It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and DHH

The Big Idea: choose to have a calm, profitable, healthy workplace.  Why is work so crazy? Physical and virtual distractions at work. And an unhealthy obsession with growth. Sustained exhaustion is not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of stupidity. How many hours at the office are really spent on work itself? The answer […]

To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

The Big Idea: Even if you’re not a “salesman”, you probably have to sell or persuade people all the time. Therefore, learn how to sell. Everyone sells. Physicians sell patients on treatments. Lawyers sell juries on verdicts. Teachers sell students on coursework. Entrepreneurs sell investors on visions. Writers sell producers on scripts. Coaches sell players […]

Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

The Big Idea: how to succeed in business and life using science. Chapter 1: Should We Play It Safe and Do What We’re Told If We Want to Succeed? Grades are a great predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and compliance. Grades are a poor predictor of career success. There are two types of leaders: filtered (rise […]

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox

The Big Idea: identify the bottleneck.  Relieve the bottleneck.  Repeat. The Goal is one of Jeff Bezos’ three required books for his senior team. (Also, Effective Executive and Innovator’s Dilemma) Cost accounting conventions lead businesses to focus on the wrong things. The goal of a business is to make money. Therefore, every operational metric should […]

Made in America by Sam Walton

The Big Idea: Walmart succeeded through a combination of unique culture, very effective strategies, and lots of hard work. Nadine West’s two favorite role models are 1) Southwest Airlines and 2) Walmart, for their shared focus on affordable prices, lean operations, and Texas/Arkansas authenticity. Wal-mart Culture Building a great team is a given. Hiring only people […]

The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman

The Big Idea: Happy employees are a competitive advantage.  Chapter 1: Success is Overrated, Why Great Work Places Reward Failure make it okay to try new things and fail learn something from every failure, always reward attempts, not just results Chapter 2: The Power of Place, How Office Design Shapes Our Thinking office design matters eg. red invokes […]

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

The Big Idea: the purpose of life (and business) is happiness, not money. Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and yourself. Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself. When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design […]

Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

THE BIG IDEA Scaling is a ground war, not just an air war. Scaling requires grinding it out; building the organization brick by brick, day after day. One more metaphor…it’s a marathon, not a sprint. META LESSONS 1. All scaling issues are basically the same across all organizations and industries. 2. Scaling entails more than […]

Nuts! by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg

The Big Idea Southwest succeeded by focusing on profitability over market share and by taking the time building a fun and positive culture. Doing this likely slowed down their growth but also resulted in top customer service ratings, top safety record, very low employee turnover, and 40+ consecutive years of profitability Key Takeaways Chapter 1: […]

Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

This is a study on how to build a company that is resilient and exceptional.  It’s one of my favorite books. The Big Idea: visionary companies have a strong inner core (core purpose, core values) and a willingness to change and adapt everything except that core. KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM BUILT TO LAST 1. Build clocks instead of relying […]

The One Thing By Gary Keller

The Big Idea: 1) find your purpose and then 2) for four UNINTERRUPTED hours every morning, focus on THE ONE THING that will get you there fastest. If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. –Russian proverb Ask yourself “What’s the one thing you can do right now that will make everything else easier or […]

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is on my top 20 books of all-time list. I must have been in middle school when I first got my hands on this book and read it cover to cover. Ever since then, I’ve had a copy on every bookshelf I’ve owned. Dale Carnegie included his own book summary at the end of […]

Delivering Happiness By Tony Hsieh

This is one of our top 5 business books.  Our first company tagline was “Happiness in a Pink Package.” Book notes are below: Books recommended: Good to Great, Tribal Leadership, Fred Factor, Fish, Made to Stick, Peak, Emotional Equations, Connected, Re-Imagine, Crush It Be clear about your company’s culture, values.  Communicate them.  Commit to them. Ask yourself, “what […]

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

This one’s a classic business book by the dean of business thinking. Effective executives know where their time goes Effective executives focus on results Effective executives build on strengths Effective executives focus on the 80/20 Effective executives make effective decision 1. Effective executives know where their time goes people can be very time consuming be […]

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

We want to model Nadine West after Zappos. Happy employees = Happy customers. Happy customers = Happy company. Which means, we need to study the science and psychology of happiness. Below are my notes from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage. The science says that we become more successful when we are happier and more positive.  Not the other […]