Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft at a time when Microsoft was definitely on a downwards slide. This book chronicles his efforts to turn around the fortunes of the company, starting with a complete shift in culture which didn’t always go down too well with the employees.
But rewind back a bit, and the book starts with Nadella’s life growing up in India and how he ended up coming to America for a job in tech. He talks about the birth of his children, and how they changed his outlook on how technology can be used in the world.
I told them that we spend far too much time at work for it not to have deep meaning.Satya Nadella
This hit home to me – I love the job that I do and I’m really fortunate to work for a company that cares about the people we work with – for me, that’s a deep meaning.
I loved the ways that Nadella talked about his leadership style – maybe not always what you’d expect from the CEO of one of the biggest companies on the planet, but it clearly worked – under his helm, the company has completely turned around its fortunes.
That is what leadership is about. It’s about bringing out the best in everyone. It was a subtle, important leadership lesson about when to intervene and when to build the confidence of an individual and a team.
Leadership means making choices and then rallying the team around those choices.Satya Nadella
So we started off with Nadella’s back-story, then we learnt about his story with Microsoft and how he ‘Hit Refresh’ and turned them into a new company.
But the third section of the book was not really for me. All about the future of AI, machine learning and quantum computing, I found it fascinating, but it was way over my head! There were many times when I felt (and probably looked) like this:
It definitely sounds like technology is going to get wayyy more interesting in the next 20-30 years, but it also sounds like the tech world as a whole is going to have decisions to make around ethics and control. I found it fascinating to read, but a bit confusing – especially quantum computing!
Still, I think this book was a great read, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in a leadership position – there are definitely lots of nuggets of wisdom to take from it – even if the most popular reviews on Goodreads suggest that this book is only for Microsoft employees – I don’t think so!