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The founder and co-CEO of Salesforce delivers an inspiring vision for the future of business—one in which anyone is empowered to change the world. “The gold standard on how to use business as a platform for change at this urgent time.”—Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the New York Times bestseller Principles: Life and Work What’s the secret to conti The founder and co-CEO of Salesforce delivers an inspiring vision for the future of business—one in which anyone is empowered to change the world. “The gold standard on how to use business as a platform for change at this urgent time.”—Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the New York Times bestseller Principles: Life and Work What’s the secret to continuous growth and innovation in a world that is becoming vastly more complicated by the day? According to Marc Benioff, the answer is building a culture in which your values permeate everything you do. In Trailblazer, Benioff gives readers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most admired companies. He reveals how Salesforce’s core values—trust, customer success, innovation, and equality—and commitment to giving back have become the company’s greatest competitive advantage and the most powerful engine of its success. Because no matter what business you’re in, Benioff says, values are the bedrock of a resilient company culture that inspires all employees, at every level, to do the best work of their lives. Along the way, he shares insights and best practices for anyone who wants to adapt the company culture to thrive in the face of the inevitable disruption ahead. None of us in the business world can afford to sit on the sidelines and ignore what’s going on outside the walls of our workplaces. In the future, profits and progress will no longer be sustainable unless they serve the greater good. Whether you run a company, lead a small team, or have just draped an ID badge around your neck for the first time, Trailblazer reveals how anyone can become an agent of change. Advance praise for Trailblazer “In Trailblazer , Benioff shares how his business  became hugely successful not in spite of his determination to do what he believed was the right thing,  but because of it. He provides a role model for talented young people in the business world, and for everyone who wants to make a positive impact during their lives.”—Jane Goodall, Primatologist and world-renowned conservationist


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The founder and co-CEO of Salesforce delivers an inspiring vision for the future of business—one in which anyone is empowered to change the world. “The gold standard on how to use business as a platform for change at this urgent time.”—Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the New York Times bestseller Principles: Life and Work What’s the secret to conti The founder and co-CEO of Salesforce delivers an inspiring vision for the future of business—one in which anyone is empowered to change the world. “The gold standard on how to use business as a platform for change at this urgent time.”—Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the New York Times bestseller Principles: Life and Work What’s the secret to continuous growth and innovation in a world that is becoming vastly more complicated by the day? According to Marc Benioff, the answer is building a culture in which your values permeate everything you do. In Trailblazer, Benioff gives readers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most admired companies. He reveals how Salesforce’s core values—trust, customer success, innovation, and equality—and commitment to giving back have become the company’s greatest competitive advantage and the most powerful engine of its success. Because no matter what business you’re in, Benioff says, values are the bedrock of a resilient company culture that inspires all employees, at every level, to do the best work of their lives. Along the way, he shares insights and best practices for anyone who wants to adapt the company culture to thrive in the face of the inevitable disruption ahead. None of us in the business world can afford to sit on the sidelines and ignore what’s going on outside the walls of our workplaces. In the future, profits and progress will no longer be sustainable unless they serve the greater good. Whether you run a company, lead a small team, or have just draped an ID badge around your neck for the first time, Trailblazer reveals how anyone can become an agent of change. Advance praise for Trailblazer “In Trailblazer , Benioff shares how his business  became hugely successful not in spite of his determination to do what he believed was the right thing,  but because of it. He provides a role model for talented young people in the business world, and for everyone who wants to make a positive impact during their lives.”—Jane Goodall, Primatologist and world-renowned conservationist

30 review for Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alok Kejriwal

    One paragraph review - If you want to learn Business insights, pains & losses that Marc experienced while building Salesforce, you'll be disappointed. If you want to learn how a massively successful digital entrepreneur views the world & what he does to bring change, you will be delighted. My highlights: - Marc's spiritual leaning. He was blessed by Amma (hugging saint) before his success. He is a devout follower of Thich Nhat Hanh the super popular Vietnamese Spiritual leader. Marc makes a deep p One paragraph review - If you want to learn Business insights, pains & losses that Marc experienced while building Salesforce, you'll be disappointed. If you want to learn how a massively successful digital entrepreneur views the world & what he does to bring change, you will be delighted. My highlights: - Marc's spiritual leaning. He was blessed by Amma (hugging saint) before his success. He is a devout follower of Thich Nhat Hanh the super popular Vietnamese Spiritual leader. Marc makes a deep point about why meditation is a MUST to succeed in Business. - His relentless pursuit to GIVE back. I've read a lot of Business books but this one seems DEVOTED to helping people. - The EXTRAORDINARY incident of his meeting with Steve Jobs that resulted in the creation of the App Store. - The open, transparent, almost childlike narration of the mistakes & learnings he made while building Salesforce. - The concept of making Community service a paid responsibility as an employee. (something I want to start at my Companies. I want to meet Marc and hug him.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Payne

