HR Leaders From Netflix & Pinterest Think You Should Read These Books

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HR Leaders From Netflix & Pinterest Think You Should Read These Books

Ever wonder what the people in charge of all the hiring, promoting, and firing—are actually thinking? What’s top of mind for them, and where are they finding inspiration?

Running a world-class organization is fairly straightforward says former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord,  “It’s almost always about putting together incredible teams that do amazing work on time,” she said in her keynote address at the recent Greenhouse OPEN Conference in New York City. “And that’s everybody’s job.”

So, how can employees who don’t necessarily spend their days focused on human resources channel insight from those who do? We asked McCord (author of Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility) and a handful of other HR experts what book they think is most important to understanding today’s biggest issues. Here are a few of their recommended reads.

For understanding and addressing what’s not working

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

“There are a bunch of HR words that really kinda nauseate me. Empowerment is one of them. Know why we have to go around empowering everyone now? Because we took it all away . . .  It’s an issue of healthy, happy workforces. We can’t have our salesforce be a bunch of frat guys . . . We [women] own the conversations around harassment and issues at work, so we can start talking about it and doing it every day. This is as natural a conversation as technology is. Be powerful.”
– Patty McCord, author and former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix

For reimagining how you recruit:

Grit by Angela Duckworth
Mindset by Carol Dweck
The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose

“These three books go hand in hand in helping create a better understanding of why certain inequities occur. It’s validation that hiring for achievement and experience in itself doesn’t produce a better workforce. Together, they’ve challenged me to think: How do we change the way we evaluate for talent? How do we create recruiting processes that move away from pattern-matching and using experience as a proxy for good? We need to evaluate for future greatness.”
– Richard Cho, Head of Recruiting at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

For unlocking your potential as a manager

Mindset by Carol Dweck

“Diving into our work around diversity, we were getting questions like, ‘What’s the best thing I can do? What should I read? What can I learn?’ As a manager, if you read Mindset by Carol Dweck you’re going to hopefully solve a lot of problems – or at least gain awareness of where to develop. We gave copies to everyone going through a ‘train-the-trainer’ training we’re doing to reduce unconscious bias.
– Candice Morgan, Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Pinterest

For getting shit done

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

“It’s a guide to making better decisions. In a world with a lot of stress and competing priorities, knowing what to do when is critical.”
– Dan Schawbel, New York Times bestselling author

For building great relationships

Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

“It’s one of the best books about building high-performance work relationships – in terms of hiring, leadership, management, and culture – that I’ve ever read.”
– Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse

Katie Sanders is a freelance writer and editor whose reporting pursuits have brought her to Norwegian prisons, JDate, and the White House South Lawn. She launched and edited Jopwell’s The Well, and her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Refinery29, Forbes, and Seventeen, among other outlets. Follow her on Twitter at @katiessanders.