The Bill Gates book club has a new addition.
The co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Gates Foundation has written a testimonial for John Doerr’s Measure What Matters, saying it’s a good choice “for anyone interested in becoming a better manager”.
The book focuses on a management system called OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), which is based on the ideas of Intel’s Andy Grove, who Gates says was a big influence on his own management style.
Doerr, a venture capitalist and chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has long worked with Gates on a variety of projects. In the book, though, he discussed the lasting impact a one-hour meeting with Grove had on him. In particular, he writes, employees were judged less on their expertise in a subject and more on their achievements.
“It almost doesn’t matter what you know… To claim that knowledge was secondary and execution all-important—well, I wouldn’t learn that at Harvard,” writes Doerr in the book. “I found the proposition thrilling, a real-world affirmation of accomplishment over credentials. But Grove wasn’t finished, and he had saved the best for last. Over a few closing minutes, he outlined a system he’d begun to install in 1971, when Intel was three years old. It was my first exposure to the art of formal goal setting. I was mesmerized.”
Gates is arguably an even bigger fan of Grove, saying “I studied several of the business books he wrote early on, and Microsoft adopted some of the methods that Intel used. I consider Andy one of the great business leaders of the 20th century.”
When Gates likes a book, he’s not shy about sharing it. In the past few years, he has talked up Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity and Business Adventures by John Brooks.