In exactly 20 days, “Hit Refresh,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s new book, hits the shelves.
With the first books having just arrived in his office, Nadella today penned a LinkedIn blog post detailing some of the ideas behind the book, what he hopes readers will take from it and the meaning of the title.
In addition to telling Nadella’s personal story and looking ahead to the next wave of technology, the book details his efforts to reshape Microsoft culture during his time as CEO, which began in 2014. But he’s careful to note that the book “isn’t a victory lap or a how-to manual.” He acknowledges, “That would be premature.”
“Books are so often written by leaders looking back on their tenures, not while they’re in the fog of war,” Nadella wrote. “What if we could share the journey together, the meditations of a sitting CEO in the midst of a massive transformation?”
Nadella, who will speak at the 2017 GeekWire Summit in October, says the book “explores the renaissance of a storied company and the implications of the coming wave of technology — artificial intelligence, mixed reality and quantum computing — which will soon disrupt the status quo impacting our lives, communities and economies.”
Change will be a common theme throughout the book, and that is reflected in the title and foreword, written by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Nadella explains the title as such:
When you “hit refresh” in your web browser by clicking the little arrow, or hitting “function+F5,” it updates. It doesn’t wipe everything away and start new, as Bill Gates writes in his Foreword for the book — it actually keeps some things and replaces others. Hitting refresh is required for any person and organization looking to make a sustained impact over a long period of time from athletes, leaders and artists to cities, corporations and societies. Some people and organizations have one major hit refresh moment and others hit refresh often. We believed hit refresh was the perfect metaphor for all three storylines of the book — my personal journey so far, the company’s ongoing transformation, and the coming wave of technological and economic change.
Nadella hopes the book will motivate readers to imbue their every day actions with empathy. Empathy is a quality underpinning Microsoft’s mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” and it has become an important guiding principle in Nadella’s life as well.
It’s a quality my wife, Anu, helped me begin to learn when our son was born with severe disabilities 21 years ago. It’s a quality that shapes our mission of empowerment at Microsoft and our quest to meet unmet and unarticulated needs of customers. And it’s the quality that helps us as a society move forward in creating new opportunity for all.