Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

by: Tony Fadell (2022)

**New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday Bestseller**

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 5-20 page 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 readers 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. 

The Quotes

The key is persistence and being helpful. Not just asking for something, but offering something. You always have something to offer if you’re curious and engaged. You can always trade and barter good ideas; you can always be kind and find a way to help.

“I can’t make you the smartest or the brightest, but it’s doable to be the most knowledgeable. It’s possible to gather more information than somebody else.”

Adulthood is your opportunity to screw up continually until you learn how to screw up a little bit less.

The Reviews

Let's say I told you that you could sit down to chat with the inventor and designer of some of the most successful products in history — things so crazy innovative, useful, and cool that they generated *hundreds of billions* of bucks. Heck, one of those products may even be in your pocket right now. And let's say the guy has a lot of great stories to tell — working with the geniuses of his age, taking mad risks, making huge mistakes, scoring epic wins. And he's a pretty good storyteller to boot.Interested? Well, Tony Fadell is that guy — the man behind the iPod, iPhone, Nest Thermostat and and much more you may not have heard of. If you didn't know his name or story till now, here's your chance to learn from one of the greatest inventor-entrepreneurs of all time, and drink in his hard-earned, often counterintuitive wisdom.Fadell divides his book into six parts: Build Yourself; Build Your Career; Build Your Product; Build Your Business; Build Your Team; Be CEO. Each part comprises a few chapters telling stories from his career along with the lessons learned. Each chapter begins with a nugget of concentrated Tony wisdom which is basically incompressible. Heck, the entire *book* is pretty incompressible — I highlighted almost a third of it. Here's one about mentorship:"A good mentor won’t hand you the answers, but they will try to help you see your problem from a new perspective. They’ll loan you some of their hard-fought advice so you can discover your own solution."This is straight-up Buddha talk, the 'ehi-passiko' of "Yeah, I've got some ideas to share but I want you to go figure it out on your own" — if the Buddha were a world-class coder, designer, manager, fundraiser, and CEO. Here's another one on what kind of company to join:"If you’re going to throw your time, energy, and youth at a company, try to join one that’s not just making a better mousetrap. Find a business that’s starting a revolution. A company that’s likely to make a substantial change in the status quo has the following characteristics: 1) It’s creating a product or service that’s wholly new or combines existing technology in a novel way that the competition can’t make or even understand…2) This product solves a problem—a real pain point—that a lot of customers experience daily…3) The novel technology can deliver on the company vision—not just within the product but also the infrastructure, platforms, and systems that support it.4) Leadership is not dogmatic about what the solution looks like and is willing to adapt to their customers’ needs.5) It’s thinking about a problem or a customer need in a way you’ve never heard before, but which makes perfect sense once you hear it."What would I have given to have known that as a kid! There's a lifetime of wisdom scrunched down into those five bullet points there — and several more in the rest of the book. Really you'll want to read it for the stories of both epic triumph and epic failure, sometimes happening at the same time. Fadell tells the tales of brilliance and fallibility, the geniuses you may have never heard of, and how the success of no venture, no matter how innovative and well-planned, is ever foreordained.I won't give away too much so you can fully experience the joy of discovering this book on your own. This is obviously required reading if you're a budding entrepreneur. But if you're at all interested in leadership, innovation, management, resilience, or just the origins of miraculous gizmos, you need to read this book. It's about as close as you're going to get to living inside the head of one of our modern-day entrepreneurial legends.-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer, startup coach and author of  The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible , the highest-rated dating book on Amazon, and  Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine

I'm not finished reading it yet, but I'm so glad Tony Fadell wrote this book! I ordered it on pre sale after hearing Tony on Tim Ferriss's podcast, and started listening today on Audible. So far it's been really inspiring, includes practical advice for your own creative endeavors, and also has tons of cool stories from Tony's life. My favorite story so far is the one about creating the Philips Velo hand held PC. I remember seeing a computer like that when I was a kid at a Sharper Image store and thought it was so cool! Had no idea one of the people behind the iPhone created that. (I don't know if the model I saw in that store was the Philips Velo or not, but I'm just going to pretend that it was.)

