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Publisher's Summary

Listen to hilarious stories with serious lessons that Michael Lopp extracts from his varied and sometimes bizarre experiences as a manager at Apple, Pinterest, Palantir, Netscape, Symantec, Slack, and Borland. Many of the stories first appeared in primitive form in Lopp’s perennially popular blog, Rands in Repose. The third edition of Managing Humans contains a whole new season of episodes from the ongoing saga of Lopp's adventures in Silicon Valley, together with classic episodes remastered for high fidelity and freshness. 

Whether you're an aspiring manager, a current manager, or just wondering what the heck a manager does all day, there is a story in this book that will speak to you - and help you survive and prosper amid the general craziness of dysfunctional bright people caught up in the chase of riches and power. Scattered in repose among these manic misfits are managers, an even stranger breed of people who, through a mystical organizational ritual, have been given power over the futures and the bank accounts of many others.  

Lopp's straight-from-the-hip style is unlike that of any other writer on management and leadership. He pulls no punches and tells stories he probably shouldn't. But they are magically instructive and yield Lopp’s trenchant insights on leadership that cut to the heart of the matter - whether it's dealing with your boss, handling a slacker, hiring top guns, or seeing a knotty project through to completion. 

Writing code is easy. Managing humans is not. You need a book to help you do it, and this is it. 

You'll learn to: lead engineers, handle conflict, hire well, motivate employees, manage your boss, discover how to say no, understand different engineering personalities, build effective teams, run a meeting well, and scale teams. 

Who This Book Is For 

Managers and would-be managers staring at the role of a manager wondering why they would ever leave the safe world of bits and bytes for the messy world of managing humans. The book covers handling conflict, managing wildly differing personality types, infusing innovation into insane product schedules, and figuring out how to build a lasting and useful engineering culture.

©2016 Michael Lopp (P)2020 Upfront Books

What listeners say about Managing Humans

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Blog turned book

If you're looking for the latest management science, with enlightening studies boiled down to easily digestible takeways, this isn't it.

If you're looking for "biting and humorous tales", this isn't it either. It's actually not very story-heavy.

Its origin as a blog explains why this feels less cohesive than a book written from the ground up.

Well, what IS this then?

This is one person with software leadership experience giving his personal point of view on how management in IT works. He never uses commonly accepted terms when he can create and name his own concepts, requiring you to then remember both the concept and his name for it. For example, he uses the term "free electrons" several times in the book, only defining it in one of the last chapters as a truly exceptional super-genius engineer (others might refer to them as 10x engineers) that handles massive amounts of complex work in very short amounts of time. Speaking of, one of his pieces of advice is that if you're behind schedule and your team lacks the technical expertise needed, the ideal solution is to get one of this "free electrons" - even though he admits they are so rare that a manager will likely only see, at most, a couple of them in their entire career.

I'm sure he's a great leader in his own way, but not all of his advice meshed with me. Such as that he is most effective at concentrating when he is doing five things at once, and that one of his habits is to hire someone to clean the house, and then to spend an hour a week readjusting exactly how his mess is arranged once the cleaning is done.

To be fair, much of the book attempts to be tactical, practical advice you can start using right away, so some people will get benefit from it.

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a little too punchy

There's some good stuff in here, I found the bits about managing I'm part 1 well balanced. My issue is that the overall tone of the book was that of a dying breed of a know-it-all SV success who doesn't mind "telling you how it is" and ruffling a few feathers along the way. There's nothing winsome about the author's delivery, and at times the advice comes off as downright stereotypical judgements. Maybe there's wisdom lost for the tech industry when this archetype retires or goes FT into VC work, but I'm not mourning the loss.

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Practical hands on info delivered humorously

Very engaging. High information density. The author tells the stories both from the perspective of the manager and the managed. The narration was also really good, I already added another book from the same narrator to my wish list.

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Entertaining yet educational

This book has a realer and lighter approach to engineering management. It’s a great break from other more serious engineering management books out there.

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Profile Image for Oleh Momot
  • Oleh Momot
  • 09-24-20

The title says it all

I really struggled to figure out whether the voice was automated by text-to-speech or it's dictated by robot. The overall content is indeed anecdotes about software engineering. Despite that, I like the authors games in the meeting with role detections and 'how to bail' check list. Also, the NED syndrome is memorable and remarkable. The book structure is a bit confusing, but it could be read story by story.

2 people found this helpful