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The 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off, and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Gawker tech-blogger and journalist Ryan Tate reveals how businesses can inspire greater creativity and productivity by allowing their employees to pursue their own passions at work. In The 20% Doctrine, Tate examines how companies large and small can incubate valuable innovative advances by making small, specific changes to how work time is approached within their corporat ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by HarperBusiness (first published January 18th 2012)
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Deane Barker
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
A collection of stories about 20% and "skunkworks" projects and what makes them tick.

The stories were interesting -- the first ones were slanted toward tech, and the later stories branched out -- but I was having trouble drawing any common principles out of it. This was remedied somewhat in the conclusion where the author discussed the commonalities which made the projects all tick.

I found myself getting lost in some of the stories -- they're written with a journalistic bent, and I found myself
...more
Lucas
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Early Stage - Building Identity

In the early stage of a side project, you're inspired by a new idea, evaluate that idea, refine it, and begin work. Your experiments are frenzied, your potential seems limitless, and your idea is highly vulnerable to dying as a result of fear, boredom, and neglect.

-Scratch your own itch. Thomas Keller (chef) was inspired to build Ad Hoc because he wanted to relive the old days, when, as he put it, "you work five days a week with the same people every day and you ta
...more
Josh
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: creatives who feel constrained, those that want to do things a better way
Recommended to Josh by: shelf @ UAPL
Shelves: business
interesting read. most of the projects highlighted took place as side projects inside established brands though. of the major projects highlighted, Flickr was the only one that really took place outside of a well established organization such as Google, Yahoo!, NYC Schools or Thomas Keller Restaurant Group (yes, Twitter was mentioned along with its origins - but it was not one of the major, in-depth case studies).

the Huffington Post case study was particularly bothersome to me as an individual
...more
Mary
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
There are valuable lessons in this book, though at times the examples felt like little more than interesting stories and the writing was dry. From 20% time to hack days to volunteerism, there are many ways to explore people's passions and create something awesome. The conclusion does a good job of recapping and tying together the underlying lessons of the stories to help you with a potential passion project.

I appreciate the examples beyond tech to include education and hospitality, showing that
...more
Valentín Muro
Not a particularly well written book, it explores with some liberties its main premise but sometimes fails to show how these stories of success are replicable. It is clear that the author goes a great length to show that all of these projects are somehow connected but that doesn't seem to be always the case.

In spite of those remarks, it's a great read for anyone interested in knowing where all the hackathon frenzy comes from and why the entrepreneurial culture is so eager of embracing what they
...more
DeLace Munger
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It was a good read and it was fun to see what goes on in industries other than my own but I found it very difficult to apply any of the suggestions to my career. It's worth it to know that freedom and innovation go hand in hand. I think it'd be a good read for anyone in the software industry or anything internet related.
Rickey
This supported the concept that innovation has space to develop within time left available for playing around with ideas, new designs and new ways of working. We must be careful not to schedule ourselves too tightly to current processes, projects and points of interest. Future innovations depend on unplanned discoveries.
Michael
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this book as research for a project at work. It covers some of the principles in common to a few different side projects (Google, Huffington Post, etc) but the case studies, with the exception of Google, are at best loosely tied to the main premise.
Andrew Fallows
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As the kind of guy who loves to explore new things and hold traditions loosely, I love Tate's reflections on dedicating time specifically to these things. Lots of lessons that go beyond Google's original conception of 20% time.
Emily Leathers
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not a bad book, but also nothing terribly exciting. I might come back to it at some point just for the completionism because I didn't dislike it - but on the other hand I have so many other things I'd rather learn.
Martin Van
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
About 20% of this book is about 20% time. I found Chapter 3 about hack days to be the most helpful. The book often departs from its thesis and forces in some success stories to fit a "20% time" definition.
Scribbler
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work-stuff
Quick and easy read. Nice story-telling style for the examples (e.g. particularly Huffington Post's "Off The Bus" initiative) interwoven with some basic practical advice to chew on. I will definitely be sharing some of these principles with my team as we seek to crank up our innovation.
Todd
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it


Enjoyed generally but the last two chapters have little to do with an actual 20 percent policy as interesting as the ideas are.
Mary Andrusyk
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
There are probably be some good take-aways in this book but not for me. Once I got bored with the case study stories, I lost interest and didn't finish reading the book
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“Pay attention. Notice which things are working and which aren’t. Experiment and iterate. Question your assumptions. Remember that you are wrong about a lot of things.” 1 likes
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