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No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  9,551 ratings  ·  1,031 reviews
Shortlisted for the 2020 Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings reveals for the first time the unorthodox culture behind one of the world's most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies

There has never before been a company like Netflix. It has led nothing short of a revolution in the entertainment industries, gener
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Random House Large Print Publishing
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Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a piece of corporate propaganda the book succeeds in being one that aspiring and corporate managers will love to recommend to one another satisfied that they are lapping up the latest in employee empowerment and HR best practices.  Anyone else not at that level realizes this for what it is: C-level pabulum with examples such as the rule that “employees here have unlimited vacation”, when the reality for the worker bees is that if you’re gone more than 2 weeks a year you’re viewed as a slacker ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unsurprisingly, it was worth waiting for.
First hand message, culture focused, very straightforward - even for values/principles that are controversial and unobvious.

To be honest: this is NOT a hand-book. Many of concepts here did apply in Netflix, but for serveral reasons won't apply in other companies. So the main advantage of reading this book is to learn how Netflix (& its values) have evolved - how executives have learned, how they came up to particular conclusions. Why they've picked this p
Huyen Chip
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've experienced bits and bits of Netflix culture, having been one of their first interns before they had an internship program -- Netflix doesn't want people who need handholding. But it wasn't until this book that I got the whole picture (or context as Netflix calls it) as well as the trial-and-error processes that went into creating their unique culture. The concrete examples are also extremely helpful. ...more
Olga Shatokha
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
When I have mixed feelings about a book, I give it 3 stars.

This was an extremely interesting one, couldn’t stop listening. It was very insightful to understand how companies like Netflix think about their culture.

Still, I find the culture described in the book toxic and dangerous because:
- it praises giving feedback in public. In 9 lies about work authors say that people don’t like feedback, they like attention, and I couldn’t agree more. Imagine how unnatural and pointless giving feedback in pu
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was hoping "No Rules Rules" would provide more unique insights into how Netflix scaled to become the global leader in streaming. This book is more focused on the managerial techniques that Hastings and his team applied through Netflix's history. While interesting at times, many of these ideas were not unique to Netflix, although little credit is given to other innovative companies that originated these approaches. At times, I wanted to just hit the "escape button" with this book for various re ...more
Nate Q
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was sold on the concept of this book, where a hard-hitting biz author/professor tells the gory behind-the-scenes reality that conflicts with the rosy hindsight bias of the founder/CEO... but sadly no gloves came off whatsoever. And to think I was excited to learn about the inner workings of the streaming darling, only instead to be inundated with a non-buffering stream of vanilla HR policies.

I'm probably jaded, having worked in tech for 15 years... but unlimited vacation, freedom & responsibi
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great read for managers and leaders of contemporary midsize to large companies in creative industries. Reed Hastings is the cofounder, CEO and chairman of Netflix. No rules: Netflix and the culture of reinvention introduces the Netflix management system; throughout it is juxtaposed to the classic leadership by control in traditional businesses.

It’s helpful to think of the leadership and management system as the operating system and software for the company. Back in the early days of c
Bjoern Rochel
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Why do great colleagues leave?

That’s a question that has been on my mind for quite a while. Every case is different, but if you zoom out a bit it often boils down to one or more of the following:

- lacking creative freedom and / or autonomy to do the job in the desired way
- inability to improve the direct work environment
- lack of improvement of the company as a whole
- feeling gagged or stifled by processes or hierarchy
- decisions that make no sense on operational level
- being tired of company p
Lukas Vermeer

If you have previously read (as I have) both Radical Candor and The Culture Map (both of which are excellent books which I would highly recommend) as well as Powerful (which I would not recommend) then you will find very few new insights in this book. If you have not, I would recommend that you read those first two books instead of this one.

I found the two-author approach, providing an "outsider perspective" to counter Reed's views, novel and appealing, but I feel Erin could have been much
Alok Kejriwal
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece & MUST read.

Netflix is a UNIQUE company with a unique business model & philosophy. It's obvious that its overpowering leader Reed Hastings runs & scales his business HIS way. Read this book to learn:

- How a business book should be written :) The co-author Erin Meyer adds so much value to the entire narrative.

- Insights on how 'no rules policies' (take vacations, spend company money etc) though so hard to swallow seems to work so well for Netflix. (I say ‘seems’ coz I still can't di
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Struggled to read this and wanted to put it down constantly. A self-congratulatory primer on the 'unique' tenets of Netflix culture of 'Freedom & Responsibility' which include:
- anyone who isn't an amazing performer will just be fired to preserve 'talent density'
- no expense/travel policy, KPIs, bonuses
- you have to participate in live feedback about yourself with 10-12 people over dinner.. no thanks.

There are some ok insights about candor and feedback in there but it'll be largely repetitive if
Bianca A.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, speed-read
Published in 2020 and written by Hastings (cofounder and co-CEO of Netflix) and Meyer (professor at INSEAD and Netflix consultant).
This is therefore obviously from the title and presentation/author a book about Netflix and its company culture and their declared dedication to innovation, generally recommended to Silicon Valley fanboys and start-ups with big dreams. I also personally recommend it for folks who love reading and want to just know more about Netflix as a company.
I felt it was a book
Nopadol Rompho
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read this year. I love the concept of this book about how to make Netflix succeed, which includes increasing talents density, building up candor, and removing control. This concept can be applied into any organization if you consider it carefully. ...more
Horace Derwent
Dec 12, 2020 marked it as to-read
we're not family...

