The Best Books On Building A Strong Technology Organization

The Books I Picked & Why

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

By Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

Why this book?

By far my favorite book on Empowerment at Netflix is the newly released No Rules Rules by co-founder Reed Hastings, along with Erin Meyer.  Most of what’s been written prior on Netflix is more origin story than innovation engine, and this book gives you a good look at a company that sets the empowerment dial to 10.


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How Google Works

By Jonathan Rosenberg, Eric Schmidt

How Google Works

Why this book?

Google is a very large and sprawling company, where one team in one group can often work very different than another.  But there are common principles and my favorite book (so far) is How Google Works by former CEO Eric Schmidt, and former head of product Jonathan Rosenberg.


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Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

By Colin Bryar, Bill Carr

Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

Why this book?

Amazon is, in my view, the most consistently innovative product company in the world, and their founder Jeff Bezos has been sharing truly valuable insights into product and leadership since the early days of the company.  The new book Working Backwards by long-time Amazonians Colin Bryar and Bill Carr does the best job so far in highlighting the important aspects of how the company has created such a consistent machine for innovation.


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Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs

By Ken Kocienda

Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs

Why this book?

Apple is the most secretive commercial company I know.  Most books that have been written about them are about their colorful co-founder Steve Jobs, and much less about the inner workings.  My favorite book on how the actual work of product is done at Apple is Creative Selection by former engineering lead Ken Kocienda. Ken worked on some of the company’s most important products and technologies, during what I’d consider the peak innovation period for the company (so far).  Because Ken is an engineer, this book provides the engineering perspective, but the book is loaded with useful observations, learnings and insights.


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Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

By Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Why this book?

There are many excellent general management books about the value of empowered teams, but this book by Simon Sinek is one of my favorites. In this book, he also references and puts into context many of the books and articles that have been published on the topic of empowerment, so it’s a good general overview of the topic, as well as an inspiring read.


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