Archives for category: book

Written by Ben Horowitz in 2014.

“This the real world, homie, school finished
They done stole your dreams, you dunno who did it.”


There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations.


as a way to break the tension, Marc would say, “Remember, Ben, things are always darkest before they go completely black.


“I move onward, the only direction
Can’t be scared to fail in search of perfection.”

follow the first principle of the Bushido—the way of the warrior: keep death in mind at all times. If a warrior keeps death in mind at all times and lives as though each day might be his last, he will conduct himself properly in all his actions.


Remember that this is what separates the women from the girls. If you want to be great, this is the challenge. If you don’t want to be great, then you never should have started a company.


If this advice sounds too familiar. and you find yourself wondering why your honest employees are lying to you, the answer is they are not. They are lying to themselves.
And if you believe them, you are lying to yourself.


Then I read chapter 16 of Andy Grove’s management classic, High Output Management, titled “Why Training Is the Boss’s Job,” and it changed my career. Grove wrote, “Most managers seem to feel that training employees is a job that should be left to others. I, on the other hand, strongly believe that the manager should do it himself.”


Tony Robbins says, “If you don’t know what you want, the chances that you’ll get it are extremely low.”

For a complete explanation of the dangers of managers with the wrong kind of ambition, I strongly recommend Dr. Seuss’s management masterpiece Yertle the Turtle.


The first rule of an organisational design is that all organisational design are bad.

With this in mind, here are the basic steps to organisational design:

  1. Figure out what needs to be communicated.
  2. Figure out what needs to be decided.
  3. Prioritize the most important communication and decision paths.
  4. Decide who’s going to run each group.
  5. Identify the paths that you did not optimize.
  6. Build a plan for mitigating the issues identified in step 5.

“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.”



Wartime / peacetime CEO, funniest quote :

Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy, audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.

(… the consultants describe the  companies’ process during peacetime)





So, I invite you to join me on an intellectual adventure to discover what it takes to turn good into great.


The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused e-q-ually on whatnot to do and what to stop doing.

Culture of discipline:

When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disci- plined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls. When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.

rigorous / ruthless:

To let people languish in uncertainty for months or years, stealing precious time in their lives that they could use to move on to something else, when in the end they aren’t going to make it anyway- that would be ruthless. To deal with it right up front and let people get on with their lives- that is rigorous




How do you create a climate where the truth is heard?  best-practices:

  1. Lead with questions, not answers.
  2. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.

  3. Conduct autopsies, without blame.

  4. Build “red flag” mechanisms.

When Alan Wurtzel started the long traverse from near bankruptcy to these stellar results, he began with a remarkable answer to the question of where to take the company: I don’t know.


hedgehog / fox paradigm:

- they were all hedgehogs. They took a complex world and simplified it


“They stick with what they understand and let their abilities, not their egos, determine what they attempt.”" So wrote Warren Buffett about his $290 million investment in Wells Fargo despite his serious reservations about the banking industry.


Finding the good KPI during the pivotal transition years. 


books references:

 In his book, I’m a Lucky Guy, Joe Cullman dedicates five pages to dissecting the 7UP disaster.

In preparation, I read In Love and War, the book Stockdale and his wife had written in alter- nating chapters, chronicling their experiences during those eight years.




Aarron Walter is the lead user experience designer for MailChimp, and in this book published in 2011, the author share the concept of how creating emotion on a webpage. First having a webpage functional / reliable / usable, then think about the emotion and the pleasure of the user.


Keep in mind that ignoring human needs is not a history we are doomed to repeat. Through our designs, we can see and connect with other human beings.


Adding stuff pushes the human brain to its limits. Have you ever been to a party where everyone is yelling to speak to the person next to them? (…)  Design works in the same way.


There is no formula for emotional design, only principles of psychology and human nature to guide you.


The Power of Habit, published in 2012, related different non-fiction stories to illustrate how habits are formed, sustain or are changed.

The book is written by Charles Duhigg, a reporter for The New York Times.


This process—in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine—is known as “chunking,” and it’s at the root of how habits form.


This explains why habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings.


Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.


You Can’t Extinguish a Bad Habit, You Can Only Change It.


Habits could be used in emotional situation to handle calmly the crisis.

Are we responsible of our habits ?

