Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance” as Want to Read:
The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  37 reviews
TODAY’S LEADERS KNOW THAT SPEED and agility are the keys to any company’s success, and yet many are frustrated that their organizations can’t move fast enough to stay competitive. The typical chain of command is too slow; internal resources are too limited; people are already executing beyond normal expectations. As the pace accelerates, how do you inspire people’s energy
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Harvard Business Review Press
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 Open Organization, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Open Organization

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  386 ratings  ·  37 reviews

Sort order
If you've been with an organization for a significant duration, the perspective and understanding is often sharply different than what outsiders have. I've been at #RedHat for the greater part of 11 years and as is usually expected, faced the "How is it to work at Red Hat?" question a number of times.

The question is simple and perhaps the audience demands a pithy response. The truth is that such an answer is pretty much impossible to craft. How do you begin to explain a company that has as its m
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had been hoping for more detail, although some interesting stories, any references to problems or resolutions too high level to give any practical understanding
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book about the COO of Delta, moving to become the CEO of Red Hat. It's a short read, that tells the story of a different type of org.

It's like a practical guide on how to deal with open organisations.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t expect to enjoy this book.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful Read

So many nuggets. For all of the information that I want to reject, I know that those are the exact principles that I need to practice implementing. Looking forward to sharing this one.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Whitehurst, as Chief Operating Officer of Delta Airlines, created and fostered a team of employees based upon personal and collective input, collaboration and sacrifice. After taking over the operations helm at Delta, he was faced with keeping the airline afloat and employees/unions secure while fighting off a huge corporate takeover by a competing airline. He did this through a policy of open communication, complete transparency and by treating every single employee like “they mattered” re ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book on moving from autocratic leadership to open, inspiring, and communal leadership. It uses the idea of open sourcing. The reason this book separates itself from others is that there is a lot here that can be used to motivate free agency and meritocracy.
Mike Randall
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm biased since I work for the company, so a review likely isn't appropriate.
Denis Vasilev
Feb 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Denis by: Verne Harnish
Редкая по бестолковости книжка. Нет свежих идей. Неуместные истории из работы в Delta Airlines. Все мысли очень вторичны, ничего практического не нашел
Demetris Cheatham
Thank you to Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, for writing a book about the working environment that calls to my true nature! Within the 200 pages of The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance, he was able to define the seemingly nontraditional and unorthodox management style that I’ve utilized throughout my career. There are no hierarchies, the best ideas win, processes and structure are frowned upon and you are in charge of your own executive buy in. No matter where you fall within ...more
Cezary Zminkowski
Very good book, showing the vision where you might want to be with your organization if you do things right as servant leader with self organized fully engaged teams and individuals. A lot of similarity with book "Creativity Inc" where Creativity is about Pixar vs Disney culture differences between two organizations one fully Agile an the other fully corporate, same Open Organization book compares RedHat culture with AirLine corporate culture.

worth reading but same like Creativity Inc and few o
Carlos Martínez Gadea
This book has cleared my path towards the foundation of my current project to a level I never expected before. The way it deals with team work, management, vision of a company, monetization and personal fulfillment (for the people involved in a project) it's simply brilliant.

I appreciate as well the transparency that infuses the author on the way he talks about all the previous topics. He is very honest and that is an aptitude that not many people have and which is very well needed (IMHO).
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Red Hat has a unique and possibly revolutionary business model, enabled by new forms of technology and organization. If you are looking for a deep dive into how they pull this off you’re unfortunately going to have to write it yourself, or find some good blogs. If on he other hand you want a fluffy feel good piece of drivel about the magical properties of open source software, eat your heart out.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read. I wish my leadership in all of my precious employers had understood the concepts here, and enabled my team to accomplish everything that we could have. We would have accomplished far more this way than in our limited and constricting environments, and retained the good people longer.
Dave Pusey
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating concepts. A little repetitive but helpful!
Tom Simmons
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on the future of organizations. Red Hat has created an open culture that is leading to great innovation and passion in its employees.
Flo Neamţiu
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve joined Red Hat last year but only got the chance to read the book of our CEO now.
Happy to see what lays behind the amazing culture that makes me love my job.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Open, honest, authentic, passionate, responsive and fast leadership is today’s melody and this can be essential for any company that wishes to thrive, yet still so many companies don’t get it (particularly the larger enterprises) and they wonder why things can often run sub-optimally or degenerate. An “Open Organization” is key, rightly claims the author.

This book is his professional story, his passion and his insight all mixed into one powerful, yet comparatively small book. It tells how any co
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
I'll start with the disclaimer that I was a Red Hat employee and Jim, who is Red Hat's CEO distributed the book to those who wanted to read it and I was one of those people.