    Benioff refers often to this quote from Albert Einstein: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Think about that. Read the book. Drive change. Change. PS - Re: Salesforce Tower. Hey Marc, Go Anywhere! It works. Think about that. Benioff refers often to this quote from Albert Einstein: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Think about that. Read the book. Drive change. Change. PS - Re: Salesforce Tower. Hey Marc, Go Anywhere! It works. Think about that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. A very egocentric biography about a tech CEO who finds success empty, goes to India, and becomes annoying. He becomes almost a caricature of what a Bay Area CEo should be, according to Bay Area types. His lack of self awareness is sad and funny at the same time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susie Turk

    As a Salesforce employee, I was familiar with a lot of the content in the various chapters because they were very consistent with the culture I've experienced over the last 7 years. I was really interested to learn about Marc's history and how his maternal grandfather( who was a pioneer of BART) and how his father (who was an entrepreneur selling mens' clothing) influenced him. His grandfather was a believer in social justice who would regularly hand homeless people $20. His father was greatly f As a Salesforce employee, I was familiar with a lot of the content in the various chapters because they were very consistent with the culture I've experienced over the last 7 years. I was really interested to learn about Marc's history and how his maternal grandfather( who was a pioneer of BART) and how his father (who was an entrepreneur selling mens' clothing) influenced him. His grandfather was a believer in social justice who would regularly hand homeless people $20. His father was greatly focused on customer success. Both of those are visible in Marc's views and the Salesforce culture. I've witnessed several of the things Marc discusses from the employee's perspective, so it was really interesting to hear his side of things. For example, I was very proud of his stance against the "Religious Freedom" Act in Indiana and then subsequent similarly proposed laws in other states; it was interesting reading about this from his perspective. Likewise, I worked with one of the authors of the petition against selling Salesforce to CBP, so I was interested reading about his experience. I have been very proud to work at Salesforce and have been greatly inspired by Marc. This is a great book for anyone in the business world to read because everyone can be an agent of change.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sudharsan

    The author, CEO of Salesforce, a Fortune 500 company, makes a case for why we people don't have to choose between values and Profit. Marc falls short on this aspect. The book is full of anecdotes from Salesforce with the obstacles they faced and how they overcame with values. But, while the argument makes sense for a rosy tech company like Salesforce with high margins, it doesn't provide a framework for harder questions that might arise when profits are lacking. The author, CEO of Salesforce, a Fortune 500 company, makes a case for why we people don't have to choose between values and Profit. Marc falls short on this aspect. The book is full of anecdotes from Salesforce with the obstacles they faced and how they overcame with values. But, while the argument makes sense for a rosy tech company like Salesforce with high margins, it doesn't provide a framework for harder questions that might arise when profits are lacking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rishabh Kumar

    While Marc does impress me with the way he puts values such as equality and trust on a pedestal in a business that seeps deep into the lives of customers, he can come across as slightly egoistic. Nevertheless, this book does shine light on how the approach of C-suite executives to define profit and success has changed over the last decade.

  7. 4 out of 5

    kesseljunkie

    I am sure Marc Benioff’s a decent guy all around. Sadly this book comes off as hurriedly written, quickly edited, and so self-aggrandizing as to paint him as a pompous tool of people who provide him the validation that business success hasn’t. Again, I’m sure he’s a decent guy. He goes to great lengths to make sure the reader is aware of that. From listing all of the perfectly reasoned and wise decisions he’s made to all the important people he knows, I’m sure he’s a great guy who isn’t blinded b I am sure Marc Benioff’s a decent guy all around. Sadly this book comes off as hurriedly written, quickly edited, and so self-aggrandizing as to paint him as a pompous tool of people who provide him the validation that business success hasn’t. Again, I’m sure he’s a decent guy. He goes to great lengths to make sure the reader is aware of that. From listing all of the perfectly reasoned and wise decisions he’s made to all the important people he knows, I’m sure he’s a great guy who isn’t blinded by his own sense of self importance. Just sure of it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Amin

    Over the past 7 years working in the Salesforce ecosystem, the community has had the largest impact. The Salesforce community or 'Ohana' - is the most welcoming and encouraging community I've ever been a part of, making this former Biochemist feel comfortable as an #accidentaladmin turned #awesomeadmin. Marc's book tells the story behind the culture and values of an organization consistently rated as one of the best places to work. It's clear that the culture and values of Salesforce as an organ Over the past 7 years working in the Salesforce ecosystem, the community has had the largest impact. The Salesforce community or 'Ohana' - is the most welcoming and encouraging community I've ever been a part of, making this former Biochemist feel comfortable as an #accidentaladmin turned #awesomeadmin. Marc's book tells the story behind the culture and values of an organization consistently rated as one of the best places to work. It's clear that the culture and values of Salesforce as an organization are what attract an amazing community of Salesforce users that continue to grow and welcome many. Salesforce sets an example that we can (and should) make an impact while leading and innovating. I enjoyed Marc's weaving of personal stories to connect to business strategy and values. His honesty about his failures and striving for growth and improvement bring a realness to his writing. This review was based on an advanced copy of the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    I was very skeptical at first reading a book written by some tech CEO about business stuff. I am so glad I cracked it open and started reading it. I really appreciate Marc Benioff and his work as CEO. It was refreshing to see the ways in which he has made such a positive difference in our world and his perspective on the responsibilities of companies!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Masha

