5 min read

Books

No ! I don't write books πŸ€“. I do read books around startups and technology though. You can get the extensive list of books I read by following me on Goodreads.

Here is some of my favorites:

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

If I had to pick only one book to recommend, it would probably be this one. Radical Candor is a framework to effectively give feedback to colleagues, managers and suubordinates. Giving feedback is pretty hard, it is most of the time not done when necessary, and quite often hard to receive.

Kim Scott has work at senior positions in Google and Apple, and many modern companies in the tech industry use this book as top reference.

An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson

A pretty extensive book on Software Engineering management. It contains many tips around:

  • writing strategic documentation
  • hiring
  • career management
  • presenting thinkgs to exectutives
  • etc.

This book is worth reading for whoever interested in leadership in engineering. Will Larson worked at Diggs, Uber and Stripe, and he is now CTO at Calm. Will has also been blogging for 10+ years on lethain.com.

Rework by Jason Fried and DHH

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson are the co-founders of Basecamp. This best-seller from 2010 deconstructs many ideas about building a company. Every chapter is a short essay of maximum 2 pages with a pretty cool illustration. Some unforgettable pieces advice I took from this book:

  • Hire managers of one
  • Drug dealers make it right
  • Underdo the competition
  • Interruption is the enemy of productivity
  • Resumes are ridiculous
  • ASAP is poison
  • Focus on what won't chage

If you read this book more than 5 years ago, read it again and you'll be suprised to see how much of this essay is still relevant today.

Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet

A true and amazing story about a captain of a US submarine who literally turned around the organization by not giving orders to his subbordinates. He instead required them to suggest actions that he would acknowledge using his famous "very well". Thanks to this strategy, the Santa Fe submarine went from underperforming to best-in-class with the US Navy.

What's interesting is the tactic he took to convince the whole crew to change their way of working. Also, a subtle reason why David Marquet took this whole initiative: he had no idea about how to command this specific submarine, so instead of pretending to know what to do he decided to just confirm what everyone else suggested to do.

Measure what matters by John Doer

My favorite book about the Objectives and Key Results (aka OKR) methodology. It's a less famous reference than High Output Management by Andy Grove, but it more specific about how the OKR method helps many kinds of organizations of all sizes to align teams, boost productivity and create consistent goals within organizations.

Shape-up by Ryan Singer

Shape-up is a methodology for building software that was invented at Basecamp. It's a very serious alternative to traditional Agile Methodologies and even the OKR methodology. The free online book is pretty easy to read. We implemented the Shape-up methodology at Eventmaker in 2017 and it created a massive impact on our product strategy.

Companies have started to apply 100% of the methodology (we can mention Lifen and Memo Bank as prominent examples in the FR πŸ‡«πŸ‡· tech ecosystem). I believe anyone can find inspiring techniques for product management. Here is my top ones:

Some teams only apply bits of the Shape Up methodology like the appetite or pitch to other forms of product management.

Zero to one by Peter Thiel

Interesting essay from the founder of Paypal about how to make something new and be ambitious about it. It covers economics, strategy, culture, luck etc. Paypal is a fantastic company, bot only because it was sold for $1.2 Billion, but also because ex Paypal employes then created giant tech companies: Testla and Space with Elon Musk, LinkedIn with Reed Hofman, Youtube, Yeld, Yammer and of course Palantir, Thiel's company that recenlty made it's IPO.

Work rules! by Lazlo Bock

We learn about many impressive initiaves in people operations within Google. An inspiring HR oriented perspective on what makes Google so efficient at hiring and retaing the best engineers in the world.

There is a very convenient checklist at the end of the book sumarizing important stuff for every chapter.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

A deep dive into the history of Amazon and Jeff Bezos. Read this book if you are still wondering what is so special about Amazon. It contains stories about Kindle 1 and 2, the permanent tension between Amazon and publishers, the birth of Amazon Web Services, and many aspects of Amazon's culture around customer obsession and frugality.

Hooked by Nir Eyal

An estonishing book about product management and how designers from the Silicon Valley intentionally build addictive products. It formalizes the hook model with the Trigger β€”β€”> Action β€”β€”> Reward β€”β€”> Investment β€”β€”> Trigger loop.

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’»Β Β I'm Romain, software engineer freelancer, ex co-founder and CTO at Yeeld and Eventmaker.

You may be interested in ways I help or simply want to follow me on Twitter / LinkedIn / Github.