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Tony Fadell

An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

4.2 (335 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Build by Tony Fadell is a book that guides readers through out-of-the-box thinking and innovation, teaching them how to bring new ideas to life. It explores Fadell's experience as the creator of the iPod and Nest.

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    Use your early adulthood to do as much as you can, fail, and learn from it.

    Ever heard of the first company to make the iPhone? If you’ve already got Apple in mind, think again. 

    Okay, so this product wasn’t exactly called iPhone –⁠ it was called Magic Link. But it shared many of the same functions as our modern-day smartphones. It came complete with a touchscreen, email, apps, games, a way to buy plane tickets, even animated emojis. The only problem was, that at the time of its release in 1994, no one wanted it. It was a cool toy for geeks, sure, but other people had no need for it. 

    The company who made this product was called General Magic. And Tony spent four years with them, working on the destined-for-failure Magic Link. But Tony doesn’t regret the experience at all, because it helped him to discover what he was truly passionate about. He threw himself into the company, often spending up to 120 hours per week working. 

    Now, although we’re not advising you to do this, it is true that when we find the thing we’re passionate about, we naturally want to throw ourselves into the work more. And, in order to learn as much as we can, we will sometimes stay late, or come in early, or occasionally work during weekends and holidays.

    Early adulthood is the perfect time to take big strides toward your career goals –⁠ even if there are plenty of stumbles along the way. In fact, the only real obstacle that will prevent you from finding success, if you’re not careful, is inaction. If you decide not to take any path at all, you’ll never end up discovering what is out there that interests you. 

    Early adulthood is a good time to take risks and try out different career options. You’ll likely have fewer family members, assets, and social standing that you risk losing. 

    And, like Tony, if you’ve already found the work that brings you joy, the best thing you can do is follow that instinct. Once Tony discovered the world of smartphones, he was hooked; his interest eventually led him to work at Apple, where he was part of a team working on the iPod and then the iPhone.

    After you’ve found the thing you’re passionate about in life – the thing you want to devote your time to – the next step is finding other people who share your passion. Make friends, find a mentor, and for goodness’ sake, get a job. This is your chance to make a dent in the world, to devote your precious time to something meaningful. You don’t have to shoot for the stars right away. But you should determine what you want to learn and the types of people you want to work with. From there, you’ll begin discovering the resources you’ll need to build whatever it is you want to build.

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    What is Build about?

    Build (2022) is a self-styled “mentor in a box” –⁠ an encyclopedia of business advice about everything from getting a job and managing a team to telling a story around your product and being a successful CEO. A mentor is an absolute must-have for anyone who aspires to start and run a business –⁠ but not everyone has one available right away. That’s what Build is for.

    Build Review

    Build (2020) is a captivating exploration of the process behind creating revolutionary products and services. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers invaluable insights from the mind behind the iPod and iPhone, allowing readers to learn from the experiences of a true industry pioneer.
    • Combining personal anecdotes and practical advice, the book provides a unique perspective on innovation and highlights the importance of design thinking.
    • With its inspiring storytelling and behind-the-scenes look at technological breakthroughs, the book keeps readers engaged and fascinated throughout.

    Who should read Build?

    • New graduates who aspire to found their own businesses
    • CEOs thinking about quitting and starting something new
    • Anyone who wants to see their idea for a product, service, or company come to fruition

    About the Author

    Tony Fadell is best known for cocreating the iPod and iPhone, founding Nest, and creating the Nest Learning Thermostat. He is now the Principal at Future Shape, a venture capital firm that invests in and mentors startups with world-changing potential. Before any of his major successes, Fadell started his career at one of the countless Silicon Valley startups that believed it could conquer the world but instead crashed and burned.

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    Build FAQs 

    What is the main message of Build?

    The main message of Build is that innovation and creativity can lead to groundbreaking ideas and products.

    How long does it take to read Build?

    The reading time for Build varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Build a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Build is worth reading for those interested in the process of creating innovative products. It provides valuable insights and practical advice in a concise format.

    Who is the author of Build?

    The author of Build is Tony Fadell.

    What to read after Build?

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