Best of Seeking Wisdom: DC’s Favorite Books

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This is a podcast episode titled, Best of Seeking Wisdom: DC’s Favorite Books. The summary for this episode is: Want to start reading more business and leadership books but aren't sure where to begin? This special episode of Seeking Wisdom is all about DC and DG’s favorite subject – books! Tune into to hear which books have a permanent place on DC’s bookshelf.

DG: I want to talk about you. You got these three books. You gave three books to everyone on the management team at Drift, okay?

DC: Mm-hmm(affirmative).

DG: And I think one of the best things about Seeking Wisdom is we just expose that. We share that with everybody, right? I want to run through, I want to explain those three books really quick and why you gave them, okay.

DC: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

DG: Do you remember what they are?

DC: Yeah, of course.

DG: Okay.

DC: They are-

DG: Number one.

DC: The book by the old uncle, Sam Walton.

DG: Yes, Sam Walton.

DC: Made in America.

DG: Made In America.

DC: That's the first book. Should I rattle all three off?

DG: Yeah, rattle all three off, and then let's go over why you did.

DC: The second book is called, the next uncle, young uncle, it's called The Everything Store. And it was not written by Bezos, but it is about Bezos and Amazon.

DG: Brad Stone.

DC: Brad Stone wrote that. And then the third book was written by the founders and that is Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, aka the founders of the Home Depot. And it's called Built From Scratch.

DG: Build From Scratch. So in order, the oldest one is Sam Walton, then Built From Scratch, then The Everything Store. Most CEO's hand out books, like Good to Great or... You've given us those.

DC: By the way, we're working on getting Jim Collins on this.

DG: Okay, shout out to Jim Collins.

DC: Shout out. Jim, if you're listening, come on over.

DG: Why did you give those three books? What is it about those three books in particular? You said because it was a stack.

DC: It was a stack.

DG: Okay, here's a stack, you got these.

DC: That was the management pack. There's a whole bunch of books that we always talk about here. They're books that I constantly keep going back to, and these are three books that I constantly go back to. And it's weird that we picked these three books because all three of them have nothing to do with B2B, marketing, sales, anything like that.

DG: Nothing.

DC: They're all retail businesses, right?

DG: Yeah.

DC: It's Walmart, Amazon-

DG: And Home Depot.

DC: ...and Home Depot. But the thing that's common, if you read all three of those books, is the obsession around customers, right, which is the thing that we live and breathe. And so these are the books that I kept coming back to. The first one, Made In America, I read 15 years ago and I've read a million times and I've talked about it a million times. The Everything Store, more recent, I probably read that, I don't know, four years ago or something like that.

DG: A couple years ago, yeah.

DC: And then we've come back to that one. And then the third one is an old book that was out of print, but recently came back in print, Built From Scratch. And that one is new to me. I had never read it before. But as soon as I opened it and read it, I bought copies for everyone.

DG: It's the same thing.

DC: And the story was amazing behind it.

DG: Sam Walton book, you know how much it costs? 7. 19.

DC: Wow, it went up. When I first bought it, it used to be five bucks.

DG: That's all the PR you've been giving it.

DC: Five bucks. They're raising the prices. It used to be five something, 5. 25.

DG: Those are the three books.

DC: How many copies of that book do you think we've sold? A lot of copies.

DG: I don't know.

DC: We've bought a lot of copies.

DG: There is one problem though. They only have four, one, two, three, four, and he only has 4 1/ 2 stars on Amazon.

DC: How are they going to do the uncle dirty like that?

DG: June 1st, 1993. Why do you keep reading all these old books?

DC: Yeah, 1993?

DG: Yeah. Let's see.

DC: I probably read it soon after that.

DG: That's crazy.

DC: inaudible you don't do the math on that.

DG: All right, so those are three books. Those are three books which are fundamental to the core. It has nothing to do with SaaS, nothing to do with what we do on a day- to- day basis, but everything to do with Drift and the business.

