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Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

Written by: Patty McCord
Length: 4 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In her new book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.  

McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR—annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs—often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.   

Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.

©2017 Patty McCord (P)2017 Missionday

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great for any growing company

Found Patty s explanation on point. Many points that she covers are either lived here at neuvoo or discussed for implementation. The netflix culture deck is the best piece of management principles I have come across since we started our startup.

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Great learnings for every level of a company

The mix of importance of culture and realism of business through this book was the highlight for me.

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#Audible1

Easy to listen and follow. Full of great points around modern culture. Will inject what I learned from the book at my company to heighten engagement and performance.

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Great read!

I read this for an office book club. Everyone in our club enjoyed the book, and it created great discussion points. The chapter summaries were especially helpful. Patty offered some novel insights and provided great anecdotes to back up her arguments. She knows what she is talking about. I also appreciated the self-narration; it added to the experience. #Audible1

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  • FB
  • 2018-09-13

Game changing

Patty outlines a lot of the radical approaches she and the folks at Netflix took to build a truly unique culture. It has challenged me and my management group to reflect on what we perceived to be a great culture and identify areas for improvement.
The only knock I have against this audiobook is the way Patty presents it. I wish she had read it with more emphasis and emotion as there are many parts where the message could be delivered more emphatically.
#Audible1

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Terrible

This book is awful. I didn't even finish it. At the point when he referred to a person with a disability as retarded I decided there was no way I could finish it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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pretty cool

really valuable insights, got a bit repetitive towards the end but all in all really informative perspective. recommended reading.

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Patty is a true Leader in the field.

Patty shares her vest wealth of experience gained at Netflix and with Reid Hoffman. Also, more recently as a consultant. Great job on the Audiobook voice-over also.
Jeff Faulkner

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What a pile of toxic bullshit

How to shit on your employees and breed distrust for short sighted management gains. Subtitle: why I won’t work for Netflix.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica Lea Nolette
  • 2018-02-26

Brilliant & Insightful

I was first “introduced” to Patty listening to ‘This Week In Startups,’ a Podcast w/ Jason Calacanis. After listening to her episode I immediately downloaded the book and loved it. Great insights you can immediately incorporate into your current company culture. Very well written and very well read.👌🏼

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mauro Locarnini
  • 2019-02-08

Good HR criticism - wrong alternative solutions

I think the author makes a really good point in regards to old HR practices that have no link to the business and are not even good for people. However looking one to one the alternatives suggested... well you’re only left with anew problem. Saying that one example of friend shows that engagement has no link to company success clearly shows how ill informed the book is. Yes obsession with any metric or practice is never good but doing away with all practices without clearly suggesting what works is dangerous advise.

She does make a good point explaining the benefits of candid feedback, proactively letting go of people and excellent hiring. The overall message let’s me with a taste of taking people as commodities, yes you will treat them with respect but you dispose with them as soon as something better comes across.

Yes employees should be the drivers of their own careers, but companies benefit hugely helping them build up their competencies for a future we don’t yet know. How can you find outside the skills needed for something you as a company are creating...

A pity that such good criticism of HR turns out so flawed

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • jose antonio rossi
  • 2019-08-11

Glad I have never worked there

Book about extreme competitiveness, rudeness disguised as “truth”, silver coating treating badly employees as focus on customers. I have bad feelings when I watch anything from Netflix nowadays.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe Gonsalves
  • 2019-07-03

Quick Read, Great Read

Insightful, interesting and easy to comprehend. A great read for those who plan to build or manage a team. It's not a family, it's a team.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kitty
  • 2019-05-20

Challenged My View of HR Role

This was an interesting story that challenged my view of HR’s role for the business and employees. I highly recommend it to anyone, even experienced HR partners!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jose
  • 2018-02-02

Great insight and ideas.

This was a great narration which shared some d
great insights and examples.

I really enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-08-29

Inspiring but not very insightful on practices

The book is very inspiring and also suiting as you understand that building a high productive culture is a process with lots of mistakes. Still, she does not give much of concrete advice on how to build your own culture but more guidelines. Still, I find it though provoking and useful.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pearl
  • 2020-01-18

This book should be renamed “Elementary”

Certainly goods points are presented, but nothing new. Could be a good book for starting out.

The recaps were similar to an online training course.

Changes in audio were notably apparent.

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  • themabrys
  • 2019-12-18

Actionable Advice for Leaders

A fantastic testimony about leadership experience and breaking norms of traditional management styles. I found Patty's advice to be actionable in many ways. Some of her advice requires a culture change - and she's pretty open about that. She's incredibly gutsy and I love her experience-based examples...real-world hot seat stuff. Her very direct and candid responses in many of her encounters is inspiring. I really enjoyed her take on 'letting people go'. She seems genuinely interested in finding the right person, for the right job, with the right skills. When she has to let someone go, she acknowledges their strengths, while also communicating their weaknesses in an honest way. She remains close to many who have gone on to highly successful careers, doing something they love. I highly recommend the book for anyone in a leadership position, even if you don't have direct reports. The advice can be applied to teams for motivating and driving projects/products to success.

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  • Nate Woodbury
  • 2019-12-18

Helpful and fantastic book.

I love this book! I’m going to be listening to it again. The authors own narration was fantastic. But at the end of each chapter with a summary section, which was good, except the guys voice is irritating.

I have listened to many hundreds of business, marketing, self-help, books. This one is paradigm shifting. This one is actionable. I do highly recommend it for entrepreneurs stepping into leadership.