Technology is an industry of constant change. To survive in a field that invents, pivots and adopts at lightning speeds is difficult, and as such, the importance of continual learning is paramount. Reading is a quick and accessible way to knowledge, and a powerful book has the ability to challenge and inform the way we think.
We caught up with some of Austin's tech leaders to find out the books that had a significant impact on them.
Blake Garrett, founder and CEO of Aceable, recommends...
Good to Great by Jim Collins
"I read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins at an incredibly important time in my development as a CEO. In the fall of 2014, a potential investor said he'd write a mid six-figure check (which we desperately needed). One of the conditions of the investment was that I read Good to Great. While I'm sure the requirement was issued in part with jest, it was transformative for me at that time.
Aceable had five employees at the time, and the new investment would greatly expedite our growth. From that book I learned the value of humble leadership, recruiting the best people and then finding a great place for them, the power of the flywheel, and the importance of finding a north star.
A year and a half later, we have 40 amazing teammates and a thriving business, and I'm constantly thinking about how to reinforce and apply Jim Collin's principles."
Valerie Vacante, Chief Strategy Officer oat Handsome, recommends...
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
"I came across Brene Brown's TED talk, 'The Power of Vulnerability' and I had to immediately read the book Daring Greatly. Brenés work helped me shed fears, gave me courage to remove barriers and ultimately accept that being vulnerable is a good thing — a window into the world that had not been previously opened. This awakening impacted all aspects of my life; professionally, as a leader in emerging tech and personally as a wife, mother, daughter and friend.
It is OK to fail, to be fearless, to push hard conversations, to be empathetic, to give feedback, listen and continue to encourage the people in my life while allowing goodness in return.
I was fortunate and honored to meet Brené during one of her trips to Austin; she is a phenomenal researcher, teacher and leader who continues to inspire people from all walks of life; parents, teachers, executives and large organizations too."
Sean Spector, co-founder and CEO of Dropoff, recommends...
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
"I was given the book Sun Tzu's The Art of War by a boss early in my career. It's an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. attributed to the ancient chinese military strategist Sun Tzu – "master sun/
While I don't subscribe to every one of its ideals, over the years I have found many very useful. It's a must read for anyone in business whether you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner or an executive in a large public company. His perspective on war and strategy is relevant to modern american business practices."
Higinio ("H.O.") Maycotte, CEO of Umbel, recommends...
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick M. Lencioni
"Your ultimate product is not what you create or the services you provide; it's the team that does it with you. This book is one of my absolute favorites because it provides a clear blueprint for creating a healthy, cohesive team that has the culture, focus, and drive to be incredibly successful. Filled with lessons from Patrick's 20+ years as a consultant, it proves – and I can attest from my own experiences – that nothing has more of an impact on success than taking the time to improve your team. "
Rodney Rice, CEO of Waldo Photos, recommends...
Contagious by Jonah Berger
"Contagious provides excellent insight into what makes a product or a piece of content go viral by breaking down wildfire ideas into six factors. Berger’s take on social currency (those things that we value because they make us appear favorably in the eyes of others) and his evaluation of which high arousal emotions make us most likely to share content is thoughtful and impactful. Anyone can use this book to become smarter both personally and professionally."
Mark Cree, founder and CEO of infinite.io, recommends...
The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
"It covers several challenges of running a technical company and building the next big thing. The one big take away that I got from the book is: people don’t work for you, they work for themselves and report to you."