    I loved learning more about Salesforce and CEO’s journey. Story of course told from a place of a lot of proved he, but he seems to be trying to call it out and be humble. But book itself is pretty bland.

  11. 4 out of 5

    AV

    In case you're planning to learn about business insights, Marc's successes and failures leading Salesforce as a business, anything about building / shipping great products or even about providing top-notch customer experience, then you're gonna be deeply disappointed. Befitting to the book's subtitle - "Power of business as the greatest platform for change", it talks about the social standings Marc has taken publicly, using his influence as the CEO of one of the largest companies on the planet an In case you're planning to learn about business insights, Marc's successes and failures leading Salesforce as a business, anything about building / shipping great products or even about providing top-notch customer experience, then you're gonna be deeply disappointed. Befitting to the book's subtitle - "Power of business as the greatest platform for change", it talks about the social standings Marc has taken publicly, using his influence as the CEO of one of the largest companies on the planet and his values around which he tries to run Salesforce and cater to his employees and customers. In the book, Marc has portrayed himself as a big believer of social causes and has emphasized over and over again why it's important for people in similar positions to be the leading voice against such issues and the larger benefits standing up for these causes can have, both for your business and the employees who work with you. I'm really not sure how much truth is in Marc's words in here but if there is, then I don't see why or what reasons could other large businesses have for not following suite to Marc's advice and ways of running a business, driven by values and strong beliefs. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. Only if you're in a position to influence change, be it if you run a company or hold a higher authority position in the government, then you should get your hands on it. While there were a few instances on how small groups of employees of Salesforce led Marc to take some radical decisions, these issues were not something difficult to comprehend to understand their repercussions, case in point being, gender diversity & pay gaps.

  12. 4 out of 5

    W. Whalin

    Interesting Storytelling and Business Lessons From the opening pages, Marc Benioff’s storytelling captured my attention. TRAILBLAZER contains interesting information. Many years ago at a previous company, I used Salesforce so it was fascinating to hear these behind the scenes stories from the founder and CEO of this corporation. For their passionate users, they formed a group called Trailblazers (where they got the title for this book). The business experience stories which fill this book are fa Interesting Storytelling and Business Lessons From the opening pages, Marc Benioff’s storytelling captured my attention. TRAILBLAZER contains interesting information. Many years ago at a previous company, I used Salesforce so it was fascinating to hear these behind the scenes stories from the founder and CEO of this corporation. For their passionate users, they formed a group called Trailblazers (where they got the title for this book). The business experience stories which fill this book are fascinating—from the chairman of Toyota to Merrill Lynch to Home Depot. Bernioff talks about the focus on customer success and how that key lesson with the Merrill Lynch account transformed one of the key emphasis of the company. The lessons are applicable to every company—whether a single owner small business or a large corporation. There are valuable business insights throughout this book and I enjoyed the audiobook and heard it cover to cover. I recommend TRAILBLAZER. W. Terry Whalin is an editor and the author of more than 60 books including his latest 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brad Revell

    My review is here: https://www.bradrevell.com/?p=1429 Three key takeaways from the book: 1. What would your answer be if you asked what is the most important aspect of your organization? Your revenue, profits, shareholders, customers or employees? Benioff says it is values and that trust is the #1 value. 2. If you focus the majority of time on the problem (versus on the solution), the solution will become apparent. 3. Companies should be doing good versus doing well. A slight play of words, however, My review is here: https://www.bradrevell.com/?p=1429 Three key takeaways from the book: 1. What would your answer be if you asked what is the most important aspect of your organization? Your revenue, profits, shareholders, customers or employees? Benioff says it is values and that trust is the #1 value. 2. If you focus the majority of time on the problem (versus on the solution), the solution will become apparent. 3. Companies should be doing good versus doing well. A slight play of words, however, important to think above and beyond just shareholder value.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    3.5 stars. Generically inspiring. Not bad, and not life-changing. Very fast read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Wimmer

