Business Model Generation is full of images, diagrams, and what they call the business model canvas, which was very hard to decipher on the kindle.

The deeper I got into the Business Model Generation the more I enjoyed it.  They offer a very structured approach to strategize about a business model.  The business model canvas, which they explain in great detail, force you to explain and write down the ideas one often have inside your own head about how your business works.

==> Click here to buy: Business Model Generation <==

The authors refer to a business model design space, by analysing four areas of the business environment: 1) market forces 2) industry forces 3) key trends and 4) macroeconomic forces.  I found the contrast that they point out between design attitude and decision attitude fascinating.

The authors reference an article “Design Matters” by Fred Collopy and Richard Boland, in explaining the two concepts. Decision attitude works from the assumption that it is easy to come up with alternatives but challenging to pick the best one, while design attitude assumes that it is difficult to envisage an outstanding alternative.  In design attitude the clearly superior alternative then makes the decision very easy.

In The Business Model Generation the authors place a lot of emphasis on being patient in the following a process to get the best alternatives, and making sure you don’t jump ahead or ‘fall in love’ with a solution to early. I think I have been guilty of doing just that in the past.

==> Click here to buy: Business Model Generation <==

There are opportunities for business model innovation everywhere. The Business Model Generation offers a fantastic structured approach to help anybody from a small startup to multinationals come find and explore these opportunities.

Getting Real – Review

Getting Real is a Great Read!

After reading Rework from the, I could not wait to also read Getting Real.  I was not disappointed, it is another practical and inspiring read.  This book was actually published before Rework, so some of the ideas were a repeat of things also mentioned in Rework.

True to there own philosophies of leaving out everything possible, the book is relatively short and broken up into short chapters with mini chapters sometimes added.  Throughout Getting Real the authors supplement the book with inserts from other people reinforcing the point they are trying to make.  It was great reading somebody else articulating the idea a little differently.

==> Click here to buy: Getting Real <==

Getting Real is all about taking action rather than talking about taking action. It is about not writing documents about what you are going to do and just doing it and learning as you go.  One of the fundamental ideas behind this philosophy is that many of the problems you anticipate will happen never will. So stop worrying about them and get going.  Then solve the problems that do occur in a JIT (just in time) manner.

The book applies the Getting Real way of thinking (or doing) to almost all aspects of getting a web application going.  This includes interface design, feature selection, coding and promotions among many others.

It ties in very nicely with the Lean Startup methodology.  I suspect some of the ideas in the book will help when I get to start my next business.  Most of the idea would have already come in handy if I had read the book a few years ago. I think I would have approached many conversations and discussion we had at Private Property in a different way if I had read it back then.

==> Click here to buy: Getting Real <==

If you find yourself in software, internet or mobile startup, you would be well advised to read Getting Real. If you have read Getting Real, tell me your thoughts below:

Rework – Book Review

Book Review of Rework

It only took about 10 pages for me to realise I was going to love REWORK! It really describes the kind of business I dream about building. The guys from 37signals have built something truly special. A great tech business with a kick ass team based all over the world. They are working on solving significant problems, and creating a sustainable business.

==> Click here to buy: Rework<==

Like with most success stories one is quick to assume that they have the secrets to success. But like all the Jim Collins books (Good to Great, Build to Last Ect) you have to be careful what conclusions you come too. Only looking at the successes or “survivors” leads to something called survivor bias. It really means that although somebody has been successful with an approach, it does not equal that everybody with the same approach were successful.

But hey these guys make a really sound argument and they bring it across in a fresh and unique manner. They break every chapter into small chuck that takes aim at a specific point they are trying to make. Each point is preceded by a graphic depicting the punch line.

They see Rework as one of the by-products of building there business, and encourage other people building similar business to also look for by-products they can develop and sell to further enhance the sustainability of their businesses. Their thoughts seems to be very much in line with the Lean Startup approach, of launch early and get feedback. Execution is everything, make a decision and get into action.

They argue that business plans, budget and planning is general is a waste of time since we humans are fundamentally bad at making predictions. I agree and wish I learned that lesson much earlier in life. They also have a very refreshing look at raising money in a startup. First they caution – don’t start a startup – start a business! Getting external funding should be the last resort. Instead of looking to build something to flip, focus on building a sustainable business. You will make better decision and if the offer to sell comes, you can handle it.

Another whole chapter that would have been really valuable to me 5 years ago was on hiring. Hiring new people should be the last resort, don’t ever just through people at a problem. They explain a great concept of hiring managers of one! These are people who can manage their own productivity and get things done with the minimum input from their boss. They offer some insight into how to find people like this.

Another constant theme in Rework is around some of the advantages of being small. Like the ability to move quickly, to be free from the bureaucracy that consumes so much energy in large companies. You can own your mistakes, and apologise like a real person without having legal breathing down your neck. You are also able to, through consistent behaviour over a long time, create the culture where great people can do their best work.

==> Click here to buy: Rework<==

Man, I loved this book. I really look forward to create a company based on many of these principles. I don’t think it is possible to read this book and not want to start something to help change the world. You can do it 2!

Start reading Rework today, it is a short, entertaining an easy read.

You can follow the authors of Rework at @jasonfried (Jason Fried) and @dhh (David Heinemeier Hansson) and the company at @37signals