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Publisher's Summary

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In her new book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.  

McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR—annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs—often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.   

Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.

©2017 Patty McCord (P)2017 Missionday

What listeners say about Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good HR criticism - wrong alternative solutions

I think the author makes a really good point in regards to old HR practices that have no link to the business and are not even good for people. However looking one to one the alternatives suggested... well you’re only left with anew problem. Saying that one example of friend shows that engagement has no link to company success clearly shows how ill informed the book is. Yes obsession with any metric or practice is never good but doing away with all practices without clearly suggesting what works is dangerous advise.

She does make a good point explaining the benefits of candid feedback, proactively letting go of people and excellent hiring. The overall message let’s me with a taste of taking people as commodities, yes you will treat them with respect but you dispose with them as soon as something better comes across.

Yes employees should be the drivers of their own careers, but companies benefit hugely helping them build up their competencies for a future we don’t yet know. How can you find outside the skills needed for something you as a company are creating...

A pity that such good criticism of HR turns out so flawed

7 people found this helpful

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Brilliant & Insightful

I was first “introduced” to Patty listening to ‘This Week In Startups,’ a Podcast w/ Jason Calacanis. After listening to her episode I immediately downloaded the book and loved it. Great insights you can immediately incorporate into your current company culture. Very well written and very well read.👌🏼

7 people found this helpful

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Glad I have never worked there

Book about extreme competitiveness, rudeness disguised as “truth”, silver coating treating badly employees as focus on customers. I have bad feelings when I watch anything from Netflix nowadays.

2 people found this helpful

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Quick Read, Great Read

Insightful, interesting and easy to comprehend. A great read for those who plan to build or manage a team. It's not a family, it's a team.

2 people found this helpful

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Inspiring but not very insightful on practices

The book is very inspiring and also suiting as you understand that building a high productive culture is a process with lots of mistakes. Still, she does not give much of concrete advice on how to build your own culture but more guidelines. Still, I find it though provoking and useful.

2 people found this helpful

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Challenged My View of HR Role

This was an interesting story that challenged my view of HR’s role for the business and employees. I highly recommend it to anyone, even experienced HR partners!

1 person found this helpful

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Struggled with her approach to culture...

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Some concepts I was already familiar with, from reviewing the Netflix deck multiple times. However, I was taken aback by some of her comments throughout the book: I simply don't like her approach.

Would you be willing to try another book from Patty McCord? Why or why not?

No.

Could you see Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

1 person found this helpful

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Great insight and ideas.

This was a great narration which shared some d
great insights and examples.

I really enjoyed it.

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Exceptional read

So inspirational and informational. I read it twice and recommended it to our HR head and CEO.

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Awesome Story and Takeaways for Immediate Company Improvement

The story of culture building through the lens of one of the recent major market disruptions was very eye opening and telling of what it takes to build a great company. This is a book every business owner and HR professional should read.

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  • Seb
  • 03-13-19

Short. Packed with thought provoking goodness

Patty has done. If culture is the strategy of the way we work, Patty is Silicon Valley's Sun Tzu.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Manelle M
  • 02-18-18

Loved it!

Loved this book! Eye opening and many Agh-Huh moments. The examples are very relatable. HR advice for fast moving, competitive businesses of today. Mother-Hen HR is no more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Razvan Suta
  • 02-01-22

sublime

i recall listening 2 years ago, was quite revealing.
now I am actually in a company that puts lots of emphasis on culture.
will re listen to it for sure

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-21

VERY INSIGHTFUL

A fantatic book that gives readers an insight into how a successful business is built. Freedom and responsibility is definitely culture I plan on implementing immediately into my business.

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  • Karl
  • 08-28-20

Wonderful insights

Into what powers Netflix, its people.
At just under 5 hours packed with guidance on motivating a startup crew through IPO and beyond. I plan re-listen in case I missed anything, Patty’s delivery adds an extra dimension.
Recommended for people managers aspiring to lead, not manage. Thanks Patty !!

