Andy Grove’s Great Management Book

I was recently reminded of a great book about management written by Andy Grove – High Output Management.  The book was published in 1995 and in it Grove summarizes expansive wisdom gleaned over an incredibly successful career as an engineer, manager and leader, most notably at Intel.  You can pick up the book, or you can listen to it online here for free (listening has become my preferred method of ingesting much of the new content I find – if you haven’t tried podcasts or audio books, give it a try on your smart phone).  I was reminded of this book while listening to one of my more recent favorites – The Hard Thing About Hard Things – by  Ben Horowitz (yes, the a16z Ben Horowitz).  I personally think Ben’s book should be mandatory reading for any new VCs or PE types as well as any budding or new entrepreneur.  It’s a great read (or listen) and is full of practical wisdom.  These two books give you a sense of how to manage – Ben’s particularly so in a VC environment.

So why does a PE independent sponsor investor consume books about being an operator?  Because we need to understand the management teams we partner with, respect them, be able to identify the great ones, and also be able to support and help them.  If you are selling your business to any type of financial buyer, or taking any type of “professional” capital from the outside, I would encourage you to make sure your potential partners have an appreciation for what it takes to be a strong operator, CEO, entrepreneur, etc.  And fundamentally I recommend you make sure they understand how to be exceptional listeners and don’t think they have all the answers.  As Ben or Andy will tell you, managing and leading are hard work.  There are no shortcuts.  And partners who understand that and support you on your journey are critical.  Particularly those who are also your investors.