Author Shane Snow doesn’t try to tell us that teamwork is always preferable, but instead sends a clear message that the point of the book “Dream Teams” is to make the most of the times when teamwork is the only option. It is completely possible to hit that perfect team dynamic where our togetherness equals more than the sum of our parts.
Quiet by Susan Cain illustrates the point that while 1/3 of all people are introverts, workplaces in the United States are increasingly designed with only one personality type in mind: extroverts. Open floor plans, team brainstorming sessions, meetings dominated by the loudest voice. How did we get here and is there no room at the table for the more tranquil among us?
Thiel’s approach to startups would qualify as a Commitment Culture. Thiel, as an investor, often repeats the maxim, “A startup flawed in its foundation cannot be fixed.” This asserted observation might be contrarian, but it hews to the commitment culture perspective of getting the team and culture right as a primary objective for founders.
Now, I'm not sure if Gerber coined the exhortation, "Work ON your business more than you work IN your business," but he certainly seems responsible for its ubiquity. He finds the McDonald's franchise business model with its obsessive focus on a standardized process for every aspect of a McDonald's restaurant to be the highest aim of any small business, whether the business actually franchises or not.
The book describes the culmination of work from years of Gretchen Rubin's efforts to understand a profound question, "How do I respond to expectations?" She discovered through upwards of 1 million personality survey responses that people tend to fit into one of four Tendencies: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, and Rebel.
Having read Principles, Ray Dalio has clearly adopted some of the core tenets of Design Thinking, then layered Artificial Intelligence on top of it to create something truly novel. I started writing this book review as a quick skim, yet the ideas in the book are so powerful that they deserve deep introspection and possible application to how we run our organizations.
Most books have one big idea, then fill up space elaborating on that idea. Principles is the opposite - the collected wisdom and big ideas of maverick hedge fund investor, Ray Dalio. Each of his principles are distilled from hard-won painful lessons through his career. His systems of radical transparency and idea meritocracy as refined through his 40 years leading Bridgewater are very compelling for any organization that seeks to consistently grow and adapt over the long haul.
“The Devil’s Advocate persona may be the biggest innovation killer in America today," Tom Kelly asserts in Ten Faces of Innovation. "It encourages idea wreckers to assume the most negative possible perspective, one that sees only downsides, problems, disasters-in-waiting. By invoking the protective power of ‘Let me just play Devil’s Advocate for a minute…’, the speaker is now entirely free to take potshots at the idea with complete immunity. Essentially saying, ‘The Devil made me do it.’"
Originals explores how innovators see the world differently and bring others into their success. It is not the high school valedictorians who go on to change the world, Grant argues, since their very success signals that they have perfected following and benefiting from the existing system. By contrast, it is the highly creative children that teachers tend to discriminate against, labeling them as troublemakers.
The Fourth Turning, ultimately, is about the present-day time of Crisis, which is a time of focus, struggle, and sacrifice. External threats, which previously might have been ignored, not become an exaggerated crisis. Laws and customs, once locked in place, get swept away. The demand for order is at an all-time high while the supply of order is at an all-time low.
To read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker is to observe the Lindy Effect (as expressed by Nassim Taleb) in action. Any technology which is non perishable increases in life expectancy with every day of its life. A book like The Effective Executive has been in print for 50 years and is therefore likely to stay in print for another 50 years.