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Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  648 ratings  ·  65 reviews
The founder and CEO of Salesforce reveals the secrets to building a world-class culture and offers a model for leadership that will define the most successful companies of the future.

Trailblazer is Marc Benioff's answer to the one question he's most often asked: what is the secret to driving continuous growth and innovation.

His answer: building a culture where values
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Simon & Schuster UK
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Alok Kejriwal
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

One paragraph review - If you want to learn Business insights, pains & losses that Marc experienced while building Salesforce, you'll be disappointed. If you want to learn how a massively successful digital entrepreneur views the world & what he does to bring change, you will be delighted.

My highlights:
- Marc's spiritual leaning. He was blessed by Amma (hugging saint) before his success. He is a devout follower of Thich Nhat Hanh the super popular Vietnamese Spiritual leader. Marc makes
Michael Payne
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benioff refer often to this quote from Albert Einstein: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

Think about that.

Read the book.

Drive change.


PS - Re: Salesforce Tower. Hey Marc, Go Anywhere! It works.
Think about that.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, firstreads
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A very egocentric biography about a tech CEO who finds success empty, goes to India, and becomes annoying.

He becomes almost a caricature of what a Bay Area CEo should be, according to Bay Area types. His lack of self awareness is sad and funny at the same time.
Susie Turk
As a Salesforce employee, I was familiar with a lot of the content in the various chapters because they were very consistent with the culture I've experienced over the last 7 years. I was really interested to learn about Marc's history and how his maternal grandfather( who was a pioneer of BART) and how his father (who was an entrepreneur selling mens' clothing) influenced him. His grandfather was a believer in social justice who would regularly hand homeless people $20. His father was greatly ...more
Sarah Amin
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past 7 years working in the Salesforce ecosystem, the community has had the largest impact. The Salesforce community or 'Ohana' - is the most welcoming and encouraging community I've ever been a part of, making this former Biochemist feel comfortable as an #accidentaladmin turned #awesomeadmin. Marc's book tells the story behind the culture and values of an organization consistently rated as one of the best places to work. It's clear that the culture and values of Salesforce as an ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Partly a business memoir, partly a Salesforce promotion...not badly written and not a bad dude, but I think the main reason to read it is if you're a Salesforce superfan.
Brad Revell
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review is here:

Three key takeaways from the book:
1. What would your answer be if you asked what is the most important aspect of your organization? Your revenue, profits, shareholders, customers or employees? Benioff says it is values and that trust is the #1 value.
2. If you focus the majority of time on the problem (versus on the solution), the solution will become apparent.
3. Companies should be doing good versus doing well. A slight play of words, however,
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
The author, CEO of Salesforce, a Fortune 500 company, makes a case for why we people don't have to choose between values and Profit.

Marc falls short on this aspect. The book is full of anecdotes from Salesforce with the obstacles they faced and how they overcame with values.

But, while the argument makes sense for a rosy tech company like Salesforce with high margins, it doesn't provide a framework for harder questions that might arise when profits are lacking.
Dec 08, 2019 added it
I was very skeptical at first reading a book written by some tech CEO about business stuff. I am so glad I cracked it open and started reading it. I really appreciate Marc Benioff and his work as CEO. It was refreshing to see the ways in which he has made such a positive difference in our world and his perspective on the responsibilities of companies!
John Wimmer
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
We recieved "Trailblazer" from a Good reads giveaway, and it's packed full of modern business wisdom. The author, Mark Benioff is a sucessful software developer. We read how he developed the love for computers at an early age, and went on to found Salesforce. Salesforce is a multiplayer billion dollar software corporation, located in San Francisco California. He explores the nature of Salesforce, and creates a viable future for business leaders. Always hopeful for a sucessful future, Mark ...more
Jo * Smut-Dickted *
As someone who often interacts with Salesforce folks (I live in the Bay Area) I'd heard here and there that Benioff was a different kind of leader. This book really brought home just how different he is. I found a lot of striking sayings or quotes (not sure which honestly) that resonated with me. Perhaps due to the elements of meditation and awareness it was more than a little bit spiritual almost.

When he discussed priorities he states the obvious which is if everything is a priority, nothing
Igal Levy
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you’re familiar with Salesforce, or San Francisco politics, that’s reason enough to read this book. I enjoyed it because I recognize many of the people and events that Benioff writes about, and was able to learn some new facts.

The book focuses on Benioff (and therefore Salesforce’s) quest to do good, not just well, and on the resulting challenges and rewards. Business, and large corporations in particular, have not just a duty to their shareholders in our times, but to stakeholders, which
Antonio Hernandez
Full reflection found:

Part business memoir, part Salesforce advertisement, part leadership lesson, Trailblazer blends these three themes into one cohesive story. As a leadership lesson, he offers one key insight: great leaders and organizations are driven by their values.

The lessons that he communicates are valuable and Benioff shows a level of humility in his mistakes that I don’t often see in business and leadership books, but the impact of these insights clashes with
Liang Gang Yu
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiography devoting to a corporate’s values and its social responsibilities. From the start, Marc paid tribute of his success at Salesforce to the influence of his father and grandfather on the value and responsibilities. Later, Marc shared his journey in building Salesforce unique culture and products like Einstein, and in enforcing those core values (Trust, customer success, innovation, equality) through successes and setbacks.

As Marc called out, the stark contrast between
Daniel Ballinger
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was provided an advanced copy for review via the Salesforce MVP program.

With my day job being entwined with Salesforce for over the last decade I've lived through many of the events that are covered in the book. Albeit that was as someone outside the mothership. I found the book gave a different internal perspective on many of those same events.