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  • msdmcdonald
  • 06-07-20

Calling all HR Professionals!

Patty McCord is a true breath of fresh air! The CO-CEO at the company I would for recommended this book and I’m so glad he did. Patty brings a unique perspective and take on culture. An excellent book that should be listened to or read, by all HR professionals.

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  • Weronika Opalka
  • 05-04-20

read it if you like people management and agility

I really enjoyed going through this book as my business professor recommended it to me a while ago. It gave a really interesting insight on Netflix's organisation and what made it so successful in recent years! Patty did an amazing job in telling the stories from her experience in Netflix. Now I realise how challenging strategy change for business growth is. Patty gives lots of useful tips for managing HR with honesty!

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  • varun
  • 04-08-19

easy read and insightful

it's a good read. writer's approach is different from other traditional thinkers and yet effective.. enjoyed it and learnt new lessons...

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  • Ben
  • 08-20-18

Great read

Really enjoyed this book. One that gets you thinking and motivated to do something about it!

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  • Mr David Igoe
  • 08-10-18

Different perspective

I'm familiar with the Netflix culture so this was a bit of a slow burner (first 3 chapters.) However, the HR angle on hiring and building a great sports teams was really insightful and made me question numerous assumptions.

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  • Norman
  • 08-05-21

Brief but comprehensive

This book touched on many topics in a short and concise manner. It was an easy listen with lots of related stories.

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  • bux
  • 09-19-20

Good snappy read

Great listen.
Strong message, direct and relevant to those who lead or wish to.

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  • Sobin
  • 06-07-19

Another awesome book for startups

Patty McCord the former chief talent officer at Netflix. She co created Netflix culture deck.
This book is about for people who are interested HR, Team leaders, managers d executives.
It gives you an insight of how Patty and Reed Hastings together build the culture of Netflix... So many gold nuggets in this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-13-19

good

did not finish it as there was very little new or enlightened within the first 5 chapters or so.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-19

How to make a difference

Highly recommend! an interesting audio for anyone wanting to make a difference in the system. Easy to listen to, many good points. Would accompany with the book "Beyond Civilization" by Daniel Quinn and the audible "The Culture Code- the secrets of highly successful groups" by Daniel Coyle

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-16-19

Great story, not sure about the performance

This book came highly recommended to me and after listening to some of Patty McCord's interviews I thought I'd give it a shot. I really enjoyed the story, however Patty's reading was a little robotic. I found that Patty sounded disconnected from the words and 'just reading', which sounded so different to her interviews - there was much more personality during her interviews on this book.

Must add that I'm not a big reader and this was my first experience with an audiobook iso don't have much to compare with.

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  • Fargeot
  • 01-26-19

Interesting take

Insteresting take on Culture and HR as a whole. Some innovative ideas I'd agree with, some where I'd be more on the fence as it feels it is not taking some elements into account. Still very glad I read it.

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  • Joshua
  • 11-26-18

A must read for all team leaders

Amazing content coupled with great narration. Highly recommended. Lots of great insights into how to approach people and culture within the organisation.

If you lead teams or have aspirations to, this book will disrupt the traditional convention of what you think (largely due to our experiences) and provide good food for thought.

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  • raj
  • 10-15-18

great book

loved it, great insight and love the narration. thought provoking, my organizations going through some of the transformation. book really helped thinking outside of the box

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  • KKOK
  • 02-05-18

Absolutely must listen/read for any manager

Would you listen to Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility again? Why?

I'm a wheels and handles girl - it had some many practical tips I could implement right away

What did you like best about this story?

It came from a richness and depth of experience. You knew, she wasn't telling you things she "thought might be a good idea" but rather - these were things I tried, out of lots of things I tried and these were the things that worked and why

Have you listened to any of Patty McCord and Alex Hyde White ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

This is a fantastic book, I have recommended it to everyone that I know would be interested. If you're on the fence, jump off it and get it. There is so much good stuff in it, I've written notes and notes of things and I know I'll be re-reading again.
Thank you Patty - I was really inspired!