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Transforming NOKIA: The Power of Paranoid Optimism to Lead Through Colossal Change
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Transforming NOKIA: The Power of Paranoid Optimism to Lead Through Colossal Change

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  798 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The great Nokia turnaround—universal business lessons for leaders in any industry

Nokia once dominated the smartphone industry. It was to mobile phones was Kleenex is to facial tissues. Then iPhones and Androids appeared out of nowhere and pushed Nokia off the cliff. In just four years, the company lost over 90 percent of its value. Revenues were in freefall; massi
Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published October 12th 2018 by McGraw-Hill Education
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4.20  · 
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 ·  798 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good insight how and why Nokia survived. This book gives also insights how company board had worked inside Nokia and what have been the changes throughout turbulent times.
This is a book for entrepreneurs and executives and anyone interested how to build common vision, strategy and why it is important.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insider’s view to the collapse of Nokia Mobile Phones. Or was Siilasmaa even an insider? Even though he was a board member, he claims that the whole board was kept unaware of what really happened at the background in the company. It made me even think if anyone in the company had a clue on the big picture! Clearly, the chairman of the board Jorma Ollila was not very keen on receiving too many detailed and/or challenging questions, not to mention suggestions for improving the way the company b ...more
Antti Vilpponen
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a good read on the Nokia story from behind the scenes. However, it focused on the successes that Risto was part of and not the misses. There was no mention of Withings for example, which would have been interesting to understand; why they entered the industry as well as why they exited.

However, this is a good management read on how Nokia performed during the tough years. Strongly suggested regardless.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're acquainted with Nokia you will really appreciate this book - especially if you're like me and worked for Alcatel-Lucent and currently the New Nokia.
Outsiders will also appreciate the story of this global giant reinventing itself.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good but not groundbreaking book. Insights will probably depend on the personality of the reader, as I can very well relate to Risto's thinking and use his thinking models quite easily.
Mike Arvela
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,7 or so :) An interesting ”recent history of Finland” with twists & turns and rare views behind the scenes. Gets a little repetitive towards the end, and the words ”paranoid optimist” are repeated to the point where my skin started to itch a bit. Can recommend especially for any Finn, and/or board members.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Resilient and adaptable is a word that well describes the Nokia company. Founded as a pulp mill, it grew dramatically in the area of electronics and became a regional behemoth by 2000. Immediately before the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Nokia accounted for 4% of the Finnish GDP, 21% of the country’s exports and an amazing 70% of the capital on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. Nokia was featured in many articles about business success in both large and small companies.
Then it all began to fall
Jose Sbuck
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Current Nokia chairman presents his account of the crisis that transformed Nokia around 2010. The book goes through the events and extracts lessons learned to present a leadership and strategy framework. The framework is "paranoid optimism": you should be paranoid about threats and optimist about opportunities. By being paranoid, you'll be prepared to all scenarios. By being optimist you'll have the courage to seize opportunities and act on your plans.

The book is a light read and deals with hig
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great story of Nokia's fall from grace and turnaround to a new beginning. The narrative is lively and recounting Risto's own experiences first hand. Hence it provides unique insight in the events that shaped the lives of so many Nokia employees, myself included. The story is rich in detail and it was fun to see what the actual twists and turns of the events were compared to the many speculations that were rife in the company in those times of uncertainty.

in addition to the entertaining narrati
Chris Aylott
An interesting insider's take on Nokia's turnaround efforts, especially after reading some of the outsider's views on the company's collapse.

Siilasmaa is kind but clear-eyed in describing Nokia's toxic culture and ineffective response to the iPhone revolution. Nokia's struggles are frustrating to read at times -- how could management have been so blind to the company's problems? -- but in fairness, most of Apple's competitors didn't do much better.

There is has some good material on the value o
Alok Kejriwal
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you want to read 'how to create a top-class global company & then destroy it', read this book.

Candidly written, Risto Silasmaa pours his heart out with utmost devotion & truthfulness about the sordid saga that unfolded at Nokia.

The book traces the fall & fall & collapse of Nokia - so it's great learning on how fast & badly things can go wrong.

What shocked me:

- The blunder at Nokia in thinking through Symbian as the core technology. This was the same Company that INVENTED t
Justin Martin
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nokia is a famous Finnish company that almost didn’t make it. When its cellphone business got clobbered, it had to reinvent itself or go out of business.