It was interesting to read about how the core values that are so often highlighted as part of Salesforce's culture evolved and were refined over time
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cruised through this book and found it motivating and yet grounding to me at the same time. This book really solidified to me that the working for a company that cares and leads with Consciences is something to chase or hold onto. Standing up for more then the Qrt numbers is worth it but also shows as holding rewards in the social regulates but also financially and generalized success.

I loved hearing what felt like a behind the curtain stories of this this amazing company. Example: the story
[Note: I got an uncorrected proof from the publisher via a goodsreads giveaway].
If you are expecting a detailed account of how Salesforce came to be the giant it is today, or about Marc's life, you will be disappointed. Instead, this book is about the culture Marc wanted at his company (and others).
He states that "values create value" for a company and that companies will be better if they actually enforce values and truly give back to communities. He wrote this book to convince company CEOs
Jessica Haider
Not just a business book but a book about how important values should be in business.

Marc Benioff is founder and co-CEO of salesforce. For most of my adult life, I worked at a salesforce competitor, so I have been in the "software" environment that he talks about in this book. This book isn't directly about salesforce, but Benioff uses examples from his experiences at the company and at previous jobs as he talks about how important values are in business and in life. Benioff covers topics
Jolyn Moh
Content: 3.8/5

As a Salesforce employee, I find it incredible that we get to read and understand what was it like for the company and why we are where we are today. Some of the personal stories of how Marc's family has inspired him provided a good backdrop to understanding who the founder of my company is. Non-spoken responsibilities of a CEO were also shared and it is refreshing to hear that the CEO is helming the frontline also for social issues.

Readability: 2/5
I'm not expecting this to be a
Michael Jones
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written book and very interesting. Unlike most "CEO books", which are usually ghost-written, self-aggrandizing wastes of time and paper, this book gives us insights into Marc as a person, and into the foundational values of Salesforce as it began. There are great examples of how a leader is tested and challenged, and how being such a public face to a company can impact every aspect of the life of that CEO as well as their family.
As an employee of Salesforce, this book makes me even more
This was an interesting autobiographical account of the Founder and Co-CEO of Salesforce. There are certain concepts or business practices in this book that I found interesting such as the Ohana Floor and the idea that a great way to give back to the community is to not only pay your employees to volunteer, but also to teach the young skills that will help them develop skills. I did find that the book was pretty balanced between the good and the bad and that makes the book or the events in the ...more
David Skinner
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“Companies do well when they learn to do good”

I hoped this was going to be a biographical outline of Salesforce and how it has started, but it turned into a story about how the founder and CEO believes that companies should be very actively engaged in the social issues of the day. I could not disagree more strongly, because he writes with a religious fervor when he just needs to trust Jesus and then be thoughtful of social implications. He’s very political, and this book makes me actually like
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: innovation
It was an inspiring read and I have a lot of respect for Benioff in his missions in life. I think it's great that he's using his own company's money, people, and products to better the world. My one suggestion for improvement is a little more humbleness and vulnerability. I admire Beneioff's ability to persist and use his passion to motivate him. However, from the book, I got the idea that he sometimes bulldozes through people without listening-- like in the case of the bill he was trying to ...more
Enzo Santos
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading time: 1 week. Rating 4/5.

The book is about salesforce (biggest CRM system in the WORLD) and how the business has grown with its core values. Its about how they put trust above everything for all stake holders, add value to all their customers, believe in workplace equality, and have integrated their values to every employee which has resulted in them being a beacon for change for every fortune 500 business in the USA.

My favourite part is the chapter on customer success because 1) it
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's refreshing to read into the mind of this CEO. I enjoyed hearing how he's faced adversity and navigated challenges in his role. He wasn't afraid to post the real quotes of negative feedback he's received and outline how he overcame it. These are the kinds of case studies we need more of. At times the book felt a bit self-promotional...but I guess I had to expect that given the giant photo of his face on the cover. Nevertheless, a worthwhile read for those looking to transform how they, and ...more
Stevo Brock
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November, 2019, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet / Stevo's Nobel Ideas. You can find me at, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (, on Twitter (, on LinkedIn ( or search for me on Google for many more reviews and recommendations.
Mo Arshath
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marc Benioff shares how the core values of Salesforce helped them in critical situations and by using 1% of their Equity - 1% of Product - 1% of Employee time is dedicated to giving back they are creating a dent in the world. In spite of aligning the core values in giving back to the society Salesforce being the tech darling for its employees and the investors is the living proof that for a business of the future the primary goal is no longer an option to do well without doing good.
Abdulrazaq Balogun
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is more of a memoir on Salesforce,

I am really impressed with Marc's commitment to Humanity and his always standing by his Values, which won him the necessary support on the Prop-C Bill.

I love the fact that he always stands out amoung other technology CEO, Outspoken with Strong Family Values
Deepak Bassi
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea that a company has to focus on their stakeholders just as much as their shareholders has been debated forever. This book genuinely dissects the ins and outs of the debate, and lands on the side of stakeholders. By the end of the book i was convinced that a company can do well by doing good. I’m totally on board! Loved this book.
Jennifer Lange
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can you have ethics AND make money? Oh heck yeah! Salesforce (under Benioff’s leadership) has been doing just that. From its founding, through its ups and downs - trust is the key value. And I was surprised and happy to read more about the bad times; Benioff and Langly didn’t sweep them under the rug: they confronted them head on - in the book, and IRL.
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Marc Benioff is chairman, co-CEO, and founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Benioff was named the Decade’s Top Innovator by Forbes, one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune, and one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review. He has won numerous awards for his leadership on equality.

A Fortune 500 company with more than 45,000 employees, Salesforce has been
“Here’s the thing about values: You have to use words to identify them, but they won’t create true value for you unless they turn into consistent behaviors.” 0 likes
“It’s about how to create a culture where doing well is synonymous with doing good in order to thrive in a world where a company is only as strong as the principles it adopts.” 0 likes
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