Sinek agrees with Peter Drucker: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." And Tony Fadell agrees with both of them. He wrote this book "for anyone who wants to create something new, who is chasing excellence, who doesn't want to waste their precious time on this precious planet...This book isn't trying to be a biography -- I'm not dead yet. It's a mentor in a box. It's an advice encyclopedia...This book is about what I've learned -- typically the hard way."Fadell's Introduction provides detailed information about his adventures and misadventures, his successes and failures, in the vineyards of free enterprise during a period that extends from 1969 when he was born and then attended twelve schools during the next fifteen years until now when he leads the investment and advisory firm Future Shape "where he mentors the next generation of startups that are changing the world."These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of Fadell's coverage:o A timeline of Fadell's career, to date (Pages xiv-xix)o Personal growth: Adulthood (5-13)o Criteria for getting a job (14-15)o Leadership of teams (37-41)o Skills required for effective management (46-49)o Storytelling for Nest Learning Thermostat (113-114, 264-265, and 278-279)o Disruption of products (116-117 and 119-125)o Ideation process (173-177)o Bill Campbell (185-186, 317-319, and 351-353)o Investors and investment capital: Startups (189-200)o Crisis management: "The Basic Playbook" (218-219)o Team size and breakpoints (243-249)o Design thinking (261-269)o Expectations of CEOs (322-325, and 328-329)o Mentor/Coach relationships (373-376)How did Southwest Airlines achieve profitability and cap value greater than all of its nine major competitors COMBINED? Then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher replied, "We take great care of our people. They take great care of our customers. And our customers take great care of our shareholders."Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Probably those who are now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked upon one. Also, supervisors (especially first-timers) who have several direct-reports entrusted to their care. And probably those who are actively involved with a startup pre- or post-launch.  Fadell has wide and deep real-world experience and thus seems uniquely qualified to explain the most important dos and don'tsHeartfelt congratulations to Tony Fadell on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!I presume to conclude with two recommendations. First, highlight key passages and keep a lined notebook near at hand while reading and then (hopefully) re-reading this book. (I favor optic yellow and the Mead "marble" version.) Record your own comments, questions, page references, etc. These two tactics will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.Also, keep in mind that, ultimately, there are no marketing, finance, sales, or HR issues...only BUSINESS issues. Everything a company does and how it does it must add value -- directly or indirectly -- to everyone within the given enterprise.

Tony Fadell helped give the world the iPod, the iPhone and the Nest thermostat. And much more. This book, Build, is his latest 5-star product. It’s not another boring business book. It’s not abstract theory. It’s a skillfully woven combination of a memoir and real, actionable, brass tacks advice for everyone from new employees to CEOs. It’s a must read for anyone wanting to start a great career or found a great company. Best of all, the stories he tells - about Apple, Nest, and a cool but failed startup named General Magic - are true. I know. As a tech journalist back then, I covered all of them and the personalities Tony recalls.

The only untruth that Tony Fadell tells in his new book, Build, is that he’s a terrible writer. He certainly can write and it’s an amazing gift to any professional.Far from a prescriptive guide to follow neat lines and structured paths to stardom, Build shows us how the messiness of failure is critical to help define our later success. Tony volunteers himself as a flawed fellow traveler like any of us trying to make a difference in this world. At turns funny and blunt, he shows how he developed not just skills but self-awareness so he could turn hard knocks into personal learning and ultimate success. Sure, he’s technical, but he’s also an empathetic and relatable mentor cheering you from the front lines of hard work. As it turns out, he encountered the same challenges and disappointments that the rest of us do, and he generously shows us how to get through those. There are few people who have as much nuanced wisdom to give as Tony, and he gives all of it in this book.This is that book I wish had at 25. And at 30, 35, and so on…because every 5 years it’ll mean something different but equally important. Thanks, Tony.