    We recieved "Trailblazer" from a Good reads giveaway, and it's packed full of modern business wisdom. The author, Mark Benioff is a sucessful software developer. We read how he developed the love for computers at an early age, and went on to found Salesforce. Salesforce is a multiplayer billion dollar software corporation, located in San Francisco California. He explores the nature of Salesforce, and creates a viable future for business leaders. Always hopeful for a sucessful future, Mark Beniof We recieved "Trailblazer" from a Good reads giveaway, and it's packed full of modern business wisdom. The author, Mark Benioff is a sucessful software developer. We read how he developed the love for computers at an early age, and went on to found Salesforce. Salesforce is a multiplayer billion dollar software corporation, located in San Francisco California. He explores the nature of Salesforce, and creates a viable future for business leaders. Always hopeful for a sucessful future, Mark Benioff asks us all to join him on his journey. Well recommended for all.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Skinner

    “Companies do well when they learn to do good” I hoped this was going to be a biographical outline of Salesforce and how it has started, but it turned into a story about how the founder and CEO believes that companies should be very actively engaged in the social issues of the day. I could not disagree more strongly, because he writes with a religious fervor when he just needs to trust Jesus and then be thoughtful of social implications. He’s very political, and this book makes me actually like “Companies do well when they learn to do good” I hoped this was going to be a biographical outline of Salesforce and how it has started, but it turned into a story about how the founder and CEO believes that companies should be very actively engaged in the social issues of the day. I could not disagree more strongly, because he writes with a religious fervor when he just needs to trust Jesus and then be thoughtful of social implications. He’s very political, and this book makes me actually like him less. I want to learn from people I don’t agree with, and for that reason I think it’s smart and wise to consider how business leaders can shape the world around them. That is a good point. Would not recommend this to anyone.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Willem

    No book is ever a waste of time, but this one comes close. The ego of Marc is a match to that of Any dictator. There are few people in the world as good as he is. This is not a biography, this is ego tripping.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Partly a business memoir, partly a Salesforce promotion...not badly written and not a bad dude, but I think the main reason to read it is if you're a Salesforce superfan. Partly a business memoir, partly a Salesforce promotion...not badly written and not a bad dude, but I think the main reason to read it is if you're a Salesforce superfan.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Neeraj Sadarjoshi

    Great and inspiring read!! So many wonderful anecdotes shared. I learnt a lot about Salesforce's philosophy and Marc's leadership style and thought process. Great and inspiring read!! So many wonderful anecdotes shared. I learnt a lot about Salesforce's philosophy and Marc's leadership style and thought process.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brat

    Salesforce and its celebrated founder Marc Benioff is something I have always admired and when this book popped up on my feed by someone else I respect I immediately put it up on my reading list. Recently after reading the news of salesforce acquiring slack, my interest in the company and man was reignited and I immediately picked up the book. The book is semi autobiographical, semi preaching of Marc’s life and his ideas on how business should be operating. In the very beginning of the book he cl Salesforce and its celebrated founder Marc Benioff is something I have always admired and when this book popped up on my feed by someone else I respect I immediately put it up on my reading list. Recently after reading the news of salesforce acquiring slack, my interest in the company and man was reignited and I immediately picked up the book. The book is semi autobiographical, semi preaching of Marc’s life and his ideas on how business should be operating. In the very beginning of the book he clarifies that while the objective of the book is to exhibit the power of business as the greatest platform of change, there would be a lot of personal stories and anecdotes as that would show it in life. That makes the book pretty readable to relate to the stories and the incidents that the author details. The book is filled with gems. There are places where the author talks of tech in the same breath as credit-default swaps, sugar, cigarettes – harmful products that companies had been allowed to peddle to customers, unconstrained by regulations. Himself being a part of the tech industry, asking for more regulations early on in the book shows how serious he is in to rein in the power of companies and directing them towards positive change. The book touches upon topics like discrimination, Gender Diversity, religious tolerance, Activist CEO, etc.. The story on “dreamforce” the annual conference by sales force came into being and how it now serves a larger purpose of bringing the entire community together and is actually live steamed for those who are not able to make it is pretty inspiring. There are various anecdotes where the easier option could have been to sit back and do nothing but Marc choose to lead from the front to live the values that he defined for the company. Incidents like Salesforce providing services to the immigration department when they were involved in caging Mexican children leading to an uprising within the company (and Marc was holidaying away from tech) show how vulnerable the CEO gets and the need of being connected all the time. He talks about achieving absolute clarity on four points – 1. Technology will never stop evolving. In the years to come, Machine learning and artificial intelligence will probably make or break your business 2. We’ve never had a better set of tools to help meet every possible standard of success 3. Customer success depends on every stakeholder 4. The gap between what customers want from business and what’s actually possible is vanishing rapidly He also briefly mentions of his interaction with Steve Jobs and how he had given back the name “Appstore” to Steve when he was launching the iPhone. He talks of Steve as a busy man, legendary for his directness, and ability to quickly zero in on what’s important. He talks of how Steve was playing a hundred chess moves ahead of him leading to the creation of the app store or app exchange that salesforce built. An ecosystem allowing the next game changing innovation to come from a brilliant technologist in silicon valley, or from a novice programmer halfway around the world. Einstein forecasting is one more innovation he talks of that was built as an internal tool, and is now a hot product. He claims that AI will have more impact than the internet and that we are still in the first innings of this game and that in the coming years more and more innovation will come from humans and machines working together. Machines would do more of the routine repetitive work and the pattern recognition, while humans would spend more time trying to be “mindful and project the future”. The book ends with the hawaiian concept of Ohana which means family – the shared sense of purpose and meaning. He also stresses on the importance of meditation, his experience with buddhism and the Vietnamese Zen buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh (he got the idea for salesforce during his retreat to India in Kerala and has also been a disciple of Amma!). The concept of mindfulness is instilled deeply into salesforce culture reflecting in its building design of having a mindful corner on every floor. He also mentions of a framework V2MOM (Vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures) to know when we are successful. It gives a detailed map of where we are going as well as a compass to direct us there. He stresses that we have lived through a period of exuberant innovation and creativity. The fifth industrial revolution is about finding ways to harness all of this “progress” for the common good. Quotes 1. Zen Phrase – A garden is not complete until everything is taken out of it. 2. Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Books quoted 1. Winners take all: The elite charade of changing the world by Anand Giridhardas 2. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris 3. The captain class: a new theory of leadership by Sam Walker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anoop Dixith

