Sometimes it’s great to read books when they come out, sometimes it’s better to wait. Having not read Small Giants before, I’m glad I waited until now to get to it as the 10th anniversary edition packs in a lot of additional content.
Want to thank my boy Anton for recommending this book to me back in December while hanging out in Mexico on a Sumo Retreat. Perfect segue into mentioning that AppSumo and SumoMe are hiring for a variety of roles. I’m so very fortunate to get to work on amazing things with a group of talented folks that make me want to be a better me.
Okay, so back to the book. Small Giants is about companies that opted to be great organizations instead of just throwing bodies at problems for the sake of it. Sure the title already says that, but it really can’t be stressed enough. Success can’t be measured by the number of of employees you have, especially if everybody hates working there.
Like most books of this nature, there were some stories that were quite compelling and others I could have really done without. The take away about most of the companies is that they were predominately private companies and they valued their employees as much, if not more than their customers.
Sure, you can be a behemoth like Google and still provide lunches and shit like that for your employees. But at that scale do Larry and Sergey know everybody by name? The fuck they do, and that’s what separates the great companies in this book from the Googles and Facebooks of the world that just throw benefits at employees.
With that said, staying small doesn’t necessarily make you great. What made these companies great was the fact that they had founders that felt culture was important. So much so that most of the companies that lost their founders lost the soul and culture that made them great.
This was one of those books that I feel like I probably need to read it every year or so just to make sure that I don’t forget the lessons. If you’ve read the original and haven’t read the 10th anniversary edition, I’d highly recommend picking it up.
Oh look, I made it easy, here’s a link: