Category: Summary

Antifragile. Things that gain from disorder


Have you seen great ideas or apparently-solid organizations fail because of some random event or unexpected shock? Does your organization spend significant resources on trying to avoid volatility or uncertainty? What if shocks, volatility, and uncertainty were actually what your ideas or organization need in order to really take off? This summary shows how the key to thriving is not avoiding stress but embracing the concept of “antifragility.”

The antifragile is the opposite of fragile; it is something that loves randomness and uncertainty and is strengthened by a shock. Antifragility is inherent in all the natural and complex systems that survived over time. Our modern civilization is intent on damping down volatility and randomness and avoiding stressors; but once we grasp the importance of antifragility, we realize that our modern approach actually causes harm.

Suppressing volatility and randomness in our economy, our health, our education, or our political life makes those systems more fragile. Without stressors, complex systems become weak and even die.

Black Swans—large, irregular, and unpredictable events—are what make history. We cannot predict them, but we can determine which object or system is more fragile to Black Swans than another. The fragile systems are the ones that do not like volatility, randomness, errors or stressors.

Modern society assumes that anything can be ‘fixed,’ but most of the time it is better to leave well alone. Socioeconomic life and the human body can actually be harmed by intervention, leaving the whole more fragile to shocks and uncertainty. Often, the best course of action is to ignore the noise from too much data and let time take care of the problem.

One of the worst aspects of modern society is the way that fragility and antifragility get transferred from one group to another, usually with one side getting all the benefits and the other getting all the harm.

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The Black Swan


Nassim Taleb looks at the impact and human psychology of extreme events. Broadly, it shows that humans tend to create environments where extreme events are more likely and then underestimate their probability. This results in everything from World Wars to major market meltdowns.

It is impossible to avoid black swans, but it is possible to become robust to negative swans and get exposure to positive ones.

Anything you want


Derek’s lessons from building CD Baby, a company which he eventually sold for over $20M, and had 80+ employees at the time.

A good read for those who want an alternative perspective on entrepreneurship, with some thinking along the lines of Seth Godin and David Heinemeier Hansson.  

I thoroughly enjoyed it just as a reminder of all the options you have as an entrepreneur, and a reminder that you don’t have to fit any particular mold (especially not the VC-led one).  

An easy, quick read – the only reason I rated it 6 is it wasn’t really life-changing…more of a reminder read.

Getting Things Done. The art of stress-free productivity

Getting Things Done. The art of stress-free productivity


Is your workflow overwhelming? Do you want to increase your productivity and achieve your goals? We all struggle with being productive, but Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity presents the reader with a simple yet detailed system for increasing productivity. Written by the world’s leading expert in a personal and professional organization, the methods in this book are used by millions of people across the world, as well as by companies like Microsoft and Lockheed. This system can help you reduce stress and become better at organizing all your work, both personal and professional, because it provides detailed instructions on how to simplify your life, master workflow, organize tasks and maintain perspective in your life. So if you’re tired of being overwhelmed, this integrated system for heightened stress-free productivity can provide you with peace of mind, while enabling you to efficiently complete your tasks.

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Outliers: The Story of Success


From the bestselling author of Blink and The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success overturns conventional wisdom about genius to show us what makes an ordinary person an extreme overachiever.

Why do some people achieve so much more than others? Can they lie so far out of the ordinary?

In this provocative and inspiring book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at everyone from rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, to show that the story of success is far more surprising, and far more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined.

He reveals that it’s as much about where we’re from and what we do, as who we are – and that no one, not even a genius, ever makes it alone.

Outliers will change the way you think about your own life story, and about what makes us all unique.

‘Gladwell is not only a brilliant storyteller; he can see what those stories tell us, the lessons they contain’

‘Malcolm Gladwell is a global phenomenon … he has a genius for making everything he writes seem like an impossible adventure’

‘He is the best kind of writer – the kind who makes you feel like you’re a genius, rather than he’s a genius’
The Times

Author, journalist, cultural commentator and intellectual adventurer, Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. His first book The Tipping Point captured the world’s attention with its theory that a curiously small change can have unforeseen effects. His other international bestselling books are Outliers, which looks at the stories of exceptional individuals and reveals the secrets of their success, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and What The Dog Saw, a collection of his most provocative and entertaining New Yorker pieces.

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth


The revolutionary movement behind the explosive growth of Intel, Google, Amazon and Uber.
With a foreword by Larry Page, and contributions from Bono and Bill Gates.

Measure What Matters is about using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, to make tough choices in business.

In 1999, legendary venture capitalist John Doerr invested nearly $12 million in a startup that had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. Doerr introduced the founders to OKRs and with them at the foundation of their management, the startup grew from forty employees to more than 70,000 with a market cap exceeding $600 billion. The startup was Google.

Since then Doerr has introduced OKRs to more than fifty companies, helping tech giants and charities exceed all expectations. In the OKR model objectives define what we seek to achieve and key results are how those top­ priority goals will be attained. OKRs focus effort, foster coordination and enhance workplace satisfaction. They surface an organization’s most important work as everyone’s goals from entry-level to CEO are transparent to the entire institution.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations.

This book will show you how to collect timely, relevant data to track progress – to measure what matters. It will help any organization or team aim high, move fast, and excel.

High Output Management


In this legendary business book and Silicon Valley staple, the former chairman and CEO of Intel shares his perspective on how to build and run a company. A practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work. 

The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses—the art of the entrepreneur—can be summed up in a single word: managing. Born of Grove’s experiences at one of America’s leading technology companies (as CEO and employee number three at Intel), High Output Management is equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers, as well as CEOs and startup founders. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance.

Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of


Called «The Sales Bible of Silicon Valley»…discover the sales specialization system and outbound sales process that, in just a few years, helped add $100 million in recurring revenue to, almost doubling their enterprise growth…with zero cold calls. This is NOT just another book about how to cold call or close deals. This is an entirely new kind of sales system for CEOs, entrepreneurs and sales VPs to help you build a sales machine. What does it take for your sales team to generate as many highly-qualified new leads as you want, create predictable revenue, and meet your financial goals without your constant focus and attention? Predictable Revenue has the answers!

Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City


An essential guide to building supportive entrepreneurial communities

«Startup communities» are popping up everywhere, from cities like Boulder to Boston and even in countries such as Iceland. These types of entrepreneurial ecosystems are driving innovation and small business energy. Startup Communities documents the buzz, strategy, long-term perspective, and dynamics of building communities of entrepreneurs who can feed off of each other’s talent, creativity, and support.

Based on more than twenty years of Boulder-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist Brad Feld’s experience in the field?as well as contributions from other innovative startup communities?this reliable resource skillfully explores what it takes to create an entrepreneurial community in any city, at any time. Along the way, it offers valuable insights into increasing the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by multiplying connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improving access to entrepreneurial education, and much more.

  • Details the four critical principles needed to form a sustainable startup community
  • Perfect for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists seeking fresh ideas and new opportunities
  • Written by Brad Feld, a thought-leader in this field who has been an early-stage investor and successful entrepreneur for more than twenty years

Engaging and informative, this practical guide not only shows you how startup communities work, but it also shows you how to make them work anywhere in the world.