    Honestly, to an outsider, the title of the book is misleading! By "Trailblazer", I was thinking the book was about the story, struggles and the success of Salesforce pioneering CRM, and how Benioff pulled it off. But the book is not about that. At all. But that doesn't mean the content of the book was bad. In fact, it's probably even more relevant than the story of Salesforce itself. This book is about how Salesforce developed its culture, and how it views the world and its burning problems from Honestly, to an outsider, the title of the book is misleading! By "Trailblazer", I was thinking the book was about the story, struggles and the success of Salesforce pioneering CRM, and how Benioff pulled it off. But the book is not about that. At all. But that doesn't mean the content of the book was bad. In fact, it's probably even more relevant than the story of Salesforce itself. This book is about how Salesforce developed its culture, and how it views the world and its burning problems from the perspective of a company that has 86% Fortune500 companies as its clients!  But before we get into that, there are a couple of very interesting sub-stories that are worth mentioning. The first one is about the childhood geekery of Marc Benioff - he made more than $5000 by fixing bugs in games when he was still 14, and then built and sold a game called "Quest for Power", a sort of action fantasy game! The point being, like most other entrepreneurs, he started early. And not unlike many famous entrepreneurs, Marc also had a spiritual trip to India and Nepal, and even got the blessings and "hugs" of Mata Amritaanandamayi". The fact that he rose from being an employee to VP of Oracle in just four years shows his entrepreneurial mindset. But his childhood story won't be complete with the mentioning of his grandfather. Apparently, his grandfather was the one who got BART to the Bay Area by leading its financing! He was also the one, being a lawyer, that pioneered the legal concept of "psychic injury".  A large portion of the book is devoted to how Salesforce tackled a lot of cultural issues and explains its views on many problems that are plaguing the tech industry in general. They include the equality of pay, LGBTQ rights, corporate philanthropy (Salesforce believes in philanthropy and lets a lot of NGOs and Nonprofits use its software for free. And not just that, it does big donations to schools of San Francisco), raising voice against legislations that are discriminatory, homelessness in San Francisco (Marc even admits how the opulent Salesforce Tower could be viewed as a stark contrast to the homelessness in the Mission District), etc. It also heavily emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and meditation, OHANA or the Hawaiian concept of "family" in the corporate culture of Salesforce.  For me, the most interesting parts of the book were the case studies that narrate the story of how Salesforce solved a customer's problems.The interesting case studies of how Salesforce took a generic approach about solving the problems of Meryll Lynch; of Home Depot where Marc was personally involved; of creating the warehouse application for Adidas; of using data to boost the retail sales of P&G etc are definitely worth analyzing even outside of this book. Marc's obsession for Einstein (now I realize why the AI team at Salesforce is named after Einstein), his immense respect for Steve Jobs (he interned at Apple and knew Jobs personally, and even sold the trademark for "AppStore" that they owned to Apple for free) are a couple other highlights of the book.  Overall, the book is great, but you'd be disappointed if you thought this was about how Salesforce was founded and how it became the CRM behemoth that it is today. 

