Ready To Level Up In 2020? These Are The Books & Podcasts To Get You There From Drift’s Leadership Team

At Drift, we’re big, BIG, readers. So much so, we have a Drift Book Club and our CEO regularly shares his favorite reads. So we wanted to know what some of the senior leadership team at Drift is reading to get 2020 started off on the right foot. Here are their must-read books for this year and beyond, plus some podcasts for your listening pleasure.

Must-Read Books For 2020

What you do is who you are

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

By Ben Horowitz

“The Drift Leadership Principles exist to make our decisions a little bit easier. We think of them as a toolbox we can use to make the best choice for our customers, get unstuck and move as fast as possible. Part of my job is to think about how we can make Drift the best possible place to work – and so I’m constantly reflecting on what has gone well and what hasn’t.

One thing that has helped me with this recently is Ben Horowitz’s new book, What You Do is Who You Are. If you have not read it – it’s a must-read. The key thing for me with this book is its focus on “business” culture – business being the key word here. There are so many books written for people leaders about culture, but this is written for business leaders. Ben’s authenticity is refreshing and necessary, especially if you find yourself working in a hypergrowth company.”

– Dena Upton, VP People 

Favorite Podcast: The Stories and Code of Culture Change

The Last Lion

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

By William Manchester

“This is the last part of the expansive biography on Winston Churchill. Understanding how he was able to successfully lead a nation of people during unimaginable conditions in the midst of World War II is inspiring. It’s a must-read for any aspiring leader.” 

– Josh Allen, Chief Revenue Officer

Favorite Podcast: Business Wars

The Principles of Product Development Flow

The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development

By Donald G. Reinertsen

“This book challenges the status quo of product development and describes the principles behind scaling a productive product development org. It challenges what we know and encourages the reader to think of a new, better way.”

– Craig Daniel, VP Product 

Favorite Podcast: Exponent with Ben Thompson and James Allworth 

Dare to lead

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

By Brené Brown

“So often we think about management as the systems you put in place, the habits great leaders instill to be more productive, etc. Brené Brown talks about the other side of the coin of management. How to create an environment and team culture people will love and do their best work within. As well as how to lead and be an example for your teams.”

– Kate Adams, VP Marketing

Setting the table

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

By Danny Meyer

“The lessons that famous restaurateur Danny Meyer shares are more important than ever for any business leader. Meyer tells his personal story and discusses his philosophy on “hospitality” vs “service.” The idea is powerful – hospitality is how the delivery of the product makes recipients feel. In a world where power has shifted from companies to customers, every business leader must master this concept in 2020.”

– Adam Schoenflend, VP Strategy, General Manager, Drift Video

Favorite Podcast: The Moment with Brian Koppelman

Trillion Dollar Coach

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

By Eric Schmidt

“There are dozens of lessons in this book all powerfully taught through storytelling. It’s a great read for anyone – from a seasoned leader to someone who’s just starting out. It’s a blueprint for hypergrowth leadership.”

– Mark Kilens, VP Content & Community

Favorite Podcast: The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

“This book is all about building meaningful relationships and high-performing teams. It’s a must-read.”

Will Collins, VP Operations

Favorite Podcast: The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors


Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

By Patty McCord

“Whether you’re an individual contributor or leader of an organization, this is a great read. Patty captures how to keep the humanity in our interactions with each other and how to use honesty and transparent communication to your advantage. She teaches the reader that they’re not something to be afraid of.

We’ve tried to practice this at Drift and, while we’re nowhere near perfect, we try to make sure our employees are aware of both the successes and challenges in the company and, more specifically, the precise role each team member plays in addressing these challenges.

Lastly, I love her call out of startup culture…‘Employees don’t want to be entertained, they want to be challenged and given the opportunity to learn.’

The more we as leaders focus on solving problems and hearing the feedback from the team on what is and isn’t working, the quicker our employees and company as a whole will grow and succeed.”

 – Armen Zildjian, VP Sales

 Favorite Podcast: Zero to IPO

“Patty does a great job being real and telling it how it is and how it should be. This book is perfect for a fast-paced startup that is looking to build a culture of trust and transparency. That’s not easy to do when things are ever-changing and it’s difficult to manage with so many different personalities. Patty provides the reader with ways to manage through that change. She talks about managing teams with integrity, radical candor and clear communication. Her wit and honesty are what every HR professional should aim for.”

– Michelle Pietsch, VP Sales

 Favorite Podcast: Zero to IPO

Looking for more great podcasts? Check out the HYPERGROWTH Network from Drift here.

HYPGERGROWTH Podcast Network