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Publisher's Summary

The inspiring, unlikely, laugh-out-loud story of how one woman learned to lead - and how she ultimately succeeded, not despite her many mistakes, but because of them.

This is the story of how Kristen Hadeed built Student Maid, a cleaning company where people are happy, loyal, productive, and empowered, even while they're mopping floors and scrubbing toilets. It's the story of how she went from being an almost comically inept leader to a sought-after CEO who teaches others how to lead.

Hadeed unintentionally launched Student Maid while attending college 10 years ago. Since then, Student Maid has employed hundreds of students and is widely recognized for its industry-leading retention rate and its culture of trust and accountability. But Kristen and her company were no overnight sensation. In fact they were almost nothing at all.

Along the way, Kristen got it wrong almost as often as she got it right. Giving out hugs instead of feedback, fixing errors instead of enforcing accountability, and hosting parties instead of cultivating meaningful relationships were just a few of her many mistakes. But Kristen's willingness to admit and learn from those mistakes helped her give her people the chance to learn from their own screw-ups, too.

Permission to Screw Up dismisses the idea that leaders and organizations should try to be perfect. It encourages people of all ages to go for it and learn to lead by acting rather than waiting or thinking. Through a brutally honest and often hilarious account of her own struggles, Kristen encourages us to embrace our failures and proves that we'll be better leaders when we do.

©2017 Kristen Hadeed (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A brave and generous book, the ideal antidote to the perfection and invulnerability we pretend are essential to succeed.” (Seth Godin, author of Linchpin and Tribes)

“If you’re looking for the sunshine and rainbows version of success, this isn’t the story for you. If you’re looking for the down-to-earth, nitty-gritty, honest journey of a leader, proceed to chapter one.” (Susan Cain, author of Quiet

Permission to Screw Up pulls back the curtains and reveals what it’s really like to be a leader - a must-read for anyone who wants to start a company. Kristen isn’t afraid to own up to the mistakes she’s made along the way, and encourages us to do the same.” (Kip Tindell, cofounder and chairman of The Container Store)
 

Featured Article: Big Ideas in Business and Tech


Even the most successful entrepreneurs had to start somewhere. When it comes to groundbreaking technology, the people who became leading business executives often began as lone visionaries with nothing but an idea. Now that they’re global industry leaders, many of them have shared their amazing stories in memoirs. These tales of heartbreak and triumph will bring you along on the roller-coaster of success, all the while showing you the secrets of how business greats transformed their dreams into reality. Read on to find your next great inspiration!

What listeners say about Permission to Screw Up

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Everything I Needed as a Millennial Manager

This book was everything I needed at just the right time. In the midst of struggling to find a way to align my leadership goals with a “behind the times” company culture, I was starting to doubt myself and my mission. After hearing Kristen’s story and being able to identify with the majority of it in one way or another, I feel like I have been able to refocus on what truly matters to me as a leader. Leadership is incredibly difficult when you are saddled with the title and responsibilities of [insert title of influence here]. No wonder so many seniors/executives have lost their leadership paths in a jungle of conflicting organizational cultures. Simon pointed out that people pulled out their notepads and listened when Kristen spoke; as they should. What she has to say is absolutely invaluable for all levels of an organization. Particularly for those who have lost their way. I am so glad she decided to share her screw ups with the rest of us. Thank you, Kristen.

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Finally an honest, vulnerable book about business.

I was engrossed from the beginning to end, and enjoyed it more than the last 20 I listened to combined. I applaud the authors courage.

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Not really a self-help book

book was all about her and how she started her business although a little inspirational but it was just like reading a story

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Millennial Memoir

Entertaining 'life story' about a young entrepreneur and her trials and tribulations of figuring out business. You think the story is almost too much good natured fun in the beginning to be what actually happened, that true hardships hadn't really been had, but the second half goes a little deeper and is nicely tied together at the end. It's far from a true 'rags to riches story' because the author had a lot of support but I think she raises some good points and tactics that can be applied to business owners. I had a few takeaways. There is some theoretical fluff from somebody that appears to still be 'figuring it out' though. I think there will be future books written by this author because there are still lessons to be had in business that deviate from theory. Not a business bible but overall worth the listen.

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Inspired

Great book. Easy to listen to. I finished in just a few short days. As a business owner it is great to hear that it is ok to mess up from time to time...to be human. After listening to this book I feel a renewed energy to find the best in people and to work as hard to build internal relationships as we do on the external ones!

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Easy to listen to!

Kristin is so pleasant and easy to listen to. Hearing her story is almost like sitting down and listening to a story narrated by a friend. Her lessons learned are indispensable and her openness to admit her mistakes is refreshing . This book is deafly something that all leaders and future leaders need to read!

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Fun read, good lessons

Quick lesson with a reassuring theme - celebrate your mistakes by learning from them. More than that, Kristin Hadeed stumbles on, internalizes, and lives the keys to leadership.

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We all need to give permission

We all need to give permission to screw up as if we are human we will screw up at some point in time.

That’s what the book is all about a true story of learning better late than never that you need to be able to screw up.

I appreciate the stories Kristen has shared as they’re a great lesson of how hard it is to build a business.

I found myself nodding at all too similar scenarios that I’ve experienced and marveling at how well she has overcome them.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn the reality of building a business- it’s not all roses and you gotta allow the screw ups.

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How to work with Millenials

This is an insightful book about how Millennials think and work. No, they're not all lazy, self-absorbed, and expecting recognition just for showing up. The first few chapters may make you shake your head and wonder how the author could be so dumb when she started her business. If you're feeling that way, jump to Chapter 3 where she starts to learn from mentors on how to handle difficult situations (like employees cheating on their time, a top performer constantly showing up late, an excellent candidate who doesn't meet all the value criteria established by the leadership team, and trying to groom other people to grow the business). It gets into the details of how she felt, what she said, how people responded, and how she could have done it better.

