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Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  34,040 ratings  ·  2,751 reviews

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. While this advice may work for everyday life, it is, as Kim Scott has seen, a disaster when adopted by managers.

Scott earned her stripes as a highly successful manager at Google and then decamped to Apple, where she developed a class on optimal management. S

Kindle Edition, 232 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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Luke Duncan
As I worked my way through this book I wanted to hate it. It had enough of the grating Silicon Valley meets Ted talk tropes to assume it lacked substance. Name dropping of personal relationships with Larry Page and Sheryl Sandburg? Check. Quoting Steve Jobs and Fred Kofman? Check. Simplistic diagrams with arrows and what feels like modern Clip Art? Check.

But as much as I wanted to hate the book, it actually has solid substance. I've seen many of the practices discussed in the book used in person
Jaclyn Day
Overly-repetitive business books are the hill I'm dying on now, I guess. Per most books in the genre, the best is always saved for last. In this case, the final three chapters are the most valuable and actionable. ...more
Peter Yang
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, minus one star for all the name dropping.
1. Radical candor = Care personally + challenge directly
2. Care personally starts with career discussions and good 1:1s
3. Challenge directly starts with asking for and taking criticism well yourself
4. Listen -> Clarify -> Debate -> Decide -> Persuade -> Learn, in that order
Ross Blocher
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Radical Candor is written for managers/bosses, but I'd recommend it for anyone in the workplace. Kim Scott's observations have wide application, and do a great job of prioritizing the need to treat everyone as a human being first-and-foremost. The title (as the cover image suggests) refers to the ideal quadrant on a chart with two axes: "care personally" and "challenge directly". It is important to care about the people you work with, but easy to let that care stifle the need to be honest with t ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot of good content here. But the author's advice isn't always consistent with the stated ideals. For example, there are many suggestions that sound like servant leadership, and many of these are solid and awesome. But there are as many or more pieces of advice advocating for a top-down, hierarchical style of management, including the author's frequent use of constructions such as "soandso reported to me" and "I had 100 people reporting to me," and so on.

I found this inconsistency puz
Michael McCain
"Here's what Google and Apple do. Also Twitter. I don't know anybody at Facebook" ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a drag. A few observations:
- It's basically a collection of stories glorifying some big Silicon Valley names. My impression was she lifted up all those she's coached or those who've been good to her and provided her with career opportunities/pathways. The white friends club is real:
a. Sheryl Sandberg is the greatest boss of all time
b. Steve Jobs was the best at radical candor even though it's old news that many thought he was obnoxiously aggressive per the book's parlance
c. Dick Co
Apr 07, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This is a business book that actually offers a significant amount of practical advice to managers, starting from the basic "how to have a 1-1" to "how to implement the right performance review process for your company." I'm impressed by the amount of content. This is an actual book, not just an expanded TED talk. The framework is pretty simple: care personally about people, and challenge them directly. Healthy teams practice this in all directions.

It's impossible to review this book without firs
Dean Hachamovitch
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had a time machine to send this book with a heartfelt “please read” note back in time to myself and to leaders, colleagues, and teams I worked with over the years. 

Kim’s book offers an approach, mental models, and a point of view that are useful, practical, and applicable for bosses and teams. (Typically I’d say leaders or managers; I’m reflecting her language here out of respect.)

Her writing and approach demonstrate strong awareness of the challenges inherent in this topic: the range o
Willian Molinari
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doist, audio, non-fiction
I'm migrating all my reviews to my blog. If you want to read the full review with my raw notes, check it here: https://pothix.com/radicalcandorbook/

A book every boss should read. It helps to create a culture of giving and receiving honest feedback and create great teams. It has many truths, you will notice many of them if you're working for a big company. You may not agree with some parts of it depending on how you see work and people but if you really care about people careers and the performan
Cathy Sites
Part of me wants to give this 3 stars, and I am glad that I finished this book - mainly because I am glad to be finished with this book! A weirdly tough read that I could only read small amounts at a time, and I almost gave up on it when she wanted to hire her babysitter to work at Google (far too reminiscent of "Nanny-Gate" for those who have worked where I have previously - you know what I am talking about - the author casts herself as "one of those" people. Maybe a boss, but not a leader).

Yevgeniy Brikman
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The content in this book is superb and critical for any leader. The delivery of that content could have been a bit better. So I found this book well worth reading, but I also had to re-read many parts of it, as I often found myself tuning out (either due to slightly sloppy writing or because some of the content felt like filler to pad out the book). If you're short on time, you can find some of (but not all!) the most important content from the book delivered much more effectively in this 30 min ...more
Irina Stanescu
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Great book about management! Some new concepts and some heavily inspired from the Google management culture, which I've been fortunate enough to witness (and be part of for a brief period).
The key takeaway for me was learning how to move up on the "challenging directly" scale, while still "caring personally". Give people both praise and criticism as often as possible, don't wait for a perf cycle to come, and don't wait for them to ask for feedback. Same thing applies for asking for feedback. The
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No time for a full review right now. Suffice it to say "Radical Candor" is one of the best books I've ever read about the science or art of managing people and teams. I started reading because of the radical candor approach to providing praise and criticism, and was amazed how the book covers so many aspects of day-to-day managing,

Highly recommended!!!
James Brown
Read this for work. Two things are for certain: Kim Scott has worked at Google, and also she's worked at Apple. ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What to say about this book? I didn't enjoy it. Not. One. Bit. I stopped reading it for quite some time, but I had to finish it for a corporate book club. For clarity, that was the ONLY REASON why I finished it. This is a giant book of 8 chapters, three of which just re-hash, revisit, and repeat the first 3 chapters as if the reader had no short term memory and required another briefing of the subjects covered.

