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Manager Reads - Orbiting the Giant Hairball

The holiday break has been great so far: spending time with family, eating (a ton) of Portuguese food, and catching up on the reading backlog. This time on Dragon Ball Z…. Oh wait… The next book is Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie.

Who recommended the book? This book was recommended by my manager, Ravi. I’ve had this one sitting on my desk and while you should never hunger to read a book because of it’s cover, this one has been nagging for my attention every time I glance at it.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? Out there doesn’t properly capture how unique this cover is. Forget fonts, the title is produced by very raw, rough, and unique letters. For those unable to decipher the title, it’s provided below the illustration and highlighted for good measure. The cover has a nice, thick weight to it and the thick pages inside are just as unique and special as the cover. They are sometimes covered with a nice simple font and other times illustrations and sometimes even hand-written notes, but usually it’s a combination of all these things. MacKenzie’s tenure at Hallmark ended with the job title of Creative Paradox so expect the unexpected!

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? It’s not worth spoiling the stories or all the lessons this book puts forth because the fun of reading this book is never really being sure what the next story or moral will be. But we can at least cover the titular principle: Orbiting.

The Giant Hairball is the summation and tangled mess of a company’s policies, procedures, business decisions, successes, and failures. In short, the Hairball is the corporate mindset and it stifles creativity. The ideal place for people is in Orbit where they can explore and operate beyond the Hairball but still remained connected to the corporate mission.

There are many more stories, many more ideas, and many more lessons but they ultimately tie to the idea that we are all creative geniuses at birth but many forces conspire to smother our creativity and make us normal. It’s our job to launch ourselves into Orbit where we can be who we were truly meant to be.

Favorite quote from the book? “If we do not let go, we make prisoners of ourselves.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? This was easily my favorite leadership book I have read so far. And on top of that, it’s one of my favorite books in general. It’s an amazing - and very unique - ride that will be sure to touch and move anyone who picks it up. Read it!

Notes in Evernote? If there was ever a book that my notes failed to do justice to capture, this one would be it: there is so much beyond text in this gem. That said, the Manager Read templates dictates that I invite you to review my notes on 🐘.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.