“to modify a habit, you must decide to change it.

Habit Reversal Therapy:

• Identify the routine
• Experiment with rewards
• Isolate the cue
• Have a plan





Purple Cow is a book about marketing written by Seth Godin and published in 2004.

According to the author, the five’s P of marketing miss one thing : to be remarkable. And remarkable starts with a R, so the Purple Cow is being remarkable :-) .
“This book is about the why, the what, and the how of remarkable. ”
“Stop advertising and start innovating. ”



“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

- Charles H. Duell, 1899, U.S. Commissioner of Patents


The old rules don’t work so well any more. Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.


We mistakenly believe that criticism leads to failure


Being safe is risky.

Hey, if it was easy to become a rock star, everyone would do it!


Boring is always the most risky strategy.  



Peter Thiel co-founded Paypal, more recently Palantir, he is a venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager.

Zero to one, published in 2014, is the notes from the entrepreneurship class by Peter Thiel.

The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.
Raw notes :
Dot-com crash from 2000 lessons:
  • Make incremental advances
  • Stay lean and flexible. (lean is the code for “unplanned”)
  • Improve on the competition
  • Focus on product, not sales

Economic term : “perfect competition” / monopoly

Conventions, risk averse, education
Distribution is the hidden bottleneck when it comes to sell to small businesses. because of the deal.
The myth of social entrepreneurship
Tesla secured in 2009 a 465$ Loan from the U.S. Department of Energy,

Published in 2014, Reinventing Organizations is in the top #5 Amazon best seller in the Management Science category.

This book is talking about leading companies with an bottom-top approach instead of the classic top-bottom approach. If we caricature the concept, the goal is to use freely all the brains of the company instead only the CEO’s brain. Therefore becoming more efficient.

This kind of company are called by Frédéric Laloux teal company. A color is associated for different management methods. The color of the last step is teal, the same color as the two pretty butterflies on the book’s cover.


Raw notes & quotes copied from the books

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

- Richard Buckminster Fuller

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

- Peter Drucker


  • Evolutionnary teal:

Taming the fears of the ego
- Inner rightness as compass
Life as a journey of unfolding  // creating our own person
- Building on strengths  “ 
Psychologists talk about a shift from a deficit to a strength-based paradigm ”
- Dealing gracefully with adversity
Striving for wholeness 


The question is not how you can make better rules, but how you can support teams in finding the best solution. How can you strengthen the possibilities of the team members so that they need the least amount of direction-setting from above

- Jos de Blok 



  • Buurtzorg’s culture :

- It’s okay to struggle, from struggle comes learning.
- The coach’s role is to let teams make their own choices, even if she believes she knows a better solution.
- The coach supports the team mostly by asking insightful questions and mirroring
- The starting point is always to look for enthusiasm, strengths, and existing capabilities within the team.

Bureaucracies are built by and for people who busy themselves proving they are necessary, especially when they suspect they aren’t

- Ricardo Semler


reverse delegation


Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

- Albert Einstein

As you’ve found out by now, you were not hired to fill a specific job description. You were hired to constantly be looking around for the most valuable work you could be doing.

- Valve handbook for employees


  •  Misconceptions of teal Organization:

Misperception 1: There is no structure, no management, no leadership
- Misperception 2: Everyone is equal
Misperception 3: It’s about empowerment
- Misperception 4: It’s still experimental 


“You can process your tensions. If you’re choosing to be a victim, that is your choice, and perhaps a choice because you don’t know how to do something else, but it’s not because somebody else is persecuting you. It is your choice to stay in that pattern if you so choose.”


Whatever you do or dream you can do—begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

- Peter Drucker

This book, of 72 pages, was published by Harvard Business Press in 2008. The authour, Peter Drucker has been described as “the founder of modern management”.

Below, a few raw quotes and notes from the book :

Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at – and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all.


  • Feedback Analysis:
  1. Concentrate on your strengths.
  2. Work on improving your strengths.
  3. Discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance and overcome it.


A plan can usually cover no more than 18 months and still be reasonably clear and specific.


In effect, managing oneself demands that each knowledge worker think and behave like a
chief executive officer

It’s apparently a part of a bigger book from Peter Drucker : Management Challenges for the 21st Century.

Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.

