Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels” as Want to Read:
The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  18,275 ratings  ·  1,007 reviews
Since its original release, The First 90 Days has become the bestselling globally acknowledged bible of leadership and career transitions. In this updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition, internationally known leadership transition expert Michael D. Watkins gives you the keys to successfully negotiating your next movewhether youre onboarding into a new company, being ...more
Hardcover, Updated and Expanded Edition, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published September 18th 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First 90 Days, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,275 ratings  ·  1,007 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
Erika RS
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, leadership
I think I must not be the target audience for this book because I found it dull. The book had a number of useful techniques but it was definitely targeted toward leaders in more traditional companies than my workplace. I would like to read a book with fundamentally the same content but written for folks in the more casual parts of the software industry.

Since I did find the book useful but boring, I include a detailed summary below.

The first 90 days after a transition are critical for
...more
Themistocles
Nov 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, let's put it this way: if you need this book, then you obviously have no place in managing anything, and your pet goldfish is probably already dead out of neglect and lack of food.

Really?? Is this one of the best business books of the last years? Published by Harvard Press? For the love of god... As Dilbert would say, I was blinded by the obvious time and again and got tired of the oh-so-original (NOT!) charts and diagrams very soon. What practical advice the author gives could have been
...more
Ryan
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm very skeptical of business books - I see them as slightly more serious versions of Get Rich Quick books and Self Help books. But this was actually helpful. As someone who's worked in less traditional office and business settings, starting a new job in a real organization would be a very different experience. The First 90 Days provided some productive ways of thinking about how offices and coworker and boss relationships work. It also gave strategies of thinking about how to hit the ground ...more
Bob Selden
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a keen student of new manager behaviour always on the lookout for new ideas, I picked up The First 90 Days with great anticipation. Michael Watkins sets out to provide new managers (he calls them leaders) with a 90 day plan for taking over in a new role. Theres lots to recommend this book. Theres also lots to question.

In The First 90 Days, the author stresses the importance of building momentum during the critical transition phase from new manager to successful manager. A 90 day acceleration
...more
Edyth
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The First 90 Days is now one of my favorites, right up there with Leadership 2.0 (a must-read for leaders). This book is a great and practical guide to help any leader transition into a new job, position, and organizationwithin 90 days (a critical timeframe to be considered as hitting the ground running). Theres a checklist at the end of every chapter to help you absorb key lessons, apply them to your situation, and tailor them to your own transition plan. The book is loaded with practical ...more
Alex Duncan
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must for people in career transition.
Kristine Morris
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
If I was transitioning into a more senior role and I read this book, I think I'd quit before I even got started. There's a lot of organizational development, change management, people management, knowledge management, to scare anyone off - especially if you are trying to get a handle on these things in the first 90 days! While it proposes that the 90 day strategy is useful for managers at all levels, it is skewed towards senior levels and Watkins' advice "even if this doesn't apply to you, read ...more
Scott
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The First 90 Days is focused on providing proven strategies for effectively getting through transitions from one job to another job or one company to another. The book is marketed at professionals in all levels of an organization, but there is a secondary emphasis on those in a leadership role. Dont let that worry you if you are not in a formal leadership role. This book will still be helpful for you. I have read this book when I moved from a management position in one company to another. I read ...more
Robert Chapman
The saying goes that you have 90 days in a new job or position to make an impact and demonstrate competence. This book is all about how to create and execute against a 90 day plan to ensure a successful transition.

Four specific types of transitions are covered in detail with examples of both success and failure and the conditions which contributed to the end result.