How could you ask for better insights than Tony offers here -- he has had us many many ups and some downs along the way, shares those experiences and nicely boils down meaningful insights. Tony is likely the most accomplished product creator we will ever know. I for one am grateful he has taken time to put his life lessons on paper for us. Favorite chapter: The one about holes on the backside (Amazon won't let me use the word). So true.

I wish I could go back in time with a copy of Build under my arm; it would've saved years of time, pain and mistakes. While I don't regret trying to figure things out for myself, I wouldn't have minded a few of Tony's HOV lanes. I've worked at four start-ups and started my own and I can tell you this book accurately presents how to build yourself, build an organization and build a product that matters. And who better to tell you than the guy who changed three industries and ultimately the world? IPod, iPhone, Nest, not bad! Tony's fascinating personal story forms the spine of the book; his accounting of biggest failure (General Magic) is almost more illuminating than his greatest hits.It's filled with ROTFs meaning not-rule-of thumb but rule-of-Tony Fadell. Just hearing him write, for example for company building "here's what's gonna come next (effective company meeting) and then this is going to happen (meetings too big to work), and that if you don't attend to corporate culture that (people leaving) could be the outcome" is invaluable, especially because it happens to be true; I've lived it. Build contains dozens of ROTFs. Most "business and innovation" books are deathly dull and poorly written. Reading them is like eating Styrofoam. By contrast Build is warm, accessible, funny, and wise. I read it on my Kindle where I jumped around via hyperlinks, out of order, and I still felt like it was an organized narrative. Whether you're just starting a new company or working at an existing one, whether you're fresh out of (or didn't even go to) school, or if you just need to resqueeze your creative juices, Build is the book for you. Get a second for your friend

Bought this kit for the kids I babysit to paint for their parents. The wooden frames are very sturdy & look nice. Some of the paint was dried up. The brushes are ok quality, didn’t lose any bristles. I think the price is very high for what it is. Probably could’ve found it cheaper, but I was in a hurry. Definitely wouldn’t purchase at this price again.

perfect for a kid activity. well and for a grownup handmade frame!the material of the wood is good. doesnt have splinters. you can hang the frames of put it on a table as it comes with a small wooden piece to make it stand

Many of the paints were dry, couldn’t use them. They were really hard to open, almost spilled every time you try to open one. Glitter is not usable, couldn’t even tell it was glitter paint.

The paints and paintbrushes were not included even though it said they were on the box and the description.

Half of the paint was dried up and couldn't be used. Had to substitute our own paint. Frames were nice but very disappointed in the paint. Would have sent it back but it was for a project and didn't have enough time to wait for a new package.

Got these for my 3 kids to each paint one. Then added a photo of each child posing with their father and gave him the handpainted frames for Father's day! Simple product; has a small wooden peg to stick in the back so the frame can stand.

Quick shipping, item as described.. thanks!

Perfect little DYI project for kids.

Yes, probably this is the first time that I felt sad when the book ended. And to remind myself, this is a non-fiction! A total of 396 pages of absolute pleasure. When I started reading the book, a lot of Tony’s stories felt little cold, data driven, objective, and to a significant degree prescriptive. But, as I kept myself pushing through them, a different fabric unfolded. The same recommendations started resonating like stories of hard fought battles where the protagonist kept marching through uncertainties in the uncharted territories of new product development, go to market strategies, organizational growth, breakpoints, employee relationships, culture development, and eventually converging into a larger than life acquisition and all good and evils associated with it. If you are a founder/builder yourself (to some degree), you will undoubtedly experience this read as a VR experience! The author adequately drives you through the nuances of new tech venture development with an incredible storytelling capacity that only resembles a movie (Tony, how about a movie for the next one? -:)I would like to break the book in two parts. The first half is more tactical with operational tidbits and techniques to handle the process of starting something new or escalating something small to a grand scale. This half intricately narrates different technicalities about how to germinate a small idea and then drive it to something that will be adopted by millions - almost like a cookbook. The second half, the one that I like the most, explores the finer expressions of the human aspect of entrepreneurship. For a builder, these attributes of human relationships that involve continuous exchange of ideas, personalities, aspirations, incentives, and pure dreams make this book more valuable. And this is where it converts into one of a kind personal development guide but with empathy. Here, you will come to know the human side of the author, and the representative of many of us, builders.My biggest take away from this book is – “You don’t have to be an expert in everything. You just have to care about it.” We only grow from any pursuit only when we care about it, whether it’s work or relationship.

