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High Growth Handbook

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  881 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Well known technology executive and angel investor Elad Gil has worked with high growth tech companies like Airbnb, Twitter, Google, Instacart, Coinbase, Stripe, and Square as they've grown from small companies into global brands. Across all of these break-out companies, a set of common patterns has evolved into a repeatable playbook that Gil has codified in High Growth Ha ...more
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Stripe Press
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Thijs Niks
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Spot on book about the things you’ll encounter once your startup starts growing exponentially. I kept nodding my head, as someone who has seen Uber go from 1,500 to 15,000 employees.

In true Silicon Valley style, the book is a little rough: Some of the interviews contain more information than the chapters, it should go deeper on trade offs between organizational structures, and lacks an in-depth look at international expansion. So that leaves room for improvement — a 2.0 version, if you will.

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
Not at all scientific. Has a bunch of interviews with big name people, who share some anecdotes. Sometimes gives some decent advice, but mostly just fluff as one would expect from a typical business book. Could have easily been half the length without losing much content. Uses a lot of abbreviations that were never defined, making for annoying reading experience if one is without internet for looking up things.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good managment book. Would put this book on the same level as management classics like 'High Output Management' (Andy Grove) and 'The effective executive' (Peter Drucker)
Shreef A
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of interviews with people who started, invested in, and scaled up companies. The interviews are organized into sections so you can jump directly to the interviews with the topics you want to focus on.

I would have found this book very useful during my first try to start a company. Back then I had to collect these insights and advice from different sources spread all over the internet.

So basically, the book delivers on its promise that it is a handbook for people starting or scaling
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book covers a wide range of interesting topics regarding companies, not necessarily their growth, but their overall management and development. It's good for adding 'common-sense fillers' if you already know a bit about startups. You should like this even more than 'Hard Things About Hard Things' book, due to the more expansive scope.
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the content is useful, but the format of featuring mostly interviews is inefficient (for my taste). As an audiobook listener I ended up feeling that although I got a couple of good ideas, the amount of hours spent wasn't worth it.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very practical.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good advice for me and my company.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super dry read but I found it to be incredibly informative!
Manas Saloi
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big fan of Elad Gil and have consumed all his blogposts too. This book gives a structure to his thoughts on all topics under the sun related to startups.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inconsistent. Nothing spectacularly insightful. Mostly solid and worth reading for an understanding of what going from 10 - 10'000 employees really means and an insight into the capital structures underlying some of the largest firms in the world.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of excellent insights here.
João Oliveira
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After working for a few of these hyper growth companies, this is probably the best book on the mechanics of company building, Highly recommended for entrepreneurs or startup employees!
Bill de hÓra
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, zal-9d4cd60f
A must read for founders, and I think also for engineers and product specialists for the insight it gives to all the other functions needed to make it really work.

As someone who's worked as an engineer and a product manager, it was wonderful to read a book that barely focused on product and technology when it came to growth, but on growing the other critical functions needed to build out a real business (so many startups begin from product/engineering foundations and it can be diffic
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this book recommended online, and was interested from the onset, as I am currently taking an interest in certain types of startups, particularly those approaching a high growth phase. Somehow, perhaps due to my exposure to common priorities of technical products, I thought this book was going to be about growth in terms of user acquisition, or install base, or maybe revenue. However, this turned out to be about how to scale up a business in terms of headcount. This was a bit surprising to ...more
Alok Kejriwal
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Moses spoke 10 commandments, Elad Gil gives you TOP commandments to run, scale, fund & exit a startup.

For a few weeks I resisted buying the book due to the high price; now I regret every day I lost.

The High Growth Handbook has a unique format. It clearly lays out the most important aspects of a start-up business & then includes real-life interviews of the who's who of the world (mainly silicon valley) who have attempted & achieved those principles that are
Mason Jones
I usually find bits and pieces of useful advice, or at least food for thought, in the "entrepreneur"/startup genre, and that was true in this one. But in general that's all I got: bits and pieces. I think the book was compiled from blog posts by Gil, and the chapters end up feeling like it. They're fragmentary, with some sections being noticeably more extensive or complete than others, and pieces are repeated between chapters. The interviews spliced between chapters tend to run on and could have ...more
David Mytton
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Even though I’m no longer CEO, there were still some valuable chapters which are relevant to fitting into a larger organisation. I found the discussions of how to hire and structure executive teams and the evolution of a product organisation useful. The interviews with experienced operators from other companies also offered some helpful ideas, especially Marc Andreessen’s comments on the key tasks for startups after product/market fit.

