Summer Tech Must-Reads to Become a Lifelong Learner

Posted by Kristi Riordan  /  August 23, 2019

What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone—not just select “high potentials”—could overcome their own internal barriers to grow rapidly and change with the economy around them to achieve personal and company growth?

The tech industry is known for pushing people to the edge of their potential, but is not known for creating an inclusive environment where everyone can do this. It can be done! I want to share with you today a few of my favorite reads that have helped reshape my mindset about how we can work today, build for the future and unlock everyone’s potential in the tech industry. 



Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?” by Aaron Dignan

New Economy companies are creating opportunities for exhilarating careers and exciting ways to reinvent ourselves, but we can’t continue to operate businesses the way we did in old-economy, factory floors. The new economy moves quickly and changes rapidly. Most companies today still have a legacy Operating System designed for the 20th century – our practices, policies, procedures, rituals and norms that shape our day-to-day reality of work are outdated. Aaron Dignan provides an incredible overview of how our mindset needs to shift to create corporate cultures of freedom and responsibility to keep pace with the world today.

High Growth Handbook” by Elad Gil

This book serves as a manual for someone who wants to be a leader at a high growth tech company. Elad Gil has worked with some of the fastest growing tech companies in the world. With that experience, he shares practical advice for entrepreneurs and leaders on how to build, run and grow modern recruiting, marketing and product teams as well as navigate through the inevitable challenges of hyper-growth.

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” by Patty McCord

Hailing from the company who wrote one of the most widely shared presentations on Culture in Silicon Valley back in 2009, Patty McCord was the Chief Talent Officer at Netflix for 14 years. In this book, she shares with us how important it is to have a core set of behaviors as the foundation for any organization, and then giving every person the freedom to operate within that environment. McCord introduces the idea that personal transformation, and high performance, comes from a culture of radical candor and extreme transparency providing everyone with regular feedback as a consistent practice.

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era” by James Barrat

The great artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is happening and changing the way we all work.  James Barrat is a documentarian who brings us an accessible view into the future of AI through interviews with the big thinkers on AI and its potential impact on society and humanity – ranging from optimistic boosters to skeptics and alarmists. Full of information about the people and companies driving this emerging technology that will open your mind to the change coming and keep you thinking for days on end.

Who Owns the Future?” by Jaron Lanier

Written by a computer scientist, musician, and father of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier has been driving change through technology since the birth of the internet in the 1980s. The internet has created opportunities for new business models, many of which are made possible because of the data we all create in our daily activities. Jaron refers to these tech companies as “Siren Servers” – like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and Google who have unprecedented access, ownership, and influence due to the data they collect. Will those who own the data own the future?  Read what Jaron has to say to open your mind to the importance of data in our New Economy and the role we will each have in it.  

An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Every company is made up of individuals. Whether it’s a team of 5 or a team of 5,000, every individual contributes to the success of the company. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey emphasize just how important “everyone” is to a company. Enabling everyone to grow and fostering an “always be learning” mindset must become core to the DNA of a New Economy organization.