A good look inside the heads of the players and coaches. I enjoyed reliving the many memories from recent shootouts.

A great book for the basketball fan. Relive one of the greatest basketball rivalries in a book form. This book is an easy read due to how it is written players and coaches perspectives.

disappointed it only goes back to 1980.

Awesome book. Wonderful history of the Crosstown Shootout.

well written and not one-sided

Great information on a tradition that has never been detailed in a book until now. Koch did a great job. Thank you.

This was a gift for my father and he loved it!!

Can't complain, seems to be pretty good. There were no reviews so I didn't have high expectations to be honest!

Fits glock 19 perfect.

I was a little doubtful at first about giving them these treats but as soon as I gave them to the bunny they yanked it from me and started munching on them non-stop until it finished :)))

"Many times you just need someone to confirm your gut feeling and give you the confidence to follow it." - this quote from Tony's Acknowledgements chapter summarises my feeling throughout the entire book. When you are starting out your career, there is so much "wisdom/crap" that you need to parse through and figure out whether you believe in or not. It is so refreshing to read such a no-nonsense, detailed description of what matters and what doesn't from someone who has real battle scars and victories.Starting out my career in Silicon Valley in the late 90s, I was never fortunate enough to meet Tony, and when moving back to Norway I met a start-up world that was 20 years behind Silicon Valley. This was right around the time Tony got the call from Apple to work on the iPod. I would have loved coming along for that ride!For every single decision you need to make to build a great product, a great company, a great team, you have to also decide who am I? what do I believe in? what kind of values are important to me? what kind of culture is a great product culture that I will thrive in and want to work in? And many, many more hard questions. Tony takes you through his career and points out the learnings that he believes were important, not only to his successes, but also to his failures. Brutally honest and with a personal, and down-to-earth language.There have been so many points throughout my life where I have felt something should be the right thing to do or believe in, but where I haven't really dared. And where I haven't had enough conviction to push through, ignore nay-sayers, and just do what I believe in. Tony goes through most of these and more, one by one and also explains why it is the right thing to do. And then there are the hard to come by experiences, like how is an effective board supposed to work for a VC-funded, highly innovative product company. Or how important it is to have a mentor who has been there before and what you need a mentor for.The title says this is an "unorthodox" guide. To me this sounds like title was determined by the publisher's desire to make it a bestseller. Tony is seeing beyond the fuzz and the pretenders and focuses on the deeper fundamentals of human behaviour and the fundamental dynamics between technology, market, individual drive and motivation, and the sometimes harsh realities of starting a new company (or startup within a company). It's nothing unorthodox about what he is writing about. It cuts through the crap and gets you to focus on what is important.Also, in many of Tony's advice, it is evident that he is spoiled by living in the Bay Area. Examples are: always have a "seed crystal" on your board or you absolutely need to have a great mentor before considering starting a company or you should be relentless in pushing your employees to perfect the experience. The Bay Area has huge competition for talent, but the wider Bay Area also has the population of the entire country of Norway. That means that if you have a name in the Valley, know the other big names, and have built up a network over years, you can tap into a talent pool and a culture that is just there. You mostly need to carefully build this yourself outside the valley. Don't let that discourage you though, what Tony points out is fundamentally human and fundamental to building great product anywhere in the world. Just think carefully about what you might need to build yourself before directly following Tony's advice.