Speaker 3: So there are a couple of books that I come back to over and over again. One of those books that I recommend and that I read every few years is a different book by the same author here. And if you can see the name of this author is Peter F. Drucker. If you listen to past podcasts that we had with Patrick, it is not Druker, it is Drucker. And the book that I always hand out and give out to everyone here is called Managing Oneself. This book here that we're going to review today is called The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. And this has everything you need as a manager to be able to grow and to be an effective leader. It's all in this book right here. You know what? You don't need any of the books. If you want to lead people, there's no other books you need. It's all in this book right here. And many of those other books that you may read are entertaining, but they all come from this book. They come from the master, Peter F. Drucker. And so the little homie here, the young nephew here, has some stuff highlighted in here. So we're ready to set it off, get into Peter Drucker, drop some bombs.

DG: It's been a minute. So there's five things. I'll do what we usually do. I'll read my notes and you'll give some commentary on them. So, number one, his number one thing is five things. Number one is that effective executives know where their time goes. So it has a whole chapter, Know Thy Time. Just initial reaction while I pull up my notes, what does that mean, they know their time?

Speaker 3: It's all about being proactive about the time that you have. I had a realization the other day, and you're not going to believe this thing. Let me tell you, it's a discovery that you won't believe.

DG: I'll believe it. Or maybe not.

Speaker 3: You ready?

DG: Oh, yeah.

Speaker 3: What do you and Elon Musk have in common?

DG: Me?

Speaker 3: Yeah.

DG: Oh, really?

Speaker 3: There's something that you have in common.

DG: Oh, I don't know.

Speaker 3: It's not that he wears black tee- shirts, which DG is wearing today.

DG: Oh, I like that, I'm wearing tee- shirts.

Speaker 3: He may wear black tee- shirts.

DG: I have no idea, and I read his book.

Speaker 3: Elon Musk, the creator of how many companies does he run now?

DG: Three.

Speaker 3: Three companies, the Boring Company, yeah, three companies, Boring, Tesla, and-

DG: SpaceX.

Speaker 3: ...SpaceX. Elon Musk, and DG both have 24 hours in a day.

DG: I thought you were going to compliment me. I thought this was going to be something crosstalk.

Speaker 3: Come on, let's not get crazy.

DG: I love it.

Speaker 3: So, while young DG has some notes in this book here that we're going to read, Elon Musk is running three companies at the same time.

DG: That's crazy.

Speaker 3: And what's the same thing between the two of them? They both have 24 hours in the day, right? And my point is when it comes to managing your time, some people can change the world in 24 hours, like Elon Musk.

DG: Totally.

Speaker 3: Some people can't change their shirt in 24 hours, right?

DG: Yeah.

Speaker 3: It's the same.

DG: I think the core of this is he says he asks this question, he says, the question you have to ask yourself is, what would happen if this were not done at all? And if the answer is nothing would happen, then obviously you have to stop doing that thing. To me, that's what this is about.

Speaker 3: Killing it.

DG: It's like the ruthless prioritization, like what would happen if we didn't do that one thing? And that's liberating.

Speaker 3: Yeah, I love that word, ruthless.

DG: A lot of people just get caught up in that. It's liberating to be like nothing.

Speaker 3: Nothing, okay. So get rid of it.

DG: Focus on the big rocks. That's where this stuff comes through, right?

Speaker 3: It's all about first principles. It's all about big rocks. And it's all about one thing, focusing on that one thing.

DG: This could be a DC line. I love this. He says," It's amazing how many things busy people are doing that will never be missed."

Speaker 3: I love that.

DG: The High Growth Handbook.

Speaker 3: Yep.

DG: This is like, man, okay, so when I saw this book, I was like this book is going to be 40 bucks. This book was$ 10.

DC: Unbelievable.

DG: $10. So you got this first, so I want you to tell me about this book.