  22. 4 out of 5

    Walt Kruhoeffer

    Overall, I felt this book to be an interesting exploration into Marc Benieff’s thought process on how he set out to create such a largely influential company. He argues that the growth of Salesforce is tied to how well a company creates and executes on its core values. He also argues that the business rules have changed where companies need to “go good” by serving the greater world and not just their customers and shareholders. Marc and Salesforce believe that companies today have a responsibili Overall, I felt this book to be an interesting exploration into Marc Benieff’s thought process on how he set out to create such a largely influential company. He argues that the growth of Salesforce is tied to how well a company creates and executes on its core values. He also argues that the business rules have changed where companies need to “go good” by serving the greater world and not just their customers and shareholders. Marc and Salesforce believe that companies today have a responsibility to look beyond profits by impacting positive change on society. Data suggests that consumers and customers now expect this in today’s business climate. My Takeaways: - A company with values creates value. - Company values should not only be the guiding principles for a business, but that CEOs should actively try to operationalize values into every aspect of their businesses. - High stakes business initiatives are a stress test that often lead to insights that only drill values deeper into your culture. - Trust is the most important value a company can instill within its culture. Salesforce was one of the first companies to have a trust site and open line if communication with customers - Salesforce acts as a trusted partner to customers. The success of the customer is embedded within Salesforce core value of “Customer Success”. - Trust improves customers loyalty, employee productivity, employee retention and overall profitability. Transparency is essential to building trust. - Data shows that a culture of safety and trust as well as speaking up, results in better risk taking and problem solving within an organization. - Studies also suggest that companies that commit to doing good for society have stronger customer loyalty - especially with Millennials and that this translates to an increased willingness for customers to pay more for products and services. - Marc places a strong emphasis on not only treating customers well, but also the employees within Salesforce. - Company culture should be continually cultivated and that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” - Marc enabled outside innovation via App Exchange, which was a new method of innovating as opposed to the old way where businesses would hire more scientists and employees to develop new products internally. - Giving back to the communities Salesforce serves is purposefully woven into the company culture at Salesforce via the 1-1-1 model. (1% Equity, 1% volunteer time and 1% product) - Giving back has been linked with improved productivity and employee satisfaction. - An “Activist CEO” is becoming the norm within business today. Gone are the days of leaving other beliefs outside of business. Employees as well as customers demand business leaders to take a stand on issues that affect the broader community.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jo * Smut-Dickted *

    As someone who often interacts with Salesforce folks (I live in the Bay Area) I'd heard here and there that Benioff was a different kind of leader. This book really brought home just how different he is. I found a lot of striking sayings or quotes (not sure which honestly) that resonated with me. Perhaps due to the elements of meditation and awareness it was more than a little bit spiritual almost. When he discussed priorities he states the obvious which is if everything is a priority, nothing i As someone who often interacts with Salesforce folks (I live in the Bay Area) I'd heard here and there that Benioff was a different kind of leader. This book really brought home just how different he is. I found a lot of striking sayings or quotes (not sure which honestly) that resonated with me. Perhaps due to the elements of meditation and awareness it was more than a little bit spiritual almost. When he discussed priorities he states the obvious which is if everything is a priority, nothing is. This is a key issue in organizations today (esp. non profit education where I came from) because there are so many initiatives and projects it can feel chaotic, people get fatigued, and even whens something gets done there is rarely any attempt to go back and measure it's success. I consider that a failure of leadership to provide the right guiding questions and priorities to enable the decisions for action, follow through, and (most importantly to me) the assessment of results. These are the elements I took away I found very helpful (restatements perhaps of what I knew but I like the language and order): "What is the vision for what I want to achieve?" "What's important to me about this goal? " What are the values supporting this vision?" Weighing importance - what is MOST important. MAKE THE DECISION. After that comes methods - What are the action and steps everyone needs to take to get the job done including cost (ranked and prioritized), what are the obstacles that will need to be overcome to achieve the vision, what challenges, problems, and issues are standing between you and success. Again what's the most critical and how are we going to resolve them. Lastly - YAY! "How will we know we were successful" "What does success look like" data and metrics He calls it V2MOM - Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures As a framework it works well. For the business knowledge I got I'd give a 4 but I have to give the extra star for two things: the narration was outstanding and really expressed I think the character of Benioff and the story (largely of course about Salesforce) and the underlying messages that made me think differently about why we (define however you like) do things. As others have noted this is hugely about values and, regardless of it being a bit of a commercial for SalesForce, I think Benioff nails all the "why" of this being so important and likely increasingly so in the future. I really enjoyed it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Birse

