When the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella wrote his biography, the general perception might have been to read the book to gain knowledge about how an Indian reached great heights. Hit Refresh, Nadella’s biography, does deliver that. However, what it also gives the reader right from page one, is a lesson on how a person evolves, and in the process, how his professional life also evolves.
One might imagine Nadella to be the brightest student, because of course, who else but the best would reach the level he has. Quite the contrary as he says, he was an average student with great love for cricket. The humble CEO says he was at the right time at the right place, but as one reads how his life progressed from his childhood in India to his adulthood in USA, one learns that it also was a lot about grabbing the opportunities and making the right decisions. With brief yet important details about his life before Microsoft, Nadella goes on to talk about his tenure with the company as well as his change of role when he became the CEO after Steve Balmer.
Nadella’s biography Hit Refresh, as the title suggests, is centred around the stage where he hit refresh – in Microsoft. Changing the work culture, employee interaction and coming together to work as a team instead of competing against each other, was what Nadella focussed on after becoming the CEO. The book would also be enjoyed by people who work for Microsoft; they’ll get to see another side to the big boss.
After a breezy first half, Hit Refresh does get a tad technical in the second half. The style of writing is inclusive and you actually can visualize Nadella telling his story. Anyone who is starting a career or taking up a new role or entering a new phase, reading about his journey and how he changed the work culture at Microsoft would prove very insightful. As they say, a man is not born great but becomes great as he journeys through life.
In the later chapters, Hit Refresh gets into a technical zone and ends with a discussion on how technology can attribute to growth globally. This is not just a CEO’s memoir, but a reiteration of the changes that went through in Microsoft.