DC: This is a great book here. It's called the High Growth Handbook. And a reason that it is$ 10, it is that it is published by the good people, our good friends at Stripe.

DG: I hoped you were going to start there.

DC: And if you don't know Stripe, Stripe is a payments company, kind of revolutionizing payments. And for most people, Stripe is a backend API provider, so they may not even know the name, but they're rethinking payments, modern payments. And most of the stuff that you pay for online is probably going through Stripe. Anyway, the reason that I point that out is because something that we talk about a lot here and others that, you know what, others are starting to listen, copy, wake up.

DG: There's a lot of copying out there today.

DC: A lot of copying, a lot of people talking about-

DG: Branding and B2B.

DC: Brand is so hot right now. A bunch of this stuff. But anyway, I digress. Shout it out. The amazing thing that you see from the good friends at Stripe here is that they've invested in building, not a pamphlet, not an ebook, not a white paper, not a form, not a download, but publishing a real valuable book, and subsidizing it.

DG: You know what Stripe did? They ran laps. They ran marketing laps around people by publishing this book.

DC: Look at that, look at the inside. Look at the inside of that. This is a reason you have to subscribe to our YouTube, so you can actually see what I'm pointing at here. But if you look at the quality of this-

DG: It's amazing.

DC:'s mind- blowing. But anyway, they got, and excuse me if I mispronounce your name.

DG: It's okay.

DC: But you're a hero, Elad Gil. So how I did that, Elad?

DG: Yeah, it's good, it's nice.

DC: Israeli style. And Elad Gil who's the author of this book is a well- known... I've heard his name forever.

DG: Sure, I've never heard his name.

DC: ...entrepreneur operating exec investor to such companies. You may have heard of some of these. Airbnb.

DG: Heard of them.

DC: Coinbase.

DG: Yes.

DC: Checker.

DG: No.

DC: Gusto.

DG: Yes.

DC: We use Instacart.

DG: Yes.

DC: Opendoor, Pinterest, Square, Stripe, Wish, and others.

DG: Pretty good.

DC: Pretty decent, right?

DG: He's a good guy to follow for a role model.

DC: Previously he was the VP of corporate strategy at Twitter and spent many years at Google, McKinsey, and he graduated from, he has a PhD from MIT right here.

DG: Pretty good.

DC: In sunny Boston. But anyway, he wrote this book. And what I love about this book is that it's a series. I love the style that it's written. It's a series of interviews.

DG: You know what it reminded me of? Remember that book Founders at Work, that Jessica Livingston wrote?

DC: Yes.

DG: It remind me of that.

DC: Shout out to Jessica, yep. And it's very much like that. And he goes into different chapters, like managing the board and hiring a team and all that stuff. But the way that he answers those questions that we all have is not in his own words. It is by conducting a series of interviews with some of the best and brightest that there are out there, right? Oh, look at that. They have even a chapter here on hypergrowth, organizational structure in hypergrowth.

DG: On September 4th, actually.

DC: Yeah, in Boston.

DG: What I love about this book is, and I haven't gotten my way through it yet, but I've read pieces of it-

DC: And this is a book that's made to, you can skim around-

DG: Yes, that's what I was going to say.

DC: areas that you care about.

DG: The beginning of this book, and we're just doing free press out here on Seeking Wisdom today.

DC: Elad, shout it out.

DG: Elad, what's up? He said it's not to be read through, but to flip through it like a guide. And I love that, so I got it the other night, flipped through it, went right to marketing. And it was an interview with the CMO of LinkedIn, Shannon Brayton. And this is why I love this book is because she just talked about her life as a CMO. And she said the role of CMO is to be good at 100 different things, and a CMO can come from a number of different backgrounds. She's a CMO, but her expertise is in communications, not demand gen, not brand expert, not product marketing. So she hires strong in those areas. I love that as an example, because I think that's true in every role. Everybody that's in any department anywhere wants to feel like they have to know everything, right?

