» booksLandon Howell | A blog about startup marketing

The daily work of leading
posted on Jun 9 2020

Just started Frances Frei and Anne Morriss’s new book Unleashed and it’s off to a great start.

…we discovered that the daily work of leading is much quieter and less dramatic than the leadership stories that had captivated us as children.


The practice of leadership almost always asks you to risk something, but it only sometimes requires a midnight ride or a clutch, buzzer-beating jump shot. And there’s rarely a crowd that goes wild when you get it right.

Frances lead the culture turnaround at Uber in 2017 and she’s a professor at Harvard Business School. I highly recommend listening to this 2017 interview and this June 2020 interview with Kara Swisher.

The book I have recommended for the last 2 years, and will continue to recommend
posted on Jan 9 2012

Rework is a business book that explains who your employees and your bosses age 20-35 do what they do, and/or how you should more effectively run your business, work day, and life.

posted on Nov 2 2010

Just finished Rework on Monday. Brilliant, and the model (for the most part) of what Generation X & Millennials want their jobs to be like, bosses to act like, and job fulfillment to feel like.

If you’ve got any recommendations, shoot ’em.

Clippings from Rework
posted on Jul 20 2010

I purchased Rework over the weekend and can’t put my Kindle down. Below I pulled a few of the chapter titles and quotes that struck a cord.

If you’re in a fast-paced, growing company, you’ll love this book. Those in the tech sector will find the book quite appealing due to the background of the authors. The work is the product of the brains behind the business, and the incredible blog at 37signals.

  • When you build what you need, you can also assess the quality of what you make quickly and directly, instead of by proxy.
  • Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it’s almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute.
  • When you want something bad enough, you make the time—regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it bad enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time. Don’t let yourself off the hook with excuses. It’s entirely your responsibility to make your dreams come true.
  • A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider, and more passionately than any advertising could.
  • If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)
  • A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.
  • Building to flip is building to flop
  • You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy.
  • Embrace the idea of having less mass. Right now, you’re the smallest, the leanest, and the fastest you’ll ever be. From here on out, you’ll start accumulating mass. And the more massive an object, the more energy required to change its direction.
  • You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole.
  • Getting to great starts by cutting out stuff that’s merely good.
  • Whenever you can, swap “Let’s think about it” for “Let’s decide on it.” Commit to making decisions. Don’t wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward.
  • Decisions are progress. Each one you make is a brick in your foundation. You can’t build on top of “We’ll decide later,” but you can build on top of “Done.”
  • Decisions are progress. Each one you make is a brick in your foundation. You can’t build on top of “We’ll decide later,” but you can build on top of “Done.” The problem comes when you postpone decisions in the hope that a perfect answer will come to you later. It won’t. You’re as likely to make a great call today as you are tomorrow.

  • iPad = iCantSleep
    posted on Apr 29 2010

    Gizmodo: Kindle Helps You Sleep, iPad Causes Insomnia

    According to sleep experts, the iPad’s bright LCD display could be hampering your body’s ability to create melatonin. Translation: Insomnia. The Kindle and other e-ink devices, on the other hand, won’t disrupt your sleep cycle.

    Any of you bought an iPad yet? As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure there’s a purchase in my future, though after the 2nd or 3rd Generation iPads (read: better, cheaper, with all the bugs worked out) have been released.

    iPad vs. Kindle vs. Future of Reading
    posted on Apr 12 2010

    One of the best summaries yet.

    Almost everyone who described the iPad as a Kindle killer chose to ignore the fact that no matter how nice and shiny Apple’s screen technology is, it’s still not designed for reading books. Without e-ink, such as that found in the Kindle, you eyes get tired after a few pages – which is fine for replacing a newspaper, but is basically useless for a book.


    The iPad is emphatically not a serious readers’ device: the only people who would genuinely consider it a Kindle killer are those for whom the idea of reading for pleasure died years ago; if it was ever alive. The people who will spout bullshit like “I read on screen all day” when what they really mean is “I read the first three paragraphs of the New York Times article I saw linked on Twitter before retweeting it; and then I repeat that process for the next eight hours while pretending to work.” That’s reading in the way that rubbing against women on the subway is sex.

    And yet, and yet. There’s no doubt that the iPad is a beautiful device for almost everything else. It’s perfect for reading newspapers – Alan Alan Rusbridger’s space-filling fanfic not withstanding – and it’s perfect for email and web browsing and movies and games. If you have to carry around one device – for your commute to work, for an hour in a coffee shop, or on a long-haul flight – then the iPad is the one to carry. Which is precisely why I’m so worried for the future of books, and for reading.

    Delivering Happiness
    posted on Apr 5 2010

    Received my advance copy of Delivering Happiness. The book is authored by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, one of the most successful dot-coms of the last decade.

    The book is set for release on June 7. I’ll be peeling through it over the next few days. Hope to have a review up in the next couple of weeks.

    EBC in CH
    posted on Apr 2 2010

    Photos from the new Elliot Bay Bookstore location are up on Flickr. It’s gorgeous, but not as big as I though it was going to be.

    I finally pulled the trigger on my e-reader
    posted on Mar 30 2010

    Say hi to my new friend.

    After a long search, I’ve selected what was my original crush: the Kindle DX.

    Why? I read articles, blog posts, and PDFs. Lots of them. The Kindle is the premier device that is tried and tested by the gadget and publishing industries’ harshest critics. The DX has a larger screen and can handle the different maps, graphs, tables and Web pages in no-frills fashion. Through the use of the glorious Instapaper, I can save articles during the day and read them from the comfort of my Kindle in the evening.

    But.. but.. but the iPad!
    The iPad is overrated. I addressed my concerns the day it was released. Plus, I want a reading device. One that I can charge once every few weeks, take on trips, and hold comfortably in bed. I don’t need a catch-all device.

    In the future (the not so far future) I foresee Apple working out the kinks in the iPad, producing a more attractive package in a second generation iPad or iMacSlate or iWhatever. When that happens, the $500+ price tag will be much more attractive. For now, the iPad ain’t killing the Kindle.

    In addition, I work at dot-com… I stare at my computer 9+ hours a day at work alone, not to mention the time I spend working and playing on my computer when I get home. The thought of another LED back-lit screen makes my eyeballs itch.

    The Kindle may turnout to be a piece of crap device that I see no value in and rarely use. Or, the Kindle may save my eyeballs and keep me off the computer. (That would make me happy.)

    No matter the case, I’ll keep you updated as time progresses.

    The Resurrection
    posted on Mar 30 2010

    Mark Driscoll and Adrian Warnock talk about the resurrection from Adrian Warnock on Vimeo.

    A good conversation between Adrian Warnock and my pastor Mark Driscoll on the Resurrection of Jesus.

    The primary point: A Christian is one won who believes in the resurrection, and lives with the implications of that.

    I would highly recommend picking up Driscoll’s new book Doctrine. However, if you enjoy video more, the Doctrine series sermons are here for free.