A boss is a boss, a manager is a manager, and while it's true no one wants to work fo
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Listened to the audiobook narrated by the author.
As an audiobook, I think a professional narrator might have been better.
I get that Kim does a lot of public speaking, but there is something about her voice that just came across as whiny throughout the book. Even knowing the content first-hand, it sounded like a reading.

The book started of pretty well, and the concept of radical candor getting explained was intriguing.
But from about half way it becomes a bit of a drag. Repeating things and steeri
Simon Eskildsen
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be a book about just the concept of Radical Candor: to give feedback early and often, by both being direct and it coming through that you care about the person personally. The book gets a lot of shit because it's been misused in phrases such as: "Let me be radically candid with you, [feedback that is direct but does not demonstrate you care about the person's growth]." However, it turned out to be one of, if not the, best management book I have read. It is filled to the brin ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This was way better book than I've expected.
Kim gives great advice based on her experience as a worker and as a boss.
Sawyer X
Mar 10, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be mandatory reading for all managers. Having learned the lessons from this book the hard way (from screwing up or seeing others screw up), I appreciate seeing these lessons written down so well for everyone to learn.

Having said this, I've had a few issues with it.

1. This book mentions names. A lot of names. It's important to give credit where credit is due, but this book sometimes feels like a name-dropping marathon. There are a *lot* of small anecdotes, but it gets tiring afte
Regis Hattori
Initially, I thought the whole book was about the Radical Candor Framework but it is only about 20% about it. In my opinion, a title like "How to be a good boss (this is the term the author likes the most instead of leader or manager)" would better represent it. But this may obfuscate the most appealing part of the book which is the Radical Candor Framework itself. Although there is good advice in other areas, I think this part is the most valuable for non-bosses and could deserve a separate boo ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-reads
I read this book so I could more skillfully shit talk Kim Scott and this book. If you want to be a good boss and human, read (and apply) NonViolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. If you want to be a good boss and human, work on yourself. Meditate, pray, get into community with others, care for others, and commit to a life of service rather than domination.

Kim Scott's busywork of packaging putrid cruelty and hierarchy as some great gift to the Working Man strives for the heights of neoliber
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most versatile, yet simplest management book I’ve read. The main strategy is to put the relationships with the people you work with first – try to be clearer with them and care more.

In addition to the grand strategy of “challenge directly and care personally” the specific tactics Kim Scott offered made a lot of sense and in the months after finishing the book I’ve tried many of them with mild to great success.

Dana Kraft
Meh! There was nothing wrong with this book, but I didn't see much new in it either. The title is appealing, but its your standard management book sprinkled with lots of praise for Google and Apple. ...more
Stefan Kanev
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It answers one question – how to be a great boss. And it does it well.

I should have read this book a long time ago. I was happy to find I was doing some of the things, but there were so many more I haven't considered or appreciated in importance. I will be rereading it soon.

The idea is simple – first, you should care personally about the people that report for you, but second, and as important, you should challenge them directly. You're not doing anybody a favour by not telling them when they do
Beth White
This is without a doubt the best leadership book I have read to date. So much so that I have every intention of going out and buying this book that I had originally borrowed from the library so I can highlight the heck out of it to refer back to all the absolute gems of wisdom Kim Scott has to offer based on her history of management in companies such as Google and Apple.

Kim provides a vulnerable, honest and utterly refreshing view of management and the lessons she has learnt along the way. Newl
Toni Tassani
Dec 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
You can watch a video and get an idea of the 2x2 Radical Candor framework, and it is great. However the book goes into Performance Management techniques, and how to be a better boss (in Silicon Valley). After having read "Crucial Conversations", this book is not adding more and is specific to management, not to relationships.
The book starts with a correction: instead of Radical Candor now she prefers Compasionate Candor.

Some ideas:
- “boss” evokes injustice, “manager” sounds bureaucratic, “leade
KJ Grow
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard this author speak at a conference and thought her presentation was compelling, especially as I am someone who has a tendency toward the "ruinous empathy" realm and struggles with challenging directly. I read this book right before our annual performance review cycle and ended up having some of the most productive, illuminating conversations with my direct reports I've ever had. I really appreciated that the anecdotes and examples in the book were personal and real-world, not the fuzzy, u ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The central concept/framework is gold. I'm giving it five stars pretty much just for that one chapter. I also really appreciated how extensive the "how-to" section was - half the book! Love the focus on actually changing behavior.

I didn't love everything about this book, but now that I'm done with the library copy I'm ordering one for myself. So that's an automatic five stars.

*** 2021 re-read: I wasn't as enamored of this book the second time around. I still think it's very strong but there's a
Nay Keppler
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is SO great. Even though many of the examples are taken from companies like Google and Apple and Silicon Valley startups, the concepts and activities are completely applicable in most workplaces. I would HIGHLY recommend this to new supervisors, long-standing supervisors, folks aspiring to be supervisors, and even folks who just want to learn better communication skills. I will certainly be working to be radically candid from here on out.
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Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Kim is also the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc., which builds tools to make it easier to follow the advice she offers in the book. She is also the author of three novels.

Prior to founding Candor, Inc., Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other Silicon Valley companies. She was

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