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The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Matt Mochary coaches the CEOs of many of the fastest-scaling technology companies in Silicon Valley. With The Great CEO Within, he shares his highly effective leadership and business-operating tools with any CEO or manager in the world. Learn how to efficiently scale your business from startup to corporation by implementing a system of accountability, effective problem-sol ...more
ebook, 200 pages
Published December 5th 2019 by Mochary Films
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Andrej Karpathy
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A very short, practical, to the point guide discussing topics of interest for a smallish startup CEO. I enjoyed a number of ideas I saw for the first time, e.g. "Energy Audit" (forces you to explicitly think about where you can uniquely add the most value by examining your last week's calendar), the "top goal" heuristic, or the discussion around group buy-in. It's good, but a bit more if a good checklist for "topics to discuss" with someone you respect in more depth in person, and more grounded ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Great CEO Within gets my Five Star book review.

In my first startup, I independently learned much of these items although it took years, talking to many people and reading many books. I wish I had been able to read this one book instead!

I read Great CEO Within in two sittings and it instantly became one of my top 3 recommendations for startup founders. If you are a first time founder of a company of 20 people or less, I recommend making it a priority to read this book now. Yes, like over the
Harshita Srivastava
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A very good book that has information and realistic advice about the nuances of running a company. Recommended for startup founders.
Vincent Tsao
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a no fluff, 4-hour read about scaling a tech startup. The doc is applicable outside of tech, but the author, contributors, and examples all come from tech. It doesn't get too deep in any particular topics, but there are plenty of recommendations for additional reading if you're looking for specific help. The advice largely focuses on what to do after you've found product market fit, which is unique to each company but typically looks something like >$1M in annual recurring revenue for B2 ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management
At the time of the writing this is not a book per se, but a Google Doc that reads like a step-by-step instruction manual on structuring every aspect of starting, funding and managing a startup. Chalk full of relevant advice with references to other books where appropriate. While it's definitely not enough for a company or a manager to succeed, you'll be better equipped to do so when you're done reading. ...more
Louw Hopley
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great practical guide for anyone in a startup leadership role. It's straight to the point and gives you the cheat sheet for most situations. ...more
Kustas Kõiv
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of "how-to" business books since they tend to age quickly. This book however was superhelpful! For all fellow entrepreneurs- if you read 1 how-to business book in 2020, please read this. ...more
Earl Lee
Great tactical guide on everything from recruiting to fundraising. Gets very into the weeds but lacks in describing more complex scenarios.
Nic Brisbourne
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Great tactical advice for CEOs. Clearly written with little to none of the ambiguity that normally shrouds advice. And most importantly the vast bulk of the suggestions are great ones. Some are a little bit full on - of the variety where the level of organisation required to make them happen isn't realistic for me/in a business the size of Forward - but the vast bulk are great. Many times I found myself thinking that Matt had made crystal clear what I had previously understood ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book provides highly practical advice for running an early-stage startup. The book is split into the following parts: habits (both individual and team), infrastructure, collaboration and processes. The book is not about finding product-market fit (for that, read Steve Blank, Eric Ries, or Bill Aulet) but about building the innards of a company. The author, Matt Mochary, works as an executive coach with CEOs at companies like CoinBase and Brex. Matt writes that he regularly works as "one day ...more
This book is a collection of useful guides that Matt has perfected over years of coaching some of the highest performing startup founders and investors in the Valley. It's like Steve Blank's Startup Owner's Manual or Bill Aulet's Disciplines Entrepreneurship except it covers all the OTHER parts of business that make CEOs and founders stay up at night. And he lays out real examples, templates and processes in an easy to digest, step by step format. This should be one of those reference books for ...more
Ho Ming
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relevant and Practical to Startup CEOs even if you're not one

I'm not (yet) a CEO, but I've been in a few startups myself. Currently working in a growth stage startup. The book offers good insight and practical guidance to CEOs. It also offers a glimpse of what the CEO needs to handle at different stages of the company. Insightful read. Not all the practical content is relevant to me but it broadens my perspective nonetheless. Good read.
Helge Reikerås
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book about building a company with detailed and practical advice from startup to scale.

