• Build

  • An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
  • By: Tony Fadell
  • Narrated by: Tony Fadell, Roger Wayne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (676 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tony Fadell led the teams that created the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Learning Thermostat and learned enough in 30+ years in Silicon Valley about leadership, design, startups, Apple, Google, decision-making, mentorship, devastating failure, and unbelievable success to fill an encyclopedia.

So that’s what this book is. An advice encyclopedia. A mentor in a box. 

Written for anyone who wants to grow at work—from young grads navigating their first jobs to CEOs deciding whether to sell their company—Build is full of personal stories, practical advice and fascinating insights into some of the most impactful products and people of the 20th century.

Each quick entry builds on the previous one, charting Tony’s personal journey from a product designer to a leader, from a startup founder to an executive to a mentor. Tony uses examples that are instantly captivating, like the process of building the very first iPod and iPhone. Every chapter is designed to help listeners with a problem they’re facing right now—how to get funding for their startup, whether to quit their job or not, or just how to deal with the jerk in the next cubicle.

Tony forged his path to success alongside mentors like Steve Jobs and Bill Campbell, icons of Silicon Valley who succeeded time and time again. But Tony doesn’t follow the Silicon Valley credo that you have to reinvent everything from scratch to make something great. His advice is unorthodox because it’s old school. Because Tony’s learned that human nature doesn’t change. You don’t have to reinvent how you lead and manage—just what you make. 

And Tony’s ready to help everyone make things worth making. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Tony Fadell (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

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A must-read for anyone developing a product

Tony Fadell brings a refreshingly candid approach to his storytelling that brings us behind the curtain to learn what worked and what did not work along the road to creating iconic products including the iPod, the iPhone and the Nest family of products. Entrepreneurs will benefit from stories that underscore the importance of planning the entire user-journey as early as possible in your program to provide the best user-experience. In spite of best efforts, since things don't always go as planned, Tony also shares his wisdom about being upfront with your customers and owning your mistakes along with your remedies to make things right.
There are also many other topics including pitfalls to be aware of when working with investors or when selling your company.
The book is divided into sections including Building yourself, your Career, your Product, your Business , your Team, and your life as CEO. Each section is packed with stories that make key points easy to remember, and each of us will walk away with different details that resonate with us as we forge our own path as an individual contributor, a manager, or a CEO of a startup or an established business.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I thank Tony for making time to candidly share the learnings and experiences he gained while developing products we all know and love.. - RB

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Best guide for start up founders, ever!!!

I am a serial entrepreneur who founded companies ranging from industrial services to real estate to agriculture over the last three decades. I’ve had a few failures along the way and a few really great successes.

A couple of years ago I founded a technology start up. I wanted to take on a different challenge, Partly because I was bored and mainly because I wanted to continue to learn and grow.. So I founded a technology company.

It is a very different animal from my prior businesses. For the last two years it has been a struggle of ups and downs with our trajectory being mainly up.

Tony’s book, build, seems like it was written from him standing around in the corners of our office and observing the life of our team and our challenges.

If I read this book 2 years ago, I believe we would be at least twice as far along in our progress.

I ordered copies for all of our team and it is mandatory reading for all leadership.

Some of it is so detailed and so well written it is basically a policy guide.

I’ve been on Audible forever and I believe this might be the first time I’ve left a review. This book is that good.

If you are a founder of a tech company or any type of company, or a leader or aspiring leader of any type of company I highly recommend you get this book and absorb it.

Thank you, Tony!

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Amazing book

Probably the best leadership book I've ever read. Tony shares many great lessons in this book. I'd recommend it.

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Goes hard

It’s a general look at all aspects of startup life and how making a company should actually work. It’s not one blog post for 11 hours, it’s like 10 or 20 ideas that all come together to make this excellent listen.

Definitely going to apply the ideas and am definitely going to read it again.

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Useful and Entertaining!

I wish I had this book when I started my career.

As a lover of Silicon Valley tech history and an active entrepreneur, I pre-ordered Tony Fadell’s “BUILD” when I first learned about it on LinkedIn. As a fan of his work (General Magic, Apple iPod, Apple iPhone, Nest), I had high expectations for the book, and I wasn’t disappointed. The book is full of wisdom on how the navigate your career, how to build a product, and ultimately how to build a team and a company.

What makes this book exceptional is that Tony’s no-BS style of storytelling is packed with practical advice that only someone who has crawled through the trenches can credibly dispense. For example, the chapter on “Assholes” is funny and spot on. “….up to 12% of corporate senior leadership exhibit psychopathic traits.” Other examples include the importance and structure of storytelling and some great Steve Jobs anecdotes, how analyze, and sit with a great idea, and why it will likely take 3 generations of a product to get it right (spoiler alert, you are never finished). To get additional context, I’d highly recommend General Magic the Movie. It is a fascinating story about a brilliant team trying to build the first “smart phone” about 10 years too early.

The chapter “The Point of PMs” is especially useful as he breaks down all the different roles and how to think about structure and responsibility as a company grows. I’d also recommend reading Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” as well and his take on the importance of a great product manager.

In the chapter “Death of a Sales Culture”, Tony also takes an insightful look at sales compensation and building the right sales culture.

In the chapter “FXXX Massages,” what I thought was going to be slam on millennial entitlement turns out to be a fascinating study and story about human behavior and how to intelligently reward employees and spend money wisely.

Great insights as well in the chapters “You Can Only Have One Customer” and a master class in “A Method to the Marketing.”

Lastly, fantastic perspective on becoming and unbecoming a CEO.

He concludes with a chapter entitled “Beyond Yourself,” where Tony puts is succinctly, “in the end there are two things that matter, products and people, what you build and who you build it with.”

If you want to be wildly entertained and educated from one of the most passionate and creative builders in Silicon Valley history, then I would highly recommend Tony Fadell’s “BUILD.”

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Profound and inspiring

Fantastic book. Unflinching and inspiring. Really enjoyed it. Thank you for building this, Tony

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Great advice from someone who practices what he preaches

I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Tony and be mentored by him. He’s an inspiring, demanding, and talented leader and product developer. His advice and support helped me build, and subsequently sell, a valuable company.

When I heard Tony wrote a book, I immediately downloaded it and listened. As expected, nearly every nugget he passed along to me in my journey was touched upon in one way or another in his book. He added a lot more detail and context and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just feel it essential to mention, IRL he’s the same person he describes in the book. The ideas he shares helped me have some success and I’m confident there are a few nuggets in there that will help you build your product or company regardless of the industry. Enjoy!

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Fantastic read

Great insights into the world of start up culture. Building a business and managing your creative endeavors. Loved that you can jump around to any chapters and hear about a specific goal / problem / advice.

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Become a better version two of You

Not just another inspiring book to read, but a book filled with insights that will help shape you to become a better person, leader, and visionary. Tony Fadell is stepping up the game on better mentoring that is needed in this fast paced technology world.

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Recommend for anyone building their business

Huge fan and early adaptor of Nest products here. Tony shares his journey and gives many great advice for anyone building their next thing. Thanks for sharing with us Tony.

1 person found this helpful