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A quick read with big impact

For me, Kristen's story was endlesslessy relatable, and read like a brave tell-all leadership guide for those who put people first. I say that I am a helper first and a salesperson second. I have trouble knowing when to pull the plug on relationships and put up boundaries and as a newer business owner and someone who provides guidance to other entrepreneurs this had me rethinking my leadership approach and leadership team building in some very needed ways. Kristen is super down to earth and my favorite part might be the end where she talks about writing this book and how she knew it was the right book for her. I also love her read of her own book, she absolutely made the pains and victories if her journey come alive!

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  • Familyhrguru
  • 11-06-17

My new go to resource on humane & effective leadership

A really wonderful, engaging and insightful book on leadership. Whether you’re an experienced leader who has studied the theory, got the t shirt etc, or brand new to leadership, or starting up a new venture if your own, this book will help your thinking, and I hope, inspire you. I listened on Audible and my commute was transformed. Kristen is a great story teller, really bringing to life her ‘screw ups’ and the deep learning that followed. So much of her success is her people focus and the attention she has paid to relationships, values and honest feedback. She shares her insights generously and and also attributes and thanks the others who have helped along the way. I am already boring anyone who will listen to me with my recommendation to read or listen to this book. I’m delivering a 2 hour overview on leadership theory imminently - no mean feat! This is one of 4 books I am specifically referencing.

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  • S Bentley
  • 01-07-18

Inspiring and entertaining tales of leadership

Refreshingly candid and open tales from leadership that are both inspiring and entertaining in equal measure.

1 person found this helpful

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  • P&S
  • 12-26-17

Wow!

If you want to learn then this is a great book to listen to. Game changer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sarunas
  • 12-11-17

INSPIRING

Amazing life changing story already helped me so much in our business and my personal life THANK YOU SO MUCH !

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  • pete
  • 08-18-21

a truly honest entrepreneurs journey

Kristen delivers a no holding back step by step account. some real surprising honestly from a successful entrepreneur

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-21

worst book ever

worst book ever that I have read. maybe some little teen would enjoy this kindergarden story

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  • Stuart Upton
  • 02-06-21

True authentic leadership

Possibly the most authentic book I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Kristen offers up something that most try to hide and shares those human traits that can provide lessons we are sometimes not expecting to learn. I didn't buy the book expecting to to cry in chapter 5 but the lessons the book imparts provide something everyone can grow from

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  • Amazon customer
  • 09-29-20

Honest and vulnerable stories of growth

Easy listening of a young person's journey and the true struggles to find her way to a strong leadership role. Nothing is perfect but the struggles are what she is most proud of.

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  • Arpad Takats
  • 08-14-20

Great book,

Loved this book. Well written, well thought through. Really fascinating to read /listen. I have finished it really fast.

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  • lee
  • 07-28-20

Every leader should read !

Great book from real work life experiences and people , fully 100% agree you need to be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-14-17

The best book on leadership I've ever read!

Kirsten's story is raw, real and relatable. Her book made me laugh, cry and shared valuable lessons on leadership. This book is one of many leadership books I have read but it has quickly become my favourite. I could not stop listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-21

Loved it!

Really enjoyed the message and the way it was delivered. Great for both business owners and those working for small to medium businesses. Very relatable and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-31-21

Amazing, Inspiring and Humble

Kristen is a young entrepreneur who, like all of us I guess, has made many stuff ups in her journey. The difference in this book is that it doesn’t just talk about the success but the lessons she learned, generally the hard way, to get to where she is. I am really enjoying learning more and more about leadership. This book has helped me me in my career and as a Dad. It also is helping me get a better understanding of myself.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-21

Fantastic listen, inspiring and motivating

I loved this book, and have since recommended to my employees, family and friends. I would love everyone on my team to hear this, and I’m more driven now to cultivate a better culture within my business, great work Kristen!

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  • Ryan
  • 12-03-20

great story. inspirational

the lessons in itself were not clearly listed. the challenges were apparent and so was the solutions. the steps...not so much. you gleam a little bit of what she and the rest of SM had to adapt to from the story. you feel the gravity through the narration.

I thoroughly enjoy this and would recommend to startups and culture driven business model.

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  • Steph Saro
  • 07-18-20

Made me feel ok to be human!

Was a really good listen! Made me feel better about making mistakes and realising it's just an opportunity to learn. A very easy listen too. Some moments were a little but cringey but that's just from personal preference of story components and the way things are written. Overall though, a really great story and so nice to realise other people go through the same things!

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  • Jan
  • 01-23-20

more information needed

I would like to understand a bit more concrete information about the size of the company at the different stages of growth, so that we can relate to it here in New Zealand.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-19

From one imperfect leader to another

My story is of ‘what not to do in business’ and yet each year we grow. It is a painful and draining passion, with many learnings along the way. It was so refreshing to read/hear the lesson before the learning. Thoroughly enjoyed

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-26-19

A must listen, If you want to lead your team.

This is the best book I have listened to! Thanks for inspiring me Kristen! The way you describe leadership makes perfect sense and the fact that you share your biggest mistakes is such a change from the others. Well done

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  • C.M.Artes
  • 02-28-19

So refreshing!

The author captured my own sentiment in the last chapter--very few business books out there speaking through the challenges of growing/running a business. Kristen aired not only the challenges, but also her approach to getting through them. Well done, great book.