Instaread Summary of Leaders Eat Last Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
Five out of five stars
The theme of the book is clear from this summary, to be successful, treat your employees well and don’t resort to layoffs as a way to boost the profit margin. It is also correctly pointed out that in the heady days after World War II when the United States was unchallenged economically, layoffs were a rare occasion and largely temporary.
However, it is also clear that the book does not truly face up to what is the modern reality, companies face intense global competition and must be able to react quickly in order to survive. Activist investors will not hesitate to attack the leadership of a company if in their opinion they are not delivering “appropriate” shareholder value. One adaptation to this new reality is the development of what is called “the gig economy,” where employees sign on for the completion of a project rather than for the long-term. In this case, when they leave it is technically not a layoff but the completion of an employment contract.
I found this summary to be an accurate statement of what are idealistic but often unrealistic principles of business management. Reality can be an ugly thing that has no mercy and the appeal to the past is not based in any way on how global realities have changed. While I agree that employees should be treated as humans with emotions and uncertainties, most modern work environments are generally inherently stressful. There is nothing in the foreseeable future that will change that.