    Want to help change the one planet we live on, but don't know where to start? Read on. This is an insightful read for anyone who wants change in their lives. It has a content you want to grab with both hands, yet still dissect for your own needs. The chapters on homelessness especially appealed to myself, as I've volunteered in this area personally. Be it business or personal, I'm going to reopen this book to remind myself why I have it five stars. I felt akin to Marc Benioff when he talked about Want to help change the one planet we live on, but don't know where to start? Read on. This is an insightful read for anyone who wants change in their lives. It has a content you want to grab with both hands, yet still dissect for your own needs. The chapters on homelessness especially appealed to myself, as I've volunteered in this area personally. Be it business or personal, I'm going to reopen this book to remind myself why I have it five stars. I felt akin to Marc Benioff when he talked about the great technological change he has witnessed in his lifetime. My first home computer was a Commodore Vic 20 with 2.5 kilobytes of memory. For those of you wondering, yes I did mean kilobytes. I upgraded this to a Sinclair Spectrum 16in and spent additional money on a 32kb expansion pack, making 48on in total. Software came on tapes. You may wonder where I'm going with this, and I'll explain that being able to reflect from personal experience allows one to remain grounded with this blistering pace of change. Marc said historians felt historians may not agree when he said he thought the Fourth Industrial Revolution was coming to an end. I agree with him. My take on what is going to be the central theme of the Fifth Industrial Revolution is mindfullness, to allow us not only to heal from our experience of Covid 19, but to move us all forward the right way and to help prevent this from happening again. We need to remember we have one planet and can be silent and/or ignorant no more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Arun Krishnamoorthy

    If I had to summarise the essence captured in this book, it would be one word - 'values'. And Value creates value! Marc talks about how as a tech leader, and more importantly people today, ought to be change agents. The Fourth Industrial revolution era has, according to the author, seen its due date - but what lies ahead is a new era, potentially a Fifth Industrial revolution, where one can harness the progress made in the previous era for the common good. Marc talks about his upbringing and him d If I had to summarise the essence captured in this book, it would be one word - 'values'. And Value creates value! Marc talks about how as a tech leader, and more importantly people today, ought to be change agents. The Fourth Industrial revolution era has, according to the author, seen its due date - but what lies ahead is a new era, potentially a Fifth Industrial revolution, where one can harness the progress made in the previous era for the common good. Marc talks about his upbringing and him drawing inspiration from his family, particularly his dad and granddd, but also people along the way - past managers, CEOs of other orgs and even thought / inspirational leaders from other walks of life like Mata Amritanandamayi Marc also talks extensively about 'Equality' - be it gender, racial, or even economic. Equality needs to be embedded in stated values and actions. Success in the rapidly changing digital age requires an ecosystem that supports continuous innovation. That demands diversity in every sense of the word. That's how you get creative solutions. One ought to widen the field of vision. There are a couple of places where the book does feel like a Salesforce org values propaganda, but if you were to dive deeper you can see that there is a greater ,more broader meaning to what is being proffered by the author. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and an easy read - not your standard run-of-the-mill, 'how to become a leader' management gloss. It ventures into realms with plenty of examples where you see the missteps or misgivings that even a titular leader might make.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Igal Levy

    If you’re familiar with Salesforce, or San Francisco politics, that’s reason enough to read this book. I enjoyed it because I recognize many of the people and events that Benioff writes about, and was able to learn some new facts. The book focuses on Benioff (and therefore Salesforce’s) quest to do good, not just well, and on the resulting challenges and rewards. Business, and large corporations in particular, have not just a duty to their shareholders in our times, but to stakeholders, which inc If you’re familiar with Salesforce, or San Francisco politics, that’s reason enough to read this book. I enjoyed it because I recognize many of the people and events that Benioff writes about, and was able to learn some new facts. The book focuses on Benioff (and therefore Salesforce’s) quest to do good, not just well, and on the resulting challenges and rewards. Business, and large corporations in particular, have not just a duty to their shareholders in our times, but to stakeholders, which include employees, customers, the local community ... just about everybody, in fact. The tack is a bit simplistic, but Benioff does acknowledge the difficulty of situations when deeply held values are in conflict, not to mention threatening the bottom line. While it does seem a little far fetched to think that the very corporations who’ve led us to this state of extreme inequality and environmental calamity will become the knights in shining armor, Benioff does seem earnest about wanting to bring positive change to the (wrong) way we’ve been doing things, and he has certainly put his money where his mouth is. For Salesforce “outsiders,” possibly the most interesting chapters in the book are at the end, where the case is made that doing good leads to doing well, especially when considering younger stakeholders. The younger the generation, the more interested they are in a company’s social conscience.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vivek

