[I don’t know where this goes but @judytuna says I can put it wherever! I hope maybe it is helpful in fighting capitalism? ]
My work does a book club, and it is almost always hilarious and useful for insight into the minds of capitalists and how to fight them, so I’m going to provide commentary for as long as I can survive it. Currently, we’re reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott. I’m reading it because this is a massive step up from the last book, The Righteous Mind, an apparent favorite among old white men and statues. I was going to describe some of the supposed moral quandaries my coworker told me were in it, but they’re too disgusting to type.
Someone should make a bingo game for this genre of book. By page xii, she’s already given a sob story about how devastated she was to fire someone from the company she started, and has then started talked about how she reconnected with her old friend Sheryl Sandberg in 2004 at a wedding which coincidentally resulted in her leading a team of 100 people at Google. She drops 4 names on page xiii, and she hasn’t even started talking about all her friends at Apple yet.
So then she’s on to talking about how she never repeated her firing mistake on her team at Google, but casually mentions:
We were obsessive about efficiency, and we managed to shrink headcount in North America even as revenue grew dizzyingly - the definition of scaling.
Emphasis not even mine. No layoffs to see there! Magic only. Some hints at useful info here though - she talks about how management skills are far more hyped in tech these days than elsewhere, and it’s because of how sought after engineers are able to jump ship to less asshole bosses. She doesn’t mention productivity or ability to shut down organizing, but we’ll definitely get to at least the former later.
Every single page deserves its own bingo card, actually, but I’m going to skip ahead. My all-time favorite quote, ever:
Now I realized the question that led me to study Russian literature - why some people live productively and joyfully while others feel, as Marx put it, alienated from their labor - was central to a boss’s job.
I am now deceased, and I think Marx died several more times from that sentence alone. She was talking about trying to recruit ten highly skilled Russian diamond cutters in her first job after college (???) and discovering that the key to recruiting them was promising them that her company would help get them and their families out of Russia if the political situation worsened. She goes on to say that her company made more than $100 million per year off their work because she made that promise… wins all around?? Marx would be so proud.
Now there are pages of recollections and analysis of conversations between her and Larry Page and her and Sheryl Sandberg. Pages. With dozens more names dropped in between. God help me. Larry is pissed she is too nice to him. Sheryl offers to get her a speech coach to help her say “um” less. This is a nightmare. The rest of this week’s reading is both miserable and boring. I will not survive this book. But I think at some point it will get more into the twisted minds of tech capitalists better, and I’m even learning how to reference Marx in fully boss-approved ways. Much excite. Will try to report back on these thrilling learnings as they come along.