01 Dec 2018

INK: The Bookshelf


Entrepreneur, investor, and Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky (MBA 2008) on his new book about getting through the hardest part of any project, and two other picks about perseverance

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture
by Scott Belsky

“It turns out that we are not our greatest selves at either the low or the high points of a journey. Because during the lows, we tend to make decisions out of fear, and at the peaks, we make decisions out of ego, by falsely attributing the things that worked to things we did. One major theme of this book is that the volatility through the messy middle of any project is about achieving a positive slope. Your job is to manage the lows and maintain a focus on optimizing the highs.”


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
by Alfred Lansing

“There’s a moment when the ship is trapped in the ice, and Shackleton has to decide how much of the wreckage he wants his team to salvage. He didn’t want his crew to think that they needed every last thing, that they were going to be stuck out on the ice forever—he wanted them to retain some hope that they would be able to work their way to salvation. So it’s this strange idea of a leader cutting off resources, but as with all great teams, it shows that having resourcefulness is more important than having resources.”


Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger

“Junger talks about the capacity for adversity to bring people together, with examples from combat veterans and from white settlers who had been captured from frontier communities by American Indians. The settlers made the decision to ultimately stay and be part of an interdependent society with their captors after being offered the chance to leave. It goes back to this sense of reliance on others during wartime and adversity that can unlock the human potential for groups.”



“There isn’t anything secret about presenting. The necessary skills are simple, the keys to success are clear, and the problems are easy to identify and correct. You don’t need to be trained in theater to present well. You don’t need to have the humor of Jerry Seinfeld or the looks of Brad Pitt or the stage presence of Taylor Swift. You simply need to think logically, prepare diligently, and speak clearly. It doesn’t require special skills or gifts. ...This is not a general book about public speaking. ...It is a guide for business leaders and, in particular, people on their way up.”
—Tim Calkins (MBA 1991), clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management and author of the new book, How to Wash a Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2008, Section I
follow @scottbelsky
Class of MBA 1991, Section C
follow @TimothyCalkins

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