I liked the fact that the book is short, goes straight to the point, contains mostly practical advices and methods to manage an engineering team (the target audience in my opinion is line managers). Similarly to “The Manager’s Path” by Camille Fournier, you can keep this book on your desk and use it whenever you need it, like a manual.

I didn’t like that most of the contents come from Lara’s blog, so if you’re already one of her readers you won’t find anything new. I still think the purchase is worth the money because contents are very well organized across the four sections, and getting the same knowledge out of the blog alone would take much more time than reading the book.


  • too many choices can feel overwhelming or aimless; too few choices can make you feel powerless.
  • The Equality/Fairness core need boils down to the idea that your environment includes equal access to resources, information, and support for everyone in it. Lack of fairness can tear apart teams and orgs
  • If change is the only constant in your workplace, it can be exhausting! But if there are never any surprises, your brain gets bored. Same as choice, change requires balance
  • Significance, or status, is our core need for understanding where we are in a hierarchy, especially in relation to others.
  • Whatever the role, when in a leadership position you should always ask yourself: What do you optimize for? What do you hope your teammates will lean on you for? What management skill are you currently working on learning or improving?
  • Feedback is really hard to deliver when you don’t personally own it. The manager should not be a message relay: foster a culture of feedback and encourage others to do that themselves.
  • When you optimize for transparency you might be keen to share more. When sharing something that’s not yet public, always double check: Is sharing this confidential information fair to them, and to your other teammates? How burdened will this person feel by having this insider information? What’s the likelihood that they will share what they hear with someone else? What would happen if they do? What would the impact be if they misunderstand the message, and then shared erroneous information with others? Is this person already comfortable swimming in high levels of ambiguity, uncertainty, and confidentiality? Depending on the context and the seniority of the person receiving the message, answers to those question might be different each time.
  • When disagree&commit doesn’t work: If the misalignment between you and leadership is severe enough, you might decide it’s worth walking away from the team or the company; this is a decision only you can make.
  • Never take for granted everybody will start doing something only because you asked for it: People rarely remember information the first time they hear it.