Trillion Dollar Coach 📕
Our summary & review of Bill Campbell's famous leadership handbook.
Hey there! This is a Book Edition 📗 — where I publish my review + summary of a famous non-fiction book in our space.
It is made possible by the book club in the community, where every two months we decide on some book to read in the engineering/management space, and we review it together in a live event at the end of the period.
You can find more details about the book club below:
Over the last two months we have read Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell.
The book was written a couple of years after Bill’s death, in 2017, by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle — three Google executives who worked with him for many years.
The first thing I want you to notice is in the title. It says: “Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell”, rather than just “Bill Campbell”. When you think about it, it’s odd — we don’t usually attach people to places this way.
I don’t know the authors’ intent, of course, but I suspect it’s about pride. Bill Campbell’s story has shaped modern Silicon Valley like few others, and now it just belongs to everyone, like the Golden Gate or the Sequoia National Park.
In fact, it is one of those stories you will find hard to believe — on so many levels. It is the story of a football player turned football coach, turned marketer at ~40yo, then turned executive coach to the likes of Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Sheryl Sandberg.
The story could easily fit a traditional, Walter-Isaacson-style biography, but these authors are not novelists: they are executives, so they created a handbook instead. A handbook of Bill’s leadership style and teachings, for leaders and companies to learn from.
We will review this thoroughly, so here is the agenda:
🛣 Bill’s Life — highlights from Bill’s incredible life.
🪴 Team First — smarts & hearts, the King Arthur’s round table, and other memorable takes.
🤝 Building Trust — how you earn your people’s respect, rather than demanding it.
❤️ Power of Love — breaking down the walls between the human and professional persona.
📌 Bottom Line — my final thoughts on the book and what we can learn from it.
Let’s dive in!