I skimmed the rest of the book. The sections on f
Ryan Lackey
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the "good problem to have" of a startup -- after you've reached product/market fit, the scaling into an enduring organization.

The book included a lot of interviews with experienced Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists. Some of the interviews were pretty horrible, most were good, a few were great. I did like that Elad used people he thought better able than himself to illustrate certain points.

The book could use better editing in a lot of plac
Daniel Neri
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book with coverage on many key issues facing new companies. Relevant information for both first time founders and experienced leaders. The book delivers information in a straightforward “do this and you’ll succeed” approach which I appreciate. It borderlines on opinionated, but Gil does a good job staying on the right side of the fence and just presenting data and strategies based on his extensive experience. Of particular note were the sections on product management and organizational ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a good book that I got my startup to buy 3 copies and give one to the CEO, another one to my boss - the VP of Engineering and leave one in the bookshelf. The reason is that this is one of the best presented books that goes into the nitty-gritty of what to do when you start getting massive growth - from how to build executive team, how to raise capital, how to hire and fire execs, PMs. In addition, Elad has included interviews with prominent leaders in the industry to provide their ...more
Mohammad Al-ubaydli
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book, incredibly helpful to every founder because it is so detailed and specific. The content here is very difficult to get hold of in other ways because far fewer companies go through the scale-up phase than the start-up phase (most due along the way). And the ones that do make it never talk about the problems in public - they have PR people by then hiding all mistakes. So this is a real service to the community and it benefits from Elad’s own rich experience and network. The v ...more
Yu Zhou
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read through the book quickly, and was able to learn useful insight about running a tech start up. Board management, executive team building and M&A are three useful chapters to me, as I do not usually read about these topics. A tech start up CEO is really spending time on strategy, not on product development; a CEO can hire experienced professionals to work on the part he/she does not enjoy: hr, legal and corporate development. What seems missing from this book is the evolution of growing ...more
Scott Wozniak
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a series of interviews with highly experienced Silicon Valley leaders. Some of them are famous and some are only locally known. But all of them speak with authority and clarity. The book walks through the major roles and major decisions of a tech start up. It's really useful for someone who is starting up a tech company. If you're not that, then it's less so, because it's so specific and tactical. But that's not because the book is low quality, just so focused on its target.
Andres Leon
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book only deserves 5 stars. The experience gathered here by these titans and of course Elad Gil himself is like a masterclass or hours of private tutoring - I mean, you’re accessing to years of experience from the best in the world in such a detail that is absolutely game changer for our world. For me is as revolutionary as the first iPhone release, but in the venture-knowledge space.

It’s heavy reading but totally worth it. RECOMMENDED.
Joel Bastos
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book mostly reads like a series of interviews to influential people, like Naval Ravikant or Hemant Taneja.

It goes over the specifics of a CEO role, the requirements for a successful startup, how to scale and possible ways to manage the company board. I liked the overview of the founder career progression, how IPOs affect companies, and what traits to look for when hiring people at a CEO level.
Ryan Anderson
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-the-queue
I really like how this book was broken up and the suggestion that you not just sit down and read it cover to cover, but focus on the relevant sections for you. There’s some really good advice in this book, and some stuff that was just not interesting at all to me right now.

One negative is that there were a number of typos in the book, to the point that it was distracting. I’m sure this is because it’s from a new publisher who hasn’t done this before, but I wish that could have been improved.
Aaron Scruggs
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fantastic birdseye view of how to properly scale a startup. While it goes beyond the magnitude of venture I am interested in, it had tons of useful advice and perspectives for companies of all sizes.

The book left me wanting an entire library of handbooks that would take each chapter of this book one to two steps deeper.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: returned
This books is great for an operator trying to scale a high growth business, but it would be best to pick up when you are specifically in that situation. It is really not much fun to read as a book as it is basically a manual on how to do many of the things you need to do as a founder in that situation.
Manik Patil
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good compilation and an active reference book and that's why it took time to finish this. Powerpacked with great points from the usual Silicon valley icons.

Overall, an excellent read. I consumed it as an audiobook at 1.5x speed. This book along with Blitzscaling and Exponential Organizations were good reads for Fall 2018.
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“Sometimes that gets confused, though, because the group thinks they’re the decision-maker and that the goal is consensus. When really the goal is, “Let’s hash it out together. We may not all agree. One person will be the decision-maker, and then we will all commit to it.” If you don’t clarify what kind of decision this is, then groups really struggle because their expectations are not set correctly.” 1 likes
“This means once a year you should take a real one- to two-week vacation, and every quarter you should take a three-day weekend. If you are working every day, I strongly suggest that you start enforcing a personal no-work day at least once a week.” 0 likes
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