During my last company, my cofounder had given me the book Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO by Nate Bennett and Stephen Miles. I finally finished it and learned a lot from it. The book featured stories from many different COOs and how they navigated their role. Most of the examples came from Fortune 500 companies, not startups. However, many of their lessons are still useful and provide a good framework for thinking about how the COO can work most effectively as part of the broader leadership team. It was also interesting to hear about different ways the role has been structured across various companies.
My biggest notes and takeaways are below.
A friend of mine gifted me the book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton & Huggy Rao, and I finally finished reading it. (It took me a while because it was in Apple Books, and I only read those on my phone when I have a spare few minutes here and there, as opposed to audio books on Audible that I read much more consistently and for more time each week.)
I had read other books by Bob Sutton before (whose classes I remember taking at Stanford) and have generally enjoyed his work. This book featured lots of stories and in-depth examples from various industries of all sorts of scaling and quality improvement efforts (tech startups, hospitals, non-profits, etc.). Those examples were really interesting. It was fun for me to see the real names because I actually met many of them myself in a d.school bootcamp I attended a few years ago, so it was interesting to hear how some of their stories evolved and ended up.
Below are some of my notes/takeaways/favorite excerpts.
Happy New Year!
Wow, what a year. The word of the year for me was "survival." My mantra was "one day at a time."
However, we did survive, and for that I'm thankful. There is much worse in life than having to spend a lot of time with your family at home.
Last year was certainly a year of transitions for me as well. In the middle of the year, my attention shifted focus to my family, working to support everyone and keep them safe, healthy, sane, and productive. This also meant a lot more time spent on domestic activities, which was both time consuming but also occasionally allowed for more reading (in audio, print, and electronic form).
I finished 26 books in 2020. I'm proud that I was able to exceed the number of books I read in 2019 and that I was able to finish more magic books, which I hadn't in 2019 either. I still fell short of the volume of reading I did in prior years before that, so that will be my goal for this year.
The books I read in 2020 cycled between psychology, business/entrepreneurship, parenting, magic, health, and fiction. My favorites from the year:
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss
Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann
How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King
The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
Here's to a 2021 filled with more reading!