The four types of transitions are called the STaRS model:
start-up
turnaround
re-alignment
sustaining success

Each of these
...more
Amy
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, management
One of these days I am going to stop reading these business books with the blind hope that one will click. They all just sound the same: practical if you're joining some startup as a CEO and happen to be a Harvard yuppie, but not really for normal people.
And if you're a Harvard yuppie, I'm assuming you learned all this in class anyway.
As someone starting a new job I figured I'd finally knock this one off my to-read list. And it was fine. I probably gleaned a few nuggets in there. But not as
...more
Nina Ive
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This was recommended to me over a year ago and as I am preparing for a next step career move I thought I would give it a go. I found it easy to read and immensely practical. In most instances the examples are obvious. Like when you know in your head the types of things you should do, but you end up just forgetting and reverting to normal behaviour!

This book is designed to give a structured approach to changing that behaviour, setting you up for success. Each chapter has a summary of points,
...more
Emily Polson
Feb 08, 2019 added it
Shelves: self-help
I never would have picked this up on my own, but my dad sent it to me because he thought it might be helpful as I transitioned to my new job. In the spirit of father-daughter relationships, I read it--and surprisingly found it more helpful than I expected, considering it was written for managers and I just started a job as an assistant. Here were a few of my takeaways:

On onboarding:
-You won't succeed in your new position just "by continuing to do what you did in your previous job only more
...more
Ashraf Bashir
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a book! It's a management encyclopedia, not only for onboarding to new positions, but for later challenges as well! Every chapter contains tons of gems, no lengthy stories, no theoretical speeches, no rosy-world where angels are singing around, instead you get detailed explanation backed up with strong practical and pragmatic reason, based on long experience in management. A real treasure that I will read again and again. Won't help unless you are above middle level of management (manager ...more
Emily
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, nonfiction, work
Obviously, I should circle back and review this book more thoroughly in a few months. But it seemed useful to me. When you start a new job as an individual contributor, you mostly have to figure out the subject material and your boss, which is relatively straightforward and can unfold at its own pace. But if you have direct reports, you need to figure out what you're doing, what you should ask them to do, how to operate in a new culture, how much to change how fast, and how to work with your ...more
Vince Wu
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


I think you'll find this book by Watkins quite disappointing if you're expecting some extraordinary insight on how to successfully take on a new role. This book isn't a summary of theory backed up by research. Nor is it a collection of motivating war stories.

This book is much more suitable if treated as a checklist. Assuming you agree that having a strategy is critical to successfully transitioning to a new role, how do you go about formulating this strategy? How do you make sure you've
...more
Steve Sarner
Dec 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This was a helpful book. It validated many things I already knew but did not offer too many new ideas. The systems and processes recommended for getting started are generally simple common sense approaches.

That said, I think it is a great book for someone earlier in their career. I really could have used this many years ago when I inherited a senior team with a promotion. It offers sound and practical advice for situations of this nature and many others. It is a very solid read for a first time
...more
Said AlMaskery
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
One of the best books to read when you go through a career shift!
Scott Maclellan
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By the time I finished chapter 2, I already knew this was one of the best books I have ever read.

In the weeks since I started reading it, I have reread almost every chapter with both audiobook and e-book. This was to reinforce the takeaways and keep my own 90 day plan on track as I embark on my first manager job.

While it is still applicable to a first time manager, it is likely best suited to more senior managers switching between companies. The examples are primarily managers of managers.
...more
Ioana
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Quite uninteresting and superficial, approaching a variety of topics broadly, without sufficient focus. Perhaps this just wasn't a book for me - I am afraid I didn't get any insightful tips from this book. It was okay, there was nothing wrong with the book per say, it just wasn't for me. In my opinion, its target audience being deemed as leaders is a bit strange. Regardless of position and role, these tips genuinely apply to everyone making a career transition - we all want to have a positive, ...more
Rafael Rosa
## TL;DR
Provides some structure to how to approach a new management job, with useful "reminder lists", but nothing out of this world. If you're new to management or looking to improve your political skills on higly hierarchical organizations it might be useful. The author is too forceful trying to sell his ideas and focus a lot on adapting to the environment and only rock the boat when needed, which is an approach I dislike.

