Would you believe that there is one person that was giving advice to Steve Jobs, Eric Schimdt and Sundar Pichai? To make it even harder to believe – what if we add that the background of the person is being a football coach? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? In case this kind of person would really exist, it would make sense to learn as much as possible about her.

And exactly that the team that stands behind the book “How Google works” offers in their second cooperation. “Trillion dollar coach” is a book about different kind of leadership and coaching than we would expect from (and for) Silicon Valley. Success stories are focused on communication, honesty and trust with people in the center of everything. It is refreshing to read personal stories that provide insight to various doubts that are troubling some of the most successful managers in history.

Book review - Trillion Dollar Coach 1 Book review - Trillion Dollar Coach 2

“Trillion Dollar Coach” – what is it about?

Bill Campbell entered his professional career at age of 39, after working as a College football coach. His career developed quickly, he worked in ad agency, Kodak and then switched to Apple. There he was promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing and he was responsible for the launch of new Macintosh computer. Do you know about Apple’s “1984” Super Bowl TV ad? Of course you do, it became part of the modern history. Less known fact is that it was almost not aired, as the Board at Apple didn’t approve it. Bill Campbell took the full responsibility and decided to run it despite the instruction from his Board.

As mentioned, Bill Campbell was a true believer in people (ok, book was written by people that were his friends, so there is a lot of subjectivity incorporated and things were for sure not so pink in reality), and this approach got him a top position at Intuit. As a personal advisor (business coach) he continued with the same approach – building relationships based on honesty, respect and bullshit approach (given and requested from the others). Really good quote that describes how the honesty and respect fits with the role of the top manager in the company:

The throne behind the round table the manager’s job is to run a decision-making process that ensures all perspectives get heard and considered, and, if necessary, to break ties and make the decision.

If you are interested to learn more about the concepts from the book, here is the presentation from Eric Schimdt summarising main points:

During his tenure, Intuit’s revenues more than doubled and growth continued even after Campbell left the CEO position.

Final thought: book is a good read, not perfect as it tends to show positive aspects of Bill Campbell’s relationships and missing to show the whole persona. So, read the book, enjoy it but take everything written with some reality check. Still not convinced? More information is available at the book’s homepage: Trillion Dollar Coach

Costanza Dev