Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
By Mike Isaac
For those of you who read Bad Blood by John Carreyou, Super Pumped is of a similar vein (pun intended). The former is a story about a visionary founder who refused to accept that her revolutionary product simply didn’t work. The latter is the story of a CEO who would stop at nothing to conquer the world’s transportation and logistics industries while behaving badly along the way. This book reads like a crime novel, with all kinds of twists and turns along the way. The central figure of the story is Travis Kalanick, who founded Uber in 2009 and led it to unimaginable heights before his eventual downfall.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in startups and hyper-growth businesses as well as those looking for lessons on how not to conduct oneself as the CEO of a large enterprise. Just a fascinating story and a well-written page-turner.
Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change
By Marc Benioff
Stakeholder capitalism is the future, according to Salesforce founder and Co-CEO Marc Benioff. Companies can no longer focus solely on the bottom line, which might be called shareholder capitalism. Benioff argues that employees, vendors, partners, and the communities in which companies operate and live must also be taken into account.
Benioff founded Salesforce as the first cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software company in 1999. He set out to build a company that
would give back through “a culture where doing well is synonymous with doing good.” Today, the company is worth over $160 billion.
Benioff makes a good case that whenever growth is put before trust, problems appear. “The money your company makes in any given quarter will never be more valuable than the trust you stand to lose over time.”
I found this to be a good read. Benioff is at the forefront of a movement that will continue to gain momentum, in my opinion, and this is a good intro to the concept of stakeholder capitalism.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
By Robert Iger
While not as riveting as Super Pumped, Iger’s book is full of leadership and management lessons organized in an easy-to-read manner. From the handling of tragedies to the acquisition of competitors, Iger traces much of the logic that went into his handling of these situations as well as the people who influenced his career along the way. Iger uses examples and stories to paint a picture of his tenure at Disney and the inevitable challenges, opportunities, and threats that come with being a Fortune 500 CEO.
One of the more interesting parts of the book is Disney’s relationship with Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar. With Disney Animation struggling, there was a strong need for Disney to acquire Pixar, but how to do it was the question. Iger tells the story of approaching Jobs about acquiring Pixar and the surprising answer that Jobs gave Iger.
Anyone who likes to read about business, leadership, and/or the always-changing entertainment industry will enjoy this book.
I’m currently reading Digital Gold (about Bitcoin) as well as The More of Less (about minimalism). After these, I plan to tackle the Walter Isaacson biographies of Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci and then Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.
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