DC: Yes, all the time.

DG: If you're going to run engineering, you got to know everything top to bottom. If you're going to run sales, you got to know everything top to bottom. But she made it clear-

DC: Yep, that's wrong.

DG: No, you got to build a team.

DC: That's your job.

DG: You're looking at notes. Are you getting ready for your session?

DC: I'm not looking at notes.

DG: Okay, DC's looking at books on his phone. He's looking for highlights. I know that for a fact. The other thing she said on hiring, which is really powerful, is she said," I always tell my teams, if you were to start with a blank slate, what would your team look like? Don't optimize for one person. It's very easy to say,'Well, we have this person who's great at this,' but you need to think about what moves make sense for the whole company and then figure out if you have the right people."


DG: Yeah.

DC: I would suggest that you read that every night before you go to bed and meditate.

DG: Thank you.

DC: Meditate on that.

DG: I will.

DC: I'm not saying anything. I'm just saying you might want to meditate on that.

DG: It's a good lesson. It's a very good lesson. Number one, Radical Focus by Christina Wodky.

Speaker 5: Wodtke.

DG: Wodtke. You know her!

Speaker 5: Yes.

DG: She's done everything. Lecture at an HCI at Stanford, worked with Yahoo, New York Times on improving their website. She created the LinkedIn newsfeed, led a redesign of MySpace, and led design of the Zynga platform. So that's one of DC's favorites out of this list, and I know that is now one of your favorite people.

Speaker 5: Yep.

DC: What did you think of the book, Radical Focus?

Speaker 5: I love the book because it's not only how to use goals in OKRs, but she has a story in the first half that teaches you exactly how one might use those goals in real life when you're actually working.

DC: Yeah, she uses the Patrick Lencioni, I always say his name wrong, but a kind of parallel style, right, which she mentioned on the podcast of teaching by telling stories.

DG: That's great.

DC: And so that book is great. I can still remember the story and the whole thing that they went through in a way that I will not be able to remember it if it was just facts, facts, facts, facts.

DG: I got to tell you something. This might be my favorite book I've read in a long time.

DC: This is a DC hidden gem.

DG: Hidden gem.

DC: Supermensch.

DG: Hidden gem.

DC: And if you subscribe on YouTube to us and you leave a little comment about this book here, I will post a link to a photo of Becky, our own Becky here who works at Drift-

DG: What?

DC: ...with the Supermensch himself, Shep Gordon, and Alice Cooper.

DG: Come on. When was that?

DC: Are you subscribed to YouTube?

DG: Yeah, I am, actually. I should be.

DC: Okay, so I'll answer you in the comments.

DG: So this book was incredible. DC sent me this a couple months ago and said," Please make Shep Gordon your mentor and study it." And it would have been easy to say," Well, this guy's a rock and roll manager. I don't even like rock and roll. And also what does that have to do with marketing?" crosstalk I learned so much about marketing from this damn book right here. And you've probably seen it. Maybe you've seen the documentary, but the book is phenomenal, because it's his take.

DC: Yeah, there's a Netflix documentary, right?

DG: Yes. So Shep was the manager for Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendegrass. He brought Emeril Lagasse and all the whole celebrity chef movement over here, the Gypsy Kings, and so many more people. I won't tell you all his stories from the book, but this was a lesson for me in reminding myself that the best lessons about marketing don't come from people who actually say they do marketing.

DC: Bingo.

DG: This guy was a PR freaking genius.

DC: Bingo. You nailed it right there. The best lessons in marketing are not in marketing.

DG: They're not in marketing.

DC: No.

DG: No.

DC: They're from people like this who have created something out of nothing, right? If you're into the Cooking Channel, into any celebrity chef, it all traces back to being popularized by my man here, right? Like you said, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roger Verge.

DG: Come on.

DC: Daniel Boulud, like all of these people managed by him. You know who else?

DG: Who?

DC: The late great.

