Tech CEOs: This Year’s Favorite Books
While writing my posts Forbes.com, I have a chance to talk to many CEOs. Often I will ask them what books they have read recently. If anything, this gives me a chance to check out what’s good in the market. Let’s face it, there are thousands of books that come out every year (which has accelerated because of the self-publishing revolution).
Then what are CEOs reading now? Well, I’ve put together a list. Here’s a look:
Leading at the Speed of Growth: Journey from Entrepreneur to CEO
Tien Tzuo, CEO and co-founder of Zuora:
I hesitate to give away a great secret, but “Leading at the Speed of Growth,” by Katherine Catlin and Jana Matthews, is absolutely mandatory for anyone involved in a high-growth organization. Your job changes dramatically as your company expands, and this book does a great job of identifying all the relevant priorities, skill sets and red flags by growth stage. Plus, all the personal stories from entrepreneurs in the trenches are really great. Even though it’s almost twenty years old, it’s still incredibly relevant in light of all the IPO and M&A activity we’ve been seeing lately. When you’re running a subscription-based business model, you find yourself dealing with a lot of growth-based “nice problem to have,” and this book helps answer those problems.
The Tyranny of Metrics
Sridhar Vembu, CEO and founder of Zoho:
The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller is the book I enjoyed most this year. We live in times when metrics and data have been elevated to God-like status. This book is an excellent antidote. Metrics matter but cannot substitute for human judgment. Goodhart’s maxim says when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. Anyone who has tried to institute measure and manage systems for people discover this all too soon, if they keep their eyes open. People game metrics. That is why that ineffable quality known as good judgement is indispensable in a manager. I tell my managers that if we could reduce all management to metrics, we would need no human managers at all, and there goes my CEO job!