You may look at this book as a personal story of Tony Fadel and how he achieved success and fame within , lets call it "digital industry". Fadel gives you countless examples of what works and what does not work in wide range of companies - from startups to industry leaders (Apple, Google, Phillips(?) ).It is a story on how passion for product development can catapult you to the top of your profession. Written in a very informal and often entertaining way this books keeps you engaged from page 1 till the epilogue.Fadel give you plenty of advice, hints on how to succeed in your profession. How to talk to management, how to talk to venture capital firms, how not to get sold cheaply and how to value your skills, time and resources.You will get a bit of internal gossip straight from Apple or Google which by itself adds color to the book. But this book is not about gossiping. Far from it. It is a serious , yet very lightly written story of once person journey to the top of his profession. If you work in any "industry" you are guaranteed to find something for yourself.

So - as the title suggests I am neither a builder nor a maker… of electrons or atoms. What I am is a 55 year old self-professed geek who has lived through the technology revolution. I went to a video arcade as a kid. I had a TRS-80, a Kaypro computer, a Channel F gaming console and (of course) every iPod, iPhone, iPad… just keep it coming. I LOVE technology.What fascinated me about this book is that it is not just about creating the next great thing and trying to disrupt the world. It teaches us about things like inspiration and drive and setting goals and thinking clearer…As the aforementioned geek I have to admit that I LOVE knowing the history of some of the most disruptive devices in our near history… I had a Sony Walkman… world changed with the iPod. I had a Motorola Q - which was so killer… then came Apple and Steve Jobs and (of course) Tony Fadell with the iPhone. As an early adopter of course I got one… Life changed.This book is so insightful. It encourages all of us to follow what guides us. Whether it’s an MP3 player or a phone or a thermostat.Fantastic book. Cannot praise it enough.

I made a mistake of buying the kindle version. This is a book that is worth to own in print, highlight and make notes on and read multiple times to digest. I have never been part of the Apple cult, however I had invested couple hundred dollars on an IPod back in the day. I just did not know who invented it until a few months ago when a friend told me about the "General Magic" Documentary. I think anyone who intends to read this book should watch that documentary first. Tony Fadell is one of those who rose from the ashes of General Magic. Truly inspiring story for everyone who is looking to build something that is worth building. On a related note, I am seeing so many "unofficial companion books" to this one. Maybe there needs to be an "official companion book" too?

This is a passion-filled memoir brimming with energy and insight disguised as a more prosaic “how to” for product leaders and startup types. Some favorite moments for me: Key interview tips (how to truly see if someone is compatible to work with and to get to the heart of what matters), also I found the leadership advice on running a good board meeting fascinating. Lastly, the framework of opinionated vs fact driven decision making was something I wish I had the words for when presented with gut based decisions in the past. Different from other tech business books, would recommend.

Originally I ordered a medium which was way to big for my little guy and had zero difficulties with returning. The Small is just perfect. His little head is able to pop out so he can see the world from my perspective and it's very well made.

I felt this product was a little flimsy was expecting it to be more sturdy while the dogs inside. Thinking about returning.

Lots of great info about bringing a new product to market, running a businesses and working on a project with others. Tony deffinently has tons of real world experience that shows in his writing.

Not just informative, but inspiring. The style of narrative brings out the passion and wisdom. It provides a lifetime of lessons and tools for progress and dealing with failures.

A true story of a great man with great work methodology built great products. An essential read for any product developer.

An absolute jem of a read packed with honest shares, insights, learnings and stories. A guide to life and career, regardless of what you're doing for a living.

In BUILD, Tony Fadell gives us a glimpse into the companies and technology that led to the iPod, iPhone and ultimately, NEST being bought by google. He also shares valuable insights on bringing groundbreaking products to market. If General Magic is meaningful to you as it is to me, you will relate to this book and enjoy it as I did.

The balance of success as well as failures; concepts and practical ideas very engaging.Coverage of key aspects evolution for each function and shift the responsibilies of a CEO as the business grows was very insightfulSimple frameworks-the book has a few of those

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
⭐ 4.7 💛 1781
kindle: $16.99
paperback: $16.16
hardcover: $22.98
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