This required lots of “sisu,” a Finnish national quality described by the author Risto Siilasmaa, chairman of Nokia, as being a mix of tenacity and perseverance. Siilasmaa provided lots of interesting management tips. For example, he’s a big believer in what he calls “paranoid optimism.” That means: always be hopefully casting about solutions,
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the Finnish translation, and realized it was a translation when the text claimed that Steve Ballmer had said "jumalauta". Excellent translation, very good flow, and Siilasmaa's voice was present from the start to the end, and not only because the text is written from the "I" point of view. I have to give 5 stars, because I didn't expect to read this book in one day. I had read a few yellow press headers regarding the book, and I must assume that the journalists had only read the first 100 ...more
Ilari Mäkelä
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my first book that I listened as an audiobook. The book itself was an excellent book explaining the journey of Nokia from a successful mobile phone maker to near bankruptcy and all the way to a successful full service network device and service manufacturer. It gave another perspective to the information one has got from the media. The book gave also really nice view on the leadership style that Siilasmaa used called paranoid optimism. Real life examples were given on board level operat ...more
Jari Pirhonen
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book how Nokia sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft and re-inventend itself told from the Board's point of view. Nokia Board member and later a Chairman of the Board tells a story of Nokia difficulties, changing the Nokia Board's working culture and leading new Nokia strategy development. Siilasmaa has valuable advice to all leaders. He coined the term paranoid optimism, which means combining vigilance and a healthy dose of realistic fear with a positive, forward-looking out ...more
Kelly Mebar
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Opens your eyes

Having been an employee during both the ups and downs, it was very nice reading some of the same frustrations and concerns Risto felt. It's like being vindicated. Aside from that though, the main take away for me are the lessons learned. I practice his scenario tree and hope to one day get into a situation where an opportunity/challenge presents itself. Great book
Madhavi Ravanan
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nokia's tranformation from world leading mobile device maker to communications i infrastructure solution provider. What led to the downfall, how the new nokia was born, a boardroom view - straight from the chairman of the board of directors, Risto Silasmaa. Riveting read. Opens your eyes to what unfolds in the boardroom in such a journey. Good read for anyone curious about brand Nokia and its monumental journey.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"No news is bad news. Bad news is good news. And good news is no news." What an interesting book about running a business that wasn't written to sound like that at all! Risto's story definitely has lessons worthy of being shared with CEOs and rank-and-file employees. If you're an entrepreneur, it's worth having your Panglossian views checked through the principles of paranoid optimism outlined in this book.
I forgot everything that bored me in the beginning of the book when it got to 2011 or so and shit started to hit the fan (pardon my french). I listened to it while driving one weekend and yelled out things like "you stupid idiots!", "don't trust them!" and "duuuude!". So, it evoked some memories and emotions, I guess.

Interesting and well written, very enjoyable.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The best part of the book has got to be the fascinating behind the scenes tale from the negotiations between Microsoft and Nokia. However, the book overstays its welcome by quite a bit and towards the end the repetition about scenario-based problem solving and paranoid optimism is just too much. I seem to be in the minority though so this is most likely just not my cup of tea.
Poomrat Boonyawong
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inside story of Nokia story and her survival

I picked this up after got a hint of this book’s existence and finish it in just a week. Very interesting and from perspective of the man who is in the center of Nokia transformation.
For fan of business book and technical history, this is must read.
Reko Ukko
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth reading with a grain of salt, but still an insighftul romp through the ending of Nokia as we knew it and the birth of something new. I still feel supremely sad in how it ended and wonder what could've been. The amount of hubris and lack of introspection is worth keeping in mind for any company that grows big - but you could also argue Nokia has always been in a constant transformation.
Jarkko Laine
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look behind the scenes of one of the most important companies in Finnish history.

The fall of Nokia was big news in Finland, the new rise didn't receive nearly as much media visibility. Reading about all of this in the words of someone who was right there in the middle of all of it as it was happening was eye-opening, and I have to admit, inspiring.
Tomi Turtiainen
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mainly and foremost a mesmerizing story about how Nokia lost its dominant position in the mobile phone market, leading it to selling the entire business and to the reborn of the 15o year old company. Also contains interesting tidbits on good leadership.
Fredrik Nars
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best business books I ever read. Gives great insights into the struggles in a large company's strategy and board work. Added many missing pieces to my understanding of what happened to Nokia. And as if this was not enough: Siilasmaa adds his own theory on how to manage a company.
Fernando Bártolo
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of how Nokia went from being one of the world's biggest companies all the way down to almost bankruptcy, and back to solid position again. It's a great example of how companies should approach transformation these days.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was scared due to my Nokia history, but did not turn angry after all. Offers his perspective, one of many. But offered less news, insights etc. than expected.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
★★★★★ Very insight. Full of charisma!!
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional read. A first hand account of Nokia's destruction and its inspiring transformation under the leadership of Risto Siilasmaa. Definitely worth reading.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting a boring business book.. But got stuck every evening in the story..
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