I just finished Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making (Tony Fadell, 416 pages, 2022). This is remarkable book, from a special person.

When I think about great books, especially technical and business ones, the best archetype that pops-up to mind is having a first-hand story told by someone with loads of practical experience, and huge failures and successes accounts.

If you think alike, this is an indispensable book to your list. Tony Fadell started early, got into the “right spot” on his early 20’s, and worked his way up in an industry that went just up just like him. Tony basically worked on early versions of what one day would be the modern smartphone, 15 years before it became a real thing.

And so, when Steve Jobs got back control over Apple and tried desperately rebuilding the broken empire, Tony was at his prime, with a great team alongside, and was able to make the iPod. Some years later, he did the same again by leading the first two versions of the iPhone.

If that was not enough, he went on creating Nest after leaving Apple in 2008, which was later sold to Google in 2014 for 3.2B USD.

So, in terms of CV, it is very hard to beat someone like him. And it turns out that he is also very prolific in ideas and management style. Of course, he is also somewhat product of his time and shares different ideas of corporate cultures he was integrated to and co-creator of. But his vision on Apple and its style (like in the “visionary asshole” concept) and Google (which has too many perks spoiling its people and culture, according to Tony) also shows his critical thinking on two of the mammoths of our technological age.

And I’m not exactly sure how it may have been to work for someone like Tony. But I’m sure that people like him are the ones behind many of the central pieces of hardware we can’t simply live our lives without anymore. Not that he would do much alone, single-handedly, but the ones like Tony are almost a sine-qua-non to push people (lots of people!) to building really innovative products. And that’s why I love this book, and its honest approach on how hard it is to make things worth making.