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Bookshelf 024: Defining Focus, Increasing Clarity, & The Power of Persistence

Let's all take a moment of silence for Quibi - short form content, short form company... (Jack Appleb
Bookshelf 024: Defining Focus, Increasing Clarity, & The Power of Persistence
By Dalton Mabery • Issue #24 • View online
Let’s all take a moment of silence for Quibi - short form content, short form company… (Jack Appleby).
I published a few new pieces of content this week:
Now, on to The Bookshelf!

Learn from the Legends
Marc Benioff - CEO & Chairman at Salesforce
Which book(s) had the most impact on your life?
  • Managing by Harold Geneen; A lot of how Sales Force operates is based on this old school book.
  • The Mythical Man Month by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
What new belief, habit, or behavior has most improved your life?
  • “Managing my diet”. Benioff eats a low sugar diet and takes at least one day per week to not eat at all.
If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world with anything on it, what would it say?
  • “Adopt a K-12 school.” Benioff says that nothing is more important the our children’s education. All you need to do is knock on the door of the school and ask how you (or your business) can help.
On Focus
In September, Snowflake had the biggest software IPO in history. With so much attention on the company, an article that Frank Slootman wrote, the CEO, started circulating. It’s titled “Amp It Up!” and focuses on boosting performance in organizations by reducing the natural “slack” that companies create over time.
Slack (no, not the company with the shoes…) comes from a few different things such as unnecessary processes, not having the right person in the right seat on the bus, and having too broad of a focus. Focus was Slootman’s priority with Snowflake and it paid off. He says:
When you narrow focus, you are increasing the resourcing on the remaining priority. It doesn’t have to time-slice and compete any more with a bunch of other stuff. And then things begin to move, stuff is getting done, and we move to the next thing.”
“I only did things and applied resources that had a compelling line-of-sight relationship with that goal. In tech, value is a function of growth, so we ran our companies for growth, period. It was an easy call when spending proposals came forward that had no discernible relationship with the mission. Investors were obviously in violent agreement.”
On Clarity
One of the most common issues I see people face (and I face myself) in regards to productivity is choosing what to spend time on. Similar to the article in the first section, if you don’t have clarity on your goals, you won’t know what to work on.
Every day I think of a new business idea, newsletter to start, or series on Youtube to create. But I’ve soon come to realize I can’t do it all. Not right now at least.
In an article written by Asana, they explain the “Pyramid of Clarity”, a system designed to help determine your mission, identify the strategies, objectives, key results, and projects that need to be executed to reach those objectives. I’m still trying to figure mine out, but this was a helpful resource.
On Persistence
Never would I have thought I’d be listening to a podcast with Matthew McConaughey on it. But this week, thanks to Tim Ferris, I did.
Although I wasn’t in a Lincoln (which I felt kinda bad about), I learned McConaughey had a close relationship with his father. In one of the stories, he remembers not being able to start the lawnmower one morning. After trying for awhile, he went to his father and said, “Dad, I can’t get the lawnmower started.”
That phrase, I can’t, was forbidden.
His father turned to look at him, got up slowly and made his way to the barn where the lawn mower was laying in rest. He examined the mower and saw the fuel line was disconnected. After reconnecting the fuel line, his father turned to look at him and said “See son, you were just having trouble. Don’t ever say you can’t do something.”
What are you “having trouble” doing in life right now?
End Note
If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, mind sending it to a friend? You can send them here to sign up.
If you want to support The Bookshelf and some of my other content, you can do that here.
As always, if you stumble across any interesting books, articles, or podcasts this week, send them my way. I love discovering new resources.
Have a productive week,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Dalton Mabery

I'm Dalton, a 21-year-old on a journey to find the intersection between Church and technology. I'm an avid reader and every week I send out a newsletter about what I learned in the world of technology, productivity, books, articles, or podcasts.

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