The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary Results
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In this "handbook for disruptors" (Eric Schmidt), The Geek Way reveals a new way to get big things done. It will change the way you think about work, teams, projects, and culture, and give you the insight and tools you need to harness our human superpowers of learning and cooperation.
What is “being geeky?” It’s being a perennially curious person, one who's not afraid to tackle hard problems and embrace unconventional solutions. McAfee shows how the geeks have created a new culture based around four norms: science, ownership, speed, and openness. The geek way seems odd at first. It's not deferential to experts, fond of planning and process, afraid of mistakes, or obsessed with "winning." But it explains everything from why Montessori babies turn out to be creative tinkerers to how newcomers are disrupting industry after industry (and still just getting started).
When all four norms are in place, a culture emerges that is freewheeling, fast-moving, egalitarian, evidence-driven, argumentative, and autonomous. Why does the geek way work so much better? McAfee provides an original answer: because it taps into humanity's superpower, which is our ability to cooperate intensely and learn rapidly. By providing insights from the young discipline of cultural evolution, McAfee shows that when we come together under the right conditions, we quickly figure out how to build reusable spaceships and self-correcting organizations. Under the wrong conditions, though, we create bureaucracy, chronic delays, cultures of silence, and the other classic dysfunctions of the Industrial Era.
Mixing cutting-edge science, history, analysis, and stories that show the geek way in action, McAfee offers a new way to see the world and empowering tools for seizing the big opportunities of today and tomorrow.
Praise for The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary Results
“[A] smart, irreverent, informative guide to navigating the future of work. Companies that don’t follow The Geek Way, according to author Andy McAfee, will fall behind...Each of these simple words contains more than you can know, until you read this remarkable book.”—Amy C. Edmondson, Professor of Leadership & Management, Harvard Business School, and author of Right Kind of Wrong
"In industry after industry, corporate boards are asking management what their plan is to thrive in an unsettled, fast-changing environment. The Geek Way contains among the best answers I've seen to this critical question."—Dambisa Moyo, Global Economist; Member, House of Lords
"I've worked closely with Andy for more than a decade, I'm still blown away by this book. It's bold and original, relevant and rigorous, and immediately useful for any restless, curious innovator. In other words, for any geek."—Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab and co-author of the New York Times bestselling The Second Machine Age
“Juxtaposed to our outsized celebrity obsessed culture is the rise of a subtler but infinitely more powerful shift toward geek culture. The hegemony of geekdom in Silicon Valley and across the world is the underlying force that drives innovation and powers our economy. Andrew McAfee’s The Geek Way is the guidebook for understanding this shift and navigating these turbulent times.”—Richard Florida, bestselling author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis
“By combining management theory, competitive strategy, the science of evolution, psychology, military history, and cultural anthropology, McAfee has produced a remarkable work of synthesis that finally explains, with a single unified theory (which he dubs "the geek way") the reasons why the tech startup approach has taken over so much of the world.”—Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and New York Times bestselling author of The Start Up of You
"How fast can you find out you are wrong? This is the predictive metric of success in Silicon Valley. Mcafee explains why the leaders who build organizations that will help everyone who works there learn really quickly whether they are right or wrong will win in the new economy. And he shows why the leaders who allow their success to dampen their eagerness to hear about it when they are wrong have sown the seeds of their own failure. Essential!"—Kim Scott, author of the New York Times bestselling Radical Candor and Radical Respect
“The Geek Way makes a fascinating case that the most important technological revolution of our time isn’t what companies make, but how they’re managed. Andy McAfee is a world-class intellectual provocateur—he never ceases to challenge my assumptions and sharpen my thinking—and reading this book will do the same for you. It’s the most compelling analysis I’ve seen of what Silicon Valley has learned about building more effective organizations, and what they still have to learn.”
—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and HIDDEN POTENTIAL, and host of the TED podcast Re:Thinking
“Andy understands that we haven’t just been creating new technologies in Silicon Valley — we’ve also been creating new ways to run a company in a world permeated by tech. Here he distills what we’ve come up with. This book is a handbook for disruptors.”—Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google
"I can see dead companies. They're the large incumbents who still run themselves as if software isn’t eating the world. If you’d rather lead the transformation than be consumed by it, start putting this book's insights into practice as quickly as you can."—Steve Jurvetson, geek
"Andrew McAfee's The Geek Way outlines what has become a critical advantage for the United States, for Silicon Valley, and for many American companies. If you wish to understand the last twenty years of American life, and probably the next twenty as well, this book is essential reading."—Tyler Cowen, author of Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero
"Solid business economics meets a nouveau-science insistence on quick learning and quicker cultural evolution...A valuable guide for would-be economic, technical, and cultural disruptors."—Kirkus Reviews
“Touting geek culture as a pathway to transformative business growth, McAfee embraces the definition of geekiness as obsessive and celebrates the burning curiosity that drives inquiry into both the how and the why of solutions…This volume in McAfee’s stable of books will be a welcome addition to business collections in academic and public libraries.”
—Val Edwards, Booklist
The Geek Way shows how easy it can be to slip into such organizational flaws as runaway bureaucracy and management by fiat. By fashioning the alternatives into a coherent system, Mr. McAfee has created a powerful synthesis that anyone who occupies or aspires to a position of authority would do well to explore.—The Wall Street Journal
"Technology guru Andrew McAfee posits that underlying the remarkable performance of the Silicon Valley giants is not just that they are at the center of a technological revolution, but also, that they are leading a revolution in how business is done—which he describes as the Geek Way."—Fortune