I read Satya Nadella’s book Hit Refresh over the Christmas break. Here is my review (also shared on Goodreads):
I was curious about how Satya Nadella (the CEO of Microsoft) thinks about technology and Microsoft, so I asked for this book as a Christmas gift. I was quite surprised.
While he has formal education in electrical engineering and business (so he understands “technology” and tech businesses), I’d describe him as a humanist. To me, that explains a lot of why he has been such an inspiring and successful CEO.
He has thought deeply about why Microsoft exists, i.e. its mission. Why were Bill Gates and Paul Allen creating software back in the mid-1970s? Was it really just about getting a computer on every desktop (running Microsoft software)? He dug deeper and realized that the underlying goal was to give the power of computing to everyone, i.e. to empower everyone, not just rich people or smart people. Then he translated that realization into a succinct one-page mission document for all of Microsoft’s 100,000+ employees.
The book might be summarized as, “Here’s where I come from and how I think, so you can understand me.” That makes it useful as a guide for Microsoft employees, partners and customers.
I’m not sure I’d want to work for the Bill Gates of the 1990s, or for Steve Ballmer. They seem too driven and too focused on winning at all costs. But Satya Nadella, I can totally understand why people would want to join his team.