Book Cover - Book Review: Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell

The football coach that changed the face of Silicon Valley

Numerous academic studies show that a company’s people should be treated as an asset. This book shows how, through the story of Bill Campbell.

Bill Campbell coached Google’s senior team, Steve Jobs, the CEOs of Intuit, eBay, Twitter, Al Gore, executives at Facebook, the board of Stanford University, to name just a few. But Bill Campbell preferred to stay in the shadows and let the spotlights shine on others, as acknowledged by Adam Grant in the preface. Bill measured his success based on other’s successes. But Bill passed away in 2016 and time has come for them to pay tribute to him to make sure his teaching lasts for future generations of leaders.

Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle, coauthors of How Google Works, and top executives in the firm of Mountain View, decided to take on the challenge. A delicate task. I wouldn’t not have been in their shoes because writing such a book must be very hard. To help them in this endeavor, the authors interviewed dozens of people to understand how Bill profoundly touched their life in one way or another. The book is full of poignant anecdotes, profound insights, practical teachings, and compassion. Human values are at the heart of the book, as they should be in any company. All aspiring leaders will benefit from this book.

Coaching plays an important role for teams to act as communities, where each team member feels safe in order for them to collectively do what’s good for the company and face the world challenges. Coaching is different from mentoring (what do most coaches do in the workspace). It’s not spreading words of wisdom, but get your hands dirty to help others reach their potential. Coaching is part of the work of any leader. It’s not a book for coaches, it’s a book for managers for them to be the leader their team deserves. Your job title makes you a manager. Your team makes you a leader. Read this book.

In the end, I think this book is very different from the book Bill Campbell could have written, but the fact is he didn’t choose to take up his pen. We must be grateful to the authors that did a wonderful editing work. I loved reading Trillion Dollar Coach, and I am sure you will too.

About the author

Julien Sobczak works as a software developer for Scaleway, a French cloud provider. He is a passionate reader who likes to see the world differently, to better understand the extent of his ignorance. His main areas of interest are productivity (doing less and better), human potential, and everything that contributes in being a better person (and a better developer).

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