## Opinion
Not bad as management books go, he provides useful check-lists
...more
Lloyd
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-kindle, own, business
Mostly VP-Level Advice

The book starts with valuable questions and understanding that every job seeker should consider. I'd suggest using this material directly when interviewing possible employers.

There is information and tools throughout the book for us looking to set off on the best foot at our new job and find the cadence of our coworkers and business. But if we are not in a senior leadership position then the trail markers are not all there and well be putting in extra miles to find content
...more
Lauren R
I don't get the fuss about this book. I read the full book and then a year later read a "getAbstracts" cliff notes version of it. I found the cliff notes version much more useful and practical. That said, none of the advice felt very novel or groundbreaking to me. Would recommend to someone very early in their career
Robin Peake
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work, management
A super helpful book at a time of transition. Gave me permission to do things differently.
Alexandra
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This seemed pretty obvious to me? Seems like basic social skills and tact with the exception of STARS which I rather enjoyed - understanding who you are as it relates to what kind of job you excel at.

Startup
turnaround
accelerating growth
realignment
sustain success
Anselmo Martelini Junior
The first two chapter gave me some insights (not a lot) that I am using in my current transition. They talk about:
- how to make the mental transition and to prepare yourself for the new role/job
- how to speedup your learning process

But that's it. Even a book not aiming at transitions like "Work Rules!" gave me more insights.
Pei Koon
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Common sensical book but it's easy for people to miss the key points that Watkins puts forward when they are in the midst of a tumultuous phase such as a transition. Definitely very useful for people entering the business world, but I can see some phrases and some generalized lessons applicable for everyone.
Caitlin
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The First 90 Days is an excellent primer for managers transitioning to a new role, whether it's the first time or just a new role. Each section deals with a different aspect of the transition, with the focus on being up to speed within the first 90 days (hence the title). Each section begins with a practical example (some good, some bad) of the theme for the chapter and ends with a checklist of questions to apply to your own situation.

As a first time manager, this was invaluable to me. I've
...more
Vinod Peris
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by my boss at Cisco, Shailesh Shukla, when I took on a new role as head of engineering for MARSBU. If you are curious about the acronym, yes, it is the Business Unit from MARS. I opened the book and randomly landed on page 115 which had a section titled "Educate your Boss"; that definitely made this a must read.

The book is definitely a quick read and I had to pace myself so that I don't read it all in a couple of sittings and quickly forget all that I had read. There are
...more
Sebastian Gebski
TBH it looks a bit corpo-ish: personally I wouldn't reach for it, but it was a recommendation.

Content-wise, it's better than expected - it depicts an approach (w/o building over-sophisticated "frameworks" or "toolkits") to effectively enter the new role/position. It doesn't focus on any particular industry or position, but surprisingly: it's not an issue. The first few chapters totally grasp it - all the trickiest aspects: building relationships, adjusting to the context (STARS model), sane
...more
Shahine Ardeshir
Three separate individuals on hearing that I was moving into a new organization recommended that I read this book. And very shortly into it, I could see why.

This book is, quite simply, an excellent do-it-yourself manual for anyone whos moving roles, either within or outside their current organization. It is a simple read, that doesnt need flowery language or complicated models to give it credibility. Its based on a lot of extremely solid research. And most importantly, it lays out, chapter by
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Becoming A Leader 3 11 Dec 31, 2017 12:38PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
  • The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
  • Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
  • Winning
  • You're in Charge, Now What?: The 8 Point Plan
  • First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
  • Strengths Finder 2.0
  • Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't
  • Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: A Landmark Study of Great Leaders, Teams, and the Reasons Why We Follow
  • Measure What Matters
  • Leading Change
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You
  • What to Do When You're New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts...
26 likes · 8 comments
“To be successful, you need to mobilize the energy of many others in your organization. If you do the right things, then your vision, your expertise, and your drive can propel you forward and serve as seed crystals.” 5 likes
“Match Strategy to Situation” 2 likes
More quotes…