Dan Ariely did a class on this subject with Duke University on


This book, published in 2008, is about Behavioral Economics. Behavioral Economics is the study between two fields : psychology and economics. The book covers a few of cognitive bias also described in the book of Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow. For example the relativity between numbers or the anchors. How with are subject from our environment to build our decisions.

Dan Ariely discusses about:

  • The Free effect : Why we like so much Free! products ?
  • Some emotional decision-making experimentations.
  • And also : Social norms, why we overvalue what we have, procrastination, the expectation effect, the power of the price, …

His other books are :

The Upside of Irrationality (2010), and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty (2012),


My favorite article of this review is written in 1987 by Arthur Rock. His ideas seems to me timeless.

Arthur Rock (born August 19, 1926) is an American businessman and investor. Based out of Silicon Valley, California, he was an early investor in major firms including Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne.


  • The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer – Amar Bhide, first published in 1996
  • How to Write a Great Business Plan – William A. Sahlman, 1997

Indeed, judging by all the hoopla surrounding business plans, you would think that the only things standing between a would-be entrepreneur and spectacular success are glossy five-colors charts, a bundle of meticulous-looking spreadsheets , and a decade of month-by-month financial projection

  • How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work – Amar Bhide, 1994
  • How Much Money Does Your New Venture Need ? – James McNeill Stancill, 1986
  • Milestones for Successful Venture Planning – Zenas Block and Ian C. Macmillan, 1985
  • Strategy Vs. Tactics from a Venture Capitalist – Arthur Rock (VC), 1987  ✭
To put it another way, strategy is easy, but tactics – the day-to-day and month-to-month decisions required to manage a business – are hard.
  • Bootstrap Finance - Amar Bhide, 1986
  • Commercializing Technology – Nevens, Summe and Utal, 1990



This book, published in 1989, was written by Stephen Covey.

Despite it is a title usually used for a post in a blog, it is a powerful book on business and life. It is ranked #2 in the Amazon business category.

The seven habits are:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize - Principles of creative cooperation
  7. Sharpen the saw – Principles of balanced self-renewal

To relate effectively with a wife, a husband, children, friends, or working associates, we must learn to listen. And this requires emotional strength. Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand 

Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

Marilyn Ferguson observed, “No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.

Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.

Try it in your marriage, in your family, in your job. Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it -immediately. Don’t get into a blaming, accusing mode. Work on things you have control over. Work on you. On be.

Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation.


“Begin with the End in Mind” is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things


  • Interdependence with oneself:

To do not have a sense of security that would depend from external factors, we should create interdependence with ourself. When we reach this point, we do not use external factors to be secure. External factors like money, work or other people judgment.

To achieve interdependence, the author suggest we use principles and integrityWhen we are able to choose to become interdependent, we are “capable of building rich, enduring, highly productive relationships with other people”. 

If I were emotionally dependent, my sense of worth and security would come from your opinion of me. If you didn’t like me, it could be devastating. 

You’ll no longer build your emotional life on other people’s weaknesses.


  • About Maturity:

Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration. If a person can express his feelings and convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the feelings and convictions of another person, he is mature, particularly if the issue is very important to both parties.


  • A conversation to reach a win-win situation:

“Would you be interested in going for a win-win solution that both parties feel really good about?” I would ask.
The response was usually affirmative, but most people didn’t really think it was possible.
“If I can get the other party to agree, would you be willing to start the process of really communicating with each other?”
Again, the answer was usually “yes.”

Goethe taught, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

Robert I. Sutton is a professor of Management science at the Stanford Engineering School.

This book was published in 2002.



If you want to eliminate mistakes, avoid dead ends, and succeed most of the time, you will drive out innovation.


The best management is sometimes no management


I like this kind of book about how to keep a company innovative and how to create a creative framework to keep finding new stuff that will help the company to growth in the next years.

One of the point of the book is that creativity is a function of output. That if you want to be creative, you create more. Therefore you don’t have an rate of error inferior of a less “creative” person. You try more, so you make more error and also make more success.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

- Thomas Edison

 If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

- Thomas Watson Sr., founder and former CEO of IBM

 This book was a very good surprise to read. Full of quotes and stories to illustrate the author s’ concepts.

If you are worried about the title, you will like the first sentence of the book.