DG: The late great who?

DC: Chef?

DG: Yeah.

DC: Anthony Bourdain.

DG: Oh yeah, that's right. This is a Bourdain book. That's right, he put this book on. Pretty good. Pretty good lineup, pretty good.

DC: So Anthony Bourdain himself-

DG: Pretty good, endorsed this.

DC: ...who managed the late great Anthony Bourdain was managed by Shep Gordon, was a long time friend, and he actually put this together. And if you watch the documentary on this, which is available I believe on Netflix-

DG: It's on Netflix.

DC: ...that was put together by another friend of Shep Gordon-

DG: Mike Myers.

DC: Mike Myers, Right? If you don't know Mike Myers, Austin Powers?

DG: Get to know him.

DC: Get to know him, yeah, a famous comedian. So that says a lot. And this guy did not want to be famous, did not want to write a book, and his friends pushed so hard and believed in him so much, they forced him to write this book and to do the movie.

DG: It's an amazing book. I don't want to give away all the secrets. I'm going to give you one Shep Gordon story.

DC: Don't give away too much.

DG: When he was trying to put Alice Cooper, when he was trying to make him famous, they were in London, in the busiest traffic circle in the city. And he bought a big truck and they put a poster, they put a billboard of Alice Cooper basically naked on it and a massive 18- wheeler truck. And he told the driver," I want you to go in the middle of rush hour and I want you to just break the truck down in the middle of traffic." He goes," I don't care what happens. I'll take care of you. I'll bail you out, whatever."

DC: When you go to prison-

DG: When you go to prison, I got you.

DC: ...I will bail you out.

DG: And I'll write you a big check.

DC: And he did go to prison.

DG: Literally, at rush hour, in the busiest intersection in London, there's a 18- wheeler, they broke it down. It caused massive chaos and hysteria in the city.

DC: The driver went to jail.

DG: The driver went to jail and then they sold out the Alice Cooper show because it had the whole place, whole London being like," Who the hell is this Alice Cooper guy? I got to go to the show."

DC: Exactly, and on every news program. It's amazing.

DG: So if you're going to Dreamforce this year, no, I'm just kidding, break down a giant 18- wheeler. Okay, another one, Powerful, by the real homie, Patty McCord.

DC: Still one of our most popular podcasts ever.

Speaker 5: That one was one of my favorites.

DG: It was amazing. So, Patty, if you don't know, for 14 years, she was head of talent and people at Netflix, and I pulled two Patty McCord quotes because this says everything you need to know about who Patty is in the book. Patty believes, this is from her bio, Patty believes people come to work as fully formed adults with a desire to make an impact and be proud of what they do. And she's on a mission to spread the word that we can do this differently. There's one key word in that paragraph, adults, because that's the whole book, right?

DC: Yep.

DG: And that's her whole mantra if you listen to that podcast.

DC: It's a great book, highly recommend it. We have that in our book club. But I would recommend, the book is like 50%, you have to listen to her. So listen to her on the podcast. The episode will be linked below. Amazing. Still fan favorite. I think it's number one podcast we've ever done. Not because of us, but because of Patty. And then search on YouTube and try to find some talks that she's given. She's just an amazing speaker and it comes through more than that book.

DG: Because you want to talk to her.

DC: She's real.

DG: She doesn't seem corporate. She doesn't seem like who you'd think of as a seasoned HR exec.

DC: Yeah, the first time I met her years ago, I was fascinated because I was like," How does she say all this stuff?" And everyone's like,"Yes!" And I'm like," If I said all this stuff, people would throw stuff at me." I don't know, she can say it in such a great way that she really resonates and can connect with people.

DG: She's awesome.

DC: Note to self, connect with people.


Want to start reading more business and leadership books but aren't sure where to begin? This special episode of Seeking Wisdom is all about DC and DG’s favorite subject – books! Tune into to hear which books have a permanent place on DC’s bookshelf.