I liked reading the book. The reason for that is the same reason of why I work(ed) at Red Hat: I am an Open Source fan and wanted to see how a company based on Open source works in the real world.
I think most people interested in open source will find the book interesting and informative. Maybe no mind blowing things will be
Piotr Uryga
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read-books

Book that shows you how to build organization based on merit and not on hierarchy. Will be useful even for those who are in hierarchical organization.

It reminded me how important is to spend a lot of time explaining reasoning for your actions, it's never wasted time. Employees want and can understand business if you spend enough time explaining it to bridge information gap between leadership and employees.

It also stresses that meritocracy is not democracy. One's influence over decisions is bas
Kael Shipman
Oof. I was so excited when I started this book! Finally, someone was going to eloquently bridge the gap, explaining why open source is not just a way to develop software, but is instead part of an inevitable future societal philosophy championed by the millennial generation. But no. This book is like your dad coming in and talking about Regina Spektor music. He knows he likes it -- it's got a great beat that he can tap his foot to, and he really gets the lyrics -- but it's not his world. It's yo ...more
Andy Oram
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
I think Whitehurst does an excellent job presenting the Internet-age mode of interaction for a business leader, translating concepts of transparency and grassroots activism into concepts that appeal to managers, such as “employee motivation” and “change management.” (To summarize the book very broadly: bring all stakeholders into important decision-making processes, and both motivation and change management will follow.) There are many books about the free and open source software movements, and ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by the CEO of Red Hat - a large public company.

The main points of the book are as follows:

- To arrive at the best possible decisions, involve other people in the decision making process and encourage debate.

- As a leader it is very important to guy buy-in for your decisions which basically mean people have to be on board with them and understand why they were made. Once again, involving people in the decision making process is a really good way of achieving that.

- Its re
Wayne Sun
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it's on the reading list because it's quite relevant for me as a frontline engineer and hierarchical bottom worker working for the company. Always perceive the job as hard and great much commitment you need to put in for achieve goal here, the passion and engagement required get things done could be exhausting as need continually pushing yourself for continues improvements and incremental enhancement, while you may face bureaucracy not meritocracy even though the book is pushing ideal open ...more
Ivan Kulis
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book gives an interesting insight into how Red Hat builds engagement, organises work and makes decisions. Given there are not many books unpacking the "open organisation" box, this is an important contribution (it merits an extra star just for that). However, I was hoping for some more insight into specific mechanisms and practices. While Whitehurst includes a rich set of anecdotes, the "key takeaways" at the end of each chapter sound superficial and the book occasionally looks repetitive.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Un nuevo modelo de organización (no tan nuevo) pero aplicado casi desde su formación en Red Hat. Desde la creación de sus productos hasta su management y su reto de expandir la misma cultura alrededor del mundo. Como bien lo resume el libro al final, esta no es la historia de como un CEO super héroe conquisto y posicionó su compañía, sino como una comunidad lo esta haciendo con sostenibilidad y saliendo de crisis como la de 2001, que por poco y la desaparece.
Brandon R Dorman
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Much more compelling of a read than I would have thought

Filled with humor, stories along with keen insight from years of experience, I can't recommend this book enough! If you are a Linux fan or not I recommend this book and the community add-ons already created for it at
Ron Quartel
Yes! Yes! Yes!

If you are a leader or manager and want to find a better way to lead - this is the book for you. It's not about democracy - rather about a system of meritocracy and natural leadership. I found this truly inspiring.
Jenn Raley
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
There were a lot of interesting stories in this group, but the basics weren't earth-shattering. I was hoping for more of an under-the-hood look at how a company can work with both a paid workforce (Red Hat employees) and a volunteer workforce (open source developers).
Delhi Irc
Location: PTI IRC
Accession No: DL027490
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Implementing Beyond Budgeting: Unlocking the Performance Potential
  • Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, and Organization Change
  • The Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results
  • The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
  • Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated
  • Freedom From Command And Control: A Better Way To Make The Work Work
  • The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation
  • Driving Technical Change
  • Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises
  • Unleashing Innovation: How Whirlpool Transformed an Industry
  • Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas
  • Million Dollar Consulting Proposals: How to Write a Proposal That's Accepted Every Time
  • A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business (Zingerman's Guide to Good Leading)
  • How to Change the World: Change Management 3.0
  • Hacking Healthcare: A Guide to Standards, Workflows, and Meaningful Use
  • Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL
  • The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
“Google relies on something called “Google Ideas,” a web-based forum where employees regularly submit ideas on everything from product improvements to making the company a better place to work. The” 2 likes
“job of every leader is to continuously create the context required for passion to emerge by connecting associates’ job functions to the organization’s broader mission. The” 1 likes
More quotes…