Books for executives hungry for mind-expanding knowledge.
Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies. By Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. Currency, 2018.
Blitzscaling is kind of like doing five-day design and prototyping sprints—interminably. According to Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Yeh, operating at a breakneck pace, whether in a startup or even a long-established organization, is essential for “winning in a world where speed is the only competitive advantage that matters.” It sounds intense, and it is. The focus above all else is on the first-mover advantage. But Mr. Hoffman’s pedigree—as a highly successful entrepreneur (he co-founded LinkedIn), investor and venture capitalist—gives the aggressive approach authority: He has seen up close how companies can quickly build advantage. But surely not all organizations are ready to dive into blitzscaling. Clearly sketched common blitzscaling pain points would have given this book a bit more weight.
The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age. By James Crabtree. Tim Duggan Books, 2018.
The largest and most expensive single-family dwelling in the world is a $2 billion, 27-story skyscraper in Mumbai. The Palladium mall nearby boasts luxury stores like Gucci, Burberry and Coach. India’s billionaire boom is remarkable. Yet the country is also home to 73 million people in extreme poverty, according to The Brookings Institution, the second-highest number in the world. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani, who calls the Mumbai skyscraper home, lives not far from some of the country’s worst slums. How did such massive inequality occur? James Crabtree paints a revealing and riveting portrait in The Billionaire Raj, detailing the economic and political forces that let this happen.
Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL. By Michael Lombardi. Crown Archetype, 2018.
From boardrooms to locker rooms, principles of leadership are universal. Across more than three decades while working as an executive in the National Football League—during which time he won three Super Bowls and worked with legendary coaches Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh—Michael Lombardi saw the power of leadership up close. In Gridiron Genius he compiles and dispenses his accrued wisdom and insights. You do not need to be a U.S. football fan to understand them, but it is advisable to know the basics of the game as Mr. Lombardi does not stop to explain terms.
But from team building to high-stakes game-day decisions, the lessons he puts forward can undoubtedly be applied in your business. Consider the first chapter’s subtitle: “Culture Beats Everything.” Sound familiar?