    Hooter: A look at running the world from Marc Benioff's perspective and passions. Part Biography, part perspectives, part gyaan lot of Salesforce fanfare. If you are intertwined with the Salesforce world like me, as someone who works there or is a client of their products or a partner, this book will be of more interest to you than any layman. It doesn't focus so much on the step by step journey of how Salesforce became a giant that it is today but focuses on how Marc stayed vocal to his belief Hooter: A look at running the world from Marc Benioff's perspective and passions. Part Biography, part perspectives, part gyaan lot of Salesforce fanfare. If you are intertwined with the Salesforce world like me, as someone who works there or is a client of their products or a partner, this book will be of more interest to you than any layman. It doesn't focus so much on the step by step journey of how Salesforce became a giant that it is today but focuses on how Marc stayed vocal to his belief system that values are more important to a company than profits. In the long run, those values will bring the talented woke employee and woke customers and keep the profits churning was the baseline. He does set the baseline that by getting a college degree, hes already an outlier amongst Bay Area Tech CEOs. His love for Bay Area and values to give back to community make for strong passionate reading and now becoming a norm across industries as companies try to keep the millenial workforce engaged. The influence of role models - his father, his grandfather, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs provide a human touch to a business mind. A collection of those thoughts and perspectives often with examples within the Salesforce organisation are littered through the book as anecdotal evidence adding color to it all. I won't call it the most engaging business book I have read but provides fresh insight into the minds of one of the biggest business legends in today's time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Hernandez

    Full reflection found: TheAntonioHernandez.com Part business memoir, part Salesforce advertisement, part leadership lesson, Trailblazer blends these three themes into one cohesive story. As a leadership lesson, he offers one key insight: great leaders and organizations are driven by their values. The lessons that he communicates are valuable and Benioff shows a level of humility in his mistakes that I don’t often see in business and leadership books, but the impact of these insights clashes with Full reflection found: TheAntonioHernandez.com Part business memoir, part Salesforce advertisement, part leadership lesson, Trailblazer blends these three themes into one cohesive story. As a leadership lesson, he offers one key insight: great leaders and organizations are driven by their values. The lessons that he communicates are valuable and Benioff shows a level of humility in his mistakes that I don’t often see in business and leadership books, but the impact of these insights clashes with the same problem that we all have to deal with every day: being reactive versus being proactive. The stories at times can feel like Benioff reacting to situations rather than taking an active role in the leadership of Salesforce. Even the lessons that are gleamed from these stories are often undermined by gratuitous examples of why it's so great to work at Salesforce. At times it feels less like a book and more like an advertisement for Salesforce. Ultimately, Trailblazer reaches for deeper insights, but backs out quickly when it realizes that to tell a genuine story would require the airing out of Salesforce's less admirable qualities.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ary Chest

    This was a massive improvement from Behind the Cloud. The whole thing had more consistency. The chapters had more substance, and each story had a better flow. Benioff is the first to tell you him going to college sets him apart from the more stereotypical tech CEO's. I guarantee you, that's the one thing different about him, in terms of that archetype. Everything, from the way he talks, to the way he runs the company fits the well-worn mold of "woke" SF Bay Area business founder. And he does "wo This was a massive improvement from Behind the Cloud. The whole thing had more consistency. The chapters had more substance, and each story had a better flow. Benioff is the first to tell you him going to college sets him apart from the more stereotypical tech CEO's. I guarantee you, that's the one thing different about him, in terms of that archetype. Everything, from the way he talks, to the way he runs the company fits the well-worn mold of "woke" SF Bay Area business founder. And he does "woke" pretty well. Yet, there are some huge issues in his writing. By writing, I mean style of narration, not the content, though it did, sometimes, affect my ability to consume his message. While he comes off much more humble and transparent in this book, compared to Behind the Cloud, his ego still shines through, at a blinding level. He pumps himself up less, but the way he (or his ghostwriter) wrote about pressing issues was through the lens of "wokeness," or, a more fitting word, spiritual enlightenment. (You know, because we went on a spiritual journey to India, as detailed, early on in the book.) The moral authority in his voice kind of diminished how important key world issues were, because they sounded like the backdrop to his podium. I think that's how he wanted to come off, to show the future M.B.A students how to think about major injustices. His way of talking just doesn't settle well with the commoners who want to remain common. Aw well. Guess I'm not enlightened enough to be so amazed with what technology can do, as much as the people in that world are.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Ballinger

    I was provided an advanced copy for review via the Salesforce MVP program. With my day job being entwined with Salesforce for over the last decade I've lived through many of the events that are covered in the book. Albeit that was as someone outside the mothership. I found the book gave a different internal perspective on many of those same events. It was interesting to read about how the core values that are so often highlighted as part of Salesforce's culture evolved and were refined over time a I was provided an advanced copy for review via the Salesforce MVP program. With my day job being entwined with Salesforce for over the last decade I've lived through many of the events that are covered in the book. Albeit that was as someone outside the mothership. I found the book gave a different internal perspective on many of those same events. It was interesting to read about how the core values that are so often highlighted as part of Salesforce's culture evolved and were refined over time and events that put them to the test. I know it isn't the focus of the book, but I personally found the first chapter on the Benioffs of San Francisco the most compelling. How Marc's relationship with his parents and grandparents helped form his values. The connection between Marvin Lewis and BART. Walking to the future site of the Transamerica Pyramid. If I'm honest, I almost universally read Sci Fi, but I found this a worth while look into Benioff's approach to company culture.

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