I like this remark
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the read, and am still a full supporter of what's in here. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars is because if you are already familiar with Netflix culture through the culture deck/memo and have given it a lot of thought/reflection, most of the content is just a more digestible re-telling / re-organizing of existing insights and examples for those new to it. The international aspect might be a bit new to those who have followed Netflix culture from the outside.

If you're n
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying that Netflix culture is not for me but this book does a great job comparing a culture rules a d processes with a culture of principles and freedom. This was my second time reading this book and I enjoyed it even more the second time. You can read the last chapter first to fully understand what you should look for in this book. In the last chapter (which should have been the intro) you will learn where you can use thé culture of rules and processes and where you should chos ...more
Alexandra Huides
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just read it! You'll most likely have your perspective enriched, even if you're not part of an organization that can or will adopt the culture. It’s a great book that should be read by literally everyone - from CEOs to managers to individual contributors, no matter the business area, because it speaks to growth and mindset. Whenever you'll say to yourself "No way that can work!", you will be proven that it can work indeed. ...more
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
The book describes the corporate culture of Netflix its underlying philosophy and how it is nurtured. The format is a dialog between Reed Hastings, Netfilx Founder and CEO and Erin Meyer, professor and business writer. The principles and policies are clearly described with Netflix examples.

The critical element is what they call “talent density”. To have top talent Netflix pays top dollar. Average or acceptable performance will yield a thank you and generous severance package. The company doesn’t
Bartosz Majewski
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
A comprehensive guidebook into implementing the culture of freedom in the responsibility we all know from Netflix. I have never read a book about Netflix and was very surprised that their way of doing things is pretty similar to ours and we have developed our ways in similar circumstances. I need to discuss notes from this book with the people from our team.

Actionable (but only for top managers at first).
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The story of Netflix, I thought, when I picked up Reed Hastings’ No Rules Rules. After all, the transformation from a DVD rental business into the leader in media streaming, cannibalising its original business along the way, has been nothing short of spectacular. They created an industry which did not exist and paved the way for many others to follow.

No Rules Rules is indeed the story of Netflix. But not in the manner I had expected (perils of not reading the summary). It is a story of Netflix’
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heavily engaging with some brilliant insights and examples! It grips you from the first page and takes you on a brilliant journey of how Netflix's culture came to be. Right from policies, to feedback mechanisms and Freedom and Responsibility, the book outlines how one can go about creating a culture as open as the one Netflix has. It completely deserves the shortlists it has received. ...more
Dmytro Shteflyuk
This book is packed with information about building a culture. Not a guide, not a success story, but rather a collection of steps Netflix went through (or going through) to get from where they were to where they are. Let's be honest - your company (or mine, or any other company) won't be able to take the same steps and end up in exactly the same place, nor we need to. There are still tons of interesting concepts, starting with how to give feedback, increase autonomy, dealing with cultural differ ...more
Carl Rannaberg
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on leadership and management practices. It’s a great mix of Reed Hastings and Netflix story and practical actionable advice on how to lead talented people.
It goes over topics also covered in Radical Candor by Kim Scott and Powerful by Patty McCord which use Netflix culture as an example.
If you want to build a team or a company where highly skilled and driven individuals thrive, this book is an excellent resource. It will teach you how to create a culture of feedback, use transpare
Abhinav Das
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Just brilliant.

One of the best books written about the importance of culture. Truth is, either the book is brutally honest or the story telling is super strong. Either way, Netflix is the right team for the job :P
Jokes apart, the dots connect beautifully about the importance of creating an environment for high candour, high freedom and ultra high innovation.

This book has to be my best read of 2020 (hopefully).
Madrileña Reader
Although interesting, the information offered does not warrant this amount of pages. The authors are repetitive and 60% of the content is composed of redundant examples. Just read the summaries at the end of each chapter and you're good to go; if you want a little further information, peruse the chapter. The TED Talks interview with Reed Hastings should also suffice. ...more
Quan Mt
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me so many ideas on how to improve our company culture. Highly recommended if you're running a fast paced startup. ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hire and retain great people.
Maintain transparency.
Give people freedom to operate.

How can anyone take exception to any of this? Sounds like motherhood and apple pie. But then, you take each of these elements and jack up their intensity to the max - and what you have is the unique, awe-inspiring and sometimes downright scary internal culture of Netflix.

No Rules Rules is a searingly open book. It embraces and reflects the very same cultural principles that it espouses inside it. When it talks a
Jan Salomon
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book gave me hope that traditional & rigid corporate structures are not the only way to manage large groups of people. Even though some of Hastings' suggestions seem almost obvious once you read them, they likely would not be your first choice if you found yourself in a leader position. It is much more likely that your error avoidance and need for control would take over, translating into fixed hierarchies, slow decision making and ultimately a waste of human resources.

It is, however, impo
Murtaza Hasan
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
For quite some time I was wondering about how suddenly one company become ubiquitous everywhere, upending the entertainment industry's well-established companies one at a time. What made Netflix make this quick turnaround?

And then I saw this book being published by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings so I was interested. After reading it I think the cultural reinvention they embraced is one the most important reason for their success.

Briefly, the core principles can be summarized to be:
1. Increase talent
Aayushi Paliwal
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's after a long time that I am writing a review (because honestly I had forgotten about it until my dear friends reminded me of it again)

However, coming to the book - as someone who is still fresh into her career, this book is an eye opener. Sometimes working in toxic workplaces can make you guilty for taking leaves, or not putting those extra work hours by being glued to your laptops between 9am to 9pm.

I had always heard of Netflix culture is being aggressive and cut throat. Hence, I was eage
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