Reflections from High Output Management (book)

“You can’t be optimistic about the future until you have survived the crucible of change. The key to survival is to learn to add more value — and that ultimately is what this book is about.” — Andy Grove


A friend recommended to me a book by the former CEO of Intel called High Output Management. It’s a bit old and it’s funny as he talks about how RAM (yes, computer RAM) is such a big deal, as we don’t even blink about it now. But the philosophies and foundational material is spectacular.

Andy wrote this coming from war-torn Hungary due to WWII and the rebuilding that took place after that. He immigrated, learned English, learned all sorts of new things and technology, and still had the drive to accomplish.

He survived a lot. He went through a lot. He had a realistic understanding of life — heck, he could have easily become disillusioned, cynical, and pessimistic. Instead, he linked optimism to the future. He went through so much in life and bloomed resolute. He survived the crucible of change. He turned disorder and chaos into finely-tuned beauty, capability, and purpose.

Optimism can be a difficult attribute to maintain and hold onto through rugged, tough outcomes of life. But he did. And he found that it was through the valley of difficulty that emerged a belief of hope in the future. When our past is clouded and riddled with difficulty, obstacles, and bumps we can look to the future and predict the same as we’ve seen, or use our mistakes to scope a path forward. Andy not only survived, but made it better. He added value. We can, too.

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