Recently I decided to read, in quick succession, an assortment of books about phenomenal business and tech leaders. I’ve found that reading related books one after the other usually leads to new insights that come from seeing the similarities and the differences.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, the biography of Apple’s creative madman and beloved founder. It is a riveting portrait of his life and creativity. His drive and maniacal ambition towards customer satisfaction combined with his “reality distortion field” led him to make his vision the reality that we all depend on now.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone, which is an in-depth look at what it’s like inside Amazon. In this story, we again see the transformation of a genius visionary experimenting and failing until he succeeds. While there is a clear leader, we also learn that it takes a team of collaborators with the same intensity to solving customers’ everyday challenges in a remarkable way to become everything to everybody.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger. In this book, Iger shares his most important lessons and how he transformed Disney from being in a difficult place to being the largest media company in the world. It’s about his risks, his leadership, and his inspiration. Here we are dealing with a seemingly normal and nice man that clearly has the right stuff and proves you can do the right thing and win.
How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathon Rosenberg — both of the authors were seasoned executives when they arrived at Google and in this book, they detail their experiences in growing Google into the phenomenon it is today. Here we learn about culture creation and a team of people thinking wildly outside the box with an absolutely bodacious mission.
This particular book combo is important, telling, and inspiring. This is the realm of GIANT thinking, customer obsession, intuitional leadership, fearlessness, and the experience that all leaders are familiar with—the“Reality Distortion Field.”Of course, these books make me feel like my 4-billion-dollar company hasn’t accomplished much yet and that I have much more to do. But overall, I feel and see an association with many of the characteristics of these leaders and can empathize with their pain and trepidation throughout their careers. I have been no stranger to experiences like the company simply outgrowing a tremendously loyal and once-valued employee that now must be de-selected.
These books will inspire the most ambitious entrepreneurs and give even the most seasoned leaders some real tactics, strategies, and the confidence to make decisions that are bold and even somewhat ruthless when it comes to implementing a vision they believe in on behalf of their clients.