reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 10


  1. Stop reading what makes Elon Musk and Bill Gates successful
    We are told we can achieve the same results as someone else by copying their actions. Yet none of the tips, tricks, and hacks we acquire are ever enough.
    Self-help pundits fail to emphasize an important fact: The practice, habit or method being promoted was originally developed by someone else to achieve their goals. In other words, someone transforms a practice — that was only ever meant for the originator — into “a technique.”

    The person we admire figured out what worked best for them and achieved extraordinary success because they were not focused on what others were doing.

  2. Go West, Young Man
    If you’re in tech, you need to move to San Francisco. The advice holds especially if you’re a student, not having dug your roots too deeply anywhere yet.

  3. Earth’s Future: Planetary Park or World-Wide Exclusion Zone?
    One of the thoughts that’s been ricocheting around my skull of late is that the problem isn’t initiating action on climate change, but radically changing its direction.
    It was prompted by something Heather Davis said in her talk for the Dark Ecology conference, Plastic Geologies: The Problem of Universality. The point she made, almost in passing, was that climate change was the direct objective of western settler colonialism.
    The world we live in today, careening toward complete ecological collapse and the total destruction of all planetary boundaries, has been the centuries long project of western industrial civilisation.

  4. The power of culture: how to hire and attract amazing people
    As I’ve grown JotForm from a solo venture into a company with 110 employees, I’ve learned a lot about culture.
    I’ve made some mistakes, too. That’s why I admire culture-driven companieslike Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Warby Parker.
    I’ll spare you our big mistakes, but here’s what I know for sure about hiring great people and nurturing a healthy startup culture.
  5. The problem with Harvard Business School case studies
    Before graduating, Harvard Business School (HBS) students complete 500 of these “decision-forcing” exercises, which are thought to be superior tools for training future corporate leaders, compared with discussing skills and theory in the abstract. Arguably, because the method has been so widely adopted by other schools, which tend to combine it with traditional lecture formats (at Harvard, it’s used almost exclusively), it’s come to be synonymous with business education itself.
    But the authors of a recent paper argue that Wallace Donham, the man credited with establishing the case method as a force at HBS in the 1920s, had evolving views of business education that have never been surfaced, and that contradict the sense that management lessons should be viewed through the narrow lens of the case study.

  6. One Day at Amazon – In the belly of the beautiful beast
    Around this time last year, I began noticing the annual deluge of radio and billboard seasonal hiring ads for our area Amazon fulfillment center. Curiosity got the best of me. I’ve been driving by this facility for a number of years and always wondered what actually happened inside. What was the journey like for the constant stream of packages arriving at my door? My wife begrudgingly, but graciously, entertained my curiosity and let me wander down the Amazon rabbit hole.

  7. What is An ‘Execution Plan’?
    A plan is not “what are you going to do”. That’s still a vision. Most everyone thinks a plan is a detailed list of what you will get done reported in a kanban. One way to think about this is to first make sure you have a strategy, but what’s that?
    At the company level there is Mission, Vision, Plan, Tactics. See how plan is one part of this. Combine these and you have a strategy. Conflate them or fail to differentiate and you have a mess.



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