This is a short book with tons of info which makes a pretty intense and fast-paced read (and that's probably intentional).

Depending on in which stage you are (startup, scaleup, IPO) different parts of the book will likely appeal more. It should be a good one on your shelf and pick it up again when your business is in a different phase. Will likely read it again (more than once) in the future.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book, full of practical examples of how to be run a good company. It definitely also applies to non-CEOs, you don't even need to be a department head, there are lots of interesting tips on running meetings, doing 1-on-1s, and it even goes on to summarize other great books of management that you should also read!

Definitely recommended for managers and people wanting to improve how things are run in their company!
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: startups, 2020
good and pretty distilled (so it is easy to read) book with the instructions for founders of well funded startups, with mostly on-site teams. Talks about management, time management, personal finances, decision making, fundraising, recruiting, sales and marketing, lead generation. Also, the book includes essays from few famous startups founders sharing their experience and offering an advice.
Anandh Sundar
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
insightful book especially on keeping commitments, the need for business operations, AOR(Areas of responsibilities) including backup, which helps in business continuity and need for structured board meeting, with examples. Department updates and OKRs are good too. Matt has a social side as well(Foundation) which is unusual
Milan Kodali
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great checklist of a lot of lessons I learned the hard way. Wish I had read this a few years ago, but I do think a lot of topics you either need to learn through experience or through a more in depth study. Someone entering their first startup experience would be well served by reading this book first, then diving into more depth on each of the topics laid out.
James Coleman
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I am not a CEO of a tech startup, I was recently asked by my company to start a mortgage branch where I moved. I found this book to be extremely useful, it is very short and reads like a manual. I am going to implement several practices from this book.

Great resource to refer back to for anyone who is entering management or starting a company.
Brad Rees
Dec 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I was surprised at how valuable this book really is. The first couple of chapters seem very prescriptive and sales-y. But there are small bits of value scattered throughout the book on anything from OKR’s and goal setting, to recruiting, or PEO and employee benefits. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is for the first time in a CEO or administrative role.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: startups
Matt compresses the best parts of 20+ business books to an actionable guide for founders at any stage.

Highly actionable and opinionated in a way that cuts through the noise to best practices. Clearly delineates what is relevant based on company size. Very well structured: starts with individual habits then moves to group habits, infrastructure, collaboration and processes.
John Strott
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"The advice and practical tools you need to lead effectively, provide top-notch products and services to your clients, and be a leader in your industry."

Not an exaggeration. One of the best management books I've read. No fluff, just tactics. Read it - skip the sections that aren't relevant to you, but there's plenty of wisdom in here for everyone.
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: entrepreneur
Some good advices from somebody whose company went well and didn't have to worry about money anymore, and decided to share what he and others he knows think are the best DOs and DONTs in the startup world. It gets very detailed at times, others he rather focuses on general advices. An easy read. I'd have rated it 3,5/5 but I can't ;) ...more
Arjun Mahadevan
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best business books I have read because it was extremely tactical and in every single chapter provided a specific recommendation as well as a framework or even template to use. I will definitely be looking through my highlights + notes on this book in the future.
Jared Cosulich
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great for what it's trying to do. Straightforward and practical advice for startups with a lot of advice that is applicable to later stage companies. Really wish more books were written in such a direct fashion. ...more
Kevin M Dious
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Concise and straight to the point.

This book was very concise and straight to the point. There were not any unnecessary chapters or random passages. This book really helped me to understand how my boss (the CEO) is trying to run our company.
Abhi Yerra
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the densest and clearest thing I’ve read on all that is required of running a company. Wish I read the google doc. But I really recommend it. Even just refresher on email management was good. I’m hoping to add this to my reread list.
Cameron Nuckols
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on the most important aspects of running a company. Tried and true principles without a lot of unnecessary fluff. I highly recommend this book.
Natu Lauchande
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book to help understand the dynamics of a startup environment.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Kind of like cliff notes on a ton of other books - goes very quick and very prescriptive, kind of like a collection of blog articles, but also some very good nuggets.
Raymond Zhu
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management
Matt has quite impressive first-hand experience as a tech CEO and executive coach. No fluff or "Philosophy" in the book, all of them are executable advice backed by real-world experience. ...more
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